Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A new Obsession

Sunday was my first real Mountain Bike race, Erik's Spring Cup.

The race was to be 2 laps at Harmon Park in Inver Grove Heights. I signed up for "Citizen" which is basically the beginner class. (below Sport, Comp, and Expert) I did have the option for racing Citizen Clydesdale *for which, at 210lbs, I still meet weight requirements* :(, but I figured there'd only be one or two really heavy guys, and I wouldn't have any incentive to race hard. (To my surprise, the C-dale competition was fairly stiff)

There was a "prologue" which was basically a lap around the grassy open park area to spread everyone out before they dump you into the singletrack.

I was the second guy into the singletrack. I knew that I had to get up front early in order to compete in the front pack, and I was sucking wheel of the guy in first place. For most of the time, I was thinking, "I could pass this guy, but maybe I should sit back and see what happens," but this guy had some pretty poor cornering skills. I had 2 other guys right on my tail, and about halfway through the first lap, the lead guy bumped into a tree going into a wooded area after a short descent---I had my chance to pass him, but hesitated, and he got up & going. I'll chalk the fact that I didn't win the class to this rookie blunder.

I kept on his tail and decided to take my next chance to get around him. We wrapped through some more winding uphill/downhill, and started heading toward the last leg within the first lap. I knew there was a big rock up head of us on the trail, and I wasn't comfortable hitting it, and the lead guy went around it too. The 3rd & 4th place guys took it, and got around us. I was now in 4th, and they were pushing hard to get away from us. Now I really needed to get around this guy.

We wrapped around the last leg of the singletrack, and I lost hold of the new leaders, and the guy in front of me. I came through the lap gate, not paying much attention to anything but riding fast and catching up. I got back into the singletrack and after a couple well-executed tight turns, I was back in the mix. When things opened up, they were able to pull away from me, but when the track tightened up, I was there to reap their fear, riding up onto their tails. Finally we entered our last leg of the second lap, and I was right behind the 3rd place guy. There was a hairpin turn that transitions you to the last leg, and his bike flew out from under him. I hit the brakes, almost ran over him, dismounted and ran around him. I hopped on and was now pushing really hard to catch the leaders and distance myself from the guy behind me. A few more hairpin turns and some fast flowing singletrack with the adrenaline pumping, I did bump into a tree with a handlebar which caused me to put my feet down, but I kept going, and cranked up the last hill. I came out of the singletrack and put the hammer down for the last few tenths of a mile, the last turn was a tight sweep along a chainlink fence. I finished in 47:16, (a short race by my measure)11 seconds behind the wave winner.

There was a second wave with older people, women, c-dales, and singlespeeders a few minutes behind us. The fastest citizen time came from this wave; a guy from the 50+ age group....less than 1 minute ahead of me.

The Results
4th of 60+ citizen male riders
3rd in the 19-29 age group.

I got a medal for the 3rd place finish, but I was pretty pissed to see kids and the women on the podium getting free stuff (water bottles, cycling socks, jerseys, bike tools, etc) when I didn't get shit on the podium. I'd happily trade the bronze medal I got for some cassette & crank servicing tools.

I plan on doing at least 2 more MTB races this summer along with the 3 triathlons I'm signed up for.

Sidestory--I had my bike ready for the race in the nick of time--earlier in the week, I nearly destroyed it. On a practice run, I got an innocent stick jammed in my rear derailleur, yanking it off the frame and trashing the chain & some spokes in the process. Penn Cycle really did a good job getting my bike ready on time.

Success & Reward

I leave in less than 24 hours for Norway. I tingle inside each time I think about the trip.

If I haven't sent this to anyone, I've been developing a medical device for over 3 years. It just got FDA approval a few weeks ago. Here's a few places posting the press release.

..> ..>

View your release posted on:

111,000 Visitors/day

53,000 Visitors/day

53,000 Visitors/day

111,000 Visitors/day

53,000 Visitors/day

111,000 Visitors/day

53,000 Visitors/day

111,000 Visitors/day

53,000 Visitors/day

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I SO cannot decide

The pool for Democratic presidential nominees is a treasure trove, it's like trying to decide between the 86 yummy flavors at Cold Stone.

Here are my top picks:

Barack. A former contitutional law professor, this guy will protect & restore the constitution. Oh yeah, and he's probably the most charismatic of the bunch--that means he can leverage friendship from just about anyone. A good leader with accountability is what America wants right now. He's got that magic gaze that Bill Clinton had.....maybe he could just talk Osama into cleaning toilets after closing time at Hooters.

