Finally the weather has cleared up and the rest of the planets have aligned to allow me to commute to/from work for the first time today. Here’s the new route:
Even tho it is a tad bit longer than my old route and the roads are a bit busier, I think I’m going to like this route (necessitated by the construction of the new West Bush Lake Road bridge) a bit better. First, instead of two major hills you get a bunch of smaller ups and downs, which adds a bit of variety to the commute. Second, part of the commute goes around Lake Smetana. This morning I saw some bunnies, a squirrel and a bunch of birds. Wonderful way to start your morning.
Also, the absence of showering facilities at the new office wasn’t really a problem, either. I leave a bit early so I can make sure to do some cooldown laps around the parking lot, then when I get in I stay in my biking clothes for a bit longer than normal until I’ve “cooled down”, using some towels to aid in the perspiration removal. A bit of body spray and a fresh set of clothes finishes the cleanup. No comments from the coworkers today! Woo!
Well, 2 months of bike commuting/riding.
Yesterday I passed the 700 mile mark on my bike in grand style with a 15.5 mile bike ride. Started down to Normandale Lake, around a few times, then down Normandale Blvd to 94th. At the light I took a right down into the residential area, then hugged the border of Hyland Lake Park Reserve down to Old Shakopee Rd. Finally hopped into the park, rode the trails back to East Bush Lake Rd, then the short 1.5 mile jaunt up East Bush Lake Rd back to the apartment.
Today I repeated nearly the same route, instead of starting at the apartment I commuted back from work. This time it totalled 16.5 miles, bringing the total for the week (including the 4 miles into work this morning) to 36 miles.
Both are new records for non-stop biking for me, and today is definitely a new record for single-day biking. Feels good to be able to pump away for 16.5 miles up and down all the hilly terrain around here.
I don’t think I’ll be doing the MS 150 or anything in the immediate future, but I look forward to the day where I can do 30 miles in a day effortlessly!
So, last week was a difficult one to bike, considering all of the activities going on. I managed to get my 16 miles in (two days of biking to/from work).
The really cool thing from last week, tho, has to be that I managed to make it up the Highwood hill all in one go. No stopping at the bottom to rest before the attempt, no stopping at the top once I made it. Last year I had managed to make it up without stopping by taking Telegraph Rd (which is a much easier incline) and then just finishing the top of the Highwood hill. It felt good to make it all the way up without stopping, another accomplishment!
I didn’t bike yesterday, but already this week I’ve racked up 22.75 miles. I rode into work normally (although even there I broke the 13 mph average speed I had been struggling with so far this season) and then took the long route home with an extra loop around Normandale Lake.
BTW, here’s the long route:
I also signed up for the ePHIT program through Medica, my health insurance provider. Not quite sure how well I like the site yet, but I’ll be giving it a try this week to see what kind of features it offers. Looking for some guidance for working on the upper body, since I’m a bit worried about being a bit unbalanced with all the working of the legs I’ve been doing.
The National Map is a great example of government serving the people. In my quest to better characterize my bike trips, I wanted to figure out how steep the hills were leading up to my apartment. I did some quick searches on the web, but all I could find was poorly scanned images of topographic maps or maps for which you had to pay.
I had finally resigned myself to purchasing a map, thought I’d go to the US Geological Survey and see if I could purchase it directly from them. After a few clicks, I found The National Map, which is a compendium of most of the topographic data the USGS has on the US. You can overlay features, click between two points and get the difference in distance and altitute and all kinds of other great information. Found out I regularly bike a 5% grade to/from work (The Highwood Hill) which, at times, exceeds 8%. Found out, over my entire trip to/from work I actually go down about 50 ft, which helps explain why it always felt like I went up more hills in the evening than I did in the morning!
Well, I just turned over 920 miles on my bike earlier tonight. Due to construction, I’ve been trying out different routes, kinda like the variety. Falling a bit behind my goal for the season, but I’m hoping that the long term weather forecasts are correct and that we’ll have fewer rainy days throughout the rest of the autumn which will allow me to pick up at least a few more hundred miles.
Some things I’ve noticed:
Of course, no list would be complete without talking about the bike. My Specialized 2004 Expedition Sport is doing just dandy, even tho it has surely taken a beating this year while being driven through mud and rain and a pretty rough wipe-out. About the only thing I’d change is to increase the gearing a bit - I often find myself in 21st gear (3 in the front, 7 in the back) and I want to shift it even further.
This year I don’t have the luxury of shower facilities at work, which I knew would decrease the number of commutes I’d make to/from work. I’ve also had the temptation of a fully working car all season, too, whereas last year I only had a bike while my car was in the shop for about three weeks. But I still had a goal to surpass the bike mileage from last year by at least 100 miles. (About 20%)
I’ve got two remaining goals for the rest of the season, both of which will contribute to the original goal of putting on more miles on my bike this year than I did last year. The first is to participate in the Saint Paul Classic Bike Tour on September 12th. I plan on doing the 30 mile route; I’m really excited to get an opportunity this year to try it out.
Assuming that all goes well, the second goal is to bike all the way up to Saint Cloud. I’m still researching the best route to take, but I plan on doing it a week or two after I validate my abilities on the 30 mile Saint Paul Classic ride. (The longest ride I’ve taken so far this summer was 22.5 miles after work a few weeks ago)
This morning I passed the 1000 mile mark on my bike. A great milestone to meet right before I attempt the 30 mile Saint Paul Classic Bike Tour tomorrow.
This morning my dad and I did the 30 mile Saint Paul Classic Bike Tour. I’ve never done a bike tour or ride; my dad hadn’t done one since 1971! But, we hitched the bikes up on the rack and drove down near University of Saint Thomas, the starting (and ending) location. We got about a half mile from the University, parked, and rode in.
At first things seemed to be in disarray. There were thousands of bicycles and the riders moving around every which way. But, as we approached the big tent we found the signs directing us where to sign up and did so. About 10 minutes and we were off.
Most of the beginning of the ride was downhill, which made for a very smooth start. All of the streets were closed off, intersections controlled by VERY friendly police officers who were not afraid of giving the bicyclists multiple green lights at a time while traffic waited to cross the route. The route had tons of signs, explaining each turn, rest areas, reminding slow riders to ride to the right, etc. The ride along the river was beautiful. While I had driven the river portion of the route many times before in my car - it wasn’t until this ride that I was able to truly appreciate it and see all the wonderful scenery.
The organizers of the ride claim:
“Is the course difficult?
Ramsey Hill, on the short route, is quite steep and many folks will need to walk their bikes up. On the long route, there are three moderate uphill climbs.”
Both my dad and I agree that while there are three SEMI-moderate inclines, that there were 4-5 other inclines where you still huffed and puffed to get to the top. During the race my dad and I were unsure where the “third” moderate incline was, but upon further reflection I’m guessing we overlooked the first one which was just past 35E on Shepard Road. We agreed that the other two were the ascent as you approached Highway 61 on Warner Road and the climb highlighted on the map on Wheelock Parkway. The other “smaller” inclines were still quite the workout, to be sure.
After we hit our pace, we realized that my dad was quicker on the descents (his bike is much more rigged up for road riding, smaller tubes, etc) and I was quicker on the inclines. It didn’t take us long to adopt the whole “meet you after the hill” idea where we could each go our own pace and end up together again after the course leveled back out.
When I had checked in I noticed my dad’s cousin had also signed up for the race. We kept our eyes open for him, knowing that the odds we’d pick him out in a crowd of so many bikes were next to none. But, as luck would have it, right as we got onto Mounds Parkway we came up upon him and had a great chat as we biked our way to the rest area.
We didn’t stop (other than for quick breathers and to chit-chat with the relative) until we hit the Como Park Pavillion, which at about 23 miles in the ride is a perfect place to stop, get some snacks and refill the water bottles. We got back on the road again and headed for the finish line, completing the 30 mile route in about 2 hours and 25 minutes, or 12.5 miles per hour.
We picked up our t-shirts, rode back to the car and drove on home.
