Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Front row seats to Hell....

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

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

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

Monday, November 23, 2009

HoCo double weekend

This past weekend was the Howard County Double Cross weekend. My wonderful sense of purpose got me going late on Saturday morning so I wound up leaving a good 30 minutes late. That coupled with a slow traffic day as the police were out in force and I wound up getting to the race venue 50 minutes later than I was thinking I would. So with only 20 minutes before my race start, I bagged it and upped it to the 123s. This would prove to be a dumb move as I got blown away halfway through the first lap. One thing you absolutely not do is ride 1 day in the previous week and just think you're going to jump into even a smaller regional 123 race. After 4 or 5 laps of that silliness, I bailed and and began the warmdown. I was kind of hoping that I would've hung in longer, but the last couple weeks or work along with coming off from an injury and I just wasn't ready for this kind of effort.

The second day at Rockburn went better for me. I was racing in the Elite masters category which was only a small step down from the previous day. This time, I faired better and was hanging with the group through the first couple laps. I finally wound up running down and was then racing for the back of the group when going down the one trail, there was a group of spectators egging us on to do the log pile. I looked at it as I went past and thought, heck I can do that. There's a $5 prime in it? Sure, I'm game. The next lap, no one else had taken them up on it and using the MTB skills, I pulled up the front wheels and set it up and pedaled right up over the pile. It was a pretty good sized pile and I popped up over it. Well, I wasn't going home empty handed at least and there was a good cheer for me. I guess if you're not doing something well, at least be colorful about it. I finished up and didn't even get lapped so it was an ok day, all things considered. Taneytown is next week so maybe I can get rested more as well as some riding in to get me ready. After that, it's off to Reston. If nothing else, I'd like to grab the hole shot again which is something I've done there twice from the 3rd and 4th rows. It'd be cool to do it again.

Friday, November 13, 2009


The USGP at Trenton is this weekend. I'm going to do the 45+ this year. I guess even though I don't look it, I'm getting old. Eh, I generally don't worry about it except when people I'm talking to look at me funny when I tell them I remember the American pullout in Saigon. I'm coming off of a two week break after a nasty fall at a hometown race. The knee feels better and finally looks normal again. I don't know if I can push myself as hard as I'd like but the strength in the legs feels like its back. I was kind of hoping for a dry weekend, but that nasty ol' hurricane Ida has soaked the east coast so it's going to be a mess. I can only hope that it will be a very wet day rather than the peanut butter we had last year. I'll need the bikes cleaned alot so I hope I can find someone to help out with that. Past that, my services as a pit bitch are for hire, so if anyone out there needs one, I'm a can do type of guy.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wonderful day in the free capitalist society!

Well, it's another wonderful day in this messed up world today. I just talked with a client who let me know that they needed several new computers and a server. GREAT!!!! More business is always good, right? Well, not so fast hot shot. She was disappointed in how they had to do it. Apparently I need to be on an approved vendor list (this is a govt connected operation). To get on this list, you don't have to have any special qualifications with the exception of paying a $500 per year fee. WTF? In looking at this, it's nothing more than legal extortion. We have to pay them for the right to do business. Wow, more and more, Ayn Rand is proving to be right. I am currently re-reading 'Atlas Shrugged' and what is happening now, is much the same as what is happening in the book. The free market system that is currently under attack in this country, is NOT what the free market system is supposed to be. Businesses today are lobbying Washington (and state and local) lawmakers for their business. Does business happen because the government says 'make it so'? Of course not. It happens because people have a need and the businesses are there to provide for it if they can. If they can't, well, their out of business and another company will replace them. This is how it happens(well, in a very simply put way, it's far more complicated but for this rant, I'll keep it simple). The 'wizards' in DC seem to think they have to screw with the formula to keep things fair. Hmmm, how is it fair if rules have to be in place so that a less capable company is able to survive but one that is properly run gets hurt? On top of that, when it comes to things like this little fee I'm bitching about, these are nothing but a drain on the system as not only does it not facilitate business, it raises the cost of doing business and there is no real benefit to it. My head hurts thinking about stuff like this. On the national level, these costs go up and only makes things more difficult and that just creates more problems. Nothing ever gets solved by having more fees for government. All it does is give them more money to do their little social engineering experiments at the cost to you and me and all the other taxpayers in the country. Maybe we all should just start saying 'NO' and take a step away from this wonderful society they are attempting to take from us and replace it with their version where we are in a position to be required to ask the government for our freedoms, benefits and lives for that matter. Oh, well, 'Who is John Galt?'

Monday, October 19, 2009


A week after Iron Cross and I was beginning to feel like King Freakin Kong. My legs were feeling a lot stronger and I was keeping up with the faster riders in Pittsburgh at the weekly practice at Frick Park. They hadn't done the long stupid race as I had, but I was still matching their starts and staying with them thru the training course. It was going to be a good week. Getting out to Granogue was an exercise in changing schedules. Once I got everything figured out and I wound up leaving later in the evening on Friday. I was going to stay a bit more than halfway over then finish the drive off in the morning. Unfortunately, I had some misfortune in the form of a bad sandwich from Sheetz. I woke up early in the morning not feeling well. My stomach was really starting to talk back. I tried a bit of breakfast, but it all bounced right back up. Ugggghhhh, I needed to get back to sleep for a bit. I got all my stuff out to the car but stayed at the hotel for a while to snooze and try to recover. I wound up sleeping til almost noon time. Scratch Saturday's race. I did drive to the course to catch the tail end of my race. After watching the womens and then the mens elite races, I was a bit bummed out. The course looked to be a good one for me. The areas that had always given me trouble were removed and the long push up to the top of the hill after the woods was now a short drop followed by a run-up. This was very close to the weekly trainly loop I do at the park 2 blocks from my house with the exception that it was shorter then the training course. Dammit, it would've been fun, even with all the rain and mud. So I zipped up to Pottstown for the Wissahickon race. For dinner, I had to scrounge around for something decent and eventually found a good chinese place. The one little Italian restaurant that we ate at last year had closed up so that put a bit of a damper on things. I did get a full nights sleep and felt fairly good for the race the next day but just not strong. I read the start right and on the 180s on the far side of the course, I was able to read how and where to be perfectly. The first one, I was off the bike and pushing through and jumped up on half a dozen riders. The second one, the clusterf*** was even a bit more of a mess but I was able to get past about a dozen or more riders and now was on the high side of the course while most others were fighting along the flat but muddy trail. I bombed the outside of the course heading into the horse corral and made it through to the back side of the course. Well things were going well to this point, except I really didn't have the horsepower to back my good start up. Once the course opened up, I fell towards the back and then having a bit of a chain issue I stopped to fix it and went to the very back. Oh well. Instead of just giving up, I decided I was just going to ride. I caught several riders back from my category and even started to catch some of the junior riders back that stormed past me early on. In the end, I got lapped by only 2 riders, Matt Krause and Roger Aphsolm, both of whom would have been able to finish somewhere between 10th and 15th in the elite race. So all in all, it wasn't that bad. Next week I have a couple local races so it'll be nice to just have those short 20-40 minute drives. Then, on to Beacon. I have my technique down for doing the amphitheater climb so I should do much better. Just stay away from Sheetz food.

