Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Oh -

I forgot. Happy New Year!

2009 - resolved

I'm hesitant to list any resolutions for 2009. In 2007, I hit all of my resolutions, which, if I remember correctly was to ride four centuries (I turned 40 that year) and something else that I'm not remembering right now but I'm pretty sure I did.

In 2008, I failed miserably.

1. I was going to win a Larry Schwartz award from the UMCA by riding a century a month.
2. I was going to ride the Desperado Dual. Sorta Fail. I did ride, but bailed halfway through.

So, for 2009, the following:

1. Finsh the Desperado Dual.

2. Track my real milage for the year (I've managed the last two years to either lose or break my computer on my bike, causing me to loose track.) So, tonight, I'm resetting the odometer to zero.

3. Raise my goal (currently $3,000) for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and ride in the Livestrong Chalenge in Austin in October.

4. Ride over 3,500 miles (which, while it sounds like a lot, isn't. I can ride 2,200 miles a year just by commuting to work.)

There may be more to come.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

2009 - the plan, so far

I'm probably going to regret doing this because last year I did and then I miserably failed at attaining my goal and now everyone who reads this (me) knows it. But, since part of the joy of cycling is suffering and humiliation is a form of suffering, I'm doing it again. For 2009, here are my plans, so far:

28 February, 2009: Zion Spring Century, St. George, Utah (100 miles)

28 March, 2009: Tour de St. George Spring Century (100 miles)

Some time between 27 March and 17 April, go up to Yellowstone again and ride from West Yellowstone (West Gate entrance) to Gardiner, Montana (North Gate entrance) and back with the guys.

2 May, 2009: Ghost Town Century, Tooele, Utah (100 miles)

27 June, 2009 - Harmon's MS-150 (100 miles)
28 June, 2009 - Harmon's MS-150 (75 miles)

24 - 25 October, 2009 - Livestrong Challenge, Austin, Texas (100 miles) Which, by the way, if you haven't donated yet, you can here. Or here. Or here.

Planned, but not yet scheduled rides:

Desperado Dual, Panguitch, Utah (200 miles)

Salt Lake Century, Salt Lake City, Utah (107 miles)

ULCER, Utah Lake (111 miles)

And, hopefully either RAGBRAI or Seattle to Portland...if I'm lucky.

All of this, of course, dependent on me getting off of my lazy ass and back on the bike, which I've not really ridden since September. Partially because of this, and this but now also because of this:

That's the view out the window to my left as I write this.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cancer sucks

Seriously. I just found out about yet another instance of cancer in my immediate circle. A friend's wife had a tumor removed a week or so ago. They needed to do a biopsy to determine if the cancer has spread to her lymph nodes. He just let me know that they got the test back and it has. I have no idea at this point what it means or how bad it is, I'm not sure that they do either. All I know is I'm tired of stories like this. If you haven't already, donate to my LAF fundraiser. Hell, donate to anyone's. I don't care. Just help us raise money to do the research that's necessary to make these stories a thing of the past.

Imagine, it's the middle or end of the 21st centrury, your grandkids are reading their history books about the plauges of cancers that used to devistate families. And they read about the simple cure and all of the research and development that went into finding it...and you tell them that you helped, it was just a small way...just a few dollars really, and you didn't receive any awards or recognition or anything but that it was okay becasue you knew that every dime raised was a dime that would help find a cure and they did find one, and you did help and that's all that matters. That they will never have to worry about cancer, that's all that matters.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This is decidedly NOT fun

Just got back from the dentist. Second visit in as many weeks. This time for two fillings. They decided it was a great idea to numb my entire left side of my face, nostril, bottom eyelid, cheek. Everything.

Everything, that is, except the area directly where they were doing their work on the second tooth.

In fairness, it didn't hurt as bad as it would have without the numbing, I assume.

This sucks, I feel like I got kicked in the head and it hasn't even worn off yet.

Why do I think this is really going to hurt a lot in a few hours?

