Sunday, December 31, 2006

Not a great start to the day

So already this morning I have bailed on mountain biking that I had planned to do because it's a) cold and b) a little icy. I also just had to send the older two back to bed because they are incapable of playing anything together without it turning into an argument. It's both of their faults, but maybe 5 for fighting and a 10 minute misconduct will help them remember that they need to try not to piss each other off.

Oh well, coffee is almost ready so that will make me feel better :) Hopefully I can take my skirt off later today and get out for a run or something. Maybe I'll throw the lights on the SS and go out on that so I'm at least getting a bike ride in like I planned.

Friday, December 29, 2006

I are stoopid

Thanks to Gewilli for this little gem:

The Stupid Quiz said I am "Totally Smart!" How stupid are you? Click here to find out!

Almost out of here. Happy New Year to all!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Xmas Carnage

Well I'm not sure I've recovered from the Christmas hangover and I know for sure that my house hasn't. The boys got just about everything imaginable this year and of course they still complained about what they didn't get. If anyone out there knows the trick to finding balance between sufficiently spoiling your kids and teaching them to appreciate what they have then let me know :) We have the added fun of the older two fighting over wanting to use each other's stuff... I swear we should just buy a pile of stuff for the two of them and then let them take turns choosing like you used to pick teams in gym class. Oh the poor pairs of socks that get picked last... they'll be scarred for life.

Work is pretty dead quiet this week which you would think would mean I get stuff done, but I'm doing yearly evaluations for my whole group this week so that burns a bunch of time. Plus people not being here to bother you also means people aren't here to respond to questions so it's a win/lose. I think I'll still take the quiet over chaos.

2 pieces of big news on the bike front (even though I'm temporarily a runner again just to retrain some of those muscles): First is that I finally got the garage organized last night and I managed to take advantage of the crazy high ceiling by hanging everything bike related. There are currently 4 bikes, 1 partial bike, and 5 wheels overhead with one bike still on the wall. If anything them being all visible makes it look like I have more which I didn't think was possible. Secondly, I made sure to leave expansion space in the overhead bike jungle because I got approval to go ahead with a custom cross frame for next season. I meet with the frame builder next week to kick it off and he said he'll make sure to have it ready in time to practice on it before the season starts. This will be my first custom and I fear how much I'll like it because there are sure to be more to follow. The 8 month or so wait for it will be well worth it, but it will be torture. I'll have to spend the time picking out the goodies to put on to it :)

Ok, back to work... but first, for the cross fans out there, check out the performances so far by Jonathan Page over in Euro land. Guy has been top 15 in nearly every race since going over... worlds could be interesting.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The longest afternoon

Gather round kids and we'll learn why procrastination is bad... So this summer when my wife blew out her knee and then had surgery to put it back together, I had to miss some work time. Not a lot, but an hour here and there. Well we have a way to make that up later, but you have to do it within a certain time period or they charge you vaca. Well I never made it all up and as a result I have to put in extra hours before the end of the year. So here I sit, on the Friday before Xmas, in almost a completely empty building. Part of it is that I'm horribly honest about these types of things so I feel like something bad will happen if I bug out 30 minutes early when I put in saying I'd be here x number of hours today. Must be some fear of getting caught that my mom instilled in me... thanks mom!

Anywho... for anyone who's readying: Merry Christmas! For anyone who's offended because they don't celebrate Christmas: Tough Sh@t! I celebrate Christmas and I felt like saying something nice... get over it.

The boys are all excited about Monday so that should be interesting. We did end up with a change in plans today that has us going to the in-laws for dinner that day. That sucks because we have to pack up and drive there, but it kicks ass because we don't have to cook or clean. I'm numb to driving so I'll take it.

Ok, the timecard police are probably watching so I should get back to work...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The long overdue weekend report

I think I've finally gotten my head back on straight enough to sum up the weekend of craziness at cross nationals. The sad thing is that I think it was more hectic being a "home race" than it will be if I get permission to go to KC next year, but I'm getting ahead of myself. So here goes...