Iron Cross

I completed my third Iron Cross weekend. This year was a bit different in that it was butt-ass cold. I also bunked out in the cabins there which considering the weather, was probably a bit of a mistake. The convenience of not having to drive 20 minutes to a hotel was definitely offset by the fact that to stay warm, not only did I have to have a good sleeping bag, but I also had to put a thermal blanket I brought over top of me and then cover the head. The blank was breathable so air would get through, but it would trap heat. I'm not sure my lungs would've done too well if I'd not done that. Past that, it was a good weekend. Starting out with the Lite race on Saturday, this proper cross race was a fun one. I'd gotten a good start and I actually stayed fairly near to the front for the first 3 laps. I popped after that and had to shift it back a gear but it was a good sign that I'm progressing. I definitely have the feel for the races now and the bike handling skills are at their top end so once the legs start kicking in I should start having some decent results. The big race was also a pretty good one for me. While I missed my goal of breaking 5 hours again, I was certainly on pace to do so. We went out of the gate like a freaking bullet and I actually made it up the hill with people that I really had no business climbing with. In all the excitement, I didn't pay as close attention to my hydration as I should've. So at about an hour and a half, I felt the first twinges of a leg cramp. DAMMIT, start drinking, start drinking, start drinking. Before long we got to the first major hike a bikes. These were really steep climbs where you were getting off the bike no matter how small your gear was. This was where I really felt the cramping first hit. I short stepped it up the first hill and road to the second hike a bike. This one wasn't as tough but I still took it easy. Once at the top, we hit the second check point. I restocked on Heed and some fig bars and a banana. I slowly worked myself back to the point where I could start pushing things. At the single track I was going fairly well and only had to pop off the bike once. I got in with a good group on the road afterwards and we were just plowing along. Again, I was climbing well but had to slow up just a bit and then we hit the long downhills. These were loose graveled roads and at the bottom of one of the descents, there was a very nasty right hander. I got thru it but wasn't shifted down to a low enough cog and spent a bit grinding the gears til I could get the bike going again. Once going, I did a slow climb up conscious of having to look out for the cramping coming back. The group of riders that I'd left on the last road climb were now back to me and passing me. Right after the top though, we hit the really long descent on another fireroad. I left all of them and caught several others and passed them as we charged on towards the 3rd check point. I wasn't so much pushing the pedaling here, but I wasn't touching the brakes. I got to the checkpoint and there were about 10 or 15 riders there. I grabbed food, water and some Hammer electolyte caplets and took off. I'd drank a good cup of heed and slammed the caplets down and hoped they'd kick in quickly. A quick time check showed I was almost 15 minutes ahead of last years time. That was going to put me very close to the 5 hour mark. One thing I've said last year was get a small enough gear and this year, I'd still missed the mark. I was thinking about using a 34x28 as my small gear but just went with the 26 since I had it. Economic reasons were part of the reason for not getting a 28 cogset so I was stuck with what I had. That necessitated a 100 yard walk on the hill where I got passed by my former pace line group. After the first leg of the hill, I was back on the bike and grinding my way up the hill. The big roller coasters last year were a problem for me. This year, I made it up them without getting off the bike. I was dragging as my legs were really on the edge of quitting on me. At the last check point, I'd caught the group that went past me on the hill. This surprised them and we were off again and racing. I was still having to be mindful of how I rode. We were back on the single track after a bit and I started storming through riders. Blasting down a hill and through the streams wound up being my downfall though. Cross the last of the streams I was going way too fast and made a bad decision and smacked a root system coming up out of the stream. Over the bars I went. I was able to do a slow landing and as I was later told, I had really good hang time with the bike overhead. After that, the muscle issues I had began to crop up again. I wound up having to soft pedal the final 45 minutes in. That was basically the difference then in me not being able to crack the 5 hour target again this year. Well, I guess there's next year. Overall though, it was a lot of fun, we got a cool tshirt and of course the socks for finishing as well as the pint glass and a good burrito after the race. The best thing was that aside from the cramping issues, I came out of it feeling really good. Onwards and upwards for the rest of the season.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Opening rounds of cross.

The first 3 weeks of cross are by. I'd have to say I'm a bit disappointed on the results. The hardest thing I've been trying to overcome this year is back problems. I've pretty much figured out it's coming from a lack of preparation at the start of the season. I've been dealing with a bit of a core-strength issue lately as well as lacking some flexibility. This winds up showing up in a cross race fairly quickly. A few weeks back, I began to combat this by pulling out the old workouts that I did as a diver. I'd gotten a lot of these from the Cornell diving school some years back but as I drifted out of that sport and into cycling, I forgot about them. I had a couple ok races and then hit the beginning of the MAC series by the Trexlertown velodrome. I got a back row start(sort of a theme of my cross racing the last few years). Without a great place to put that quick and dirty move which would get me forward 20 or so places, I just hung out at the back. Once out on the course, there really wasn't any place to pass except in the areas where horsepower was required. Lacking that, I quickly found there really wasn't a spot where finesse or skill would be a factor. So I raced with the back dwellers and had a good time. Then it was off to Charm City. Here, I managed to get a decent, by my standards start spot. I was in the 48th to 56th row out of over 90 riders. At the gun, I almost got into a wreck, but managed to hold up a rider from falling and then pushed him off, then got back into a groove. The course might've been a bit bumpy but there was good flow to it. Kris Auer does know how to make a nice course. The first couple laps were very good for me. I'd worked my way up to almost 20th spot and was feeling strong. Unfortunately, the back had it's say on the 3rd lap. The sand pit was a bit of a maze and there were 3 sections of it. Once again, the mtb'er in me wanted to stay on the bike. In the 2nd section of it, I had to get off after stalling and almost falling. The odd dismount I did tweaked the back wrong. I noticed it up the little climb towards the pits. By the end of the lap, I felt myself slowing and I started losing places. So into cruise control it went. Amazingly, even like this, I came back to a group and held in til the start of the 5th lap. From there I was just out riding. What made it a bit depressing was that after almost 2 full laps of goofing around, the leaders finally came up to me. A more conscious effort would've prevented me from getting lapped that day. The following week was definitely a bad one. I'm finding there are 2 courses that just really hate me. The first is the Ed Sander's race and the second is Hagerstown. I'm not sure what it is about the Ed Sander's course, but the grounds at Hagerstown are just too damn bumpy and hard. Even after a day of riders going over the course, it doesn't get broken down any so you feel it all. To top it off, I got my first cross injury of the year. After going through a drop I had to do a 180 and head back up. Well, I hit the divot in the ground that I was telling myself I had to miss and I dumped it. OUCH, S**T! I popped my thumb out. After smacking it back into place, it took about a lap before I could use it for shifting again. So I finished the race well down after having gotten lapped. Kelley Acres the following day was a bit different. I actually stayed with the group a lot longer and managed to miss the bumblefest at the bottom of the flyover on the first lap. The wonderfulness of carbon seatposts was being revealed for all to see with nasty results. I got thru that traffic and felt really effective on the sections where bike handling was an absolute must. The only thing I didn't like on the course was the long climb out on the back side of the course. I held my own on it for the first 3 laps and then started going backwards. I got caught about halfway through the sixth lap and after the wind went out of the sails only went about a minute further back. I was a bit bummed out for the weekend til I saw the results. The lap times were less than 5 minutes and almost down to 4 minutes each. On full cross courses, this would mean I would've been well out of that getting lapped range. This was against riders who would've done pretty good against the elites at any MAC race so I'm beginning to look at it from a very positive outlook. On top of that, I again helped out several riders in other races in showing them lines and how to take certain parts of the courses. One rider won her race, another had a great start but got beat up by the Hagerstown course and the third rider got 6th. I got some good compliments from them. The one thing I've learned over the years is how to read courses. I might not have the tools to do very well on my own, but it's a good feeling to see others take the info I can see and relate to them and put it to great use. Maybe I should follow the age old saying which goes 'those who can't do, teach'? Sorry to any teachers out there if that sounds a bit of a jerk statement to make, but my results have supported that one in the cross arena.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cross season beckons!