I really enjoyed the ride - certainly the weather couldn’t have been better considering it was 65-75 the entire sunny day with just enough wind to keep things cool. At 31 miles (including the mile to/from the car) it was the furthest I had biked in one day ever. While there were hills, much like the riding I do around the apartment, there were also great level runs which made the ride great for everybody. And I’m so glad my dad came along - being able to chit chat and pace myself with someone I knew made everything that much more enjoyable.
My dad and I both agreed we’d meet again next year and do it all over again. :)
I’m up looking at the weekly iTunes free download and I see an ad for Green Day Collectible CD-R’s.
I’m not a huge Green Day fan, but I admire the band for putting together something like this. I mean, how cool? Professionally silkscreened artwork, perfect for your “Best of Green Day” collection.
My old boss, Jim, used to buy those Verbatim “Vinyl” CD-R’s at a premium for creating his compilation CDs for all the bands he used to listen to back in college. Neat, I thought, but at the premium they were priced over standard CD-R’s I didn’t necessarily think they were worth it.
But, combining the two options, wouldn’t it be kinda neat to go hit a website, browse a catalog of CD-R silkscreens and then order a bunch in quantity? I use my iPod most of the time, but it would be neat to burn some of my favorite mixes off to a neat themed CD-R. Not necessarily artist-themed, but more generic. I could imagine, for example, burning one of my workout soundtracks to a CD with a bike on it…or burning my “August Joy” CD to a CD-R with a big crayon drawing of the sun.
15 years ago today, I would have been…
1. 13, 8th Grade, living with my parents in Spring Lake Park, MN
2. Finishing my sixth and final year in the Metropolitan Boys Choir with a tour of Germany and Austria the following June
3. Had my first serious girlfriend, Jennifer Burnett. We would always sit together at lunch and play footsie.
10 years ago today, I would have been…
1. Just arrived at GMI in pursuit of a computer engineering degree
2. Logging into ISCA BBS for the first time
3. Figuring out how to forge email From: addresses
5 years ago today, I would have been…
1. Contemplating leaving Investment Advisers Inc. after 7.5 years to go work for Agiliti
2. Finishing up Y2K Compliance documentation and testing
3. Driving Twinkie through downtown Minneapolis in a shirt and tie, commuting to work
3 years ago today, I would have been…
1. Going to couple’s therapy
2. Refinancing the house
3. Preparing for the worst
1 year ago today, I was…
1. Trying to keep all the plates spinning
2. Moving Wizmo HQ across the street
3. Finishing up the first summer of bicycle commuting
So far this year, I have…
1. changed my hairstyle
2. fixed up Twinkie
3. dropped 4 inches around my waist
1. worked a full day
2. cleaned the apartment
3. reconnected with 2 long-lost friends
1. sat in meetings all day
2. had dinner with the ‘rents
3. fixed my Dad’s computer
1. meet with customers
2. take Mel for a ride in Twinkie and have dinner
3. call for new tires on the Beetle
Right after lunch today I came down with a horrible toothache.
I highly doubt a Chicken Ceasar Salad from Fuddrucker’s would have injured me. I’m guessing it is some kind of cavity or something previously undiscovered but lurking - waiting for the worst possible moment to surface. (Got a busy few days ahead of me, getting ready for the Durand Family Turkey Day and the trip down to Texas over Thanksgiving!)
Can’t get into the dentist until tomorrow…luckily I still have some pain killers from my trip to the ER earlier this year, so they’ve been helping me through it. (Advil didn’t really help at all!)
More on this story as it develops…
Went into the dentist this morning to have my toothache looked at by a professional. I decided to go to the Park Dental in Edina; they had a cancellation so I grabbed a 10:00am appointment with Dr. Berg. I had gone to the Park Dental in Eagan for my crown, so I thought it would be handy to stay within the system so that my records would transfer over.
Got in, had to fill out all the new patient forms anyway. I’m guessing this is just a precaution, as I know they could access my old records so they could call me about the cancellation. (I hadn’t given them my phone number when making the original appointment) Mandy was the assistant who walked me back. A few x-rays later they had pinpointed the cause of my pain…had an infection inside the root of my #7 tooth had spread up and down my jaw and in the soft tissue. They were rather taken aback by how advanced the progress was considering the pain had only started yesterday around noon.
I’ve never really had a lot of dental work done…my teeth are generally in pretty good shape. I had one filling about 10 years ago, another couple of fillings about 4 years ago and then the crown on my rear molar 2.5 years ago. When I heard root canal I began to get a bit concerned…everyone seems to dread them, and considering my pain tolerance being so low I was worried what I had gotten myself into. Dr. Berg had really good chairside manner, explained what he was gonna do, showed me the x-rays and then added in a little humor to relax me a little. The worst pain was the novocain injections…after that it was just listening to the drill and hearing the file sliding against my tooth enamel.
After the root canal was done and the temporary filling in place I still had quite a bit of tenderness in my gums. Dr. Berg decided to slice open the gums to allow the infection to drain a little bit quicker. The taste was awful…luckily, Mandy was ready with her suction and got most of it out before it got too bad. I left with a bunch of gauze rolled up in my mouth where the incision had been made. I took the prescriptions over to Target, picked up some soup and waited for the prescription to be filled.
(Warning, vile details ahead)
On my way out to the car I began to shiver…mostly in my jaw, but my body began to shiver as well. I turned on the heat, warmed myself up and drove to work. Once I got to work, my shivering continued…I realized I needed to get some water and food in me ASAP.
I started telling my story to my coworkers; about how unexpected the root canal was while I cooked up my soup and drank a bunch of water. Got back to my desk, took a sip of the soup and put it to the side. It just didn’t taste right. I swallowed my painkillers and amoxicillin, tho, and tried to get to work.
Had a meeting at 1, which I forced to be moved when I couldn’t make it in this morning. I began preparing for the meeting…when all of a sudden I exploded. This awful brown liquid came shooting out of my mouth, all over the laptop and desk. When the second urge kicked in, I managed to grab the trashcan and direct it in there. Sadly, JManDoo and another coworker got first row tickets to this amazing display. This is the first time in my adult life I’ve thrown up…I hope it is the last time. I wiped down the laptop and desk, packed up and came home. On my way home, I called up the dentist and asked for an alternate antibiotic.
He wasn’t sure if it was an allergy to the antibiotic or if it was because I had swallowed so much blood and infectious material from the gum incision, but he thought getting a second antibiotic would be a good idea nonetheless. I came home, ended up napping for a few hours.
I’m hoping that the pain will subside as the good doctor told me it would over the next few days as the antibiotics kick in. Ouch.
I’m slowly getting better. Replacing gauze every few minutes is starting to get old, but I’d rather do that than taste that awful crap oozing out.
I think I eliminated the amoxicillin as the cause of the throwing up incident earlier, too, as I threw up again on my way to picking up my second type of antibiotics (and hadn’t taken the amoxicillin again since earlier). Managed to get the car pulled over to the side of the road just in time to jump out and let loose all over the road. Let people try and figure out what THAT puddle was from!
I’m gonna head to bed here shortly, as I think the need to replace the gauze has ceased for the time being. Hopefully the doc was right and I’ll be back on my feet happy go lucky tomorrow morning. Here’s hoping!
Woke up every four hours last night, took my vicodin, a glass of water and went back to sleep.
I haven’t been able to keep any food down for the past 2 days or so. I picked up some bananas on my way into work, been eating them here at my desk. So far, so good, they are staying down just fine. I feel a bit of energy returning, too. I’ll have to move up to something with more substance here this afternoon, try and get some food into me so I’m not dragging so much.
Swelling has gone down a good deal, but it is still there. Hopefully the antibiotics (which I’ve also been able to keep down) will help out in that department.
If 10 were perfectly normal, 1 was on my death bed, I’d put myself around a 4 today. (Which is up from a 2 yesterday afternoon)
Well, I made it through the night last night using only ibuprofen instead of the vicodin I had been using. Still not sleeping well, but I have been managing to keep food down and the rest of my digestive system is slowly working again.
I made the call at noon today that I was gonna go forward with the Durand Family Turkey Day tomorrow, so now I’ve got some catching up to do in that regard. Need to do the grocery shopping I was gonna do on Thursday night, get all the food stuffs, defrost the turkey, prepare the cranberry sauces and roux tonight. Then get to bed early so I can get up, brine the turkey and get everything going tomorrow so I can still make it to the movie in the morning while the turkey is cooking.