Friday: Woke up way too early for work so I could get as many work hours in by 11 and then leave for the race. I was anxious as hell so it was hard to be productive the whole time I was here. The real snag I hit was lunch. The caf opens at 11:30 and there is nothing that I could easily drive by, park, swing in, and swing out on my way out of town. I figured I'd either get something on the road or immediately when I got there. Well, long story short, my lunch ended up being multiple mini Clif bars and a slice of banana bread because the only food I could find for sale at the race was BBQ sandwiches which were not a good plan <2 hours before the race. Jumped on the course immediately when I got there and got in 2 laps. The course seemed crazy long and definitely a collection of challenges. It's hard to say it was hard, but it sure wasn't easy. There was a little of everything you could imagine complete with a few greasy corners and a minimum of 4 dismounts per lap for mortals who can't bunny hop barriers or ride up stairs (I saw both over the course of the 3 days). I felt kinda ok, but wasn't sure since my chest cold had kicked in a little. For a while did some number pinning, waiting around, and then warming up on the roads and trainer. Saw a bunch of the guys standing around the pits before the M35+ ended because their days ended early. Got lined up for the race DFL as I knew I would be and then the whistle blew. Now I expected to be hanging on when we took off, but this was freaking insane. By the time we hit the barriers I was solidly in last with no sign of gaining ground. I found out later that the first two rows of my field contained guys who ride local elite races and do well. The true low point of the race was coming through after 2 laps and seeing 4 to go when I was sure there was no way we could do more than 5 total. To cut the agony short, I got lapped 2/3 of the way through lap 4 and just rode into the pits and pulled myself. I rode terrible and was just stunned by how fast those guys were. For the record, it was the fastest Masters race of the event. Picked myself up a little with way too much food and some tasty adult bevs at Fire and Ice with some of the guys and went home to crash.

Saturday: Boys had karate from 8:30 to 10 so we did that and then headed to pick up Jeff and get down there in time for the U23 and elite mens races. Timed it perfect and even had time to swing by the Kona team tent and try to convince Treefarm to sell me one of his bikes. No luck there, but it was fun anyways. BTW, I don't know what the stink was about with $5 parking... I never saw anyone charging all weekend so I never paid. Fine spot all three days. The summary of the Saturday races was just simply fast. You cannot fathom how fast those guys are and the way Trebon just rode away from everyone was sick. It helped those guys that the course was dry and packed so there were no conditions to contend with. Probably the only downer of the day was having to constantly remind myself that while it's exciting for me to be 1 foot away from some of the world's best cyclists, the boys think I'm one of the world's greatest so to them it doesn't matter. Trying to explain something that's exciting to you in a way that it will be interesting to your children while realizing that they probably aren't 1/10 as interested as you is one of the many challenges of parenthood. They got to throw leaves at each other and some other kid they latched onto so they had an equal amount of fun :)

Sunday: Up early again and back in the car for another trip to Provo. Course opened at 7:30 and I wanted a good number of laps so I could feel out the course better and figure out how stiff I was. That was a huge advantage because I figured out that this one power hill that I couldn't ride Friday (I was the only tool running) was completely rideable if I set it up. I think Friday also had to do with how crummy I felt. Got in 3 laps before the women's B started and then had time to snack a little and get in some time on the trainer. A trainer with a single speed is kinda of strange because all you can do is spin faster which isn't without value, but it's limited. Got ready and headed down for the lineup slug fest. Started in 140th spot out of 172 (reportedly) which was really funny to see. Really cool thing was that I lined up next to another SS'er who was riding a gigantic gear. Now even funnier than the lineup was the pileup we had on the off-camber which had frosted over at night and then thawed during the women's race. We get there and it's just a wall of humanity and I can hear the announcer yelling "Oh my goodness it's total mayhem". Once everyone sorted themselves out, I realized I was pretty far back in the field (painfully close to last), but that was ok because I could tell it wasn't as fast a race. The rest of the time I just rode hard, had a boat load of fun, and would constantly latch on with a guy for a bit and then lose him. Even though I hurt when I was done, I had enough left to be making faces at Gewilli when he was yelling stuff at me. It was a total blast and I finished 126th without getting lapped so it was a success. The day did end on a sour note with Coley breaking his leg after riding around 5th spot for a chunk of lap one of the other B race.

