27 March 2007


It appears that the fiancé has the noro virus. Yep, she's sick as a dog (which if you knew our dog, Beatrice, is technically not very sick, because that little dog is fit as a fiddle, and full of what we like to call "energy", but that is the old saying and you knew what I meant anyway). I had to bring her over to the student health clinic this morning, which to their credit, took her right in and saw her. I feel bad for her, because damn, it just straight up sucks to feel that bad. On the other hand, I am hoping and crossing the old fingers that I don't get it from her. On that note though, I gave my boss a head's up letting her know that the fiancé is sick, and that there might be a good chance that I'll come down with something before the end of the week. Now I'm not normally one who likes getting sick, and this is no exception, but if I could hit me; could it be Friday? I have a customer coming in that day, and don't feel like sitting through a crazy long boring meeting. Again, that is, if I HAVE to get sick, let's let it happen on Friday, or maybe like Thursday evening. That would be sweet right there. But then again, considering how she was feeling this morning, I'm thinking I don't want to be sick at all. So again, I'll be hoping and crossing the fingers. Not to mention scrubbing down with hand sanitizer killing all germs in my wake. I do hate being sick, you can bet on that one. As I'm sure most normal people would agree.

Last night, whilst lazing on the couch post ride, and after dinner, I was watching the replay from this year's Milan - San Remo bike race. The 3 time world champion, Oscar Freire took out the sprint win on the Via Roma in San Remo, but not before there was a lot of fireworks going on out on the roads of Italy. After the Cipressa, a group of 2 went up the road, which was shortly 3 people as former U23 world champion, Yaroslav Popvych bridged a pretty gap, in a short amount of time, and made it up to the 2 breakaway guys. As Popovych made contact, he rolled right past the 2 breakaway guys, and got on the front, and started yanking it. It was some good racing. Shortly after joining the 2, one of the dudes, from Gerolsteiner, crashed into a damn lightpost out on the road. For some reason, he failed to negotiate a corner somewhere on the course. Eventually, that breakaway got reeled in, and then another went up the road with Rico Ricardo (I think that was his name, from Saunier Duval), and one Phillippe Gilbert (sounds French, but is really Belgian), and those guys ALMOST made it to the line together, but no. Current world champion, Paolo Bettini, in order to get his team leader (Tom Boonen) into position for a possible win went to front of the race, and pulled like a small little Italian madman, which is kind of what he's like. Small. Italian. Madman. What made that effort even more amazing is that before the Cipressa, he got caught behind a crash, and spent part of that climb riding through the pack fill getting spit out the back of the race, and the team cars, and basically bridged back up to the peloton on his own, and then went on the attack to pull back the breakaway. He's the man, and also remember, he did this with a broken rib suffered last week.

At the end, Freire had the right wheel, Boonen's, and Milram was leading out Pettachi like the pro leadout train that they are. It appears that old Ale-Jet may have lost a few steps here and there with his sprint. At about 50 meters to go, he pretty much just stopped pedaling, only to be passed by his last leadout man, Zabel, who ended up finishing ahead of him. What maybe should have happened was you perch Zabel at the back of the leadout train (as he has some experience in winning this race), and let him go for it. Being the consummate professional he is though, when asked about the end of the race situation, and how he felt about leading out Pettachi who stopped sprinting early, he says something along the lines of, "Ah, it's in my contract to do leadouts, so I did my job." That guy is pure class. Looking at the tape at the end, 2nd place was pretty close between Boonen, Davis (of Discovery), and Robbie McWhiner, oops, I mean McEwen. Allan Davis ended up second with Boonen taking the 3rd step, and Robbie back in 4th. For Discovery, that was a damn good finish, and he wasn't that far off from winning. Considering that they need to get a new sponsor for next year, Disco is having some damn fine results. Tour of California, Paris-Nice, 2nd and Milan - San Remo, some stage wins here and there. Good stuff.

Anyway, back to the grind for me. I'm cranking this out at work while I'm at lunch, so now it's time to actually go back and do that work thing (I hate it when that happens).

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26 March 2007

Swimming? In March???

