Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ice Day

Didn't ride in this morning. I'm wishing i had, but hindsight is always 20/20. I knew i would regret it as soon as my boss and i left my house in his car, one because i had a feeling but mostly because i saw that the main roads were just fine.
Ben made it in just fine and as a matter of fact, turned over a decent time going in. He said it was a bit scary but no problems.

The farmers almanac looks something like:
So its been close to being correct. But i bet i could have been "close to being correct" too. I'm just hoping for no more big precipitation days anytime soon which according to Accuweather isn't too far off from "close to being correct":
With all that said about commuting and the weather, i have to think about training and what i should be doing. From reading everyone else's blogs, i gather that i should be logging miles and lots of them and thats about it.
There is an upcoming race i am planning on doing called the Snowball Crit #1. Its in VA Beach and its on Feb 22nd. Thats the goal for the start of my first real racing season.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snow Day

This morning it started to snow:
And i took off via bike despite that fact. i pulled up to the exit of my neighborhood and no sooner did i stop at the stop sign, that a car across the road wreck into the guard rail. *AWESOME*. i grabbed my manhood, said a quick prayer, clipped into my bike, and took a right turn to work.
After a short ride the only complaint was my eyes. My eyes took a beating from all the snow. Had i grabbed my ski goggles like i had thought about doing, then i wouldn't have had any real complaints.
If there is a question about wearing ski goggles why riding a bike, well:
Andy Hampsten did it while winning the 88 that makes it ok. But, I'm by no means comparing my 6.5 mile journey in the snow from home to work to Andy's crazy break away during a freak snow storm.

I got to work relatively dry but my bike faired different:

With that has started to snow again and i'm out of here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Of Whales and Woes

This morning i left the house late and took the short route and i had a ton of time to kill at work, so i did a few laps around the mile(.85) loop in our business park to make up some miles. By the time i had gotten a mile away from work it started snowing slightly and when i was doing laps it was all out snowing. But, it subsided shortly after.
So with this upcoming weather:
Which is obviously very ridable, nothing too terrible to complain about, but I'd rather be prepared with the proper gear. So with those 3 days being today, tomorrow, and Wednesday, on my lunch break i purchased the SKS Race Blade Fenders XL and Fox Fluid Rain Jacket. Both of which should assistant in keeping the exterior wetness on the exterior.

I do remember that day fairly well, even though i was all of 3 or 4 years old. It was my birthday and i got a bike (i think) and i was doing laps around the circle in front of our house. Sold at a young age...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Nice Day

Woke up at 630 yesterday (Saturday). Big winds (lots of head winds...). 41 degrees. 1 gear. 70 miles. 3hrs 50mins.

it was a nice day.

Saw Frost/Nixon yesterday night after going to PF Chang's with my wife. good movie good food.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Red Tacks

All signs pointed back towards bed this morning...or at the very least taking the short route to work. It was just one of those mornings. I was tired, my legs were sore, its was an enjoyable 13 degrees outside, i was dragging and procrastinating. But despite all that, in my quest to be a family of 1 motor vehicle, i hopped on my bike. Shortly there after i was cruising along just dandy or as dandy as you can be in 13 degree weather on a bike, and i hear *clunk* *clunk* *clunk*. So i decided to figure out what the hell is making that noise. I stop and spin my back wheel to discover a nice little red tack. a few thought went through my mind at that moment, "maybe i can still probably not", "maybe i can take it out and nothing will"...pppsssssss....yeah. that didn't work, nice thought though. This was my first test of changing a tube on the road....ever. Its my 3rd flat ever too. I think i have a bit of luck on my side. But, regardless of all that, i did it. I changed the flat and pressed on. I was proud of myself.

More doping comes through the headlines...
I hope they make some progress with Operation Puerto.

The Oscar nods are posted. a few things that have to happen or i won't watch the Oscars again...
  • Slumdog wins both best picture and director
  • Rourke wins best actor
  • Ledger wins support actor
  • Wall-E animated feature
  • Wall-E or Slumdog win original score
a few predictions and great expectations.