Dennis Kucinich: His top issues are probably most congruent with my beliefs. He's ran for prez before, but he also hasn't spent nearly as much time in the spotlight as the others. I also believe he can negotiate just about anything with anyone.......apparently nobody has seen the woman he was able to convince to marry him.

Holy Crap. It takes way more than a huge bank account to date that far outside your galaxy.

Anyways, he wants to repeal the Patriot act, create a balance between workers and corporations, provide universal healthcare to Americans, keep the air & water clean, integrate clean power into the grid, restore rural communities and family farms........therefore, Dennis is AWESOME.

Bill Richardson: CHECK THIS SHIT OUT.This guy, if anything, is overqualified to be the most powerful man on the planet. He's had a very successful governership in New Mexico(nominated into his 2nd term with 69% of the vote), was a congressman for 14 years, served as Clinton's secretary of Energy and an ambassador to the UN, and he's been *yawn & stretch* nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize four times.... once for negotiating the realease of hostages from Saddaam Hussien. Plain and simple, this guy is a political juggernaut. One thing his "issues" page includes is a subheading of Partisonship, which turns me off. I want the neocons to run from the US and never return. They can go fight to make Jesusland in the middle east or something.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Both of my Children are in the emergency room

Tonight, for the first time in about 3 years, I'll be sleeping alone in my apartment.

I took my road bike in on Saturday morning to have it looked at. The bottom bracket was shot, 2000 miles on a $42 part, so I'm not furious. They needed a couple days to order parts and replace it, so I figured I'd ride my mountain bike and run instead. I'm picking it up tomorrow.

This afternoon, I took my mountain bike over to Harmon to pre-ride the course for Sunday's race, since I've never rode there before. I was about 50 meters into the singletrack when I saw I guy coming up from behind me and I moved over a bit to allow him to pass. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I'm pretty sure the cause was a stick getting caught in my chain right in front of the rear derailler.

The rear derailler jammed, and was completely torn off my the frame, and flew around, lodging in between the frame and the rear tire, twisting the chain and severing a few spokes on the rear wheel.

I walked my bike back in disbelief, the rear wheel completely seized. I think I yelled "Fuck" more times in the car ride home than I have in the last three years.

I dropped it off at Penn Cycle this evening to have it fixed. They say they'll have it ready in time for me to re-pre-ride the course and race.

I think the fact that I mentioned that I'll be racing this weekend bumped me up in priority for fix-it's at the shop, but they were really helpful, and if guys do a good job, I'm thinking a small gift would be in line. Anyone know what might be a good way for a demanding customer to show their appreciation in a totally non-homoerotic way? A tip? Can you tip a bike mechanic?

Anyways, my apartment is very lonely right now.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Let Me Clear the Fog

I've had ENOUGH of this ridiculous "if we don't fight 'em there, we'll have to fight 'em here" logic.

This so called conventional wisdom flies in the face of common sense, so let me straighten it out. ESPECIALLY for all the "straight-shooters" out there.

In "The Fog of War", Robert McNamara, the longest standing Secretary of Defense in the history of the US, outlines the eleven lessons of his life. (He was a war strategist whiz-kid during WWII, the secretary of defense during the cuban missle crisis, and was SoD during administrations of both political parties)

His #1 lesson is: Empathize with your enemy.

We know at least a few things about our the terrorists we are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

1. They will attack civilians if they can.
2. They may be murderers, but they aren't stupid.

I have one question for all you who are so concerned that if the war ends in Iraq, we'll have to dodge bullets at the grocery store.
Why would an terrorist in Iraq fight an armed American trooper when he could with much less risk to his own life, fly/boat to mexico, and waltz(or Mariachi with an Elephant) across our swiss cheese southern border, and attack American citizens?

The idea that they will follow the Marines BACK to the US is wildly absurd. Why would they buy their plane tickets when our occupation ends? Wouldn't the easiest target be American civilians within our borders while 200,000+ soldiers are overseas?

If it WAS happening today, we'd definately hear Bush 43 talk about it in the same breaths as he does with his alleged foiled terrorist plots. But, border security has been pretty low on the Bush administration & Homeland Security's to-do list. (in fact, I'd like to see Homeland Security's to-do list. I bet all line items are "waste money on ridiculous shit.")

