Monday, May 26, 2008

by the way...

I'm looking a little different these days...

I showed my stylist this photo, and said "I want this." Not exactly, but close.

So far, everyone's given me pretty good feedback, including a suburbanite soccermom triathlete friend who ran up to me & gave me a hug while jumping up & down.

It feels pretty refreshing.


Sorry for the bolus of posts, but I've had an interesting few weeks. I've started dating a new girl who I met on Match, and I've really been enjoying her company. If I haven't told you about her yet, you can probably guess what her name is.

This on top of training has left me with little time for internet. Which is good, because I spend way too much time online. So now I've replaced much internet time with drinking wine across the table from a smoking hot chick.

Needless to say, I'm really excited.

The cool thing is that we have a few differences that really compliment each other. We've met on fundamental levels, and I wouldn't go as far as to say that it's a case of opposites attracting, but we do seem to get along well despite not being "perfect matches."

Also, despite spending time with this new girl, I still have time to go out biking & whatnot. She works insane hours (80+/wk) -- an inherent trait of her profession, so she's usually getting done with work when I've finished working out. Convenient, no? I'm reminded of Aphrodite, who chose(as I was taught) Hephaestus(greek god of technology, metallurgy, and fire---i.e. me) because he worked late--allowing her to be with extramarital trysts. In this case--our lovers are work and bicycles, respectively.

Given my dating history, this is probably more than I should be writing this girl at this time. I'll stop here.

uh, later.

LIberty Tri 08 preview

Upcoming in June is my second tri at the Half Iron distance. A couple years ago, I did my first olympic distance race on this course, and liked it so much that I signed up for it's big brother.

Well, they changed the bike course due to conflicts with road construction, etc, so I rode a preview of the 56 mile course yesterday.

And it was murder. It's way hillier than the Pigman course (where I did my first half) and coupled with it's up & down 13.1 mile run, things should get pretty interesting. I was hoping that I could pull off like a 5:10 on this course, but I think that goal will now be out of reach. I'd say that I would just want to just survive to the finish, but I should put some kind of time goal on my race. So I think a good time will be 5:20 -- faster than my last half on a more difficult course.

We'll see if the lakes warm up any time soon. I haven't been in open water since the last half iron I did.

Rilo Kiley

Thursday night I got a call from Dr. J and asked if I wanted to meet her & friends to see Rilo Kiley--It was about 7pm, and the opening bands were already playing. I'm a fan of RK, but not a huge fan--I think I liked Jenny Lewis's solo album better as a whole than any RK album I've heard, so needless to say I was a bit hesitant to drop $25 at the door, but it ended up being a damn good show.

Jenny Lewis was, surprisingly, scantily clad. Seriously--pull off the bass guitar and add some pompoms and she could've easily passed for Dallas cowboys cheerleader. I'll digress by saying that neither I nor my company was less than really turned on by it.

I also learned a clever trick for going downtown. Next time you are going somewhere near block E, park at Palomino's (9th between hennepin & lasalle) ramp. Go up and have a drink--they'll validate your parking for 2.5 hours. It's like a free drink!

Monday, May 19, 2008

One of my favorite things....

Here's one thing that's just the best in my opinion:

Hopping into an empty lane at the pool with glass-like water, slinking down underwater and pushing off the wall into a tight streamline with my back facing the bottom and dolphin kicking.

My favorite thing is to see my transparent reflection coming back from the water's surface, me kicking, and watching that reflection slowly start to distort as my kicks displace water on the surface.

Kick, kick, kick...getting hypoxic. Kick to the surface and take a lungfull of air. Another thing to really appreciate.

It's something you'll have to try. It's been a simple pleasure of mine for going on 2 decades.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Rules of the Road for Cyclists

Nonessential Preface: So the (awesome) new girl I'm dating lives in this house near the river. I like riding my Trek & Cervelo along the river when I'm taking shorter "round the city" rides...but this morning, on our way to breakfast there was a trillion cyclists out on the river road and I wanted to puke at some of the antics.

Bike riders, Here are your new rules.

You can thank stupid cyclists for this post.

All Bicyclists
1. Wear a helmet. I don't care if you're Lance Armstrong, or you're barely rolling along on your hybrid.
2. Pay attention! All the time! Know where cars are, where other cyclists are, and what on the road will crash you. THIS SHOULD BE INTUITIVE.
3. Don't draft a stranger.(exception-during a road race) This is acutely rude. We are not on a bike team, we are not racing, I don't know you or trust you, and we aren't buddies. Get off my f*cking wheel.
4. Shave your goddamn legs or at least trim once in a while. Chewbacca legs say 2 things: a) You are a slow newb or you don't know what you're doing, b) Guh- roasss!
5. Don't ride with your knees pointed outward. It makes me want to slap you. (and it's going to blow out your cartilage)
6. Don't blow stop signs/stoplights where there's actually traffic. If I was a cop, I would ticket you.
7. Don't you dare try racing on a bike path.