Go Cardinals!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday & Sunday and being 10

Today is Sunday. Its about 30 degrees outside, which considering the past couple of days is actually warm. I really find it difficult (and depressing) to try and ride outdoors on the weekends, the days i should be do my 50 mile rides (that's long for me and my fixie). For the past few months I've been slowly (very slowly) accumulating winter cycling gear, but i seem to always be just slightly behind the weather on timing. For instance, I've been waiting (for money) to purchase a certain sweet pair of tights and hardcore gloves, which i could go do today, but i really could have used them this past week. Specially since Friday night's ride home parts of my legs swoll up from the stinging cold. Most of the time i just suck it up once I'm out on the bike but to get out there, its super difficult.

I'm hoping to just hang out a month or two longer and maybe I'll be OK come racing time. I mean, I'm racing CAT 5 and honestly to be "OK" would consist of being able to stay in the pack and not die. I'm hoping to learn about pack racing this season, because up till now the only racing I've done is ITT's and making breaks on intense group rides (back about 7 years ago). Though from what I've read on seasoned racer's blogs, CAT 5 is like a bad group ride gone wrong.

Even farther back about 12 years was this...
I ran the 1 mile kids race in 7:14 at the age of 10. The guy that won the 5k ran barefoot...i think he ran it in 16 or 17 I thought he was amazing. If you couldn't tell i beat all the other kids and got that cool trophy. I was pretty proud. My dad's pacing and coaching are what helped...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Frozen Beards and Light Grenades

While this whole week I've been complaining about the wicked cold, this morning i experienced the worst of it. I checked online when i left to get a brief idea of just how cold it was outside, 10 F. I was later told my fellow commuter that there was a windchill of below 0...ouch. Luckily 90% of my hiking is done in the dead of winter so i have winter performance gear which i was able to layer up with this morning in combination with my cycling clothes. Despite the extra clothes my face remained bare (save a little beard) there for rendering my face defenseless against the cold...the result looked like this:
I did put Vaseline on my face before i left hence the nice glistening reflection my face has. But i honestly could feel much and every hair follicle was frozen to its surrounding neighbors. Also unfortunately any precipitation that left my mouth (or nose) became immediately frozen to my facial hair leaving me looking like i have rabies. The Vaseline also froze moments after i left my house, which was a weird feeling.

The ride itself was kind of difficult but nothing over bearing.

I visited the library for another round of free CDs and DVDs. I picked up Incubus's Light Grenades which is slightly disappointing. I'm happy i didn't go to purchase it. I grew up a huge incubus fan and from time to time i still enjoy some of their music, but Light Grenades seems to be the culmination of bad ideas and wasted talent, or it could be just poor song writing. Its not even enjoyable pop.

The movie selection wasn't that great either, but they did have classics such as Jurassic Park and Forest Gump. Jurassic Park is the first movie i ever remember watching in theaters and i saw it in an IMAX theater. I loved it so much that when it came to television a year or two later i recorded on a VHS and promptly watched it everyday for an extended period of my life (i was home schooled so i had tons of time for it). I also picked up Chicago and Miracle...and like Darryl said Chicago is a joke, i couldn't believe it won 6 Academy Awards...are people insane?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jerrys Subs and Pizza sucks.

Sometime after lunch i worked up a new logo for Jerry's Subs and Pizza. I went there because they had a 4 inch Philly Cheesesteak for $2.99 which over the radio before I've eaten breakfast sounds mighty good. So thinking I'm being economical, today a co-worker and i went over to Jerry's and took advantage of this "deal". I bought two because it was still slightly cheaper (about $.71) than buying the 8 inch. Thinking about this post-purchase i figured that not only could i have spent nearly the same amount of money for a sub 30% larger than my two combined, but i guarantee it would have been tastier. Upon this realization we (my co-worker and i)started to mentally compare prices of Jerry's (crap-decent food) to any ordinary mom & pop joint (like Mama Mia's or Big Joe's) and you can get more and better pizza from Big Joe's as two slices than you can from Jerry's as a medium pizza and Mama Mia's subs are far superior to Jerry's and 4 inches longer for around the same price....never again. Jerry's is a rip off and for some reason my idiocy makes me angry.

Last i checked (about an hour ago) it was 28 degrees outside, and now with the sun setting I'm preparing to face the cold again. My beard froze on the ride in, kind of weird considering there was no precipitation (you figure that out).