Be a hectic afternoon and evening, but I’ll be much happier tomorrow when everyone comes together and we get to celebrate together before we have to split up.
‘course, tomorrow night I’ll be busy packing for the trip, since I leave for that on Monday at 4pm. Seems like the weather will be beautiful down in Texas, can prbly get away with wearing shorts most of the time. (Much to the chagrin of my sister, I suspect, since it’ll be obvious I’m from up north when I’m walking around in shorts in 70 degree weather!)
I’ll be writing a bunch of journal entries as I have time and getting them up as soon as possible.
Went back to the dentist today to finish the root canal they started two weeks ago. The root canal went off without a hitch…although it looks like the tooth has decayed to the point where a cap would be a good idea.
Because of the holidays and everything else, I won’t go back in to have that looked at until mid-January. This works out just fine, since in the meantime I’ll get my teeth all cleaned up, which will make the work on the cap proceed that much quicker when the time comes.
So, here I was prepared to write up an entry complaining how I was getting a late start this year on bike commuting, until I went through my archives and found this post from last year. I’m actually starting on the exact same day I did last year…how cool is that?
‘course, last year I didn’t have the 30 mile Ironman Bike Ride scheduled before the end of this first month! (Sunday, April 24th to be exact!) I’ve got my work cut out for me as I try to get myself ready for the same length of ride I finished the season with last year.
The West Bush Lake Road bridge over 494 was finished over the winter, which means that I can take either my original route from two years ago or the alternate route I used last year to add a bit of variety to my commutes. The options will be invaluable this year as I have already decided I’m going to attempt to ride much more often to work than I did last year…the flexibility of having two running vehicles should make that goal a bit easier to achieve. (Twinkie is one of said vehicles…making transportation of my bike much easier than squeezing it into the Beetle every time I want to take it somewhere!)
The last item deserves a bit of comment, I think. It is so wonderful to see the business finally get turned around…and wonderful to see our corporate leadership (CEO, the Board) not only recognize their own contributions, but realize the role every employee played in the accomplishment. From very large projects which save us hundreds of thousands of dollars, to the little efforts like making sure all the lights are turned off when on one is around (“Hey, you’re spending MY profit sharing on those unused lights!”) we all performed together to bring in a great year.
So, for all the reasons above and more, I am in a celebratory mood. I forecast many Oreos and Northwood’s Creme Sodas this weekend…
4 days to go until the 30 mile Ironman Bike Ride!
Since I started the biking season last Thursday, I’ve biked as often as I could (considering we’ve had quite a bit of rain as of late). I started with a 17-mile day last week, followed by another 17-mile day Friday. (Friday also saw my odometer roll over 1100 miles as well!) Monday, I took a wonderful ride on the way home past the video store to drop off a movie, which brought me all around the construction going on around Highway 169 and a 12.5-mile day. Finally, today I broke 20 miles between the commute into work this morning and a nice tour around Normandale Lake and Hyland Park Reserve this evening.
More than 66 miles so far? I think that’s a great start…and I should be able to squeeze in some riding over the next few days as well.
I also stopped by Erik The Bikeman last night and went over a bunch of stuff. I brought in my Arkel Briefcase Pannier and explained to them how difficult it was to pedal properly when your feet are so big. (My foot hits the bag if I pedal on the ball of my foot, so I often pedal from the arch, a big no-no!) I think we decided the best approach was a front wheel rack, which it looks like they can order for a reasonable charge. My pannier will then hang off of the side of the front wheel instead of the back, which the bike guy assured me would take me only a few blocks to get used to once it was installed. Getting my pannier out of the way also lets me think about picking up some clipless pedals, which is something on my list for this year.
In addition, I complained to the guy about the difficulty I was having getting a comfortable riding position this year. It might just be that I’m pushing myself harder than I normally do at the beginning of the season, but this year I definitely don’t feel as comfortable in the saddle as I have done previously. He suggested I take the plunge and get myself a good pair of biking shorts to replace the cotton shorts I predominantly wear while biking which have seams in the wrong places, no padding, etc. I chose a pair of Mt. Borah Mens Baggy Shorts which I wore today much to the relief of my booty bones. :)
Weather is looking up for Sunday…I’m excited, it will be great to get a 30-mile in this early in the season. Speaking of weather, I have dumped AccuWeather after their horrible site redesign and have switched back to Weather Channel. Weather.com not only offers a spyware-free desktop weather applet, but you can customize the information depending on your needs. My Weather.com profile is setup to not only give me one-click access to hourly weather (important when you’re trying to figure out when the rain will really arrive) but it gives me a wealth of information such as sundown, daylight left, humidity, clothing suggestions, etc, which is perfect for an outdoor fitness enthusiast like myself.
It was a cold (47 at start, 57 at the end), windy day. No rain, luckily, but the wind’s effect on the event could not be overlooked. My guess would place it somewhere between 20-25 mph, which when trying to bike down a path adjacent to huge farm fields becomes quite the challenge.
Because of the temperatures, I wanted to get to the ride as late as possible, so I’d be as warm as possible throughout the ride. When I arrived at 9:30, parking was quite the issue…until, as luck would have it, I tracked down someone leaving (I guess they had already completed the ride!) so I got a spot right next to the entrance to the high school. This allowed me to leave the bike in the trunk of the Beetle until I got registered and all ready to go, which made the process much easier than having to not only bike to registration, but also securing the bike while I went into the high school to register.
The ride started off really hilly. Besides a mile route around the Lake Marion, the first half was completely up and down, one hill and then the next. I’m used to this kind of hill-intense biking around my apartment’s area, but after the Saint Paul Bike Classic’s fairly level course, I was expecting something a little bit less demanding, especially near the start. As luck would have it, most of the inclines were into the strong winds, which made it even more demanding. ‘course, as the website for the event explains,
“The Minnesota Ironman is not a race - but it is quite the test of personal strength, stamina and your commitment to cycling. The tradition began back in 1967 when the first IRONMAN Century was held, and named IRONMAN because of the time of year, the obvious lack of training, and the probability of inclement weather…”
After a rest stop around mile 18 that was well provisioned with lots of food and drink, I was off on the course again. The next 6 miles or so were mostly on nice, smooth trails with fairly level riding…with the wind to my back, I ended up easily cruising at a speed of 25 mph or more. Besides the final, huge climb in the last mile, which was only made difficult due to the proximity of the finish line, the most strenuous sustained pedaling was from mile 20 - 28, which was run alongside farm fields that provided no cover from the strong headwinds.
I finished the route in almost exactly 2.5 hours, which gives me an average speed of 12.4 mph, since the route was 31 miles long, according to the map/organizers. (I only registered 29.4 miles on my odometer…so I have made a note to check the calibration on the unit) Once I returned to the high school, I took down my bike, packed it back in the Beetle and went in to check back in. I picked up my t-shirt, gift bag and gobbled down some cookies on my way back out to the car.
I look forward to doing the ride again next year. I don’t know if I’d attempt the 60-mile ride without upgrading my bike, but I can certainly envision training better next year and attempting to quicken my pace now that I’ll have the experience of my first ride to guide my efforts. If I manage to not only upgrade my bike this year to a road bike, but also get a further head start on training, I certainly would love to attempt the 60-mile ride. The sag support, even on the 30-mile ride, was excellent and would be a welcome safety net on a longer ride. The rest stop was well organized, staffed and stocked to provide all the support necessary for the riders.
Tonight was the first game of the inaugural season of WAKA Kickball here in the state of Minnesota…and the City of Lakes, Minneapolis specifically. I had signed up a few weeks ago and had been waiting with great anticipation ever since.