So, four fillings on the right side on the 8th, two on the left on the 17th, with the added bonus of yesterdays little foot post extraction thrown in for fun. And it's only Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Well, that was unexpected.

I wrote the other day about the pain I started having in my foot.

Turns out it wasn't in my head after all (I'd sort of convinced myself that it was.) I called last week for an appointment with Dr. Clark, who did my surgery, and even after a little whining about how painful it was, the earliest I got in was this afternoon. I expected him to tell me that it was normal. That the nerves were just healing or something and the pain I felt was to be expected. Instead, he told me what I secretly feared...the pin that he'd put in my foot to hold the bone together was coming out.

Better still, he thought we should cut on in now and pull it out, since it would only get worse. And since I could think of nothing more exciting to do with a Tuesday afternoon than to lay back, have someone numb by foot, cut into it and take a pair of pliers and pull a pin out of a bone, I said, why not. Thirty minutes, and to be honest, a little nausea, queasiness and dizziness (I've become such a freakin' wimp!) later...the pin's out, I'm stitched back up and I now (again) can't wash my foot for five days... yippee.

And I suppose, when the anesthesia wears off, I'll be happy about it, assuming it doesn't hurt like I'm imagining it will.

I'm off to make enchiladas. Comfort food.

Tomorrow, the dentist...

Friday, December 12, 2008


Robyn's out of town this weekend. The only thing about that I like is that I was planning on getting out and doing some road training on the bike. So, what happens?

Saturday: Low: 19 High: 33 Chance of snow 80%
Sunday: Low: 17 High: 30 Chance of snow 60%

If I didn't know better, I'd think I was supposed to go skiing. Well, if it's not too bad, maybe I'll hit the road anyway.

I sent out my first mass e-mail to family and friends regarding the LAF fundraising. So far, no response...nope, just checked again, nothing. Maybe I should have begged more.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Since I wrote last Saturday about not having any pain in my foot when I rode, and I truly didn't, I've had at least three episodes where I've taken a step and had such excruciating pain shoot through the top of my foot, seemingly along the line of the scar (thought I'm pretty sure it's not the scar itself) that I double over. I really don't think that it was riding, though I suppose that putting that kind of pressure on the ball of my foot may have contributed. I first noticed when I put the wrong shoes on. Not the wrong shoes as in not my shoes, but since the surgery, there are a few pairs of shoes that I just cannot wear. They either have a seam or the tongue lays right across the scar and it hurts or they've got a weird toe box (most likely stretched out from before the surgery) and aren't comfortable to walk in. Well, I was getting dressed for a party and put on a pair of black shoes that just killed my foot. So, they're going in the "do not wear" pile, no big deal. Problem is that since then, even in my shoes that I've been wearing a lot since the surgery, I still am getting the same shooting pain. It's not constant, and it's not even predictable. I've had it once while sitting in the car not putting any pressure on my foot at all. Weird. If it happens again today, I'll call the doctor and see if it's something to worry about. Otherwise, I suppose I should just HTFU I guess. Damn foot.

In LAF news, I've now raised $25 of my goal. Yippee! (Of course, I donated it myself, but hey, it's a start...)

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Hey, I just noticed that I've had a couple of comments to some of my post! Two, to be exact.

Back in January, I wrote a post about supporting Barack Obama, or rather my conflicted feelings about not supporting him, called White Man's Burden. Someone named Britany cared so deeply for my feelings that she wrote that it was "great info to know." That's fabulous! Until I realized that she was probably writing up an insurance plan for me to cover my angst caused medical condition or something.

And then in October, when I wrote my post about my first week post-operation on my foot, I go another comment, this one from some guy who tried to scare the bejebus out of me because of the pain pump that they'd used on my foot. Too bad it wasn't my shoulder, I could got a piece of the action from the class action lawsuit!

Wow! People like me! They really like me!

Leaving well enough alone.