It's September and after my last race on the 5th, I've kept to my pledge to keep the road season closed down. Even a local race in Pittsburgh wasn't enough to tempt me back onto the road. I started the training for cross this year by just getting out and riding the bike around. The first efforts were done at Seton Hill at the old race course there. On the first real day of riding, I was able to do 3 laps there that we broke down into 3 sections with 1 30 second effort each section. Nothing fancy, just warming the body up. A couple hours of riding around and I felt a bit tired, considering I'd also riding about 25 miles on the road earlier. Through the week, I'd started some intensity workouts. Nothing major but I still had to get the body used to the kind of efforts I know I'll have to be making if I don't want to embarrass myself this year. The dismounts by the end of the first Tuesday night workout were already feeling natural and I could already tell my remounts were going to be places where if I have a gap in front of me, I know it'll be closed(assuming it's not too big). I've also looked at my starts closer and will be starting with the right foot clipped in instead of the left as I'd done for years. Last year, I'd finally gotten a start near the front at Natz, only to blow it from a bad start. Then after a wreck, I fell apart and the chain breaking only added insult to injury. Hopefully this year will be different.
Yesterday, I'd done the first official race of the year. While I still didn't feel race ready, I'd figured I needed to see just how hard I could push myself. While my technical skills were there as if I'd never stopped racing last year, I did not have that top end. My start, however went very well and after starting in the back third of the group or around 50 or so riders, I was about 15th off the road after a few hundred yards and then a sharp move through a tight corner and I was in the top 10. That's pretty much where I held for the first 20 minutes of the race. There were several sections of single track which caused some cluster f***s a couple of which I was able to ride past after pushing my way through and yelling. About halfway, the back started having it's say and I had to throttle back. I've had a mantra on cross that I've followed the past few years which goes: 'Save the effort, save the body, save the bike!' The technical skills certainly help the first and last, but the body needs to cooperate better for me. I was able to finish strong and only finished a couple minutes down on the winner in 12th place. So all in all, it was a good day. It's time to start ratcheting things up so I'm ready for the meat of the season now.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

End of the road season. (Thank God!)

Well, the end of the road season is winding down. It has been a disappointing one at that. I started the year out really well, unfortunately, I did not do my traditional weight workouts thru early April. So I started out slow and little by little, I died out completely! I do have a couple more events with one that I'm particularly interested in doing well in. The Long Street Tour in Columbus, OH on my birthday, September 5th. That would be a heck of a present to myself, but I'd also take a win from anyone on the team. In this race a few years back, I was just coming out of an injury plagued season after a very nasty crash early in the season. I'd had a couple good races but no sprint. So I was the guy who monitored the front or chased the whole race for out team. Of the 22.25 miles out of 25 that I was in the race, I was on the front for well over 10 miles. If an attack went and one of our team members was not in the it, I'd go to the front and raise the pace 1 or 2 mph. Then motor til the gap came down and a counter could go. From there, I would park myself in third place and just be a total jerk to everyone trying to organize a chase. It took a lot of effort and just when I was thinking we were going to pull off the race as we wanted, I popped. Right after that, the final attack went and the 2 other riders on my team didn't respond. I hated putting that kind of effort out to have it wasted like that but hey, that's baseball. I'll probably be in the same kind of role here, but I will be looking for the opportunist moves. I was able to cross a huge gap at the westlake crit a few weeks ago and I'm pretty sure I can handle repeated moves like that especially as there is a lot of cornering in this race. To prep for it, I will finally be getting down to the track in Pittsburgh for the fixed gear races on next Friday. I've been trying to work that into my schedule all year. Up til 2 of the individual events last year when I was competing on a gear that was too small for the track size we are on, I'd not lost there since I started going down once or twice a year starting in 2003. I did finally get a 15 tooth cog and set matters right in the final two events, a miss and out and then a 10 lap scratch race. This year, I hope to get down there and kick everyone around and now that I know what gearing to use, I'll be there from the gun and going for it. I find that the intensity of track racing really gets the legs going for a crit as long as it isn't the next day. It also works for cross which starts up in a few weeks. I'll be tag teaming my first couple cross races with the finals of the WVMBA MTB Short Track series. The last time I was at one of those, I won handily. Everyone else showed up for a MTB Short Track race and I showed up for a Cross race. Even on the old steel Fort, the race was decided in about 200 yards. The next 20 minutes were a formality. I hope the others work the same way. We'll see in a few weeks!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Strong finish for the road and a history lesson.

I'm finally feeling like I've got something in the legs. After going through several weeks of dealing with some health issues dealing with fatigue, the body feels like it's responding. Last week, I got some really good cross training in. I was riding the bike around Gettysburg and then jumped in with the Boy Scouts hike around the battlefield. I caught up with them after I'd done about 25 miles. They were about halfway thru their hike and were at Devil's Den on their lunch break. As long as we were on the road, I was on the bike, but once on trails between Little and Big Round Tops and then the fields back up through the left side of the Confederate lines on the battle field, I had the bike shouldered. I road the couple miles to the starting point of Pickett's charge. I acted as a communications man between the front and back of the scout troop as a few had gone on ahead and then a couple stayed back with the stragglers. After having a tough time in the mud coming down from Big Round Top, my boy Ryan got his second wind and was making a point of staying near the front. The battlefield hasn't changed much since I saw it as a kid though they did have a new Visitor and Museum center. It was good to get both my boys in for a bit of education on one of this countries most prolific battles and have them understanding why the conflict was taking place. The final leg of the hike was retracing the steps of Pickett's charge and we were most of the way across when one of the scout leaders realized he'd lost his phone. I hopped back on the bike and took the roadway back to where he figured he'd lost it. A couple other tourists saw me riding by and had found the phone flagged me down and was asking me if I was with the scout group who'd lost the phone. That made looking for it easy. After retrieving the phone, I got back to the start of the charge trail through the field again and I ran the whole way. It's hard to imagine what it's like to do this in a battle. I was trotting my bike and a few extra pounds of stuff in a backpack. The soldiers that did this were marching across with their guns, haversacks, canteens and in uniforms. To top that off, cannons that were firing canister shot (old era version of machine gun fire), and infantry volleys were sending a shower of metal that knocked most of these men down by the time they got across. In the time it took to cross the field which for me was about 6 minutes, for the charging rebels, I would imagine it was around 15 minutes, over 5000 men fell. That is a very sobering thought. In dealing with any of the conflicts that we are faced with in the world, I think it is best to remember the words of Robert E. Lee when it comes to armed conflict: 'It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it.'

Friday, July 17, 2009

More time in the mountains

I'm spending the weekend in the mountains again. Last week, I got a great ride in the Laurel Mountains and got 4 ridge climbs in. I think I'll follow it up again this week and start back up racing at Westlake on Tuesday. Nothing like the scenic climbs on the backroads to help re-ignite the motivation to race.