My last two posts had pictures i personally took. A nice change of pace. I'm going to attempt to keep that up.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shop time

Finally worked at the shop yesterday evening. They cut hours for the part time guys, so i haven't been there much recently. The title picture is a view of our working area.

One thing i liked about the shop when i first started was the "shop bike". Its kind of like the "shop pet", but in bike form. Also, this bike is a conglomeration of warranty parts and pieces donated, there for making it the "shop mutt". From what I'm told the only part on the bike that has been on every previous "shop bike" is the rickety metal basket mounted on the front (for obvious food transportation from local spots like Mama Mia's or Big Joe's. Mama Mia's for subs, and Big Joe's for pizza).
Needless to say the parts wouldn't conventionally be apart of the same construction but...well there really isn't an excuse. If you happen to take a turn while pedaling, you'll soon find that the wheels and cranks don't belong to that frame, and if you're unlucky you might experience the pain that gravity can inflict.

(There is a better view of that basket.)

Friday's forecast is a high of 22 and a low of 8. oh yeah. I'm so looking forward to that.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bike Project II

Last night i stopped by my parent's house just to visit. I needed to go by there regardless of being able to stay and visit or not because i had some stuff to pick up, but i had a bunch of time to kill so my wife and i stayed for a while.

The stuff i had to pick up were two bike frames and a stockpile of wheels and a few other parts like cranks and bottom brackets and such.
(That is my first road bike, which was too small for me and i still rode the crap out of it.)
(This is my dad's racing bike from his HS/College bike. He actually rode it up until about 10 years ago and he bought a new one.)
The first one will be for who ever. But my dad's old frame I'm making for him. It need a bunch of work but i think i can get it put together well and looking great.

With these projects hopefully i can get more people riding. I've also been working on encouraging my wife to start riding a bike to work. Its just barely over 5 miles for her. and it has almost all bike paths the whole way there. and the parts that it doesn't, its a giant *clean* shoulder. So I'll teach her to change a flat and get her hooked up. She probably won't start till there is more sunlight and a bit warmer, but regardless i think this will be great. She's got a little MTB that should work perfectly and if she keeps it up, we can get her something a bit more efficient.
  • Myself (check)
  • Darryl (check)
  • Wife (pending)
  • Zach (pending)
  • Sabrina (?)
  • James (?) (do you own a vehicle? i know you got that VW bus...but a working vehicle?)
  • Alan (do you ride your bike around, like to class?)
  • Anyone else?
Good music sounds so much better on headphones. I am listening to Arcade Fire's Neon Bible and i don't believe I've ever listened to this album through headphone. Its quite good, and in fact I'm enjoying it on a completely different level.
(this is not me in the photo, nor anyone i know)

The weather the past two days has been very frigid. Yesterday i got to work and it was 21 degrees and today it was 29 degrees. When i leave the sun hasn't even risen yet so it definitely a bit warmer by the time i reach work. I've been wearing every article of clothing i could find to try and keep myself warm riding in. But despite the extreme cold, I've been performing at a much better level than the past few months.

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Project

Since buying my fixed gear a while back, many of my friends have asked how they can get one, how much they cost, etc.. And like many other fixie owners i cruise occasionally, well one time i found an interesting contest and the rules are as follows-
Build-Off Rules:
You must start with a complete geared bike - road, mountain, cruiser, etc. This means it must have been at least a 3-speed to begin with, and the finished bike has to have all the parts that a bicycle needs to be ridden. If you dont know what those parts are, then this is your chance to learn.
The bike must be [or have been] purchased used. Please don't use the old: "My Dad gave me an old Hetchins Magnum Opus Mk 3 from the garage." That ain't acceptable.You must use as many original parts as possible.
You cannot spend more than $147.83* US on the ENTIRE build. This includes the purchase price of the bicycle[s]. So shop hard!

Well with that in mind, i saw some of the bikes created and i thought it may be a good idea to try and do the same but for my friends.

Anything to get more people riding bikes. And just maybe i can get people at college campuses interested for a very economical price. Darryl shall help

If you are interested let me know. I start tonight with my old Raleigh.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Winter Weath III: Black Ice

I hit 40mph behind a bus going uphill. Up till that moment i had only gotten my track bike up to 35mph. It was pretty sick. All in all i had a decent ride today. I kind of fried myself about halfway through but luckily the rest of the way was fairly in my favor, save one short climb a little less than two miles from the end.