As much as I like the status quo, I do tend, every once in a while, to try to crank things up a notch to put a little extra challenge into something that I've agreed to do. One of the most difficult ones off the top of my head was when I entered into a story writing challenge with a group of people over on the Zoetrope writers workshop site. If I remember correctly, the challenge was to write a short piece that contained four things. It had to have a couple, someone had to die, there had to be mention or discussion of the afterlife, and it had to have a key. Not satisfied with those restrictions, I decided it would be fun to write it without the letter E. That's right, without the most common letter in written English. I dare say that I did an alright job, it ended up having only one E, at the end, as a sort of clue to the reader as to what had been missing, since some of them seemed to not notice. It was fun, challenging, and I took a little measure of extra pride having met my own personal challenge.

Well, I'm starting to get the urge to do it again. Only I can't really decide how. Yesterday, I was the 86th rider to join Team Fatty for the Austin, Texas Livestrong Challenge. The more I think about it, though, the more I want to do. See, I made a list. It's a list of all of the people in my family who have had, have, or died from cancer of any type. Well, there are twelve people on that list, including Robyn's immediate family that I know of. There's her father and grandfather; my father; my great-uncle (who just lost his battle on November 29th); my grandfathers (both sides); grandmother; step-grandmother; an aunt; an uncle; a niece.

And that's not counting the three or four friends who I can think of off the top of my head.

If you'll pardon my French, that's just too fucking many people. This thing needs to be beaten and beaten badly.

So, just raising money and flying to Austin and riding 90 miles doesn't feel like enough.

So, I thought I might ride a little more. And try to raise a little more.

I won't lie. I was already mulling over the idea of trying for the century a month thing again in 2009, especially since I had such a great go of it this year. (sarcasm) And I'll admit, if I somehow raise over $3,000 and get invited to the Livestrong awards diner in Austin on October 24th, that would be cool. And if I, by some miracle, managed to score an invite to ride with the man himself in the Ride for the Roses by raising $10,000 or more, that wouldn't suck, either.

But, really, I think it's because I feel the need to do more and I'm not a doctor or scientist or hospice worker and honestly, me changing my life now to become any of those things would be a lot harder than what I'm thinking about doing and since, you know, I'm a little lazy, I'm going to do it my way. Symbolically.

I'm thinking about riding a century a month and somehow using that to try to raise even more money for LAF. So far, the following thoughts have crossed my mind.

  1. I could try to get people to sponsor, like for the walk-a-thons I did for something as a kid, you know, so much per mile. So, if you pledged 50 cents a mile, or better, a whole dollar, for every century I completed, you'd donate $50, or $100. I know there'd be a certain amount of trust involved in this, there are plenty of months around here were there are no organized rides, so I'd have to document a personal century and you'd have to trust me. My thought is to sign up again for the Year-round challenge with the Ultra Marathon Bicycling Association and follow their rules for personal centuries. That way there's an organized body tracking my rides and I could show this as "proof." This has the added benefit of qualifying me for that Larry Schwartz award, that I wrote about last year, if I ride all 12
  2. I could try to get some local companies on board, to either donate or let me raise money by putting up signs at their locations or something. This one's not so well thought out, yet.
  3. I could get some other local riders on board to try this with me. Hey, maybe I could get Fatty himself (who I've never met but who sometimes feels like a close friend because of his amazing way of sharing his life on his blog, which if you haven't read, go read it, it's way better than this one and not just because other people read it. I've thought about stop writing "you" and just write "me" instead, since, to the best of my knowledge I'm my only regular reader. But, I digress.)
Anyway, this is just a rough idea. If I know myself at all, and I'm finding out regularly that maybe I don't, I'll loose my excitement about this, realize how overwhelming the idea is (for me) and just give up. Maybe.