But this is not happening now, and it won't happen later. Insurgents in Iraq want control of their country. They are not interested in killing American civilians in America, because if they were they'd already be doing it. The war in Iraq will NOT be fought on US soil ever.

Unfortunately, McNamara's #2 lesson is that "Rationality will not save us." He'll be right unless you learn to think for yourselves.

EarlG @ put it really well this morning.

"Essentially [this] rationale is that our troops are nothing more than human sacrifices on the altar of global terrorism. If we pull out of Iraq, the evil monsters will come to America and kill us all! Much better to feed them a steady diet of young American men and women in a faraway country that we don't really have to think about, right?"

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Training Tips

A friend is getting into running/cycling/etc. and asked me for some pointers on training & nutrition. Here's what I wrote. *I added a little in after thoughts since.

As far as running:

#1 Listen closely to your body. Know the difference between good pain & bad pain.
If you are running for distance, you should increase your mileage incrementally.
Figure out your lactate threshold--that can help you fit your training to your goals. (There's easy & sophisticated methods)
A heart rate monitor is mandatory equipment, but you don't need to buy anything fancy. $90 should get you what you need. It will help you gage your workout intensity, and establish your limits.
Make sure that you are running with proper form. The expert say to either a)run as if you're falling forward, or b) run as if you'll being pulled by a string that's attached to your belly button. This will help you strike with a flat foot, knee slightly bent.
Run alot in terms of frequency. The more you run, the better you will become, and your body will become acclimated to running--it is tough on joints.
If you're sore from running, cycling is a great cross training substitute.

If you don't already have one, go to a reputable shop, and buy a bike that fits you, not the one with "curb appeal". Don't be afraid to spend your money--I feel like I could've bought a better bike.

A sore butt is usually a product of poor cycling shorts--not your bike seat. The saddles with the slots in them are often marketing gimmicks--every rider in the Tour de France wears cycling bibs, but you'll be hard pressed to find one that uses a "slotted saddle."

Don't just push down on the pedals. Your power stroke should encompass as much of the revolution as possible. Some people liken it to scraping mud off the bottom of your shoe--but remember to pull up too. Cycling shoes and clip-in pedals are like a dream come true when you first try them--not 100% mandatory, but they really add efficiency to your pedaling, and are just very very very very nice to have.

When riding, focus on your pedal cadence. 90rpm will give you higher efficiency and better power transfer. Many cycling computers have this option, but you can always count them off over a given time.

Side notes:
a)PLEASE WEAR A HELMET! Head injuries often have life long side effects. Ask my sister if you're not convinced.
b)MOTORISTS DON'T PAY ATTENTION TO CYCLISTS! BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS. Remember on your driving test, where they ask you about how far away you should follow busses? how about where they ask you how much you can legally drink? or where they ask you where to put infant seats?......How about when they ask you how to pass a cyclist???????? They don't. Drivers aren't given instructions on what to do. There are 2 types of cyclists: those that have crashed, and those that will.

As far as food:
I guess it's obvious that you should eat "good food." Just about anything at restaurants these days has large proportions of junk calories, and the portions are astronomical!

My staples are (in no particular order) yogurt, salmon, almonds, arugula, couscous, strawberries, raspberries, apples, lentils, hummus, black beans, olive oil, and clif bars.

Drink lots of water. That recommended 8 glasses a day will suit normal bodily functions. You will need more when you add the exercize. An important side note is to recognise the difference between hunger and thirst--try drinking a few glasses of water every time you think you're hungry--you might be surprised.

It's important to have some carbohydrates about a half hour before you train(I like yogurt), and immediately afterwards. There are special sports drinks that cater to "recovery" such as Endurox R4, but chocolate milk is a close (and waaaay cheaper)equivalent.

Protein is an overrated nutrient, and it's pretty easy to get what you need if you're not a vegan. Protein supplements are a waste of money in most cases.

You will also need a meal within 2 hours of a training session. Don't skip eating, even if you're training for weight loss. If you don't fuel your body, you won't have energy for your next session--it might even be damn difficult to even get out the door.

Avoid alcohol--it's loaded with empty calories, and more importantly, avoid alcohol within a few hours of a training session. It will dehydrate when you need hydration.

Learn about serving sizes. It's difficult to gage how much you're actually eating, and how much you need. is free and can help you figure out exactly how much you're eating.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Wild Realization & Infinite Optimism

The other day I got a portfolio from my boss's office. I have to select from a bunch of different gifts/trinkets for recognition of my 5th year of service at my company.

