Tuesday, August 31, 2010

fate or just that stupid new mouse? Ride on...

"Ride on" - probably the best song AC/DC ever wrote WAY BACK when they started...Anyway, yesterday I finally came clean and spilled my thoughts about last weeks Palos Meltdown mountain bike race and a number of other things. Sentence after sentence, thought after thought, word after word. I've had a lot of mixed feelings this summer and as of late they've been bubbling up, and over. At the time I was typing (on this new laptop) and I was getting it all out, something happened. A part of my hand must have made contact with these touchpads that act as mice nowadays, and ALL the text disappeared from the screen except the words "ride on" and then blogger autosaved. Everything I spilled out on electronic paper for all my fans to read and discuss around the countless watercoolers, coffee shops and  street corners- GONE....So what does that tell me? I still don't know. One thing I can tell you is aside from being pissed off at the time, I'm wondering if it was a sign from God, the Universe, Chuck Norris?? LOL to move on, reflect privately, learn from this past year, and keep moving forward with out looking back? A few things happened to me very recently. Things/signs/occurences./situations etc that made me take notice. Things that make me want to say "I've been heard" It's been dark, at times real dark. Over the last 48 hours I'm kinda amazed. I'm going to recap the race a bit later, but this "occurence" or series of them, has taken a bit of a priority as far as my reflection and frame of mind go. I've got to let it all sink in, and look at the road map....It's that, or these laptops SUCK ;)
"Ride On"...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

YES it was cool

I had a string of good luick as far as my musical life goes. Last week I won tickets to see Jon Anderson from YES do a solo show. Me and the LPM ;) have been fans of YES for a long time. Good music, and Jon Anderson  exudes a very positive aura about him - Something much needed in life at times... I tried REAL hard to get my new phone to get some good quality photos but that didn't work out. I DID manage to get up front for the end of the show and get a couple good photos. The problem with Jon, (if you want to call it a problem) is he is usually dressed in white, add stage lights and the guy glows on film. MAYBE it really is his angelic presence ;) At any rate here are the best shots I took for your visual enjoyment.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dreams a window into your mind or reality?

I've had some messed up dreams lately. One of them involves work. I find myself in a dark scary world. industrial mmachines, grayness,  smoke filled skies. Kinda Mad Maxish/Terminator movie setting. I'm trying to get away, but I can't.. I find myself cowering from the evil machines or whatever they were in the dream. SCARY stuff. I spend the dream running and cowering always on the brink of being trapped and or caught. Not a fun dream or better yet nightmare to wake up from. The most recent one was Friday or Saturday. I'm in my garage and there is a bike race starting down the alley or next block(I forget). I was within walking distance from the race but I missed the start, I remember trying to get to the start, but couldn't do it. I was actually flying in this dream. Don't know if you've ever experienced it but you wave your arms up and down and you lift off. The problem was I couldn't fly to the location to get in the race and no matter where I was floating to, my participation in the race was not meant to be, and I never made it in.I actually had a mountain bike race yesterday in the trail system 10 miles from our house. A great event by the way. There's no doubt both of these dreams are a window into my perceptiveness on what I'm going thru with both work and Sundays race/sport. The race was great yet bittersweet, but we will stick to one topic at a time to keep you all coming back for more...Look for a race report within the next day or so when I can get the pictures on line (for some fun eyecandy). I also need to get my Jon Anderson YES and Stone Temple Pilots photos up for another great post. Come on back now, ya hear ;)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

both of em want to get dirty with me

Continuing on with my "It's not about me" theme, not only does "boy#1" want to ride with me, but "boy#2" does, and has, as well. The younger one and I were out early Sunday morning, and it was pretty cool to watch him stand and dance on the pedals on the climbs we encountered. He looked at me and said he knows how to climb by doing what he seen the pros do on "The Tourmalet". Hows that for Eurotrash wannabe cool?! Like I told both of them at one time or another, they can't go wrong getting into cycling based on my lifelong "healthy obsession" with the sport, and they will have it made if their inseam matches mine.LOL At any rate, I'm enjoying the time out with them, regardless of the fact that my training (intensity) has now become "laid back" for lack of a better term. Rides with the boys are obviously shorter and less technical and intense, BUT having them out riding with me (and cross training "boy#1" during his injury) is WAY more important to me at this point. Now it's time to convince them that lycra IS better than those gym shorts. Baby steps....