Oh, speaking of riding. I just rode my longest ride since before we went to Guatemala in September. I rode 20 whole miles this morning (hey, it was 32 degrees when I left home!) I am so pathetically out of shape thanks to my foot surgery that I feel like a slug. So the thought of a century a month starting next month scares the hell out of me right now. But, hey, it's nothing compared to what cancer survivors deal with every day, so who am I to complain. The good news is that the foot felt mostly fine. The other good news (see how I avoided calling this the bad new? I'm still in the optimist stage of the idea) is that it gave me time alone to think and this crazy idea is what I came up with.

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, December 5, 2008

I'm in!

I'm in, and I'm going big. I just signed up for the Austin, TX Livestrong Challenge for Team Fatty. And I'm going big. I want to raise $3,000.00. So, if you can, donate. It's not a great time, I know, to be asking for donations but if you can't know, remember me when you can. It's a great cause, it's a great team and it's a horrid, horrid disease.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Um, hi again.

So, I think I just committed myself to ride the Livestrong Challenge in Austin next year. Awesome.

I apparently suck at this blogging thing. Too much life stuff going on, I guess. Excuses, excuses.

The foot is doing well. I'll try to get a picture up later because it looks much better and I'd hate for you to think that that last shot is what I'm stuck with. I've been out of the boot for a little over a week now, I think. At first, shoes felt really weird, and to be honest, because of the swelling that still occurs and the relatively numb feeling of my big toe still (doc says that should come back) it's still a little weird. I've only got about 3/4 of my flexibility back, but walking in real shoes is helping that. I'd like to say that I've been really good about PT but I'd be lying. I guess when my toe's all stiff in a year, I have no one but myself to blame. I think subconsciously I'm thinking that having a stiff toe will help me transfer power to the pedal better, or assist when I finally try bouldering. But the real truth is I'm lazy.

Speaking of pedals, Robyn and I got out on the bikes last Saturday for a short ride around the park. It was my first time on the bike in two months. It felt wonderful. I haven't resumed commuting, yet, but I will soon. Love that winter riding!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Eight days post-op

So, I had the before mentioned bunionectomy surgery on Wednesday, Sept 24th. Other than the paperwork that I'd received from my doctor's office told me to go to the wrong location for the surgery (thankfully, right across the street from LDS hospital, where it turns out I was supposed to go) everything went really well. I checked in around 11:30, was taken to a room to change and get prepped. They came in a put an IV in my arm (not my favorite part) and explained what would be happening. A little while later (not more than 30 minutes) they came in to wheel me to surgery. I know why they do it, but it was a little tiring that every single person who spoke with me asked me the same two or three questions: "What's your full name?" "What is your birth date?" "What are you having done today?"

I know they need to make sure that they're speaking with and, more so, operating on the right person and doing the right procedure but you'd think that after a few quality control checks, they'd be comfortable with it. Just saying...

I ended up being mostly passed out for the whole thing. I don't think I was completely out, like I was having heart surgery or anything, but the anesthesiologist kept me out enough to not be aware of anything. I have no memory of anything between moving to the bed in surgery and having a mask put on me to waking up in the bed in the recovery room. Which, for the record, is absolutely fine with me.

Though they gave me crutches to use, I think I've used them maybe two times. The walking boot they have me strapped in to allowed me to stand and walk that evening. I initially had a pain pump feeding pain killer directly to the site (see below) so there was very, very little pain at all. In fact, for the first four or five days, I couldn't feel my foot at all.

Here's my leg fully booted up and with the pain pump attached. It's threaded down into the boot and there are two catheters directly into my foot. That part grossed me out when I thought of it. Needless to say, I was very careful not to hit the pump or catch it on anything that might yank it off.

I went in on Tuesday (Sept 30) to have my first post op checkup. They changed the bandages and removed the pain pump. I will admit that I was queasy as they removed everything, the bandages were soaked in iodine and it looked gross. The doctor removed the catheters without me even feeling it. Dr. Clark deserves every cent my insurance company is paying him! (and, unfortunately, in this country sucks.)