Second half begins

Well, the first half of the season had some ups and downs, though usually i've been on the more disappointing side of things. I sat on the wrong wheel at Barbour earlier this month and kinda fell asleep on the initial climb. I finally started paying attention towards the top and all of a sudden we were 25 yards off an accelerating front. No worries, I thought. We'll chase back on as soon as we top off with the 8 or 10 people here. BUUUUZZZZZZZ, wrong answer Bob! I looked back to see who was still with us. Where'd everyone go? Ahhhhhh, crap, now I was forced into chasing mode with Skip Rodgers, who was a decent time trialist, but didn't have the steam to really help get us back. We got to within a few seconds but after a particularly hard pull heading into a climb, I popped. Oh well, it was now a training ride. I got into a group of other riders most of whom were working well, but certainly had problems going hard when I started pressing the pedals. In the end, I was set up for the sprint for 8th or 9th and for the first time in a couple years, I had a mechanical on the bike. I coasted in and was a bit depressed as this was a race I've owned for a couple years now. My race the next day at the Lil' Moes' mtb race was going well and I was sitting in third and I had another mechanical. This time it was a biomechanical as the back started barking big time. So for the second day straight, I was having a long drive home. I continued this string of woes by going to Westlake on Tuesday with a teammate. I wound up popping a spoke on one of my Zipp carbons. Dammit will this never end? I got a spare and since my race was effectively over, I started busting ass for Ted. I closed down a couple dangerous breaks and was telling him where to be and when. He just missed getting to the front in time to get the winning break but did get the second one and finished up in 7th. The one good thing that I was able to take away from this race was my ability to move around in the pack at will. The other teams were using my chasing accelerations to set up moves as I would string the field out quite a bit and even caused a couple splits in it. It was good to be able to hear 'Ok, here it comes' when I rolled up to the front and really pressed on the pedals for a good half mile. Hopefully the second half of the season will go better and then it's time for cross!

Friday, June 26, 2009

The 70s memories are fading....

A sad passing came upon us this yesterday as one of the great all-time icons for men (and women too) succumbed to cancer. Farrah Fawcett was one of the greatest all-time pinup girls. Adolescent boys as well as men had copies of the famous poster that sold more than 12 million copies. Her stint on Charlie's Angels cemented her into pop culture and her hair was copied by women all over the world. After dealing with her personal relationship issues over the years, she wound up dealing with cancer. I won't go into any special eulogies for her as to how she dealt with it as that is a personal thing, but everyone who lived through the 70s will not forget who she was as well as that famous picture.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

24 Hours of Big Bear

I did my first 24 hours MTB race this past weekend as part of a relay team. The Highland Pirates were Danny Welsch, Steve Green, Rich Raesly, Sara Lampo and myself. We started out well and were holding down 3rd and were pretty close to 2nd. I was on my lap when things started to go awry. I was plowing thru the course and feeling pretty good. Just when I felt like I was at the height of my hero status, I flatted for only the 2nd time in 3 years of MTB racing. Damn, I was just at the part where the downhill was really starting and to lose my pace there really hurt. After getting it fixed, it took me a bit to feel the flow again and I didn't really get it back til I was almost all the way down the hill. That was the first time cost for us on the day. As the night settled in, our second rider Steve took a few tumbles and gashed his knee. Our third rider Rich lost both of his lights and had to follow a junior rider in. I lost one of mine about 30 minutes out. I also had to learn how to ride in the dark. It took me half of the lap to realize that it's best to have the handlebar light positioned right in front of the bike and to use the helmet light to scan ahead. That probably cost me about 10 minutes alone as I was sliding off the trail and bumping around into things that I shouldn't have been. One benefit of the dark though was I wasn't thinking like a single-speeder. I wasn't getting off the bike before I felt I had to and therefore got up some of the bigger hills that I'd walked earlier in the day. It helped that I'd geared down for the night run though. I wound up feeling like I'd gone at least 10 minutes slower than I'd hoped. The girl on our team Sara, unfortunately had issues that were hurting her pedaling and she really had a time of it getting back in on her night run. After the first riders came up for the 3rd round, we were about 17 minutes down and in 4th place. We lost about 4 more then we started a comeback. Steve and Rich got us to 11 minutes down and I began what wound up being our final lap. I did an all or nothing lap. I went out hard and just kept the pressure up being careful not to send myself anerobic. I'm not sure if I lost my bottle or it was yanked from the cage, but I found myself without water for the first 3 miles which later would hurt me. I found a discarded bottle on one of the bumpier sections and stopped to snag it up. That saved me as the day was definitely getting warmer. Unfortunately, the gas was running low and towards the end of the lap, I got into the very technical rock garden and on the climb out, I began to cramp up and popped completely. i did recover but the legs were hurting and i knew that i'd come up short in the attempt to get one more rider out on course. In the end, we wound up 5th overall. Without the miscues and injuries we had, we could have easily been 40 minutes faster. Well, next time, the Pirates will do better.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Making old man noises.

Today, I've spent the morning making old man noises anytime I've moved out of the desk chair. Yesterday's race was a tough one made tougher by the mud on the course, the mud in my eye, the many crashes because of the mud in the eye, no water on the course and the many crashes because of the mud in they eye. Did I mention I crashed a lot yesteday? I was a bit pissed with the race organizers who failed to have an aid station along the course. The reason given was 'well it was cool in the shade when I was up along the trail'. Ummmm, guess what dude.... There were plenty of parts where there was sun on the course and also, it's just a bit different when you're on the bike than when you're just standing watching. I wound up catching a clop of mud in the eye about an hour into the race. It made it completely impossible to ride with any speed as the eye would tear up as soon as I'd get any speed. I stopped at least a dozen times to try to get the dirt out. If they'd just had the water jug out on the course, I could've irrigated it and been on my way. So I had to fight a nasty muddy course without being able see out of one eye and constantly stopping. I was completely unable to open things up on the sections of the course where my bike typically flies. In the end, I wound up wrecking about 6 times. I would figure I added on at least 20 minutes onto my time. I wouldn't have won but I would've been top 3 or 4. Oh well. I guess nothing works out great all the time.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

First notch on the helmet for the year.

I finally picked up a win this year. I did a short track mountain bike race in West Virginia as part of the WVMBA series. Most of the other riders were treating the race as a mountain bike short track. I looked at it as a cross race. I was one of 2 riders who were on a cross bike and right from the gun, I punched it hard. We started in a barn and coming out I took the short line through the deeper grass and shot away from the pack. I then maintained the pace til I got to a short road section. It was packed enough that I was able to get a good head of steam up and heading back into the trail slung the bike through the sharp turn in. This jumped the gap another 15 or 20 yards. Coming out of the back side of the course, I had a good gap and there were 3 riders working to bring me back. After another short section of road, I accelerated hard down a twisting trail and carried the speed through the mud section. At the end of the first lap I had a couple hundred yard lead. I put it in cruise control at that point. I only punched it when it seemed the riders behind started closing. At the end of the 4th lap, one of them got to within 20 seconds. I did one last hard punch and after slinging myself off the road at a really fast pace which also involved nearly sliding out once on the trail, the gap went way back up as his effort must've been an all-out effort to catch me. Once I disappeared on him, he let up. I came through on the bell lap and was able to cruise it in for the win. It wasn't a big win, but it was a good intensity type ride. I'll do 2 more of the 3 remaining short tracks. I think I'll go after this series to get myself ready for cross this year. After today, we get the XC for the weekend. I'll be back on the single speed so I won't have as much of an easy time though there is alot of rideable but technical single track so maybe I'll have a crack at a high placing. I'm hoping my last week of long stupid miles pays off.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day followup

I completed the weekend efforts on Monday with another day of 2 rides. These were much lower key than the ones in the mountains. I kept to local roads and managed about 50 miles. I did get a bit annoyed when a rider on a hybrid bike time trialed to catch up to me when I was noodling around in the industrial park and then sat on my wheel for for a quarter lap. Then finally pulled up along side and then wanted to chat. I know I'm not a pro or even anything that special of a rider, but I always thought that to invite yourself into someone else's draft without announcing yourself was a bit rude. Then finally he says hi. I did reply but let him know I wasn't much for conversation at that point since I had my own thoughts going in the head at that point.

