Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Heaven Knows...

A GREAT tune by the legendary Robert Plant. I respect his work with Led Zeppelin, but am all about his solo career. One word- AMAZING. So yesterday evening I decided to cancel my doctors visit. I'm not ready to discuss medicines. I know there are drawbacks on both sides of the fence, but I'm not ready to choose what side of he fence I want to be on, or MAYBE I did by cancelling the visit. I instead decided to stay a bit longer during the outing my boss had at the Taste of Chicago. Good time... I enjoyed the Goat and Plantains the most of all things I sampled. The weather was picture perfect and the company was good. "The Taste" has live bands each night, and on stage were Los Lonely Boys, and a bit later was Los Lobos. I went and caught some of the Los Lonely Boys . I managed to move up in the crowd to a good spot, and had fun. I called over to the house to rub it in that I was at a concert I wasn't planning on attending particularly because my "Long Time Personal Manager" digs this band. The joke would be on me shortly after. I decided to leave instead of staying for Los Lobos, so I could get home considering I'd been at work since about 6AM. On my way home I get a text from my boss saying Robert Plant is on stage. I ttotally thought she was fcking with me, SHE WASN'T... I MISSED seeing Robert Plant!!!!!!!!! albeit for only one song, but the fact I was there shortly before he was, and the fact I missed it completly sucked LOL At any rate at least it makes for a good story, and hopefully ALL YOU READERS got a good laugh today.  In hind sight his he covers a Los Lobos song on his latest album (that comes out in September) so there you have it.

I proceeded to go home and pull out the guitar for a bit of a Led Zep medley Heart Breaker and Nobodys Fault But Mine were the songs of the day.

Tonight is round 2 for the group run I've recently organized and promoted in the church bulletin. We're hoping to get a growing number of runners that come out for this. Last week was the kick off run but 10 minutes before the start, green/black storm clouds and sirens promply put an end to that. Today I see nothing but sunshine and temps in the mid 70s.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

1 Hour (and you can't have it all)

Ever since I got serious about riding and became familiar with the local roads, I've been doing a time trial test on a 20 mile loop. It's hilly, and a great route for gauging where I'm at. Since the 90s (when I rode a LOT) I always set the benchmark at 1 hour. If I can break 1 hour I considered myself in reasonably good shape. Funny, you never WANT to go out and do it, but Friday morning prior to a long weekend away, I decided to jump into the paincave and see how I would do. Turns out I clocked in at 58 minutes and some change! Strange but I haven't had a lot of much needed self confidence this year, but a ride like this sure helps.

 The downside is I wen't out for a long run Saturday morning with my brother (who is training for a marathon) and he clearly smoked me the entire time. In years past I always outran him- every race, but 2 years of intervals and 2 seasons of marathon training has clearly made him superior to me on foot. I hardly run and right now it shows.- this coming from someone who recenty started a local running group LOL. At least my SIDI's look much cooler than his Nike's...

Somebody get me a Doctor

YES that is indeed one kick A$$ song by the MIGHTY Van Halen! It's also the issue at hand. I have a doctors appointment today and I've been contemplating cancelling it all week. Sometimes I'd prefer to ignore stuff and hope for the best, or try it MY WAY. Other times I ever so slightly trust in medicine. I had a similar issue about 6 years or so ago and it got me in trouble. SUCKS! that some things are hereditary.... Life as I know it includes meds for hypertension and cholesterol. It took a long time and like I said I ultimately found myself in a very scary situation for quite a while because I didn't want to take meds. It's crazy thinking. As an athlete you think your better and don't need meds. You also worry about how it will affect performance. etc. I'm in a similar situation and thank goodness I'm not in a crisis mode with my health, but nonetheless it's an issue that needs to be dealt with... Considering how a return to bike racing hasn't worked out for me, I shouldn't dwell on an impact to performance, but who out of any of us wants to slow down? Life is not easy. To add to it I'm supposed to go out with my boss and some coworkers for our annual summer outing tonight, prior to my doctors visit, and I haven't bailed (yet) WTF to do....