Here's my foot on Friday, Oct 3rd (today). I removed the 2nd set of bandages for the first time and changed them (this is prior to me washing up my foot. Most of the yellow crap is still dressing from the surgery. I know what you're thinking, "he hasn't washed his foot in 1 1/2 weeks, gross!" I was expecting that, too. but it wasn't as bad as I would think!)

And a comparison shot. Notice that my left foot also has an offending bunion (that bump behind the big toe) that will eventually need to be fixed as well. Before surgery, the one on my right foot was much bigger than the one on the left, but you'll have to picture that in your head, as I forgot to take a pre-op picture.

Other than the swelling, that's a pretty normal foot. I'm looking forward to seeing if all of my shoes need to be replaced!

Stitches come out on Monday, at which point I'll start being hyper cautious again, afraid of opening up the wound. Looks like I'll have a pretty good scar, but I'll take that over the foot pain any day. I do have a few months of PT ahead of me (I've already started somewhat) that will consist mainly of stretching the toe up and down to increase flexibility in the joint.

I have to say that this has, so far, far exceeded my best expectations. I won't say it's painless, and the boot is annoying as all hell, and I'm dying to get back on my bike again; but this has been nothing like I expected. And I'm shocked. I've known two or three people who've had this done and I'm starting to think they were a bunch of babies. That, or the procedure has gotten significantly better in the past couple of years. I think the pain pump was my saving grace. So cheers to whoever invented the pain pump!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


So, it looks like I'm going in on September 24th to have this done:

Theoretically, I'll "walk" out of the hospital the same day, it's considered out-patient surgery. I'll be in a soft cast / compresion bandage for at least six weeks, and the tissue swelling could last up to six months or more. Here's to not lasting that long. The problem with surgery on your foot apparently is that it's always swelling due to the human foot's location. I'll be getting an extra chair or something for my desk to prop it up on at work, that's for sure.
I should be back at work a couple of days after. Yay.
Looks like my cycling season is done. May not get much of a snowshoe / ski season either if it drags on. But, at least I won't have the pain I'm having now next spring, when I really want to be out on the bike again...unless the left starts acting up.
I'm waiting until the 24th because from the 13th - 22nd, we'll be in Guatemala! As of right now, Antiqua's the only place firmly on the agenda, but we'll probably end up in Chichicastenango as well, and the towns around Lago de Atitlán. And maybe hike a volcano or two. :-)
I'm very, very, very ready for a vacation. And though this is definitely NOT a great time for me to take time off from work (or have surgery, for that matter) I think October would be worse, and I don't want to wait much longer than that. It's going to be fun!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Well, my official posted time for the 106 miles I finished Saturday was 6 hours 11 minutes. I'm not positive that it's right, but it would make sense, my on bike time was 5 hours and 50 minutes. That's 21 minutes at stops. Which now that I type it, seems short, especially since we stopped to change a flat along the way. I'm pretty sure that the guy who I was riding with was named Brian (sorry, Brian, I'm horrid with names) and I think the only Brian on the list is at 6:41, which is the time that I remember hearing when I checked in, I'm going to go with that, seems more realistic.

I don't like seeing the DNF after my name. Looks like, as expected, I'm not the only one, though. Not that that makes me feel all that much better about it.

Monday, August 25, 2008


So, I guess before I start stating all of the reasons, I should first say that I failed. I quit 105 miles in, after lunch. And I've been beating myself up for it ever since. Though, arguably, it was the right thing to do I'm still pissed. I'm upset. I'm heartbroken. I'm dejected. I'm depressed.

All because 96 more miles just seemed like it would be too much.

The excuses:

1. My right foot, which I think I mentioned here before, started, at about mile 70~ish, to kill me. It starts like a hot spot, and within a few miles it feels like I'm stepping down on a hot spike every down stroke. And it starts to move up the leg until my knee hurts as well. It really sucks. I iced at lunch, which kept me there longer than I planned; which left me there alone after the guys I'd been riding with (thanks, Brian, and I mean that sincerely for the 1st half company) had all left already. When I did decide to start again, no one else was leaving. And when I pulled up before leaving the parking lot because the pain was already back, no one else was there to force me to suck it up.