Tuesday, I was supposed to be heading to Westlake, OH. The weather got in the way of that one. My teammate that was to be going with me and I looked at the weather report and opted out of the 2 hour trip to race in the rain. So I stayed in the Pittsburgh area and marshalled the races in Pittsburgh. I wound up doing a total of about 90 laps last nite and that coupled with a 10+ miler in the morning got me to about 325 miles for the 4 day stretch. This was now the biggest mile week I've done in quit a few years and I have tonites race in Pittsburgh as well as Thursday and Friday to go. I figure I'll have hit about 420 miles total for the 7 days. Not a bad total. I'm hoping to be able to manage about 225-250 a week for the rest of the summer with another couple big stupid weekends like this past one to follow up.

One fun thing about marshalling the races for the beginners and women, is sitting in the back and helping the younger riders understand how the game is played. There was one girl who seemed to be about 15 years old and was having trouble sitting in the pack. I showed her on the fly how to anticipate the moves to minimize the effort needed to stay with them. She hung in well the rest of the race and actually sprinted fairly well at the end. All she has to do is to learn how to move up the line and through the riders as the sprint is going without hitting the wind and she'll do quite well. There were 2 other youngsters who'd fallen off the back and after swapping places with one of the other marshals, I got them working both together and against one another particularly late in the race. In the last 5 laps, they were attacking and winding each other back. It was a lot of fun to watch. Unfortunately, the younger one ran out of gas late in the race. For being on a 24" bike with questionable wheels versus the other on a 700c wheeled bike where the bearings were definitely better, young Lincoln definitely did a great effort. I always make a point of talking with them after the race to let them know things they did well and a few tips to help them get better. After all, if you're not enjoying the racing, you usually don't stay in the sport very long. I think if these two youngsters can get past the car thing when they get their licenses at 16, they could do very well.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day 2 - Memorial Day Weekend.

I managed to get up this morning. That was a lot considering I'd done 118 miles yesterday. When I got home, I then went to the fireworks for the local community days. I wound up having to walk about a mile and a half to get into the park and then back out to the car. I didn't feel too good when I got home. I got out on the bike about 9AM and did the morning 20. The legs didn't feel too bad but I could tell, I wasn't going to be climbing as easily as I was yesterday. After lunch and a nap, I struggled to get going after starting to watch the Coke 600 race. I forced myself to break away from it and got out. I didn't have as ambitious of a day planned as yesterday. I still did manage 3 ridge crossings and got back into the Latrobe starting point with about 73 miles in the legs. I did almost come to grief when blasting down a hill, I nearly smacked into a large blackbird. That was just not the kind of thing I needed. I'm now about to sit in an icewater bath now. The legs are screaming right now and I need to take care of them. I'm a bit over 210 miles for the weekend now. I only need 40 to break what I set out to ride. Thankfully, tomorrow will be much easier.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Long stupid miles!

I'm taking the weekend off from racing. Last weekends results told me it was time. So, I'm just going to get out there and ride some long stupid miles. Each morning will start off with a 20 miler at the Yoop(a 2 mile flat road that I use for light spinning). Then after a good breakfast/lunch, I intend to hit the mountains. On Saturday, the plan is to do 4 major ridge crossings. The route I have takes me up to the 7Springs resort where Nationals was held a couple years ago, then back down, then up the ridge again on the next crossing over to the Hidden Valley resort. I'll have already done Chestnut ridge with a 4 mile crossing. Then after crossing the mini ridge in between the 2 big ones again, I go back up Laurel via the Linn Run Climb. Then I'll do the run back into my launch point in Latrobe. This first day should be a bit more than 100 miles. I'll lop off the 7Springs climb on Sunday which should still give me an 80 mile day. Then Monday, I'll tone it down and do some smaller climbs near home. Welcome to Western Pennsylvania. One bitching climb after another.

Just got back from day one. Morning ride - 20 miles. Afternoon ride, I had to cut the final climb short since I got out a bit late in the afternoon. I road almost 100(96, I just could finish those last few miles) miles but trimmed the final 2 (out of 7) off the Linn Run climb. Damn. My goal was to be 250 miles this weekend, I think I'll pull it off and then some.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New VP bunker location

"Biden exposes location of VP Bunker."

After opening his yap one too many times, it's been reported that VP Joe Biden will get a new double secret bunker for times of national emergency. It will be located at the 7-Eleven at 3530 Conneticut Ave NW in Washington, DC. This decision was made after the Vice-President announced to the press the location of the previous bunker. When necessary, the VP will be transported under the protection of the secret service, to the bunker where he will serve Slurpies to the customers til the emergency has passed.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I couldn't do it . . . . a third time.

Well, the form has been coming up so I chose to do a weekend of racing when most of my other teammates weren't able to do the road trip. I've been feeling good but not that good. The first race was the Smoketown Airport Crit in Lancaster. I wound up working in Johnstown, PA (Flood City) which had me an hour on the route to Lancaster so instead of backtracking home, I just did my Friday evening ride there and then drove eastward. I got to the race and even got a decent warmup. I was expecting there to only be around 20 or so riders, but from the original 14 preregged, we wound up with about 35 riders. In this mix were 2 teams, one with 4 riders and the other GS Lancaster had a full compliment of 6. This made it a total bitch as they were able to have their riders roll off the front on a continuous basis. The first 3 went pretty much from the fun. It was a windy day out and I was telling myself, 'not the first move. wait til the second'. BUUUZZZZZZZ - OOOOOOO, wrong answer Bob! It stayed out. A second move involved the remaining Lancaster riders and a few others. When I saw the group form up and start riding away, I realized, I had to go right then. This involved a stretch of 200+ yards into the headwind and then through the turns where a crosswind would still slow you down. I made it out of the nasty headwind but still had a bit of a cross wind going down the backstretch. I punched it hard a second time and got within 25 yards by the bottom turn. I flew through the turn and was on. We seemed to go hard for a couple laps and I saw the remnants of the field falling away. Good, I thought. Less people for the party. Inexplicably, our group let off the gas and we wound up getting caught by all the small groups. Later they said, 'we didn't realize we had a gap'. I remember having that one used on me by the Alliance Environmental boys at Williamsport a few years ago in a nasty rainy crit which I still consider one of my best performances in a race. I'm thinking they were just out trying to waste our energy. It did work as I was unlucky when they attacked again and I was behind slower riders. All of a sudden for a third time, there was another freaking gap. I tried launching again but this time, it just wasn't going to happen. I got halfway across the gap and then the body told my brain to have a nice day and there you have it. I did ride strongly but really need to have teammates with me. It makes it easier when you don't have to be dealing with each and every move. Later Saturday, I drove down to Baltimore for the Kelly Cup. It was cool seeing my friends from the MABRA area. The 35+ race started with around 80 riders and it went hard and fast right from the gun. Did I say it went hard and fast? Inside of 3 laps, half the field was gone. Before we got 6 laps in I was just done. I was sliding back through the field and all of a sudden there was an acceleration which I wasn't able to stay with. I waited for the next rider to come past. After waiting a second and no one came through, I took a quick peek back. WTF!?? Where did everyone go. I was able to see the small group of 9 off the front. The second group has around 10. A third group just ahead of me has a dozen riders in it. Another rider and myself killed it for a couple laps to catch them, but once a prime got called for that group. that was it. I knew I was a bit tired from all the racing I've done in the past 6 days (4 races) but jeez, I should've been able to hold onto it for maybe 10 miles. Seeing riders like Kris Auer in the back group that I'd slipped out of made me feel a bit better, but only slightly. Oh well, it's time to lick the wounds and recover through the week while I prepare to spend all next weekend in the mountains. If things go well and I don't wuss out, I plan to have around 250 miles and at least 10 major ridge crossings in those 3 days. I haven't done a weekend like this for a while and I need to get it to try to get myself up to where I need to be for the next phase of the season. I really like riding in the Laurel Mountains in western PA. There are lots of good roads and you don't see many cars while I'm up there. It should be good.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Feeling the love set in . . . finally.