"Holy Crap!", exclaimed the disillusioned late-twentysomething.

I was in college for 5 years. On June 4th, I'll have spent more time at this job than I did in college. NOW THAT IS HEAVY SHIT.

I can say, however, that the last 5 years have been decisively better than the 5 before that. I'm wholeheartedly looking forward to life's treasures in the next 5 trips around the sun, and hopefully, the next 70 after that. and I hope I can share it with you all.
I'll be getting the binoculars with the company's emblem mounted onto them in gold.

Saturday, May 5, 2007


Dal Makhani from Byerly's
Per Serving:

190 Calories
10g Fat (10%)
5g Sat. Fat (25%)
0 Cholesterol
700mg Sodium (29%) ----(to replace all that I lost in my first Mt. Bike race this morning)
19g Carbohydrate (6%)
2g Dietary Fiber (8%)
7g Protein

On top of:

Organic Inca Red Quinoa from Byerlys
Per Serving:

163 Calories
3g Fat (4%)
0g Sat Fat
0 Cholesterol
5mg Sodium
29g Carbohydrate(10%)
4g Dietary Fiber (15%)
6g Protein

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Would you believe it?

Would you believe it if I told you that my heart rate monitor and one of my kitchen table chairs broke this week?

I'm really hoping the squeak on my road bike is nothing.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A survey worth a blog entry

The Minnesota survey! Made for Minnesotans by Minnesotans!
Please answer all questions honestly so dem neighbors of yers can git to know ya betterrrrr dontcha know?

1. First of all, where in Minnesota do(did) you live?
SLP (which is [jewish]Ghetto Code for Saint Louis Park)

2. What's your favorite lake in MN?
Alfred's Pond

It's my equivalent to Walden Pond. Someday, I'm going to spend a few days there. Just me sharing the chairs with the hippy-dippy-friendly dragonflies.

3. Have you ever been ice fishing?
No. I get my fish from the freezer section. My time out in the cold is only enjoyed if there are ski's on my feet.

5. Do you go four-wheeling?
When I go home, I always get the ATV out. I used to love that thing when I was in highschool. I was reckless enough to learn how to drive it on 2 wheels Dukes of Hazzard style.

6. Do you go snowmobiling?
The last time I went snowmobiling was a near death experience. I was hopping snowdrifts along a snowfence, and gunned it to jump the next. The snowmo's skis dug into the drift instead of plowing over it, and I went through the windshield, flipping onto my back. The snowmo stopped as it tapped my helmet. Had it gone 3 more feet, it would have pinned me down under a 500 pound machine.

When I got back on, I discovered that when I flew off, my leg *by chance* hit the kill switch.

7. Did you go trick-or-treating in that snow storm of 1991?
I was in North Dakota. And I was probably not trick or treating at that time.

8. Do you go camping?
When I can. I love the SHT and the BWCAW

9. Do you ever use the word "spendy"?
Yeah, actually. Is that minnesotan?

10. Does your vehicle have rust on it or salt damage?
No. The body where rust might show up is mostly plastic though.

11. Have your locks ever frozen shut?
Negatory. The windows freeze shut from time to time, and I can't spit out the window then.

12. Have you ever built a snow fort taller than you?
I used to roll massive snow boulders that were way taller than me. I would start with a snowball, and roll it in the snow, picking up more and more. I stopped and started a new one when I couldn't push it any farther.

13. Where did you go sledding as a child?
There was only one place for me to go, as flat as it was around the farm. My grandparents were starting to build a root cellar, and abandoned the idea after digging a big hole in the ground. The dirt was placed into a large pile next to it. So my cousins and I climbed to the top of the hill and sledded into the hole. It was AWESOME.

14. Have you ever ice skated outdoors?
Yes, but not since last winter. I played one game of hockey with Thoele, a guy and his kid, and a few random dudes.

15. Did you ever get your tongue stuck to something outside in the winter?
Yes. But I was fucking stupid.

16. Did you ever pour water over something on purpose in the winter to make it slippery?
No. But I wish I was smart enough to have done something so clever.