Ok, that's way too much work time wasted. Till next time...

Friday, December 15, 2006

Crazy weekend on tap

Finally made it to Friday so at least I know the distractions of Nationals will soon come to an end. I've been telling myself for 2 days that it's just another race, which to me, it is since I'm starting last and wouldn't win if I were starting first. Still, it's against much better competition so I've set my goals on things like not crashing and not getting lapped. On a loop this long, either the leaders would have to be superhuman or I'd have to lose an entire wheel and be running to get lapped... I hope. Anywho... just a few more hours to wait.

Odds are I'll be driving well over 500 miles over the next couple days. My driving schedule will be something like:

Friday - Hudson to Cambridge to Providence to Hudson
Saturday - Hudson to Grafton to Providence to Grafton to Hudson
Sunday - Hudson to Providence to Hudson to Sturbridge to Hudson

And people wonder how we put 40k plus miles on the two cars in total for a year.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Thank goodness for sand

Yesterday was the Verge cross series finale in Warwick, RI and I headed down for a final tuneup before the Nationals beat down. Speaking of, the Masters 30+ field is one of the smallest there so I'm feeling good about that. Anywho, when I got there for the race (after a minor detour due to crappy directions on the race flyer) and headed over to reg I had a minor panic attack as I could see that a large chunk of the course was on dead flat ground weaving through the woods. While a 36x17 gear is good for most cross courses, dead flat ones mean everyone else will be in their big rings and I'll just be going backwards. Figured if nothing else the workout would be good and set about getting ready. Hopped on for a few warmup laps and found that the course was very twisty so there wouldn't be a lot of sections for most guys to really open it up, plus there was a long beach run. They were still taping the course so I kept getting to one section and losing where I was supposed to go. I guessed and kind just kept looping around the same sections that 1) had no barriers, and 2) had no clear start/finish. Finally on my last trip around before the start, they cleared it up and I realized I had missed a whole section of the course with another long beach run and some uphill barriers. Unfortunately I also realized the the start was on a long dowhill stretch of pavement. This meant I'd be pretty close to last by the time we hit the sand no matter how fast I could spin.

We all line up in the staging area and got to chat up the SS bike with some guys. It's amazing how much talk a <$500 bike gets. I'm wearing #378 and I registered like 10 days ago so I'm figuring I'll be way back. They start callups and they started with 350... Woo hoo! Ended up starting in the second row which was a big relief. Whistle blows and it's a mad dash down the hill and of course I'm going from second row to about 40th because I've got no big gear. Held on for dear life and then we hit the sand and I must have passed 20 guys. A couple of general notes here: there were 2 paved 180 turns at the bottom of the hill and I found out that C cross racers cannot take turns at speed. I'm by no means great but I still made up huge chunks on groups just going through the 2 turns kinda well. Secondly, my remounts were uncharacteristically good yesterday which was huge. Moving on, I felt like I held position well throughout the race and not too many masters caught me. I did get to ride a short while with Gewilli who I also got to chat with after the race, but then I went down on probably one of the easier corners just because I did something dumb. I seemed like just a fall over crash, but my knee and hip are pretty stiff today. I was able to get back up quick and not lose too many spots. Rest of the race was uneventful and I kept feeling like I rode pretty well and I was blasting guys on the sand runs. Had no idea which position I was in so when I found a hand scribbled list of numbers taped to the window inside, I was thrilled to find I got 18th. Best placing this season and I was <2 min down to the winner so I'll take it. Nationals in 4 days...