WAKA, or the World Adult Kickball Association, has been around since 1998 and has been spreading around the US ever since. Our division, the MN Twin Cities Division has 6 teams, all averaging around 18 players. We play over on the soccer fields near Lake Calhoun, which makes for a beautiful setting and easy access for me via the bike routes if I ever chose to commute to the game via bike. Our season is 8 weeks long, plus a playoff event afterwards. You can find me/us at both 6:30pm and 7:15pm each Thursday night. I was assigned to the “Lake Minnetonka Purifiers” team, headed by a veteran player from one of the many DC divisions. (The league started, and is particularly popular, in the DC/Virgina area as you can see on this page over at the WAKA site which lists all the divisions)
I got to Lake Calhoun Park a bit early, which was perfect since I got to see the previous game between the “Uncle Rico Raiders” and the “Sexy Ball Kickers”. It looked like everyone was having great fun playing…and I was eager to get out onto the field, if for no other reason but to get a better chance of getting blown by some wind to keep the gnats away.
As the first game wound down, our team gathered together and did introductions. We got our official team jerseys and picked out our starting positions. (We’re the white team, which means I’ll be giving Era a workout this season in an attempt to keep the t-shirt nice and clean!) Soon we were walking over to the playing field and prepared for play.
After the referees read a standard rule and disclaimer, a game of rock/paper/scissors was used to decide who would kick first and who would field first. We won the toss and chose to kick first. Our kicking order was decided in rough alphabetical order, which placed me, the left fielder, second in the line-up between our center fielder and pitcher. Jason, the center fielder, kicked a single, and I kicked a single as well. Now we were rollin’!
We went through the first two innings with hardly any scoring pressure. I think we were all trying to establish our bearings after not playing for 10, 15 or 20 years. It wasn’t until the third inning that our batting order choice finally clicked in just the right way. We scored 9 runs in the top of the third, unanswered by our opponents when they were up to kick. In the fourth inning, we picked up an additional 3 runs and limited our opponents to 2 points in the bottom of the inning. The fifth inning was scoreless on both counts, leaving us with a point in our “Wins” column with a final score of 12 to 2.
On the defensive side, I only dropped two fly balls; otherwise, I think I must have caught 5 or so fly balls during the course of the game. In one particular case, I lunged forward to catch the ball as I ran up to catch it right behind the third baseman and felt it slip through my hands. I did manage to deflect it under my body, came down hard on it but had it wrapped up underneath me. I heard my teammates yell for me to send it to second, so I rolled off to my side, located second base and threw it over leaving just enough time for the second baseman to catch the ball and tag the runner.
After the game, we went over to the Uptown Bar and Cafe, the league bar and tossed back a few drinks over conversation. They have certainly got the best hot dogs I’ve had in a long time…and at $3.50 for a hot dog and a cold Grain Belt the price was certainly right, too.
Of course, now I’m paying for all the crazy plays, moves and lunges I performed over the course of the game, but it was so totally worth it. I enjoyed every last minute of the game…the team I’m on has great chemistry right out of the gate, and I really loved getting to play kickball again after all these years. I had forgotten how wonderful it was to play - all of the excitement of reaching home plate, watching that pop-up just drop right in the pocket gaining our team a base hit (kick).
Well, the old adage, “Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should” certainly applies to me today.
Sure, getting to tell stories of great diving catches, lunges back towards a base after an overrun and bringing home the first game in the “Wins” column were quite ego-boosting, walking around like a crippled old man wasn’t all that great!
My muscles aren’t sore…I think I have my biking to thank for that. However, the impact of a bike ride is nothing compared to running full speed towards a base, only letting up at the last minute and having all 300+ pounds of me push down on my legs when I try to stop on a dime. It feels like each of my joints are crying out in pain today!
In other news, the Twin Cities WAKA League photos from Week 1 were posted today. Frustraiting you can’t download full resolution photos from the gallery site, but they did manage to catch quite a few great shots (including some of yours truly, as you’ll see below!)
The second week of WAKA kickball was a promising outing. My team, the Lake Minnetonka Purifiers, was hot off a 12-2 blowout of the Number One Spot team from game 1. Our captain, Joshua, would finally be joining us after finishing his finals at school. All of our team would be in attendance (we only had 11 of the 17 people on the team at the first game). The outlook was incredibly hopeful.
As you might guess from above setup, this week’s game against the Godless Whores did not go as well as our first outing. We managed to pull in 5 runs, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the 6 runs the GW’s brought in. Disappointing, to be sure, but luckily we’ve got many more games yet to play during which we’ll be able to prove our unmatched kickball prowess…
The day was perfect…a bit muggy, but the Lake Minnetonka Purifiers were ready for battle against the dreaded “Sexy Ball Kickers”.
I called upon my trusty chariot Twinkie to travel down to kickball tonight. Twinkie hadn’t been on a long drive in some time…and considering the wonderful weather we had for the game today, it seemed like the perfect vehicle to ride into battle. I found a spot right next to the battlefield, parallel parked with haste and headed over to watch the 6:30 battle already in progress.
After the forces collected themselves, the traditional rock/paper/scissors contest decided we would be on the offensive first. Our captain, Joshua, revealed his plans to his troops for the battle. With our order set, positions assigned, we proceeded engage the enemy.
It was a bitter battle…balls were thrown, kicked, caught and then thrown again. In the end, the Lake Minnetonka Purifiers fell in battle 4 to 7. Wounds were bandaged, scorn was leveled, defeat was admitted. Then everyone retreated to the Williams Pub to negotiate the next stage of battle…flipcup. We did no better in flipcup than we did kickball this evening…the Uncle Rico Raiders finished us off in 3 straight team versus team flipcup matches.
The question on everyone’s mind - how does one pay for beer which is handled in a community manner at the flipcup tables? Should everyone bring their own beer? Should each team be responsible for their own tabs? These and the actual questions relating to the Lake Minnetonka Purifiers’ kickball performance will all be answered in time…we hope.
Also up for consideration…given how central flipcup (and by extension, beer drinking) is to the kickball experience…how long can Damon continue to categorize these entries in the “Fitness” category?
After our first week’s romp over the Number 1 Spot, the Lake Minnetonka Purifiers went down two straight weeks in a row to both the Sexy Blue Kickers and the Godless Whores. We were hungry. And, considering the messed up schedule our division put together, luck gave us another shot at the Number 1 Spot again. (Even tho we still haven’t played Your Team Sucks or Uncle Rico’s Raiders) A perfect meal?
Josh, Jason and I ref’d the early 6:30 game between the two undefeated teams, the previously mentioned Uncle Rico’s Raiders and the Godless Whores. The game started late, and ran even later. In the final inning, the Godless Whores pulled in just enough runs to end the game in a tie, leaving both teams still undefeated!
We grouped up and realized we only had 11 people show up this week. (The same number we had show up for the first game of the season against the same Number 1 Spot team) Luckily, it broke down that we met the minimum number of both boys and girls so we good to go. We lost at Rock, Paper, Scissors, which meant we were up first.
We totally had our game on, even with our reduced numbers, and pulled out an 9 to 3 victory, bringing our season record to 2 wins, 2 losses (on the kickball field). After the obligatory “good game” handshaking/high-fiving line, we were off to the bar.
The flip cup games weren’t well organized or played…and once again, the beer provisioning left much to be desired. However, our team captain, Josh, finally got to take on the wise-talkin’ member of the Your Team Sucks on a 4-on-4 showdown on flipcup, and bested him 2 out of 3 games. [Video Provided Here]
Josh was gone this week for the game, and so was our first week’s captain Jodi, so the honorable Dan Rothstein was our captain for the evening. During the week, I had setup LMPKickball.com, your source for authoritive LMP kickball coverage. As part of that effort, I put together a little Questionnaire to help complete each player’s bio page on the site. While we were waiting for the game to start, a few people took advantage of the downtime and filled out their questionnaires…the rest promised to submit them over the next week. I threatened that anyone not doing so would be punished by having a completely false bio put together…we’ll see how many people take the threat seriously.
This week we played the Uncle Rico’s Raiders, captained by the division president, Amy Ciardiello. As an added bonus, my parents made it out to the game to take in everything WAKA kickball is about (as much as they could without playing, of course!)
The game started off in a bad way for LMP, but in the end we managed to eek out a tie. Amy got semi-violent (you know she was that way ‘cause a beer went flying up in the air!) when the ump made a questionable call for the 4th out of an inning, but otherwise the game went off smoothly.