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Shifting gears (so to speak)

It's ironic, a few months ago I was going to sell one of my mountain bikes to help pay off some Aero wheels I bought.  I ultimately decided to keep the bike and see if I could possibly interest one of my boys to start riding it out in the trails with me on occasion. Regardless of the lure and comfort of recouping some recently spent $$$$, I'm GLAD I decided to hold onto it. He went for the virgin ride around his birtthday,  and we had fun. Imagine the excitement a dad can have when a teenager WANTS to do something with you :) So were in the process of getting him all dialed in as far as positioning goes, and the couple times he's been out with me so far he's enjoyed it. He's currently dealing with a running injury (right at the beginning of his cross country season, and that SUCKS! But like I told him, he's fortunate enough to have active parents that understand and can help him cross train to keep him in shape. I personally think he will return to X-Country stronger once his cycling muscles develop.
Here's where my focus has suddenly changed (again)
I'm now focused on helping Jr get some good aerobic cross training in, strengthen some additional muscle groups  in the legs, and having him possibly find a new found love for the sport of cycling. The quality father/son time is a BONUS.  Like I told him; my plans now revolve around the days he wants to ride (outside of the Wednesday running group I'm now leading) Funny, as time goes on, it's no longer "all about me", instead its all about giving back to other aspiring athletes, and apparently that's a GOOD thing! At least it feels that way in my book...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Centurion Wisconsin video

Here is a video from the GranFondo I did up in Madison a couple weeks ago. "I said it before, and I'll say it again"( did ya catch the Judas Priest - Heading out to the Highway lyrics there?!) The GranFondo will be the next BIG thing to hit the states. Totally Eurotrash cool...


the 2nd or 3rd most interesting man in the world

Ruling out myself and the DosEquis man, I present to you in all his glory.
Mario Cippolini...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

the MIGHTY Purple 1 (continued)

For the large online contingent ;) who follow me here from FB, I decided to continue the PRINCE theme this morning ;)  It's an all PRINCE Thursday music, work outfit - right down to the purple socks, so "Rock out! with your..."

Carjack used 2 fix flat tires
Cadillac used 2 be a Benz
Big joints never gotcha higher
Freebase cost U in the end

I'm just a no-name reporter
I wish I had nothing 2 say
Looking through my new camcorder
Trying 2 find a crime that pays
I get hit by mortars, everywhere I go I'm loitering

"Chaos and disorder ruinin' my world 2day"

He's gay used 2 mean he's happy
Nowadays happy ain't allowed (alright)
U're played used to mean top 40
Now 40 days of being played ain't proud

I'm just a no-name reporter
I wish I had nothing 2 say
Lookin' through my new camcorder
Trying 2 find a crime that pays
I get hit by mortars, everywhere I go I'm loitering

"Chaos and disorder ruinin' my world 2day"

Safe sex used 2 mean no babies
When intercourse used to mean fun
If I had 15 ladies
I would only fuck with 1

I get hit by a mortar, everywhere I go I'm loitering
Chaos and disorder [rulin''] my world today

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

As it was meant to be...

I had a FUN, cycling filled weekend, with ups and downs(literally), and it even included a few of those "moments of clarity" that helped put some things in perspective. I went out to Madison Wisconsin to do the Centurion GranFondo. For what it's worth that IS the future of cycling in the states. It's no surprise these events are so popular in Europe where cycling is revered... . I decided (the night before)to get the AC recharged in my car since the trip up there was about 3 hours and it was hot. So Saturday we head off to the highway and NO AC. Turns out there is a leak, and the $100 I spent at Jiffy Lube leaked out a faulty hose within one day. I'm dealing with them later...For all my readers who are limited in time I decided to condense the trip into a collection of notable highlights, and include a collection of pictures for those of you who asked for visuals :)
  • First road trip with new GPS. Still got turned around because I didn't completely trust it LOL
  • Arrived at packet pickup Saturday winds were howling. Hooked up with a babe for a kodak moment ;)

  • Came across Fabian Cancellera's bike at the Specialized booth. Rep wouldn't let me ride it :(  Note cable stop I "aquired" - DON'T judge me...