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

dirty news

Out near the trails I frequent they opened a new bike shop. named 2 Bici bicycle shop. I stopped in to say hi and introduce myself to the guys. This is the 2nd time a shop opened in that space, but maybe these guys can "ride it out", so to speak :). The shop guys recognized me from the trails and a kit I was wearing. So we talked it up for a while, and off I went. The trails are getting close to ridable, but the recent rains have kept everybody off them. I found a good stretch on some high grounds and did what I could to ride dirty but it wasn't much. I need to, and want to, get myself out there regularly so I can really get myself dialed in with my position on this relatively new bike. I've decided to keep the new full suspension Specialized Stumpjumper instead of going back to the Rockhopper Pro. I was going to sell the full suspension to cover the cost of some wheels I recently bought, but instead decided to give it to one of the boys (kind of) He can ride it comfortably with the seat a bit low and a short stem on it. So he will be able to ride a really nice first mountain bike anytime we go out on the trails. It will stay in the coral the rest of the time because I don't want him trashing it under normal everday use like a typical teenager would. He hasn't caught on to the respect and care one needs to give to a bicycle (yet). He dug it and rode well the first time we went out together a few weeks ago too.He's a very talented cross country runner and knowing how well cycling can compliment running from a cross training perspective, and the fact that I may have found a GREAT way to bond as he gets older, I'm sure everyone wins, and paying off the wheels is secondary in importance compared to what the 2 of us can gain from riding (together) nice...So while I'm waiting for the trails to get a bit more dry and ridable I will dial in the cleats on some new shoes and get the bar height,  seat height, set back shock pressures etc etc just right with some rides on the road and multitrack if ridable. The one thing that sucks is the fact that there is tooooo many things to dial in for that perfect ride when you find yourself on a rather complicated full suspension mountain bike. Sometimes simple is best, but I'll take the time to benefit from the technology of today by being patient and working on all the necessary adjustments. UGH...
I want to be in good shape for the Palos meltdown in August, and hopefully get better results than the Sylvan island race I did back in April. This one is close to home and special considering I have been riding those trails forever.
As far as the running scene goes, I put an advertisement in the churches bulletin advertising a weekly Wednesday night run that starts in the schools parking lot. Over themonths/years I've seen a good number of people I know running thru the village and figured the Mob Rules! (obvious reference to a great Black Sabbath song and album)and I figured lets run together. I figure all it takes is a small amount of organization, and getting the word out there. I now have a night dedicated to running with my long time personal manager LOL, and can make it interesting by bringing some friends and aquaintances together as well. Maybe even be a positive inspiration to someone who's "sitting on the fence" to get back out there and get in shape. It's not like we all don't NEED to do that in one form or another for SO MANY different reasons. Let's see how this goes (in the long run) - a reference to an Eagles song ;)

Monday, June 21, 2010


"Damn" is a mildly profane word used in North America, the United Kingdom and Australia. The use of "damn" in Rhett Butler's parting line to Scarlett O'Hara in the film Gone with the Wind in 1939 captivated moviegoers with "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

"Damn" is also used in some areas of the world [where?] as an exclamation when an extremely attractive person or object of approval is located; e.g. "Damn, he/she is fine" or perhaps "Damn, he has a nice car!". "Hot damn" may be used similarly, but it is somewhat distinct; for example, if one says, "Joe just won the lottery," a response of "Damn!" on its own can indicate disapproval, but "Hot damn!" indicates approval or surprise or pain.

"Damned" is also used as an adjective synonymous with "annoying" or "uncooperative," or as a means of giving emphasis. For example, "The damn(ed) furnace isn't working again!" or, "I just washed the damn(ed) car!" or, "The damn(ed) dog won't stop barking!" (The word "damned" is usually only used in North America, whereas in other English speaking countries the word is simply "damn".)

"Dang" or "darn" are sometimes used as euphemisms, specifically minced oaths, for damn.

that's all I can say...