The only problem this morning was it was just below freezing and the past two days it has been raining non stop, so the roads were slick. I was pretty careful but i did slip around a couple of times. Lots of black ice everywhere.

My legs are working again, working very well in fact. So i think i'm just going to maintain everything I'm doing at this point. I have a feeling it was vitamins, though. I need to carefully read those ingredients.

There is a joke amongst some of my friends about Michael Bay films, which include:
  • Armageddon
  • Transformers
  • Bad Boys 1 and 2
  • The Island
  • The Rock
  • Pearl Harbor
If you paid attention in your High School English class then you know a plot line or story line goes something like this:
And well the joke is, a Michael Bay movie goes like this:
Enough said.

Sabrina, you should definitely buy the new TV on the Radio album. Specially if you enjoy ANY of their other music at all.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Winter Weather ll

Equipment to obtain:
  • Rain Jacket
  • Fenders
  • New Gloves (for colder temps)
  • Tights
I think that about covers it. The past couple of days have been brutal out there. I've actually skipped the last two days of riding due to rain. One was because i didn't want to dirty up the doctors office, but today...i woke up and it was just pouring outside and about 35 degrees...yeah right.

Last time i rode and i it that cold and raining at the same time, i got naked in my front hall of my house. The last time before that, that i was that wet and cold (not riding) was a miserable day in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Regardless, i'm put to shame by Ben who despite all weather conditions rides in, though in a moment here i'm picking him up from the shop to drive him home being that i'm heading his general direction.

I love TV on the Radio...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I had an even better ride home. I was close to reaching an avg 21mph. My least favorite stretch happened to be straight into the wind, but i was feeling a bit stronger than the past couple months so i hit it harder and everything worked out nicely...I've been debating on why maybe the loss of power and the gain of power and i changed a few things both times-
  • Diet
    • I switched to lots of salads, or less of things like pizza. I cut hamburger and other fatty foods. Relatively no junk food (except pizza).
  • Vitamins
    • started taking them and shortly after my power dropped through the floor. my mother-in-law(a nurse) told me if there was metabolism boosters in the vitamins (which i dont know) then it could indirectly effect me, if i'm not eating too much...makes sense in turn with the first variable
  • Position on bike
    • i slammed my seat forward the other day which helps but just how much?
With that said i changed all three of those things. I'm still watching my diet but not as strictly. I haven't taken my vitamins in a couple weeks. My position is much better, though my stroke is still jacked up because of my cleat but i'm fixing that tonight

I was about to mount my bike this morning and head out but i had decidedly the night before if it was raining that i wouldn't ride in. Reason being, is because i was going to the doctor's office to have another biopsy done and i thought it might be rude to dirty up their office and chair. Because of this morning i ordered a pair of SKS fenders to eliminate wetness on days when the road is soaked. After much debate i gave in. My buddy's brother has them on his bike, apparently as do many HC commuters. Ben JUST put some on his bike after 6 years of commuting without them. He said he felt stupid for just now realizing the magic these things perform.

Oh, the doctors-
I got 5 stitches in my left forearm, which should have removed all "pre-cancerous" cells.

Again, i LOVE Dear Science by TV on the Radio

Monday, January 5, 2009

Welcome Back...and just in time.