  • Food was great on this trip! Lunch was at a Cheeseburger in Paradise which was across the street from the hotel, and dinner was at Cosi. Margarita Chicken pizza mmmm
  •  Saturday night we visited the closed to the public TREK expo. Some cool rides and gear on display. Kids suddenly want to buy road bikes LOL Had another photo opportunity to take a picture of a babe and a bike ;)
The 2 coolest things I seen were
1) The ultimate touring/pizza delivery bike

and a custom water bottle program in which you can design and order online.
these 2 bottles are going to be HUGE sellers.

The rest of the show was typical shiny new bikes you can find at any reputable shop...
  • Race morning was greeted with severe weather and a number of delays. The 100 mile race/ride was cancelled and everyone who stuck around did the 50 miler (complete with 3200 feet of climbing -In the Midwest :)  

  • We were moved into an airplane hangar while the storms moved thru.

  • I had some pretty mixed emotions as to what I was going to do but decided to stay and do the ride when my "LPM" called my bluff. We have a rule in which we can't wear the shirt or in this case the jersey I bought, unless we do the event.

So back to the hotel I rode, switched my HED 60 mm wheels out for some low profile lightweight Mavic Ksyriums I brought (just in case), and changed into dry gear.

  • Some prerace comments. Not cool for "roadies" to rip on triathletes when waiting for the start. The Tri dude did have a great comeback when he brought up he was prepping for the ironman. Made the "hair-on-legs" roadie change his tune, and suddenly befriend him. Almost to the point of being over the top. Some people.... It  was also kind of arrogant to see a team walk up last minute and push their way to the front while the rest of us were out braving the drizzle and wind waiting for the start. POETIC but a story for another day. TRUST ME :)
  • The race was great. If great means torrential/monsoon rains, and wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour. I haven't done much pack riding this year so it took a few miles to relax, and ease into a steady rythem with a group I hooked up with. Initially I  simply couldn't hang with the hardcore racers at the front, but ultimately found myself holding my own with other strong riders after everyone settled in. Did I mention the monsoon rains and wind? Nothing more exciting then flying down some downhills in driving rain and seeing 42/43 mph on the cycle computer.  I did well on the climbs even though on a number of occasions I had to look down to be sure I had a cog or hopefully 2 in reserve (just in case). Going into the event I knew I wasnt geared for significant climbing, and I had to ride smart - I DID. I landed up stopping once to pull out a hand towel from the hotel that  I used as insulation from the cold rains at the start,kinda like they do in the tour with newspapers, but I fashioned the towel to not only cover my chest but also brought the end of it high enough to act as a makeshift turtleneck, and low enough to act as the fron tof a second pair of shorts. It was brilliant if you ask me, and it worked well. I alsostripped off my wind jacket since at that point I was SOAKED and warm from the efforts. I spent the last 10 miles or so trying to bridge back up to the group I rode with that landed up getting about a  half/3 quarters of  a mile ahead of me when I stopped. I never caught them but did pick off all the riders that were shelled off the pack, and encouraged each of them to jump on and work, but they were cooked apparently, and no one came along. THINK Time trial mode in no mans land.The sun came out with about 3 miles to go and turned the wet roads into a steamy sauna, and the organizers put a pretty good climb at 2 miles to go, which had my legs almost turning squares. I did continue to move past riders on the climbs, probably thanks to training out in Lemont over the summer. I jumped with about 500 meters to go and picked off every finisher within striking distance and was passed by no one when I lit it up at the end.
  • I finished 177 out of 584 racers/riders 50 miles 2:22:29  rank in category 28/92 M40-44

It's funny, I was concerned about a 100 mile race, and it turned into a 50 miler as if the universe gave me what was in my best interest. I did the best I could, and realized a few things. I have a tendancy of signing up for events that could be considered events I'm in over my head with, and that is possibly what stresses me out so much pre race. Ultimately I walked away happy, I haven't raced this year but have been enjoying the training when I can get it in (sound strange?) BUT if you are going to do GREAT in races you have to have race miles in your legs. NO QUESTION.... My reality doesn't provide for that right now, and my placing is a reflection of my natural abilities which IF I raced more would become more evident and move me up in the rankings (just like it did 10 years or so ago). Sure the ego thing gets in the way, but like I said, I did great with all things considered, and walked away happy


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Olympic course? SERIOUSLY??