Friday, June 18, 2010


I love the hills, and am in awe of mountain roads. I often daydream how epic it would be to find myself in places like Colorado or better yet on one of the countless famed European climbs. What I don't like is the climb back into a training routine after being out of it for a few weeks. YES vacation was a great time, but the amount of time riding and running shows. TOO MUCH comfort food lately hasn't helped any either.I miss that "sharp" feeling you get when your legs have that snap, and you've been in a good routine for a number of weeks. If there is a theme this year it is the fact that I have not been able to get into a consistent,stable routine. YES I've been riding, and to a lesser extent running, but it has not been with the consistency, determination, and precision as I had hoped. The consolation is it's not even the first day of summer, and I've got more miles in my legs than last year :) I wonder why I feel so out of it then?!I don't feel "driven" I'm still hoping to at least get a timetrial (or 2) in this season, and I'd like to get at least 3 mountain bike races in. I'm signed up and look forward to the Palos meltdown in August, and Chequamegon's fat tire festival in September, and as far as the road, I'm REAL excited to see that there are about 50 days until the Madison Wisconsin GranFondo. That's as close as I'm going to get to group road racing, and the event looks to be a great ride.Maybe it's the fantasy of riding a long tour stage on some great challenging roads that makes it so appealing. Much more so than 30 minutes plus X laps in a industrial park with the threat of burning the lycra being more so than a remote possibility. That's what seems to be the case in too much of my reading and  I never liked crits anyway, they aren't in my future. It's a shame the racing scene doesn't offer much more than that. So my racing schedule doesn't show to be full of races, but due to my schedule, and what I want to do, it fits me just fine. You have to keep it interesting for YOU to make it work right? Now to once again get myself back on track (maybe mentally?)...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

an ongoing artistic theme

 These shots are of road bikes I've ridden in front of a grotto dedicated to the Madonna located at a historical church/cemetery named Saint James of the Sag near Lemont/Palos Illinois. Fine Italian cycling  combined with the classic religous background seem to go hand in hand.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gettin' all nostalgic

Weird, I've been coming across old friends and names of other cyclists I've known and or rode with from a ways back 1990 thru 2000... and it's been happening frequently lately.

A few weeks back I was out on a solo long ride and hooked up with another out on the rather quiet and decent training road in the vicinity of the Mattson paint factory where they do Tuesday night training crits. NOTE I haven't been in one in about that long. Anyway, we get to talking and he mentioned some guys I'd ridden and raced with at one time back in the 90s. Jim Marshall was one of them mentioned. He talked about these guys as having been around for ever (made me feel a bit old) so I turned up the pace a while (lol).

I was reading a forum post a couple weeks ago and another name popped up that I've known longer than the previous conversation! Guy's name is Scotty Pearson. Funny thing is I remember when Scott and I first met, we were putting the hurt on each other doing a century.Early in our cycling careers so to speak but had that special somethin on a hot day doing a long ride. He would know me as banana man. LOL The first time (I think) we rode together I attempted to toss a just finished banana over my shoulder and out of our way, and I went down in the process. OUCH, and that was around 1990. We used to be able to put the hurt on each other way back then, and I see that longevity has paid off because he turned out to be quite accomplished all these years later. banana man...did I mentioned I was probably on some Profile Aero three bars in the tuck position while throwing it (WTF?!) Those bars were trippy looking...

I've reacquainted with one of my grammar school friends whom he and I lived on our BMX bikes a long time ago in a galaxy far far far away. John Lebak on facebook! Regardless of how some people trash stuff like facebook, its real cool to reaquant with old friends like that... John still rides today, road downhill etc out west. A friend who was into riding with me when BMX was new and guys like Stu Thomson, Perry Kramer, RL Osborn, Bob Haro made local appearances at the local racetracks to race etc. We LIVED on those things and hit every jumping area within riding distance. Some great trails on some cool bikes.Another friend who is still around the bike.Even after all this time.

Now the most recent reminder of years gone by happened over the last day. I remember putting the hurt on and eventually riding together as stronger riders with a guy named Jim Host. I stumbled upon his name while reading a local racers blog this morning. He and I would be one of the riders ALWAYS putting the hurt on in our group way back then...We both got our start in group riding with a club called the Bike Psychos. I see he is still racing and again is another rider who looks to be accomplished. It's an interesting pattern. Longevity pays off. No doubt....I haven't raced in about 10 years, but I'm still around and have never strayed very far from the bike (outside of racing), except for a period of extended illness a number of years ago.

Another of the guys I rode with back in the day and occasionaly with him again as of late is a guy named Mike Seguin. Back, way back, he and I would tear up the trails out in Palos. He used to ride hard as well, and we would be off hurting ourselves each time we hooked up. He is moving up in category and doing very well racing all these years later. Another logevity and "likes to put the hurt on" rider from way back. It's cool to see and come across these names again, and it's cool they are(as well as me) still around the bike. I have been wondering lately though, if things were different and I never left racing in the sport. How far would I have gone.All the guys who I rode with really doing well. It also lit a light bulb above my head!, and mentioned in a recent email (ironicly enough) to stick around. Maybe longevity will make me improve once again "in time". All these friends have proven it. You can't rush it, but consistency over time will make you achieve great things, it just cant be rushed. I overlooked that. I'm sticking around...