Recreational Cyclists
If your 'road bike' has flat(straight) handlebars or has a suspension fork, and you nearly sit upright on your bike, this applies to you.
8.Bike paths were made specifically for you. Avoid riding on streets whenever you can. If you had somewhere to be, you wouldn't be on a hybrid now, would you? Seriously....I run faster than some of you.
9. Do not ride abreast on the street. Especially if its busy. Don't be surprised if a car hits you.
10. Pay attention to other cyclists and their speed relative to yours. Just because your bike doesn't break 15mph, doesn't mean that I won't be passing your at 35mph.
11. Don't you dare entertain the idea that you can keep up with traffic. Sorry for your bike envy, but that hybrid purchase is your fault, not mine.
12. I'm amazed by some of your egos. Your hybrid bike with the disc brakes, slick 26x1.75" tires, suspension fork, kickstand, platform pedals, and all the other shit you have hanging off of it is the object of my laughter behind your back.
13. I'm a nice guy, but don't try to talk bikes with a racer unless you know what 185bpm feels like.

Fixie/Singlespeed Hipsters & Messengers
14. Wear a Helmet! I say this again because I see you fuckers without them all the time. I don't care if your long snarly haircut gets messy. It looks like you have a large rodent on your head anyways.
15. Do not buzz pedestrians. I'm going to stick my elbow out next time you do this, and your non-helmeted head is going to splat on the pavement. You will look like roadkill.
16. Your fixed gear elitism/geared bike scoffing is stupid and the irony entailed is making me laugh under my breath. Are you serious? Don't kid yourself--I know riding a fixed gear is tough, but racers can pump out the same watts on fixies too. (hint: lots of us winter train on fixed gear spin bikes)

17. Do NOT draft while in your aeros--anyone, anywhere, anytime.(exception--TTT) Try it out if you want to know what it feels like to cartwheel your bike while your feet are clipped in.
18. Aero helmets are for racing ONLY. Wearing one at any other time makes you look like *literally and figuratively* a total douchenozzle to anyone on the planet except for those OCD triathletes who post on the slowtwitch forums.(exception--practicing your transitions early in the morning)
19. Tri tops & tri shorts are for racing or brick sets --that's it. Wear sleeved jerseys when you aren't going to be breaking into a run immediately afterwards. Sleeveless bike jerseys look creepy, (exception--you're a hot chick) and you're gonna look like a burn victim wrapped in bacon if you wipe out.

20. Stay off the bike paths unless you're taking it really easy. 20mph+ and/or pacelines and recreational cyclists is a recipe for a wreck.
21. Racing cars is total masturbation. Motorists don't give a shit about you or your bike. You won't make them appreciate you--they're probably too dumb to understand.
22. Get a normal jersey, will ya? Those Pink floyd/Zeppelin/Art jerseys say "too poor to buy a corvette during my mid-life crisis" like nothing else.

Mountain bikers:
23. If you look like delinquent teenage criminal, expect the cops to treat you like one. Lose the ear lobe plugs and nasal septum piercings.
24. Smoking Cigarettes says one thing: "I suck at riding bikes." Expect to be scoffed at as we all pwn you on the singletrack.

Really, you guys aren't too bad. I have no beefs unless you fit into another category.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Apparently, the FBI has gone batty.

FYI--The FBI just tried recruiting a UofM college student for spying on "vegan potlucks" during the upcoming RNC convention. Apparently, they can't have any non-meat eaters lurking around while they're engaging in the next wave of sex scandals.

Read about it here:

"Then we sat down and she flashes an FBI badge. Seeing my nerves
they reassured me again that I was safe and not guilty of anything. Then for twenty minutes they flatter me about how my personality and appearance are perfect matches for what is required in some espionage dealio. They wanted me to crash vegan potluck parties and get into the inner circle of terrorists because supposedly terrorists are trusting and I’m “trusting, easy going, funny,” and a bunch of other flattery. Every time they said “vegan potluck” I chuckled, but their faces showed they weren’t kidding. They said “vegan potluck” half a dozen times. They really feared vegans and their violent conspiracies to blow up buildings in protest to the republican national convention."

Uh, FBI? Either you're taking orders from Elmer Fudd, or you're fucking incompetent. The terrorists you are supposed to be protecting us from are not pseudo-hippy trendy urbanites who've sworn off meat. Nor are they teenage misfits with spray paint.

They're gun nuts
They're religious fundamentalists
They're violent
They don't drink alcohol
They will die for their beliefs
They're probably Saudi Arabian
and they want hippy-dippy Americans like me dead.

You know, like the maniacs our president holds hands with.

Could you do your job correctly please? As far as I'm concerned, you haven't wiped the egg from your face for not listening to Coleen Rowley. Hasn't your public image been tarnished far enough? If you're looking for some inspiration, give Bob Dylan a listen. Particularly where he sings, "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing."