I'm back at the desk pretending to do work now. I drove up to Cleveland last evening with a teammate for the Westlake circuit race. They really need to get at least one or two more volunteers (pay them, i'll pay another buck for the race) so we can have both lanes open for the sprint. I would've done a top 5 finish there, but after the pack damn near ran into the back of a pickup truck on the final lap and then about 20 people ignoring the yellow line rule in the rush for the sprint, I wound up about 30 riders back. I got somewhere between 10th and 15th which wasn't too bad considering all I did was roam through the group(with the rider traffic, it was all I could do) til I crossed the line but when you finish and aren't even breathing hard something isn't right. I was happy with the race because about 15 miles in, a break started that looked like it had the right mix and I was able to burst away from the pack, fly past a couple riders who were blowing up from going with it initially and come up to the back, go to the front immediately and do a strong pull. Unfortunately, there was enough horsepower up there to scare the teams in the pack who didn't make it and a general pack reaction happened. When the other riders saw this, they backed off on the throttle, but it was still good to see the reactions of the top riders when I rolled up to them and then past to stoke the fires of the break. They know I'm back and they're beginning to take me serious again. It's a good feeling.

Monday, May 11, 2009

RATL and Westlake

Wow, it's the first time I've worn a road helmet at a road race in 3 years!

I just finished up the Summit Freewheelers Race at the Lake series for the year. I raced there for one of my teammates who really felt he had a good crack at the win there so after being fairly aggressive throughout the race (including almost picking up one little weasel by the scruff of his neck and tossing him in the weeds) we found ourselves in a pretty good position for the finish. With a lap and a half to go, I went up to the front and wound the pace up. I was able to hold it going fairly quickly for half a mile and heading into the final hill, I hesitated for a couple seconds thinking I'd be able to make a second push over the top of the little rise. Damn, I'd overestimated my strength. I did lead into the hill going around 30 and a bit, but I just don't have that long range ability to keep it going like I need it to. Another 100 yards up over the little rise and I would've been able to stay on it for another quarter mile. Unfortunately in the end, I blew up and Chris left a gap on the right side of the road where he needed to be opening his sprint from and we only wound up with a fourth place. It was a good finish but if I'd just waited before I blew everything out for another lap, we could've had a win. Oh well. On the plus side we'd done a decent race. The bad part of the day was when I started the 123s. Paul Martin and company from the RGF team just wound it from the start and it was hell. I hung in for around 6 laps, but I just wasn't in the frame of mind to be going that fast so soon after my efforts from the first race. When you're flying up the hill in the pack and you're doing over 25 and the pace wasn't cooling off, you know it's going to be a tough day. Most of the main protagonists from the first race blew within 10 miles and the rest of the pack wasn't far behind. There is so much talent there right now with multiple former national champs (Martin and Baldasare) along with the Inferno pro team and a couple top notch amateur teams it is pretty much impossible to double up when there is only a 10 minute break between the 2 races. I'll get a much better crack at them Tuesday at Westlake though. I'll be about a third of the way there and when I link up with a teammate who will be a bit further along the way, it shouldn't be that bad of a trip. I've done very well in the long drag out sprints there and I love the 120 degree turn they have on the one end of the course. Every year there riders go careening off the course when they realize they've overcooked it trying to follow someone like myself through that turn. I almost wish the finish was on that side of the course as I could really create some havoc by nailing it through the turn and blasting my way towards the finish. I at least know that I won't ever get dropped there as even the big boys tread a bit lightly there. Whatever happens, it'll be fun.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Warm and Fuzzy?

Well, I am just getting the warm and fuzzies with the current business climate here. Chrysler and GM are both being 'sent' into bankruptcy being ordered by Obama to do so. WTF? When does the government get that kind of say. Then part of the terms that are to be coming of this is that the UAW gets somewhere around 50% of it? Double WTF! They aren't putting a freaking penny into the game and they are walking away with half of it? That is just out there! It is a huge crime that is being committed on the tax payers of this country. If anything, the tax payers should be getting that ownership with a definitive plan to spin it off so the government can get on doing the things it should be doing what it should be which is protecting the country. We are seeing a full-blown arrival of what Ayn Rand wrote about 50 years ago. If this doesn't get stopped, we are doomed as a country. We are seeing the same type of economic positioning as was seen in Germany and Italy in the 20s and 30s. Bad things are coming. Get your arms out ready to have the chip implanted now. It's on its way.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

First race hell.

I usually use the first few races of the year to really get my ass kicked. Over the years, I've found this lets me know what I have to work on. This year is no different. Pretty much everything needs help. I got thumped at the opening mtb race. There I would have to say that I really didn't have the right tools for the job. At Tyson's the tools I didn't have fell in the department of a bit of a back problem, but that said, I didn't feel like I was going to be lapping the field that day. Then came the Morgantown RR. This race was a nice rolling course for the first 20 miles and then it sucked from there. It was pretty much one bitching hill after another. I'm about 5lbs overweight from last year when I was really about 10lbs overweight where I need to be before I start climbing well. I really have to just say no to chinese which is an absolute addiction for me. I wonder if they put something in the food that causes that. Maybe the chinese buffets are just like the tobacco industry. Dammit, where's my lawyer? Oops, back to my races. I probably wouldn't have set the world on fire, but I do know I hand grenaded on the first hill mainly due to the work I did being the jerk on the front of the pack that was actively working to goof things up. Unfortunately, we had a mixed field and there was one of the women up in the little group off the front. That prompted Patty Buerkle to be chasing fairly hard. In hindsight, I should've rolled up to her and asked if she realized what the second half of the course was like. It might've saved her race as she had a bit of trouble dealing with Betsy Shogren's climbing prowess. Once we made the turn to begin the return part of the course, I could feel that I was really going to have some trouble if the pace kept up like it was going. It did and I wound up getting spit out the back when the climbing began to get steep. I tried rolling it back to a group, but ultimately was unsuccessful. At that point, I called it a day and declared it a training ride. So I did come up with a definite game plan on what I have to do now. Try to limit the crap food I'm eating, get more miles in get on with the racing. I'll be doing my first oval race in Pittsburgh on Wednesday so I'll go there to see how much I can hammer before I completely blow up. If I can splinter the field when I do that, I'll know I'm getting where I need to be. If I blow up and people roll past me with that 'WTF was that about, Jay' look on their faces, I'll know I've got a lot more work to do.
I did at least determine what wheels I have in stock for racing work well for me and which are training ones. The new Ventos are just a bit heavy and slow reacting so I will keep those as the ones for training. Maybe I should've taken the time to put some of the new tires on the Zipps.