Sunday, June 13, 2010

what the heck i've been up to

Time to catch up on my life via the thousands of requests from my millions of followers ;)
It's been mostly a month of vacation. The cool thing is I've been away from work for most of the month. The bad thing is I go back tomorrow and the feelings I have must equate to those felt by the clinically depressed. I guess that means I did a lot of fun stuff :) Some of the highlights
  • Long memorial day weekend up in Lake Geneva Wisconsin, brought the road bike and got some good hilly training time around the lake. Family had lots of fun as well.
  • Went to Cabo San Lucas for 4 days. One of the highlights was renewing our wedding vows. The trip was brought about to celebrate our 20th anniversary. Hot temps, too much food, and a visit (or 2) to the holy grounds aka The Cabo Wabo cantina.
  • Was given 10 tickets to a Chicago Fire soccer game and had fun. It was(GASP) on the night of the Blackhawks victory bringing home the stanley cup, I went because one of the boys just ended the soccer season(I was one of the coaches) by making it to the championship game. We lost, and I was in Mexico at the time. So this was to celebrate their great season, and payback for missing it! I think we celebrated the Hawks victory more so than if we watched it on TV. The drive home was right after the game, and we managed to see all the fans pour out on the streets cheering as we blared the horn ALL THE WAY home. Fun stuff.
  • Finally got word out that I'm starting a parish running group. I've kept saying I wanted to do it, and now we make it happen. Ad goes in the upcoming bulletins.
  • Turned my gal on to her 1st track workout EVER. (running) Yes they hurt like hell, but YES they do make you faster. Of couse it was at noon on the hottest day of the week. LOL
  • I got in a 50 miler on the new wheels yesterday morning. They ride REAL nice. I did find myself in Lemont with temps going from humid and mid 80s early in the morning to instant black skies plumeting temps, WICKED winds, and pouring rain. Not the best conditions for 60mm aero wheels, but a charachter building ride nonetheless.
  • Fun neighborhood party last night.
Now why the hell am I feeling so down?! Must be the fact that I have to be all grown up again tomorrow and face the perils of the evil "W word"

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Give me HED (wheels)

I'm totally diggin' the look of the bike with the new Hed Jet 6's on it. Can't wait to see how they handle my fitness loop ride (and then some).

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

20 Years and other great stuff

This past weekend I went out of town to celebrate "part one" of my 20th anniversary. On this trip the whole family went. The weather was summer quality, with lots of time by the pool. I also managed to bring the road bike for a great 30 mile loop around the local lake (Lake Geneva). The ride had some pretty good climbs thanks to Wisconsin's varied terrain. I seen this area during a trip for work back in April and figured it would be great to get some training miles here in preparation for a GranFondo I'm doing in August. One road in particular Snake road was well "worth the money". I hit it twice from end to end thanks to the challenging stretches of vertical climb that I just LOVE. Lots of riders and runners out in that area... I was smart enough to plan a massage at the local spa for the wife during the time I wanted to get out on the roads. EVERYBODY had a good time :) Came back on Memorial day, and took advantage of the rain soaked day by putting my new wheels on the bike, replacing the chain etc etc. Then we watched the Black Hawks win one more game on the way to the Stanley cup. Today my head hurts and I'm feeling the ill effects of returning to the "W word". It's not for lack of trying (I actually am driven immensely to succeed and do things right and the best I can) but corporate America simply demoralizes, depresses, and kills. It's a shame I can't figure this whole thing out. WHAT a cross to bear... side note- I developed a wickedly bad tension headache that took me out of commission for the evening, mostly due to some corporate never ending issues from the deathstar... Anyway, funny thing about the wheels, I found out they were in Thursday, and decided to go "UP NORTH" to pick them up Friday afternoon. Not a good idea. Friday afternoon rush hour traffic, on a holiday weekend AND a Cubs game going on made a trip I thought was going to be 1 1/2 hours round trip turn out to be almost 4 hours.That drive SUCKED, but I got the chance to get familiar with the new Stone Temple Pilots CD- Scot Weiland RAWKS! It was a poetic journey considering the rest of that whole story (some other time...) but DAMN the wheels look and hopefully ride AWESOME! It's so cool we can literally build up a bike just like the pros ride. Not many other sports provide that cool opportunity, and I absolutely love the ride that I have.