Hey!!!! I've got a hot tip for you! Rush Limbaugh is trying to incite riots in Denver. You might want to check into that. Hey! Maybe I can help you. I'm a white guy--I'm trusting, easy going, and funny. (And I'm damn good looking too.) You can make me look rich, and I can infiltrate the exclusive clubs where the ultra-rich power brokers who fund Limbaugh and other fundamentalist wackjobs strategize the best way to devolve our country into a fundamentalist split economy robber barren-slave state. I'll let you know how they're doing it all. Hey--I might even come across a big oxycontin ring for you to blow open too.

Or, you could just open your ears & your eyes.

Edina: Where the wine flows like beer.

Another weeknight, another 3 bottles of wine between the two of us. Thankfully, we were eating a scrumptious pasta courtesy of Chris Carmichael, and we were not driving.

Today was another one of those days.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

New Rule

On worknights,

Respectfully decline a third round of drinks after midnight. It may seem like a good idea at the time, but it's not. Also, if it's midnight, going to another bar is not a good idea either.

Despite my "high spirits" today, the 24 afternoon minute commute home took an eternity, and once I fell down, I couldn't get up, missing out on a pretty decent afternoon to be on my bike.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Holy Crap this pissed me off.

Watch this.

I felt compelled to write, even though there were many well written pieces from cyclists covering many of my initial arguments. As a supplement, here's what I wrote.


A couple things that have not been touched on:

Miffed that cyclists don't pay taxes? You can thank your heavy vehicles(and sometimes frost) that we cyclists have to dodge potholes on 23mm wide tires. The rule of thumb that Civil Engineers used when designing roads is that damage is proportional to the vehicle's gross weight per axle, raised to 4th power. That means that even the heaviest cyclist accounts for a negligible amount of road wear in comparison to the lightest Honda Civic. Those of you who have heavy SUV's & such pay roughly the same in taxes that the civic driver does. What gives? Pay for your damage!

Also keep in mind that it is your right to ride a bicycle, while driving your beloved car/truck is a privilege. Even if you've bought a car, kept it in good maintenance, registered your vehicle in the state, purchased insurance, and have a driver's license, your ability to drive on the state's roadways can be taken from you by a court. None of those things listed above are required by MN statute 169.222 (except good maintenance), and I have never heard of someone ever getting their right to ride a bicycle taken from them (unless they've been killed)--with exception to those suggestions I've read here. I'm American and I love freedom. I have a right to ride a bicycle and I exercise it. Hey--try some freedom on and see how it fits. Free yourself from the gridlock!

I'm also human, and I make mistakes. My driver's ed instructor told me that a good driver makes a mistake about once a minute. Motorists, I've driven in rush hour traffic probably just as much as you have. I know how frustrating it is. You're tired, you're cranky, you just want to get home after a hard day of work, you just paid your $400 car payment, you just paid an arm & a leg for North Dakotan oil that somehow is $3.52/ gallon because of uprisings in Nigeria, and some jerk in another car cut you off. I'm sorry I was dodging a pothole and you had to slow down to 20mph.

I don't condone riding through stop signs/lights. I'd also argue that many people observed in this video are hardly serious cyclists. I noticed most of them wearing cotton and some wearing music players while riding--telltale signs of those who ride infrequently and thus have little experience and knowledge about how to be courteous on the road and responsible cyclists. Ticket them.

By the way, motorists, you should thank me. Every time I ride my bicycle, I'm one less car at the crosstown, I'm 2 less gallons of gas burnt (thus decreasing the demand and theoretically the price), I'm healthier and will statistically be less likely to consume heath care costs that the state or my employer would otherwise assume. I'm also happier--both because exercise promotes mental health, and I have a good excuse to enjoy a beer afterwards with friends.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Packers Vs. Vikings, May 2008

In a long awaited match on Super Tecmo Bowl, the Packers met the Vikings in the TecmoBowl for a retro match.

The Vikings won the toss, and started off with solid momentum earning them a touchdown on their first push, but were matched in the endzone in a smoking ground assault end around orchestrated by Sterling Sharpe.

The Vikings were obviously crushed, and in their next series, Wade Wilson succumbed to a Safety.

The pain continued for the remainder of the first half with aerial connections between Don Majkowski and his fleet of receivers.

The first half came to a close with the Vikings finding their offense completely useless and had to resort to a gutless 3-point consolation courtesy of The Fuad.

A solid push by the Vikes in the second half found Anthony Carter high stepping in the endzone on totally lucky plays, as evidenced by Wade Wilson's second taste of endzone dirt in their next series.

After yet another 65 yard pass which appeared to be carried by Hermes himself landed in the hands of Sterling Sharpe, the Packers gave the ball to Michael Haddix, who stiff-armed what seemed to be the entire Vikings defense for a glorious endzone celebration.

A rough way to start the 2008 season for the '91 Vikings roster.

Pack 39-24