Well here we go. I've been looking forward to this all year. A GranFondo... If your a EuroTrashWannabe like me, and you heard one was going to be in the states you'd be as excited as a kid in a candy shop like I am. 100 miles on some VERY challenging roads. If you take the time to read the story in the link I included, you will see that it's on the same roads that were to be used in Chicago's failed Olympic bid. I talked to someone who rode in the area, and her comment was she wanted to cry after being on those hills. So then the little voice in my head starts to get the better of me and I start to psyche myself out - AGAIN... I could/could have been a champion if I could successfully get that voice to SHUT the FCUK up (I think) As a bonus, TREK(since they are a sponsor and we will be in Wisconsin). is opening their usually closed to the public new line up expo to participants and their families, and their is also an expo put on by Centurion. So it will be a cycling filled weekend for sure. I haven't done a century in years, but I've been getting in some 50 to 70 mile rides over the last couple months, and I've been hitting the local hills as often as I can. On one hand I can't wait for the experience, and unfortunately on the other hand I'm a bit freaked at the distance, terrain and the fact that that  voice in my head is telling me I'm not prepared. The interesting thing? That voice never once has told me I am ready. The AC in the car has been recharged, and I put together 2 mix CDS of some good tunage -that and I've got my Rock Racing -CYCLING ROCKS Tshirt out. It's gonna be fun - regardless of what the voice says. Maybe I should have picked up a rear cog better suited for climbing, and switched to climbing specific wheels instead of my new Aero HEDS. OMG time to panic (again ) LOL

Monday, August 2, 2010

Isn't it ironic (I REALLY do think)

Yeah, that was a reference to a song by one of the best female artists around, Alanis Morrisette. She REALLY hits home with some of her lyrics. So back to the topic at hand... I stopped taking the new blood pressure medicine (a selective beta blocker) because it slowed me down, my endurance took a hit, and off the record "MR Happy" was out to lunch - THERE I said it... So it was a rough couple of days when I stopped the medicine because your body freaks! when it gets accustomed to having a chemical inside it and is functioning according to what the medicine is supposed to do. Then came Saturday's time trial effort test on my 20 mile hilly loop. Last week while on the med, I did it in 1:07. Saturday morning albeit cooler temps, 57 minutes. No doubt the meds slow me down. Then came Sundays race. Something called the Muddy Buddy.  You ever have a race where you simply run and or ride in "the zone"? I was there. Yeah, it was a challenging race, but I floated thru it. We took 3rd place in our division. We were on the podium :) Theres no question I couldn't have done it at that level while on the medication. I've got some serious pros and cons to consider... Peace of mind, or athletic performance. I'm not in any health crisis so to speak, its got more to do with "curbing my enthusiasm" for lack of a better term.- I'm high strung and yeah emotional. So was the great race my swan song, or was it God's hint that the FCKING GREAT feelings you get from a spot on athletic performance is God's way of telling me to take the harder road and nix the meds, and make other somewhat harder choices to gain better health, and calmness? Not sure what to do. On one hand I DO want my BP to be lower and not a concern, I also don't want to be so strung out and frustrated thanks to a stressfull career as an IT director, with the additional challenge of kids! LOL I love them but yeah, it can be challenging. On the other hand, I LOVE performing well, and for better or worse some of my personal importance and charachter is based on my athletic endeavors. So I can't have both, and they are both important to me. SO since I don't know what to do, I am throwing my hands in the air, and letting go of this situatiion for now. God I HOPE your read my blog and either give me a sign or send me a messenger. At any rate the race was fun, I was very pleased with our performance, and the podium finish was a blessing for so many reasons at such an interesting time of my life. The team name? " Ray Loves Anne"  YEAH thats the name of my "long time personal manager" and she has NEVER been on a podium -EVER. As a matter of fact her first race when we first got together she finished last...  What a great day for us. If there is one thing I've learned over the last year it's the fact that I get more satisfaction giving back by helping others get better in the arena of sport - be it leading our new running group, or my continued quest to help my LPM improve as an athlete and most recently get on a podium :) It seems like it's not about me anymore, and I don't need to be the fastest to continue that road...  or do I?!
perplexed for sure