Monday, March 30, 2009

One big long ride

I got my first century in a couple years in over the weekend. In the past couple years, I haven't had the time or inclination to do one since most of my races have been anywhere from 15 to 60 miles. But I'm busy flogging myself back into shape. The weight is coming down and I'm starting to feel stronger. We got a 102 miler in on Saturday and almost another 50 on Sunday. My knee was playing up a bit from it all since the pedals on the cross bike just don't give me the same float as the trusty old Sampson's do. This weekend followed up a 20 miler on Friday after work in the Johnstown area. I managed more than 2000ft of climbing in that distance so the weekend wound up being a good one for me. I'm now beginning to feel a bit confident for the upcoming races we'll be hitting, the first being Tyson's Corner circuit race. There'll be big packs and most importantly, for the first time in a few years, there'll be a full squad there for our team. We usually hit our stride in May and June so everyone is getting going a bit earlier this year. This will follow the first Wednesday night Hammerfest in Morgantown. I have a teammate a bit incensed with me since we had a little team email list discussion about the merits of spinning versus mashing. Adam is a hell of a good time trialist and road racer, certainly much stronger than myself particularly when the course tilts upwards. He'll be looking to 'prove' his method is better by making me suffer during the ride. I'll just be calm during the hills but for the sprints, I think I'll take him on and see just how strong he is right now. It's when I get to the sprints that I can do the sit-down high spin sprints that I've favored over the past years after a few nasty spills in sprints took some of the leg mashing out of me. I've actually come to like sprinting in the saddle and have noticed that when you come rolling past another rider and they're up out of the saddle, wagging the bike around for all its worth and they see you winding the pedals still seated, it often takes the wind right out of their sails. If I'm having to go through traffic at the finish of a race, I find it also lets me move around with a lot more control. I'm hoping I'm ready for Tyson's. We don't have a specific team leader but I'm hoping the cards fall in my direction. If not, I can screw up the front of the pack pretty well. That's what I like about our squad. All of us are capable of winning on any given day. It just comes down to how we play our cards in the race. We'll try to race a team strategy, but as von Moltke said, “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” We'll go, race and see what happens. GO TEAM!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The season is getting closer...

Well, finally, the racing season is at hand. After a lackluster winter where I totally missed my goals on training, I'm finding that I feel like I'm going fairly well. I was able to do a high rpm low gear ride for 3 hours on the road and even climb some of the hills at a reasonable clip for this time of year. After a quick cup of coffee and a cinnamon bun, I pulled the mtb out for a couple hours at Baker's Ridge. The group again was small, but because of that, the stragglers weren't holding us back and we kept up a steady hard pace for almost a couple hours. After an effort like that, I was expecting to feel totally wrecked today, but I got up and aside from feeling a bit stiff, I'm not feeling that bad. With the first race coming up in a week, I feel like I'm just about ready for the season. This weekend's race will be interesting because it will be the first time that I'll be racing against mtb riders at my level where the race is a single speed race. I've competed against the vets fields in the WVMBA series but had my single speed versus their gears. Usually that puts me a minute or two down right from the gun. I can make it back through and on some of the days, even hit the podium or close to it, but it is really tough. The real MTBers can tell I'm a cross rider since I'm likely to hop off the bike and run with it a bit to get over some of the tougher sections. I usually look at it as being able to get through it faster rather than not having the real skills. All I can say is that it'll be interesting to see where I stack up against the others when we're racing the same type of bike.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Winter riding

I've been doing the Morgantown Baker's Ridge rides this year to get myself ready for the season. It's a few hours of good effort but it's also just a fun ride. I have fun on the trails though with the nasty wind storm we had a few weeks ago, the trails have alot more trees down on them. It does make for a bit tougher time but you just have to deal with it. I like the off-road in this weather. You can work as hard as you want, even break a good sweat and not get nasty cold because your speed doesn't go up that much. It's a good break from the hard training regimented days where you go out with a plan that you are going to do this and that to get ready for the Tour de big race. I'm carrying a few more pounds than I'd like to be but it's coming down finally and I might actually be able to make some headway on it this year and get back towards my race weight which I've been over by around 20lbs for the past how many years. If I could even get half way, I'd be competitive in most any race I'd enter this year. It's tough hauling around what amounts to a couple gallons of milk around, especially when the road goes up. I really gotta put the donuts down and get to the matter at hand finally.

Note the wool gloves. These are the best things to have in this weather. Wet, dry, whatever, your hands still stay warm.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Tits on a bull!

I had a decent ride today right up until the last 3 miles. I was riding through the industrial park near the house and some little bastard decided it would be funny to launch a pop bottle at me. It hit square in the back and after the initial rage that blasted through my mind, I quickly made a note of the make, model and as much of the license plate as I could get. I even got a good look at the little prick who could have been the only one who threw the bottle since he was hanging out the window and yelling like an idiot. Immediately stopping afterwards, I made the call to our wonderful PA State Police. After relaying what info I had, I was informed that there really wasn't anything they could do since I didn't get the complete license plate. Wait, STOP, hold the damn phone. We, the taxpayers of this state, give you people a big ass computer that has a copy of the auto registration files and with the info I gave you, you can't do a quick cross reference on the damn thing? Between, the info I had and location of the incident, I think I would've been able to nail this down to 1 or 2 car owners at which point you can find which of these people have a licensed driver of a young age that fit the age of the driver and there's your freaking car, dammit. Nope, that was more effort than they were willing to do. Did they miss the computer class on cross referencing data tables? Jeeezus, I know high school kids who can figure that one out. Of course, I am talking about the same State Police force who took 2 years to finally bust the chain of oriental massage parlors that were really prostitution rings. Everyone knew that was what was happening. It doesn't take 2 years to get evidence on this. I can see it now, 'Sarge, can I have some petty cash? I need to go collect some more "evidence" on those massage parlors.' So from my several experiences with our police force, it's been my experience that they can't deal with assault cases when I'm on my bike, deal with destruction of property and dumping issues when the culprit is well known and documented, property encroachments and theft from said property. Now they also want to start billing communities who don't have their own police force $100 a head per year. Goddammit, if anyone is going to have to pay for it, then these people better damn well remember that they are here to 'PROTECT AND SERVE' the community. They only seem to be interested in catching traffic violators(of which they are some of the worst, one having almost hitting me when he blew through a stop sign at the bottom of my hill when I was coming down) and doing DUI checkpoints. If they have to do any actual 'WORK' or deal with people who actually might shoot back, WTF are they? Not anywhere close. The only time I saw that was at a standoff and then they showed up with an armored car and full cami gear. This was their "Special Response Unit". I don't know about anyone else, but I'm getting a bit on the concerned side when the State Police has a "Special Response Unit" equipped like this. When did they become a freakin military unit? For the regular law-abiding citizens of the state, this force has become in my eyes exactly what the title of this post is. And we all know what is said about them.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The new priesthood.

I had a recent conversation with a friend. We were talking about the Ben Stein movie "Expelled" and in one part of the conversation, I was asked, 'Do you really believe that the Bible is really true? I mean come on, most of those stories are made up. It's all fiction and there is no evidence that we were made by a creator.' I was also told that 'any educated person can see the stories in religon are just not true and have no basis in anything in the world.' Well, this got me thinking. I guess I don't really believe in all the mystical hocus pocus type stuff such as raising the dead(don't we do this with a defibrillator?) or making a river run red with blood. The one thing I do believe is that some far greater than ourselves created us. Whether that be God or some alien humanoid race or whatever, we are just too well engineered to just have happened.