My mother’s comments were great…
“Whoever the captain of the green team is sure has a potty mouth!”
My parents and I took in a wonderful meal at Kinh Do and I headed over to Williams afterwards. The flipcup games had already began, so after visiting with the team (and picking up my first 2-for-1 drink special, Scooby Snacks, please!) I joined in and played my heart out as you may be able to see if you browse through the selection of pictures on the league’s photo album.
The mid-season party was on Saturday as well…sadly I wasn’t able to make it. Word is, tho, that the LMP members who did make it performed admirably in the “Flipcup Cup”, taking the grand prize. Way to go LMP! Yeah!
Well, this year has been a major headache for my biking program. Bitterly cold, rainy, the combination of the two…one just can’t win.
I have managed to get out a few times…last Friday night I did a full 31-mile ride after work and tonight I did 17 miles.
Considering I can now do 31 miles AFTER work and still not wake up in any pain the next morning, I think I’m ready to attempt a 50-mile ride like the Tour of Saints. I especially like this one since, unlike the Ironman where you had to decide 4 miles into it if you wanted to take the long route, this course allows you to delay that decision until mile 31, which seems perfect to me. That way, you can do most of your ride, and if you’re ready to attempt the full challenge, you may do so after evaluating how well you’ve done thus far.
Although I think all two readers of this blog wished me a happy birthday already, I’ll make note of my 29th birthday here for posterity in case future cockroach archeologists dig up this blog after the nuclear holocaust.
My official birthday (it sounds like it may stretch out into a weekend-long celebration) was wonderful.
I worked today, but that didn’t mean that any fun was lost! JManDoo and his wife made me a cake, while I received many candy gifts from other co-workers as well. Lunch took the form of an outing to the Chic-fil-a Express down at the U of M, which was just as yummy as always. I shared my cake around the office, turned on the celebratory lights and put the finishing touches on a project that had been sitting on my plate for way too long.
My kickball games are always on Thursday night…tonight was no different. Even tho the temperatures at game time were over 95, both my parents and Kelly came to the game. My parents, besides bringing big “Happy Birthday” balloons to tie to their chairs, also brought little party-favor squirt guns for everyone on my team (I got a huge super soaker since, well, it was MY birthday!) Considering the temperature, the party favors were the perfect choice, since when not shooting each other they could be used to cool oneself down a bit!
The Lake Minnetonka Purifiers brought home an absolute victory over “Your Team Sucks”, which was absolutely the best gift the kickball team could have given me for my birthday! At the bar following the game, I also managed to avenge my team captain’s loss a few weeks ago to one of the black-shirted “Your Team Sucks” members in a 1-on-1 2-cup Flip Cup deathmatch. Even better!
Birthday with the family is on Saturday…stay tuned!
I scored [against a] Godless Whore last night!
Yes, readers, I finally scored! Game/Week 7 and I finally scored. Sure, I had crossed home base before a few times…but each time it was just after the third out of the inning.
While LMP was in good spirits, we were all acutely aware that we were going up against one of the two undefeated teams in our WAKA division. The Godless Whores (otherwise known as “The Angels”) were 5-0-1, their tie coming from their game against the other lossless team, The Sexy Ball Kickers. The weather was miserable…it alternated between a light mist and a heavy drizzle for 30 or so minutes before gametime, leaving not only the fields slick but the ball wet as well.
We built up a huge lead early in the game, which thankfully gave us some cushion room when The GW’s came out with legs a kicking in the 4th inning. I was supposed to sit out the inning, but when it was discovered that an oversight left right field open I got pulled back onto the field. What a mistake!
I usually like to play my right field position fairly far back. Due to my biking, I have a good deal of sprinting ability, but I’m not nearly as flexible as most people. By playing back, I can usually run up at the ball, allowing me to catch it in front of me without having to twist around.
After the first kicker dropped a ball right behind our first baseman, Josh pulled me in from playing so far back. ‘course, then the next kicker kicked the ball back beyond my position, meaning I couldn’t make that play either and ended up bobbling the ball. (Never mind the rain/mist that made everything slippier than normal!)
So, yeah, I shouldn’t have been in the 4th inning, but whatever. We still ended up pulling in a huge win!
The afterparty at the bar wasn’t all that and a bag of potato chips, but it was still fun nonetheless.
Next week is our final game…against the other undefeated team, the Sexy Ball Kickers. Hopefully we’ll have just as much (if not more) luck than we did this week and pull in another victory for the season.
We went into our final game still high off the previous week’s victory over the first of the undefeated teams in the division, the Godless Whores. This week’s game, the last game of the regular season, was against the other undefeated team, the Sexy Ball Kickers.
The first game ran really late, so in celebration of Michelle and Debbie’s birthdays we all consumed a few alcoholic beverages before heading over to the secondary field for our game. Upon arrival, we discovered that the Sexy Ball Kickers were short one girl. (League rules dictate that you must have at least 4 boys and 4 girls making up your squad each game) This would normally force a forfeit, which would have secured another win for LMP, but our team decided that we’d rather play our final game of the season, so we decided to let them play. Usually that would be the end of it, but considering they are undefeated, we added a compromise that they would automatically receive one out at the bottom of their batting order and have to field with only 10 people.
We lost the rock/paper/scissors, so we ended up batting first. We pulled in an amazing 4 runs in the first inning, totally pumping us up towards another win. Due to some fielding errors and questionable calls by the refs, they also ended up scoring 4 runs in the bottom of the 1st, tying us all up. A few more runs were scored, a few more errors made in fielding, a few more questionable calls (both benefiting us and penalizing us) and we entered the 5th inning down by a run. We managed to pull it in, but in the quest to bring in the go-ahead run we made a bad move and kicked on what would have been a walk forcing a runner home, bringing an end to the top of the inning. In the bottom of the inning we were unable to hold them back, they scored their one run to break the tie, and the game was over.
Certainly, we made some errors, but overall it is great to see how the team has come together over the course of the season. LMP certainly has grown and gotten better over the season, and I look forward to the playoffs where we may again meet the blue team again for the division championship.
After the game, we made our way to Williams. Flipcup was just getting organized (with plenty of cups this week, since even people not “responsible” for the cups brought a few packs) so I sat down and ordered some snacks to fill up my stomach. After chitchatting with the team, I was called over to the Flipcup table and ended up on the SUCKY side. Ugh! After we brought on some help from other non-kickball playing bar patrons, we did finally manage to pull in a win.
Nick and I had a rematch of our 1-on-1 2-cup Flip Cup deathmatch from my birthday night, only I went down in a best 2 out of 3 in 2 straight games. I’ve won one match, he’s won one, so look forward to another update for who will take home the season title!
People cleared out early again…I hung around with some members of Your Team Sucks and chatted a bit. Most of them are U of M ACM members, which makes it easy to explain what I really do for a living when asked.
Playoff schedules will be forthcoming…it sounds like the word on the street was that we would be first playing against the Number One Spot, which we beat twice during the regular season. If that’s the case, then our first playoff game should be a snap. *crosses fingers*
Yesterday I got talked into going to the Great Satan by a coworker on the way back from lunch. (Regular readers/friends realize that I usually try and avoid Wal-Mart at all costs…but it was suprisingly free of the regular Wal-Mart annoyances like crying babies during this visit) While she was dropping off some film to get developed, I got to take a peek at that row that greets you when you walk in every Wal-Mart. Right there, for $5.92 I found a wonderful new drink holder, a Bubba Keg.
The Bubba Keg (my model does NOT have the big “20” shown here…just a plain stainless steel band) is a huge insulated mug holding 52 ounces of your favorite fluid. It promises to keep cold drinks cold and warm drinks warm for hours on end. I found an orange Bubba Keg, verified it was in good shape (the first orange one I picked up was cracked) and headed for the cash register.
I did some initial testing here at work. The entire top of the Bubba Keg unscrews from the body, allowing plenty of room to fill it with your favorite beverage. No complicated spigots or other hard-to-clean items on the mug…everything is easy to wash and keep clean. When the sipper is closed with the flip-top cap provided, nothing spills out of the Bubba Keg at all.