17. Did you ever have snow slushies?
Yep. The snow around the farm was pristine.

18. Have you ever accidentally gone to school on a day where school was cancelled due to weather?
I don't remember. I do remember going to school one day when it was -70F (with windchill)

19. Did you ever throw a snowball in someone's face?
I'm pretty sure Tim took one or two in the face.

20. Do you prefer St. Cloud area or Twin Cities area?
Twin Cities

21. Do you like city or country?
Both. Depends. I like living in the city, and leaving it for the country.

22. Have you ever had more than one tick on you at a time?
More than one? I used to always run around in the woods. I probably supported colonies of ticks when i was a kid.

23. Have you ever burned garbage in a bon fire?
No, but I was at a redneck party (somehow) in Ramsey a few weeks ago where the hosts were throwing old chairs and couches into the bonfire. They would see how long they could sit in them before it got to hot. This was like watching a trainwreck, to me.

24. Have you ever gone to a Twins game?
Yes. Ho. Fucking. Hum.

25. Have you ever gone to a Vikings game?
When I was like 6 years old. Haven't been to one since. Don't really care to go either.

26. Have you ever gone to a Wild game?
Negatory. Maybe one of these days I'll go see the Lacrosse team.

27. Did you ever forget to wear pants under your snow pants?
I have been photographed in knee deep snow wearing only my dad's cowboy boots and tighty-whiteys.

28. Do you eat icicles?
No. I usually pull them down and throw them at something that it will stick into, or shatter upon.

30. Do you own a dog that has gotten sprayed by a skunk?
Sam and Wendy both got nailed by skunks.

31. Do you drink Boone's Farm?
I have, but I don't.

32. Do you drink beer?
When it's free. or in my fridge.

33. Do you have at least one friend who has a beard?
I sorta get along with a republican guy at work who does.

34. Do you say "so" before you start a sentence most the time?
Again, is this really that minnesotan?

35. Do you carry an ice scraper in your car all year?
Yes, except in the summer, I call it a "Hummvee paintjob fucker upper."

36. Do you have to add sand bags to the bed of your truck?
I don't have a truck, but if I did, I wouldn't need to, because it would be a 4 wheel drive. What kind of morons buy 2 wheel drive trucks? Oh, yeah. The redneck variety of morons.

37. Have you ever gotten a leech stuck to you?
only the human female variety.

38. Have you ever caught a snapper?
I've done lots of things to snappers, but I don't think I've ever caught one.

39. Do you own your own fishing pole?
Never have.

40. What's your favorite restraunt?
Birchwood cafe or French Meadow. Or Herkimer. or Marla's Kitchen....all depending on my mood.

41. What's your favorite club?
A baseball bat with a huge nail pounded into it, which is used to savagely pummel people with spinner rims on cadillacs.

42. What's your favorite park?
Theo Wirth.

43. Which place in Minnesota has the best scenery/view?

The Pro & Elite Women's waves at the Lifetime Triathlon.


a couple high ridges at George Crosby Manitou Park, the top of Lutsen.
Even Calhoun at dusk ain't too bad.

44. Where's your favorite place to cruise?
I like to go running past all those motorcycle fags who cruise calhoun oggling all the women.

You= pudgy guy showing off his motorcycle's big engine.
Me= the engine that the women are paying attention to.

45. Which grocery store do you shop at?
Byerlys--Roma Tomatoes, Apples, tonic water, texas champagne, those yummy Terra chips, bulk lentils, superspicy hummus, oysters, .
Trader Joe's--everything else

46. Have you ever partied in a barn?
If by "partied," you mean "Sneezed"; Yes.

47. Do you like keg beer?
I like FREE beer.

48. Have you ever gone hunting?
Plenty of times. And's pretty boring. Maybe that's what Dick Cheney was thinking when he shot that guy in the face. He might've also been thinking that 8 Pabst's per person in the hunting party wasn't enough for the day.

49. Do you have a tattoo of a butterfly?
No. But, I got a tattoo/scar on my ankle from my big chainring the other day.

50. Do you smoke cigarettes?
I did for a while. And then I stopped.

51. Does your heritage include Polish, German, or Scandinavian?
Norwegian. and I think there's some Russian German in there too.

52. Are you catholic?
No. Abstinence is the leading cause of immaculate conceptions, as far as I'm concerned, Ms. Mary.

53. Have you ever been swimming in a river in Minnesota?
No. Rivers are great places to drown.

54. What's your favorite thing about Minnesota?
The fact that most of it's still pretty clean and sparsely populated. (Irony that I choose to live in the city)

55. Whats one thing you don't like about Minnesota?
Michelle Bachman. That crazy bitch pisses me off.