That said, we are told today, that religious leaders have pulled the wool over peoples eyes and that we were kept ignorant because they didn't have the answers to why things are the way they are. People were told to believe in the religious teachings as fact and they were inspired by the Infallible One(s) (again, God, Allah, Yahweh, Ra or whatever statue you might burn incense to). Then comes the age of enlightenment, where science has rescued us from these superstitions. Only science can explain with certainty all of life's mysteries. They love to point out that the Bible claims that God just one day created the heavens and the earths from nothingness. It doesn't say how, just that he/she/holy union, etc. We are just supposed to make that leap of faith and accept it. Well science puts forth the theory of evolution and the big bang theory. I can see certain parts of it, but something still had to light that firecracker off. Who? I don't think that one was ever explained by science except to say 'no one knows'. Sounds a lot like 'Well, it's a mystery.' Science has a role, but is it exact? In many cases, yes. But the way science is getting used today, it is replacing the role of the old religons. Much of the global warming and social science studies just are not based in fact. I personally think most of the studies that claim to be based on science fall into the same category as this little math problem. Now math is supposed to be an exact science. So let us begin the lesson:

Let X = 1
From that we can say X2 = 1
From that we can say X - 1 = X2 -1
Factor it and we get X - 1 = (X + 1)(X - 1)

We can then simplify by following:
X - 1 (X + 1)(X - 1)
----- = ------------
X - 1 (X - 1)

The above equation then becomes
1 = X + 1

Therefore based on the fact that X = 1 we can now say that

1 = 2

It's math, an exact science. Do not doubt this because it is so.

There is a problem, but as with the science of Global Warming, I conveniently ignored certain facts. Bonus points if you can let me know what these are. I'll just shout you down and say you are a naysayer and you just don't understand modern science. Go drive your SUV and pollute the world more. Then I'd somehow manage to make sure people knew you were a bigot too and a total non-believer and that you could care less if the world were destroyed.

The overall lesson here is to be wary of things that people tell you are 'Fact' and always question their methods and motives for advancing what they are preaching. Much of what we are seeing is a rehash of the past few thousand years, just with a new face on it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Jeeezzus, Where do I begin?

Well, it's the 7th day. I gave the man a chance. I hate being right sometimes and I do think I am seeing the results of the first 6 days of the new administration. I could go on for several pages but will stick to just a few things here. The flubbed oath and then the blackout of the redone oath. Why didn't they want anyone there? In my mind, he still has not taken the oath of office which should be done publicly and NEVER behind closed doors. It is an insult to the American people. I'll bet the 'so help me God' part was taken out. So was the 'faithfully' part too. The appointees to the cabinet and their troubles, particularly the Treasury department head, Geithner, are completely flabbergasting. His tax situation would negate his employment at any level in the IRS. How and why is he even being considered. If you look at his case, he is either being truthful on it being an honest mistake, which makes him incompetent or he is just flat out lying. Would you want a person like that making the decisions on how this country is going to be run financially? I also heard Robert Reich's wonderful comments on the hundreds of thousands of new government jobs(read dependents) that they are looking to create. I believe this amounts to nothing more than a bunch of patronage jobs where if you get one, your continued employment at one of these bogus jobs depends on making sure you support the people who gave it to you. These will do nothing but create even more of a strain on the economy and suck more from the people who are actually producing something. What happens when these people say enough? We're finished. I really do fear that this country is now running headlong into what can only be looked at a total takeover by the government and that we are able to do what we do, not by out ability but by their permission. Sorry, for me, it's the other way around. And for the people who think that I should support others who don't have my ability (I created my job and have been self employed for over 20 years now), and believe that I should be able to pay for others who aren't able to do so but should still enjoy the same benefits of this that I do without the blood, sweat and tears that go along with it, I will respond with a quote I read once. 'GET OUT OF MY WAY!'
Bonus points if you know the source!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

OOOOOO, Today is the day!

Well, it's the big day today. In a short time, there will be an end to war, everyone in the world will love us again, no poverty after the economy rises up when we're all given jobs building roads, the cars will run on clean energy instead of dirty gas, the world will stop warming up and not go into another ice age off as well, all forms of racism will disappear, disease will end, and no one will every have to worry about their house being repossessed again. The carp we all received in the last few years is a bad memory. Who knows, maybe Obama will do the right things necessary to right the ship, but with the lead up to today, I am doubtful. With the people he is hiring, many Clinton castoffs after the Republicans took control of the Senate and then the house a couple years later, how can we expect anything else. At least he won't be doing the interns like Clinton was. We are going into a rehash of the 90s which while those years weren't bad economically, they were fueled by the fact that we borrowed out our ass from the chinese, sold them off quite a lot of our military secrets, and gave them un-escorted access to the most secure areas of our country. It all came tumbling down when the orgy went from our housing market right over to the energy speculation market. This country uses 23 million barrels of oil a day. For the long term contracts on oil that were bought at almost $150 a barrel, that would represent about a $110 per barrel loss. Hmmm, 23 million barrels times 110 times even 180 days and that represents almost half a trillion dollars lost. The rest is fees and such. Maybe this is why the banks don't want to publicly show where the money went. It would show that we were just witness to the largest heist of money ever. EVER!!!! They didn't even have to drive a getaway car. They just flipped us the bird and took the money. I have believed for years that Ayn Rand was indeed a prophet. Today it is being proven she most certainly was.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bigger carbon footprints?

I read a couple weeks back that cows supposedly have a huge hand in global warming since they give off so much methane. They are vegetarians too(at least I don't think they feed cows wings, burgers or hotdogs). I also just saw another report that non-vegetarians tend to have more flatulence than vegetarians do. I'm not sure I buy that one. Most of the vegetarians I know can really rip one out and quite often they are able to take down a buffalo with it. I know I get gas every now and then, but never that bad. Eat a burger, you selfish people. You're ruining our environment. I wonder if I can get a grant to study this. They're wasting our tax dollars on everything else, why not this important piece of the global warming puzzle. I guess I'll put in for the grant after the 20th. Who knows, maybe I won't have to do real work anymore then. Just study farts. The downside would be that I don't think there'd be a good pickup line for the women at the bars in there. 'What do you do for a living?' ummmm.... nah, I really just better stop and go to bed now.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Finally! Someone says 'MMMM, Let's talk a look at this...'

Well, the GOP finally grew a set and said to hold up a bit on voting for the release of the next $350B in funding for the bailouts. I do like the line used in the letter sent to Barney Frank (lead asshole on the finance committee) - "Karl Marx famously observed that history repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce,". Ol' Barney has been bitching, along with everyone else, that the banks don't want to show what they've spent the money on so far (probably bonuses, parties and hookers). Well, when you give them a whole bunch of money with no preconditions or oversight, what do you think they're going to do? You've now got a bunch of sailors with a wad of cash in their pockets, nothing in particular to do and they're in Singapore! What results do you think you'll get, anything good? Hell, no! Anyone who rammed this bailout through via the scare tactics that were used should be jailed, or at least sat down in the corner with a dunce hat on. I still say, if a company (or bank) isn't making it, it's time to sell them off to someone who can make it work. LET THEM FAIL. The bailout is the most expensive example of attempting to polish a turd! In the end, the same screwups will still be in their corner offices and doing the same stupid crap which in the end is going to require another bailout. I actually heard an economist on the news the other day explaining that the overall debt ratio to GDP is less than what it was during World War II and that it is sustainable. Just because something is sustainable, doesn't make it ok. Just because I can sustain my credit card payments at the minimum payment, doesn't make it a good idea. What if I don't get that bonus I was hoping for or I suddenly need money for something else. Whooops, I'm screwed. This country is in the same boat and the principles are exactly the same. At some point, you'll finally have to admit that it's not going to work when everything falls apart. I think it's time we did start holding politicians feet to the fire and not just at election day. This bailout is exposing total incompetance at all levels. I say, just let me have a whack at fixing things. I won't be nearly as expensive and I can piss money away with the best of them. I'm getting another cup of coffee and walking around the office now, I'm so miffed.