I went swimming this past weekend. Yeah, you heard me right, this past weekend I went swimming. No, it wasn't in an indoor warm pool. Yes, it was in an outdoor pool at a friend of mine's apartment complex. Yes, we were drunk. Yes, it was March 24th when we entered the chilly waters of this pool. Yes, it was fun. I, being a sort of warm blooded type of person decided that I needed to be first into the pool, at which point in time I lied to everyone else and said that the water wasn't that bad. Shrieking and yelling ensued after the rest of the tribe jumped in. It was freakin' cold in there, but alas, I had never been swimming before in March, at least not outside that is. Well, unless you count the time I went whitewater rafting in Maine in early March (big water release) and there was still much snow on the banks of the river, along with big chunks of ice floating down the river beside us. Luckily, at that time, we got to wear dry suits provided to us through the rafting company, but it was still cold as balls out there. Especially since, remember, I said it was a big water release from the dam, and well, when there is big water, you get plenty wet. Still the best ride I've ever had down the West Branch of the Penobscot though. So, in a drunken state (well, I was more buzzed really nicely as opposed to drunk) I jumped into the swimming pool this weekend. This bodes well for the rest of the summer though, as the pool wasn't that bad, and they have a large grill sitting poolside. I can see summer nights grilling and swimming over there, well, if I get invited that is. I would hope that I would, as I can always bring the beer. I'll have to make sure to NOT swim immediately after eating, as I might get a cramp and not be able to make it out of the 5 foot deep pool alive. Now, if only they had a hot tub over there as well, now that would be something. I know, not asking for too much am I?

This weekend also represented the first really consistently warm weekend coming into the Spring. Well, actually, it was hot on Saturday and Sunday. Also in accordance with the first really warm weekend, the pink arm warmers made an appearance after the ride on Saturday afternoon. For those of you who are not in "the know", the pink arm warmers refer to the bare arms after they have been exposed to the sun for a long period of time, for the first time in the year, resulting in a semi sun burn that is the same size and length of a regular pair of arm warmers that one would wear when it is cold outside whilst riding the bike. This was just a long explanation of saying that I got a little bit of a sunburn this weekend. It actually wasn't too bad, and today, it has abated already. Yes, I did wear sunscreen on Sunday when I went out riding (I actually forgot on Saturday), and came back much better off after the Sunday ride. This also means that the infamous biker tan line is coming back into effect, full effect, as it never really went away, and actually doesn't go away. It's been a good year and a half now since I stopped riding on a very consistent basis, and the dark line, it's still there on the legs and the arms. The tan line that suffers the most is the sock line near the ankle, that one tends to blend in over time. This one is coming back in dark and distinct as well. Maybe I'll have to get some tan line pictures and get them on here in the near future. Got to work on it some more before posting though. I'm not like certain people who I know, who won't be named, who fake their cycling tan lines in order to get more cred from the cycling peeps. Yeah, it's true, I do know people who go to a tanning salon, or have in the past, who wear their cycling gear into the tanning booth in order to gain the appropriate cycling tan lines. You know who you are out there, so don't deny it.

This past weekend riding though, for the first time in a relatively long time, I felt OK on the bike. The legs were still pretty tired by the time I got home yesterday afternoon, but they're coming around really. I am thinking about another 3-4 weeks of consistent riding, and I'll start to really come around and find some fitness again. This riding, plus starting to do interval work in another month or so, should set me up for a good fitness base for the middle of this summer, when I can start racing my bike again. I'm torn at this time though whether to cat down to a 3 again, or stay racing as a category 2. I think if I had been able to upgrade to a category 1, I would stay there, because the chances of me making it back to that level (if I actually HAD made it to that level) would be slim and none, and I'd like to keep that category, but being a cat 2, is not that big of a deal. I could always drop a category, and IF I'm riding OK towards the end of the season, I should gain enough points to cat back up, or maybe the local official will let me, as I had been there once before. The straight poop though is that cat 3 racing is plenty fast, most of the time, it's just that the race lengths are much shorter. I personally don't have enough time to train properly or intensely to be a higher level racer, and my genetics don't help me on that end either. If I had the time to train, it might be a different story, or if I had a good genetic base from which to work, it might be different as well, but alas, I don't have either of those, so most likely back to cat 3 racing I'll go. And I'll probably get dropped there as well, so no big deal. I do remember though that the best times I had racing bikes was when I was a cat 3 racer, even when I was getting dropped. That might have had more to do with the guys I was racing with, rather than the racing itself, but I do remember those days fondly. And there were a number of races where I did quite well. We'll see…