The real test was the kickball game. I loaded it up with a full tray of ice, filled it to the top with water and sealed it up around 6pm. Once I got down to the game, I sat down and enjoyed some nice cool refreshing water from my Bubba Keg. It sat out in 85-90 degree weather for a good 3 hours until our game was finished, when I carried it back to the car I could still hear some ice cubes and water sloshing about inside. Drove over to the bar, parked in the shade and went inside. Upon my return around midnight, the Bubba Keg still had a few ice cubes floating in the water.
I think the Bubba Keg is a great product…certainly performs as advertised, has plenty of capacity (but not too much, it isn’t too heavy to carry at all) and has a good design. Now only if it came with a bike attachment…
Earlier today, I rode the 50-mile Tour of Saints bike ride. The Tour of Saints describes itself as “not a race…a heavenly little ride.” It has both a 35-mile and a 50-mile course winding in and around the towns near Collegeville. My favorite part of the ride is that you didn’t need to decide which route you are going to take until mile 31. Considering that I had never ridden more than 34 miles or so in a single day, this option was a welcome part of the tour…I’ve always wanted to attempt a longer course, but my confidence wasn’t quite there to choose it right out of the gate.
Sure, I did 50 miles on Sunday. However, if I just took the next two weeks off it wouldn’t be that amazing now, would it?
Well, just to squelch any of the naysayers:
As you might have read elsewhere, LMP had its sights set on the finals. Many observers expected LMP to easily overcome Number One Spot, which they beat twice in the regular season. However, Number One Spot came out onto the field in tip-top shape, got a lead early on some great ball kicking, then kicked us in the balls with their great defensive skills. (Heh, been waiting all season to use that line!)
After our loss, being the perennial good sports LMP has been all season long, we stayed around and watched the semi-final game and the championship game. In the end, the team who won the regular season as well, the Sexy Ball Kickers, won the playoffs.
The remainder of the evening was spent at Williams playing flipcup.
Nate Nick and I had a chance to settle our 2-on-2 flipcup matchup…he pulled out a win, breaking the tie and can sit smugly in victory until the next season…when he will, I repeat, he will be goin’ down!
Tonight we’ve got the end-of-season party. $600’s worth of free beer…that’s a good amount of flipcup, that’s for sure. In addition, we’ll be getting a good base in the tummy by stopping off at Jason’s Old Spaghetti Factory for a meal beforehand…should be awesome.
Pictures available here. Enjoy!
I know I haven’t written in almost a week. Gosh…it isn’t like I haven’t been doing anything noteworthy…nor is it that I’ve had no time to update. Guess I’ve just lazy…oh well, just to catch everyone up.
Did stuff the rest of the week, too. However, as the week went on my allergies got worse and worse again…meaning things slowed down quite a bit as I coasted into the weekend. Dunno if I’ve got two allergies, one that struck earlier in the season and then another right now, or if it is something constantly there and I’m doing something else to bring it on. Wash the sheets, hermitically seal the apartment and start dropping allergy meds like they are going out of style. No messing around this time, tho…if more than a few days go by with no relief, I’m off to the doc to get this officially diagnosed and treated.
First in a three-part series on my clipless pedals/shoes buying experience…it was just too much info for one post!
I went into Erik’s thinking I wanted a pair of Speedplay’s but Dave, my favorite sales guy at the Eden Prairie location, sold me on the benefits of the Eggbeater design. I picked out a set of Crank Brother’s Eggbeater sl’s, which Erik’s had in stock. Lighter weight, upgradeable (you can bring the Eggbeater sl pedals all the way up to the level of the Eggbeater 3ti by purchasing one part at a time) and very low maintenance. The cleats are formed out of a weaker metal than the pedals, which should lead to an increased pedal life. The 4-way pedal design was a welcome comfort for a newbie like me, and the 2-year warranty was also a big selling point.
Second in a three-part series on my clipless pedals/shoes buying experience…it was just too much info for one post!
In the shoe department, the choices were a bit more limited. I wear size 15/16 shoes, depending on the style. Believe me you, I realize how hard it is to find regular shoes that fit me, let alone a biking shoe. Dad had alerted me to SIDI, which manufactures shoes in my size. Low and behold, when I presented Dave, my sales guy at Erik’s with my shoe situation he brought up the SIDI website right away. We evaluated my options, talked through the different tradeoffs and compromises each shoe brought to the table, including price. The pedal choice limited our options a bit, but in a good way. I wanted a shoe that I could occasionally use off-bike, say to pick up things at the grocery store or Target on the way home, without tap dancing down the aisles.
We settled on the SIDI Bullet 2. ‘course, this was a special order, so I put down my 50% and waited for the call.
By the way, just an FYI in the very unlikely event the SIDI web designer might ever come across this information. Side-scrolling websites are damn annoying. What’s wrong with scrolling up/down? Thank you.
The culmination of a three-part series on my clipless pedals/shoes buying experience…it was just too much info for one post!
Last week, as you might have read here, was one of those weeks where biking just didn’t work out. When I did finally have some time over the weekend, I ended up trying to move from one air-conditioned space to another, avoiding the pollen floating around in the air.
Meanwhile, Erik The Bikeman has had my shoes and clipless pedals waiting for me to head over, pick ‘em up and get ‘em installed. For those of you who don’t remember, my Grandpa gave me my choice of pedals and shoes for my birthday. I had ordered everything almost 3 weeks ago…but just as the shoes came in, Erik’s started up their summer sale…and while I appreciate the prices during their sales events, the service is lackluster due to the large quantity of people vying for the attention of the salespeople. I wanted to have a nice relaxed time getting the pedals installed, getting the most out of the wonderful service Dave B. at the Eden Prairie location usually provides. I’ve never had clipless pedals before…I knew I’d need as much help as I could get!
So, tonight was the night. Tomorrow and Wednesday I’m busy with non-biking activities, and Thursday I’m supposed to pick up a ride with Kate. Biking over after work, get the pedals installed, absorb the training and tips Dave would offer and then take a nice ride back home to get used to it before Thursday.
Work’s been, frankly, work the last few days. Haven’t had much time to work on the answer to world peace…with activities both Tuesday and Wednesday I was really looking forward to tonight, another exploratory trip around Minneapolis with Kate. Be good to get out, show my allergies who’s boss and get my second chance to try out the new pedal system.
I meant to write about this a few days ago, but life got busy. However, the Salon article “Thigh the beloved country” has stuck with me for the past few days and I thought I should write about it here, so that others may pay it the proper attention. (It is worth watching the Site Pass to read…I promise!)
Basically, it is a write-up on a new Nike ad campaign that emphasizes a more “real” looking women achieving their training goals without letting society’s prejudices alter the vision of success. For example, here’s a spread that appeared in the September issue of Glamour magazine (click for a bigger version):
Over the many women I’ve dated, many of them have felt awkward because of their size. Too short, too tall, thighs too big, tummy too big, arms too big, etc. Many of these women have been fairly fit - it wasn’t that they did not feel out of shape, nor were they really; they just imagined they were because of society’s near-constant reminders of “the perfect form.” Hey, the average dress size for women in America is somewhere around 12-14…so why must we constantly see size zeros?
I’m a guy who has been told he carries 300 pounds as though it is not a hair over 250. I may have a tummy, but from all the biking, my legs are lean, mean machines. I don’t get out of breath walking up stairs - I’m happy with my general physical health, and so is my doctor.
As such, I’d rather see someone with curves, not all bones! Yeah, baby, nothing sexier than a woman with elbows that look as if they could pierce their way through the skin at any moment! Get real. Gimme more proud women with proud butts! Gimme thighs of justice!
I passed by the 1500-mile mark on my bike sometime last week. I had no idea I was so close to such a milestone, otherwise I might have thought to watch where it occurred. No matter - after getting off to a very slow start at the beginning of the season, I’ve picked up my pace and look to surpass easily the number of miles I’ve ridden in each of the past two years.
I guess after carrying me 1500 miles, anything deserves a little break and a some TLC. Last Friday, I thought I’d take a spin around town after work to try out the new, taller seat post I had just installed. After riding a few blocks down the road, it soon became apparent that my bike wasn’t happy.
I headed over to Erik’s last night to pick up my bike.