I finally had a nice ride this morning. It was the first time in a long time that i haven't felt like I'm getting on the bike for the first time ever. I added a couple extra turns in my usual route to try and jump up the millage without making a journey down roads i typically avoid. Only they are small gains that really equate to an extra mile or two unfortunately. I'll figure it out soon enough...
Music Review
I picked up TV on the Radio's newest album this afternoon. I attempted to purchase it on or but both seemed to only save me a small hand full of change and subsequently i would have to wait 3-5 business days or something along those lines. That trade off didn't seem worth it. So i hitched a ride to Bestbuy on my lunch break and purchased it the old fashion way...electronic gift cards. Anyway, onwards to the music portion...The album is very solid. Darryl attempted to allow me to hear it once on our way to Fountainhead MTB Park, but if you know Darryl, you also know he has music ADD with his i-pod. So i heard about 1/3 of a one song and then on to something else.
Again, the album is solid. I won't pronounce them the best new thing or the future of music, or whatever else i deemed them after Return to Cookie Mountain, but i will say they make great music consistently, and its consistently interesting.
I finished watching Burn After Reading, and despite all that i heard, i enjoyed it immensely. So much so, i would watch it again, probably a few times. It was quite hysterical in a Coen Brother's way. I think the problem most people have with the movie is their perception of what it was supposed to be...Trailers seem to, at times, give people the wrong impression of how a film is supposed to be (i.e. Funny, Sad, Action Packed, etc.).
Take for example: Alien vs. Predator
Most people who have seen the trailer, thought maybe this was an action packed sci-fi thriller, but if you saw the movie you would know that it is quite the opposite...its a comedy. I was under the impression my friends were under the influence when they asked me to go see it with them, not understanding the comedic genius i was about to witness. Upon laughing loudly and hearing the entire theater erupting in the same laughter i realized the trailer had misconstrued what this film really was about.
While this may not have been the best comparison for Burn After Reading's trailer misinterpretation, it will have to suffice. I think people just forget that its a Coen Brother's film. Characters no matter the actor playing them, or how invested you are into certain character, they are all expendable and we'll leave it at that. The ending of the film just makes it that much better. I'd say probably one of their best endings.

Interpol, TV on the Radio, Radiohead, Talking Heads, Gorillaz and Q and Not U.
Burn After Reading, No Country For Old Men, Bottle Rocket, Snatch

Friday, January 2, 2009

Winter Weather

Holidays are over thankfully

Wednesday's ride was great. I rode in at 630 am in very calm weather. Only to be criticized by my co-workers (like most days) for my "stupidity" on riding in that day, since we were supposed to have wind gusts up to 50mph. Well those gusts happened along with a constant wicked strong wind. I left the bike shop after dropping by for a couple hours of inventory. I got honked at twice followed by a nice guy who waved at me. I chatted with him at the light about idiots that drive cars, commuting, the bike shop, etc. I proceeded on with a gay wave as i passed the guy who honked at me.

I could tell it was super windy, due to the fact that every once in a while i would almost get blown all the way across the lane. Unfortunately i was about to turn straight into the wind. When i did, my little computer started to whimper. I think it may have been embarrassed to be on my bike? Regardless i pressed on. I had noticed earlier some flurries had started to appear but thus far in NOVA we have yet to see some actual snow that has actually stuck around for a while. Well as i continued trudging along the flurry's population grew into almost full on snow. At that moment feeling very Andy Hampsten-esque, so i decided to extend my ride farther. I also dropped by Blockbuster to pick up a movie. Right after that i turned with the wind and my pace increased dramatically.

Into the wind: 8.5mph-10mph (tons'o'effort)
With the wind: 25mph-30mph (no effort)

It was fun.
The movie i got at Blockbuster was Burn After Reading. Thursday morning/afternoon, my wife and i started to watch it. I had heard from many people that this movie sucked, which i took with a grain of salt only because it is by the Cohen Brothers who are notorious for making great movies that a lot of people don't "get" (not saying I do "get" it, but i enjoy their movies none-the-less). In this case, so far I've thoroughly enjoyed the movie, but I've only seen 1/3 of it.

Yesterday my dad and i kept our unusual streak for seeing non-typical Father-Son movies. When i say Father-Son Movies, i think things such as (recent ones) Quantum of Solace, Valkyrie, or (past) Die Hard, The Incredible Hulk, etc. But my dad and i typically change our minds right before we go in and see something else entirely...the (short) list goes as follows in chronological order:
  1. Hotel Rwanda
  2. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
  3. Slumdog Millionaire
While you may say,"that's not so unusual." I'd respond, "Why, yes. Yes it is." Generally speaking my Dad isn't very emotional, nor does he typically enjoy quirky movies. So that makes the first two odd, but then Slumdog Millionaire i guess is just so good that anyone can enjoy it. For the record...i cried the entire way through Hotel Rwanda, next to someone who i don't think I've ever seen a tear form.
Slumdog Millionaire is definitely good....Lives up to the hype? That's up to you.

Radiohead is the best.