This time of year in North Carolina, best time of the year ever. The days are longer, the temperatures are more than tolerable, everything is blooming out there, and it's got that good smell of Spring in the air. It's good stuff really. And since we don't get hardly any snow at all down here, there is no "mud" season, as those of you in the Northeast corner of the country know. Mud season is essentially just that, mud. All of the snow melts, and then the ground melts, and what do you have? Mud, and lots of it. It doesn't go away until like, June or so most of the time as far as I can recall. I remember one especially bad year when I was mountain biking a lot. I think I went through 2 sets of wheels, and about 10 sets of brake pads from the time span going from March to July. That's a lot of gear that this mud chewed through. Not to mention everything just being dirty all of the time. And of course you get mud all through wherever it is you're living, no matter how careful you are. It just invades and creeps its way into, well, everything. NO mud season in North Carolina, at least not in Durham.

No political stuff today, as there is just too much of that going on right now to even really comment about. Except for the attorney general, and the way he messed up, bad. Hey, look, Alberto, if you're going to fire some US Attorneys, don't lie about why you fired them in the first place. If you hadn't lied, there wouldn't be this shitstorm brewing all over the place, and it wouldn't even be a story, and there would be no investigations. But, apparently, Gonzales forgot that the democrats control Congress now, and are able to actually complete their oversight duties of the executive branch of the US government unlike the old majority (the republicans). If Gonzales had just come out and said that they fired these 8 prosecutors because they weren't pursuing what the current administration thought was important, there would have been some outcry, but as the law actually states, these people serve at the pleasure of the President. But instead, they said it was for performance issues, when none of them were actually performing badly. And then Gonzales said he wasn't aware of these decisions that were being made of who to fire and when. But, there is a pesky little detail of different meetings that Gonzales had with his staff concerning these firings. And then there was the White House saying that they weren't involved really with any of this (even though DOJ falls under the White House), but turns out, they were involved, deeply involved. Why did they need to lie about this? Like the Scooter Libby perjury case, it's not what actually happened that is the problem, it's what they did to cover it up, and in this case, lie about it. I'd be extremely surprised if Gonzales lasts the rest of this week and does not resign. It's funny for a man (Bush) who said that he was going to bring honor and trust back to the White House, and the executive branch in general, they are doing just the opposite of that, and have been since they entered office in January of 2001. Lots of lying, lots of secrecy never before seen, walking over the Constitution, suspending habeus corpus, and things like that. Yep, doin' a heck of a job there Bushie. Heck of a job. It has gotten to the point now, that whenever someone from the Bush administration speaks, I believe whatever it is that they are saying, to be a lie. They can't help themselves.

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24 March 2007

OK, I was bored...

I was bored at home, not feeling well on Monday of this week, so I pieced together some more pictures, and some more video of the rally from this past weekend that was held in Cary for single speeders, yeah, I know, I need a life or something. Check out video part 2.

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19 March 2007

It's almost 4:00AM. Do you know where you are???

I know where I am. Sitting in a darkened space of my house known as my office. Yeah, it's been one of those nights. This time though, it's all about the allergies. I started getting an allergy attack this evening whilst on the way to dinner. It cleared up for a few minutes and I thought I was out of the crap, but no. It came back, full on force, landed in my eyes, my nose, and my face. Now I can't really breathe that well, and have post nasal drip running down the back of my throat, which in turn makes me cough. Add to this coughing and or sneezing a set of sore ribs from falling off of the bike a lot this weekend (see previous post about drunken debacle known as the Single Speed Rally 2007 and you'll see what I mean), and this makes me approximately one not sleeping guy.