The bill surprised me…they were able to true my rear wheel, everything looked good, so the only thing above the labor charge was a new chain. Quite the deal.
Since I had budgeted for a bit more, I talked to Dave about changing out my gears. I spend almost all my time in my hardest-pedaling gears…I often take anything flat or more declining in my final gear. Because of the design of the bike, he suggested it would be cheaper and easier to swap out the chainrings in the front than attempt to do any magic in the back. We ordered the part, and then I was off on my way.
Even tho it was overcast, and was going to be dark in a little bit more than an hour, I thought I would drop my car off at work and bike home. No sooner was I on the bike and I knew something was amiss…now when I was in my final gear, any amount of real power applied would cause the chain to slip. I hobbled home, content with just being able to ride again, even if it was without my final “overdrive” gear.
Tonight was a food excursion, plain and simple.
I dove right in and started off with a new food, the “Carolina BBQ Pork Baked Potato”. There’s a food court restaurant at the Mall of America, Col. Muzzy’s Texas BBQ, which does a much better job at this, but it was completely acceptable fair food. Served hot and delicious, it was a great way to start off the consumption. A bit of lemonade, out of one of the refillable “souvenir” bottles washed it all down.
It’s been 48 hours since I did whatever I did to my ankle. I stayed off of it for most of the day yesterday, other than a leisurely mile walk around Centennial Lakes in Edina after lunch. The only real pain I felt was when I went up and down stairs, although towards the end of the day yesterday my ankle felt like a bunch of rubber bands, stretching and rubbing against each other.
This morning it seems to have healed up nicely - still a bit stiff, but no pain to speak of at all. I don’t plan on going out for a marathon, nor will I ride my bike today, but I think I’m out of the woods.
I’ve got today off of work…will I go to the fair? Will I sit on my bootay all day long? Will I come up with the answer to world peace? Stay tuned…
I was a bit trepidatious this year…I was still nursing the ankle injury I picked up on my 60-mile ride, I had rode a few times but I was worried about agitating it again and having to sit out the remainder of the season. Still, the allure of repeating the Saint Paul Classic Bike Tour for a second year, being able to compare my performance from last year and enjoying the beautiful ride, was irresistible. I signed up, made my plans, and gave myself plenty of rest.
I only rode a few times last week, and those times I did ride, I took everything really easy. I did get a chance to get used to the new gearing on the bike, tho, and I have to say I’m very pleased with the change. It still may need a little adjustment to shift correctly (it only seems to want to upshift in multiples of 2 on the rear wheel) but I like being able to do more than coast down the steep hills I ride around my apartment.
The morning of the ride, I was up by 7am. It was going to be getting warmer and sunnier as the day moved on (75 around ride start, 90 for a daily high), so no need to risk any more sunburn than I needed to! I picked up my bike at work and drove off to Saint Paul. I was on my own this year, which meant that I had to break the pledge and drive myself down to the ride. (They want you to carpool or ride the bus) Anyway, I parked about a mile away from the starting/ending point, got geared up, and headed over to the staging area around 8am.
My dad and I had run into his cousin on the ride last year, so I snuck a peek at the registration list when I was checking in and saw he had registered. I kept my eyes open for him over the entire ride, but I didn’t see him. Next year I’ll have to try to get a hold of him beforehand and see if he wants to ride together, or if nothing else meet up at one of the rest stops.
Since I had done this ride once before, I was able to pace myself quite effectively. I wore my heartrate monitor and managed to keep myself pretty much in my target heartrate zone for most of the 2 hours and 10 minutes I rode. As one would expect, on the three steep hill climbs I did break out on the top side of my zone a bit, but unlike last year I didn’t need to stop and catch my breath at the tops - I just kept on going, confident that I could recover while keeping up a steady pace.
In the end, I pulled into the finish just under 2 hours and 10 minutes, giving me an average speed of 14.0 miles per hour over the course. This is a great time, considering that last year I only averaged 12.5 on the same course, and I often don’t pull in anything more than a 13.5 during a nightly ride, which is often shorter (yet has much more hill work).
I’ve calmed down quite a bit since my last post. The irritation was easy to put out of mind once I got to sleep…how, you might ask? Well, yesterday I spent all day in a meeting with some board members, last night playing trivia at Leaning Tower of Pizza again, this morning on a sales call, this afternoon in meetings, and finally got to do some real work the last hour or so of the day, which hit a milestone in an ongoing project that had stalled with all the distractions of the few days.
After all that, I gave myself the treat of a bike ride and Totino’s Party Pizza for dinner.
There were other happy events over the past few days, too. I had to wear pants for the first time since April 15th or so for the sales call this morning. After going through all the pairs of pants I had, the pair that fit the best was still about 4 inches too big around the waist. Even tho I haven’t seen any drop on the scale most of the summer, at least it means I’ve dropped those inches. Yay!
I finished my ride tonight (lights come in handy in these fall months) and needed to head back to work to pick up my effects. I had left my clothes, laptop and other such items in at work so I didn’t have to lug it around on my ride.
As I was driving down Highwood towards 169, on my way into work, I spied a bunny hopping around along the side of the road. As soon as my headlights hit it (I was coming around a curve, heading up an incline towards it), it stopped in its tracks and stared back into my headlights. I slowed up a bit out of caution, but just as I thought I was in the clear, at the last second before I passed the bunny, it jumped into the street…I was upon it almost instantaneously and I heard a telling double-thump on the bottom of my car.
I knew, at that moment, that I had accidentally killed another living creature. I don’t know if wild bunnies are safe to pick up or not…but in any event, by the time I recomposed myself and drove back around to check out the scene the bunny had been smooshed flat.
I’m not a violent creature by any stretch of the imagination…I don’t even kill spiders or other bugs I come across in the house. (They are usually moved out of the way or outside, depending on what kind of creature they are) When I bike, I try to brush off any bugs that get caught up on my sweaty skin instead of smacking them dead. I know it was an accident…however, that doesn’t seem to completely soothe my guilt in this case. I generally follow a code that only allows for killing other creatures that pose a threat to me. This bunny, obviously, was of no threat to me. Had I changed to the other lane, instead of assuming the still bunny would have remained so, I prbly would have avoided hurting the bunny.
I will be biking by the location tomorrow morning on my way into work…and I mean this in all seriousness: I wonder how one atones for an accidental bunny death?
A quick aside/story related to the wedding reception I attended on Saturday.
Things have finally calmed down, whew!
Monday night I took one complete night for myself. Cooked up some party pizzas, listened to music, did a crossword puzzle, read a bit, napped a bit. Absolutely beautiful in contrast to the hectic schedule I had kept up for the past few weeks. Tuesday, I biked to/from work, even tho the ride home at 11pm was absolutely bone chilling. Tonight was dinner at Buca and some computer shopping with a friend, very relaxed.
Ah, but Damon’s relaxation doesn’t make for good reading you say? Well, lemme tell you about this past weekend then…
May I never be the recipient of a big ceramic barnyard animal…
A wonderfully productive weekend.
Just what I needed, for sure. Felt so good to wake up and not worry about parrying around items littering the floor in order to make it to the bathroom! Now I just have to get training…less than 8 weeks until the Ironman ride…and this year I’m going for 62 miles _(over last year’s 30 miles).
It’s been a busy few weeks, to say the least. Sure, last weekend I did a bunch of chores and found some good time to relax, but first thing Monday morning I was thrust back, neck-deep, into my professional life.
I didn’t get to leave for lunch until nearly 1pm today…only to find out it was a great day outside. High of 50 or so, the slightest breeze, sunny sky as far as the eye could see. Got back to work around 2pm…by 3pm, I realized that my heart just wasn’t into working anymore. I couldn’t concentrate; everything seemed to be blending into one gigantic task.
What’s a guy to do? I packed up my laptop, grabbed the nearest blank sheet of paper, wrote “Gone Biking”, propped it up on my desk and took off. Got a good feel for the temperature on the way home, threw on some warmer biking clothes, inflated the tires and headed out.