In non-biking news, we took the kids to a Xmas thing at Gilette yesterday which they really enjoyed and then the older 2 had skating last night. Final class of this session and both of them got medals so they were thrilled. That and some positive words from the teacher I think convinced the oldest to go for more lessons even though he claimed he didn't want to. It's amazing that when they started the oldest couldn't really skate and the younger could barely stand up steady. Yesterday before class they were running around playing tag in their skates and then were playing tag with the teachers on the ice. I miss having the brain to learn things that fast :)

Ok, I should do some work... or something.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Don't try this at home...

Yet another crazy early day today. Sadly I was up at 4:40 because I foolishly decided to finish of the chips and way-too-spicy salsa my wife got with dinner last night right before bed. Not a good idea. It's good to get here early though because I have to get the boys tonight so she can go to pre-class for her week-long winter class. The school offers a limited number of intensive courses that are 1 week long and you go 8 hours a day for that week. For most you meet ahead of time to get some prep work and then a few weeks after it's done you hand something in. Not a bad deal if you can spare the week and her work is letting her do it on work time. Sweet deal.

By the way, I do have to point out that I can't exactly recommend a couple dealing with 2 full-time jobs, 2 ongoing graduate degree programs, 3 kids under the age of 6, a house, a dog, a cat, 4 fish, 2 hermit crabs, and never ending home improvement projects. It leads to a severe lack of sleep and an ever growing list of things you never get to because they don't make the cut. Oh well... I'd probably be bored if there was any less to do... maybe.

Warwick, RI cross on Sunday and then Nats Friday and Sunday. Decided to take a half day and throw my hat in for the Masters U35 race. I'll be starting DFL so I just hope at least one guy has a mechanical and I don't finish there.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Stat of the day

Forgot to post this earlier. Here's today's scary stat: I took my BP last night because it's been way too long and the doc would probably yell at me for it...

BP 116/67
HR 41

Apparently the meds and this excercise stuff are working :) I had just had a beer which I suspect lowers all of the above by a couple points, but I think I'm still doing ok.

Weekend Review

Well the weekend was so busy that it even took me an extra day to write about it. I was reminded again this weekend that I'm too old to do anything fun. Friday night we went to a fancy black tie charity party at the Park Plaza. I got to chat some with former Pats QB Scott Zolak for a while at the pre-party and he seemed like a pretty cool guy. We were talking about our kids at one point and he joked that because his 6 year old daughter is real tall we should get her and my oldest son together. I'm thinking "That would be just fine with me to have a former pro-QB in the family... let's do it even if they are only 6" :) Anywho, we didn't leave the party until after 1, then had to walk back to out hotel so it was 2ish before we got to bed. The painful part was the boys had a karate tournament at 8 a.m. so we had to leave Boston at 6:30 to get home. What made it worse was that after a busy day, I had to get up at 4:30 Sunday morning to go set up for the MRC cross race. It was completely amazing to see how many guys were out there in the 25 degree weather at 6 a.m. We had the course set up in about 45 minutes except for some finishing touches. Reviews seem to be that everyone loved the event so it was worth it even if I had to bail after setup to go to a breakfast with the family and then a birthday party.

This coming weekend is the Warwick, RI cross race on Sunday and then the following weekend is Nationals. I have to decide today if I'm going to be insane and race Masters 30+ on Friday and then the B race Sunday. I'm already signed up for the B race so I just have to decide if I want to take a half day to drive down and start in the back row of 100+ guys. I suspect I'll do better in the 30+ than B's so it may be worth it.

In other news the bathroom project is almost there. Painting is now done so next steps are finish electrical, the floor, and trim. Might get to the floor this Saturday so there's a chance I may have this thing done this year. Need to schedule Dad to help hang the door and some other stuff, but school is nearly done for the semester so I should be able to put some time in.