Let's run down the list:

1. Face swollen up from allergies? Check.

2. Nose rubbed raw from wiping? Check.

3. Persistent hacking cough? Check.

4. Persistent sneezing? Check.

5. Utter misery encountered throughout this evening? Check, and check!

Now I haven't had an allergy attack like this for a long time, and it's been a really long time since I had one that has kept me awake through a night. I think I need to call into work sick, throw down some Benadryl, and go nighty night. Which is what I'm going to do in about, oh, 30 minutes or so. Waiting until I'm completely and utterly exhausted, and then we'll head in for the killer allergy medication. I do hope that I have some in the cabinet here. I normally have a ready supply of Benadryl in case the good old Claritin doesn't work. It didn't, and now, I have to switch up. I even tried my old little trick of peppermint oil earlier today, didn't help. This is some good stuff. And again, I see my training week going to pot. Well, maybe I can get in some good sleep, and go for a ride this afternoon if I feel better. I hope that I do because right now I feel like smashing my head against a wall I'm so itchy, and sneezy, and feeling miserable. I love allergies, and I'm so glad that I have them now when I didn't when I was younger. That's what I get for going outside, and actually exercising.

It's funny isn't it, that when I was training the hardest, and when I was outside every day on my bike in all sorts of weather, good, bad, and indifferent, this is when I took in large amounts of pollutants into my lungs, which has made me, and my friends as well, more susceptible to allergies. And here I was thinking that exercise was good for me. Joke is on me I suppose. Again.

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18 March 2007

What I did this weekend...

For those of you that know him, Mr. Pat Lundergan is a man who loves to do 2 things. Drink beer, and ride bikes. He and his buddies had a single speed rally this weekend. Check out the video I put together in tribute to the fun and games that went on this weekend.

11 March 2007

Thanks go out to...

Believe it or not, I've got to actually (I can't believe I'm going to do this) the Bush Administration, and the formerly Republican lead Congress of the United States of America. Those of you that know me, and or have frequented this page before, or maybe you've mistakenly clicked over to it in the past, know that I do really loathe George W. Bush as a President. To sum it up, he might not be the worst President of all time, but he probably will be the worst President in my lifetime. I mean, who would have thought I would long for the days of Ronald Regan and George H. W. Bush? I didn't think that would happen on my watch, but alas, here we are. Anyway, back to the thanking part of things.

If there is one thing that Bush as done right in his disastrous 2 terms, it's that he pushed back the start of Daylight Saving Time to this weekend. Now we get that extra hour of daylight the second week of March instead of the first weekend of April, which in my opinion is a kick ass decision right there. I guess this was part of an energy bill that passed through Congress awhile back, and W signed it into law, and here we are. March 11th, and the sun will now be up until 7:30 or so, at least around here. I know that up North in the great cold State of Maine, my Dad is cherishing the extra hour of sunlight. For years when I was a kid, and or at college and living at home at least part of the time, immediately after December 21st or 22nd (whichever one was the shortest day of the year in Maine) he would start tracking the increase in the days almost on a daily basis. And he would tell us about them as he tracked them, so I knew, just knew that he was excited for extra daylight. Now, does this really matter in Maine where they are not only under a blanket of snow, but more like a wall of snow, yeah, it probably does. As having spent a majority of my lifetime in Maine, I can say that in the winter months, it gets dreary when you wake up, it's dark. Drive to work, it's dark. Get to work, it's pretty dark until well after 8AM. Leave work at 4 or 4:30 in the afternoon, yeah, it's still dark out there. It stinks, it drags a man down, but hey, that's what we get for living in the chilly climes of the Northern parts of the country. But now, we have an extra hour of daylight, and in NC where the weather has been getting nicer and nicer over the last few weeks, this means more riding after work for me. Which is something I've promised myself not to take lightly this year. Meaning, don't waste the daylight hours. Get home, change those clothes, get out on the bike. I also have this sort of crazy plan to start riding into work a couple of days per week when the weather warms up more. Why is this crazy? Well, it's a 35 mile ride up, and a 35 mile ride back down in the afternoon, so a 70 mile training day. Which sound nice, if it's a weekend. Could be tough doing that, so we'll see how that all shakes out here in the near future. I would like to do it, because it would give me some crazy hours for training, and I've got to go there, and come home anyway, I might as well get some benefits from doing it, and I think I would arrive at work, a little tired, but feeling better for it. You know, endorphines, feeling good, things like that.

But yeah, thanks Bushie, you've actually done something right for a change. It's much appreciated by the cyclists that I know and speak to.

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