Before I knew it, I was down the big hill on East Bush Lake and proceeded along my “normal” route, around Lake Normandale, down Normandale Blvd, across on Old Shakopee. I was thwarted on my attempt to take the trails in Hyland Park Reserve, so I turned back out to the street, over to Bush Lake Road, then back up East Bush Lake Road to the apartment. 10.5 miles in almost exactly an hour’s time. Sure, not the speediest run, but that wasn’t the point - it was just to get out there and see what I still had left in me (and my legs) after a winter kept me indoors.
I’m thinking the 62-mile Ironman ride is within my grasp this year, which would be a great start to the season. 55 days to get myself there…even with all the spring weather, I’m sure I can do it. Last year I did 30 on the ride, and I started more than a month later.
I took off early from work on Thursday to go biking, rode to/from work on Friday (4 miles each way) and went out for a ride this morning. I left off 2005 with 1737 miles on the ol’ bike odometer…after these past 3 days, it now reads 1768 miles. Sure, it is messier on the roads this time of year, least compared to when I started the 2005 biking season, April 14th. However, I’ve got a goal in mind (doing the 62-mile Ironman) and a little more than a month to prepare for it, so I don’t care. Time to bike!
For Christmas this year, my parents gave me the gift of a Garmin eTrex Vista C, along with a bike mount. I wanted to bring a bit more of an analytical slant to my biking and a GPS seemed like a great tool. In my search for analytical software, I came across the hosted service, MotionBased. MotionBased offers you an opportunity of uploading your tracklogs and then it performs all kinds of analysis against it and offers you the results right through your web browser.
I’ve been waiting every since Christmas to try this setup out, so on Friday morning I mounted the GPS to my bike and used it to track my commutes to/from work. Both times, I completely misunderstood the GPS setup directions and recorded absolutely nothing of any use.
Finally, during my ride today, I finally got the hang of it and got a great tracklog of my recorded route. I uploaded it to MotionBased; you can see the overview they put together below. If you click through to the website, they offer all kinds of great ways to look at the data, from comparing your elevation/speed, comparing it against the weather, to a SVG-enabled method of watching your progress visually, like a movie.
(This is a seriously post-dated entry. Deal with it.)
After a great bike-riding start, the weather turned into a horrible mess. Rainy, cold…snowy even! I persevered, but while I don’t mind riding in rain, or riding in the cold, I refuse to put up with both! I managed to get one decent training ride in last week, but even that ride was interrupted when I stopped by the bike shop for what I thought would be a simple derailleur adjustment that turned into a full rear wheel and axle replacement. For the last week leading up to the 2006 Ironman Bike Ride I didn’t get to ride once, indoors or out.
For those that want to skip to the end of the story, I managed to finish the 62-mile ride in the face of a day of rain, cold and wind. Here’s the summary and a link to the MotionBased activity I recorded with my GPS. If you want all the details, read after the break…
You know those studies that claim that the more optimistic you are, the less likely you are to get sick? Well, I’m often held up as the poster boy around work. I’m hardly ever sick…and when I do get sick, my body usually forces me to bed early and the next morning I’m up and ready to go.
Evidently, I must have been really pessimistic sometime in the past week, or this must be one helluva bug. In either event, I felt the throat tickling on Friday night, by 3pm on Saturday I’m fully loaded on Nyquil (the real Pseudoephedrine kind, not the wimpy Phenylephrine formula) and popping Luden’s like they are going out of style. Nose blowing commenced shortly thereafter, then the deep cough and then the inevitable runny nose. Sunday night I’m beginning to feel better, but after a night filled with more awake time than sleepytime, I gave into the cold’s power and called into work sick today.
Having nothing better to do, my mind came to a few revelations today…
As I’ve mentioned before, I have mad ninja skills. Besides my mad ninja programming skills, I also am a master of disguise; an expert at keeping a calm, yet alert mind; and I make a mean lasagna. (You had no idea lasagna was so core to the ninja lifestyle, did you?)
I can now add one more highlight of my ninja skills. My ophthalmologist informed me this morning that I sleep with my eyes open. Now, what types of people are referred to as “sleeping with their eyes open?” Trained assassins, that’s who! We’re not talking some optometrist, or an optician, we’re talking a full-fledged board-certified 12-years-of-post-secondary-schooling ophthalmologist. This guy is an expert…and when dealing with experts, you should listen to what they have to say!
According to my MotionBased account history, I haven’t gone for a ride on my bike since August 8th, 2006. I got caught up in moving to the new pad, and before I knew it winter was upon us and the bike was put away. Work and a number of other things got in the way, too, but knowing how much I miss it I’ve determined that I’m going to try and get back into decent condition so I can attempt again the 62-mile, if not the 100-mile Ironman Bike Ride this year. I’ve got my work cut out for me, tho, based on my quick ride today. Today, about the same time as last year, I begin my path to Ironman…albeit with more of a whimper than a bang, as I just rode to/from work, but it was a start!
I made the trek down to Madison (275 miles each way) on Saturday to pick up my trike. This brings a journey to an end. For my 30th birthday (last June), my parents gave me a large sum of money to buy a new bike. I put it in savings, contemplating my options.
I thought about getting an upgraded upright road bike, ‘cept it appeared that with my weight most of the “upgraded” bikes weren’t suitable. Next, I entertained going to a 2-wheel recumbent. No matter what equipment I used, riding my upright was a big pain in the butt, both literally and figuratively. 300 pounds pressing down onto a tiny little seat…you don’t need an engineering degree to figure out how poorly that works out. Recumbents provide a full, comfortable seat, complete with back support and a big padded seat. The 2-wheel models vary in size and shape, but they all provide a much more aerodynamic riding position with a much more comfortable seat. More than likely, I’ll still end up getting a 2-wheel recumbent here in the near future, but I took a test ride on a trike a few weeks ago and immediately fell in love. The only way I can describe the ride…it doesn’t feel like a bike at all. Instead, the ride is much more similar to a go-kart, albeit human-powered. You corner like you’re on rails, no leaning over, simply steer and you turn. Add to a go-kart independent braking for each side as well, adding another method of controlling a turn.
A week with the new trike. I have to say, it has been a blast. Almost like learning to ride again. Different muscles, different techniques, different habits. 17 miles doesn’t seem like a lot (my total according to MotionBased), but I’ve spent more time working on the trike than riding it in this first week.
Life has been good since I got my Sun EZ Tadpole. ‘course, most nights have been spent working on said bike, but I have to admit I’ve been learning a lot. Spent so much time staring at the bike I had to give it a name…Pollywog would be her official name, but everyone know she’s Polly for short. Fitting for a tadpole bike, dontcha think?
The weather forecast was promising. Sunny, high around 80. Compared to the last two years (2005, 2006) of the Ironman Bike Ride this year was going to be a piece of cake. I had spent many weeks preparing my new trike for the ride, sometimes to the detriment of my own training, but I felt comfortable that if I just took it easy, I could overcome the metric century (~62-mile course).
The short story is, I did it. Although the weather was much better this year, I was riding a bike that weighed twice as much as my previous ride. Here’s the overview of my ride over at MotionBased as my GPS saw it. You can read more details after the break…
I tried to get a picture of my sunburn, but the camera refused to take the picture. It couldn’t handle opening up its shutter, the red glow was just too bright. *smirk*
Truth be told, the sunburn on my legs was quite impressive. The horizontal position really gave them quite a bit more sun than the upright bicycle’s vertical position (who would have guessed?) and I’m paying the result even today.
Liberal applications of aloe gel didn’t help, neither did the milk treatment. Other than draping cold packs over my thighs and knees, the only real relief has been a good thick spray of Solarcaine every few hours. I try and time it when I know my shorts will be rubbing against the top of the sunburn, as the exposed section on the top of my knee on my lower thigh seems to have gotten hit the worst.
I got a bit of sun on my face as well (I sweat too much for anything to be really effective there) but the pain there has been manageable, and it seems that it is already starting to peel.
Sleepless nights, waking up every time I roll over onto a sunburned side-of-leg, and painful days, cringing every time I stand up from my desk and feel my shorts scrap the sunburn, are nothing compared with the success I feel from finishing the 62-mile Ironman Bike Ride again. It is all worthwhile.
Now, ask me when it gets all itchy and peeling…well…