2. Lack of sleep. I didn't fall asleep until probably close to midnight Friday night. I know this about myself, I have a hard time sleeping in hotels, especially if I'm alone. I should have taken my own pillow. I should have shut my mind down better. I should have dealt with the nerves better.

3. Lack of motivation. Sounds weird to say since I've been planning on this ride since, well, probably over a year. But when I got it in my head that I wasn't going to be able to do it, really got into my head. The thought of being 20 or 30 or 40 miles into the second half and having to bail freaked me out. One, because, though the website claimed that there'd be SAG, I never saw any out on the course, and other riders suggested that I would have to call my wife (who was in SLC, 4 1/2 hours away). Two, because of the second part of number one, Robyn was in Salt Lake, I was really on my own and would have no one to call if / when things went bad. Not that there would be cell service anyway. Anyway, it got in my head and I let it. I was weak.

Now for the possible good side. Me quiting prevented me from having another blow-out an hour or so later. I wrote about how my rear tire blew apart while I was at work a week ago, splitting a two inch gash into the tread. Well, an hour or so after getting back to the hotel, my front wheel blew. Same thing, about a two inch gash. I would potentially have been stranded with no tire, anyway.

The only other positive is now I'm truly going to obssess about this ride. The first half was amazingly fun and beautiful and I hear that the second half is amazing, if you can catch the view while suffering up the climbs. I will be riding next year. And you can be damned sure that I'll finish.

I'm going to call in a while to get an appt to discuss the details of the foot surgery I need with my doctor, and to get something scheduled for soon after I get back from Guatemala in September. It's supposed to be six weeks of recovery. I have to try to decide if I'm going to try to talk him into going ahead and fixing the left foot too, since it's progressing, just at a slower pace. I'd hate for it to flare up this time next year.

More later, when I'm not kicking myself so hard.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Four days

So, it's now four days until the big Dual. I'm getting nervous. I should probably be out riding right now but, well, there's always a but, isn't there?

I came out from work yesterday and walked over to where the bike was parked and noticed a very flat back tire. Cursing myself for having just a couple of weeks ago bragged to my friend that I've never had a flat on the rear of this bike, I started to remove the wheel and dig out the tools. When I got the wheel off, I noticed a two inch rip in the seem where the bottom, thicker rubber part of the tire was bonded to the rest of the tire. Well, I thought, that looks like failure to me, not my fault. I figured that once I got to the LBS, I'd mention it and maybe get a 10% discount. Kind of a bummer since they're $55 tires (Specialized All Condition Pro). Well, I went in and picked out a replacement, walked up to the counter and mentioned what had happened. The guy asked if I had the tire, I said yes and went out to the car to get it. He took one look, rang something into the register and handed me the new tire. No charge. Seems that Specialized has a satisfaction guarantee and as you can't be very satisfied with a blown tire, they gave me another one. Very cool. This may be S.O.P. for this kind of thing but it's cool nonetheless. I was prepared to spend the money and happily so since the tire blew on Monday and not on Saturday, somewhere on a 200 mile loop outside of Panquitch, UT.

I'm still nervous.

If anyone's out there, wish me luck. I have every confidence in the world that I can do this ride but the usual pre-ride doubts are kicking in early. Probably since I don't know anyone else doing the ride (yet) and since I've never traveled so far for a ride. Or maybe it's just the fact that riding 200 miles in one day is starting to sound a little nuts.

That's probably it.

But, I have to tell you, I'm already thinking of LOTJA...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Long time

It's been over two months since I posted here. So much for keeping up with things. Not too much has been going on. I haven't ridden as much as I'd like, or need to for training for the Dual on the 23rd. Let's see, since June 4th I've ridden the MS150, where I rode the century (100 mile) ride on Saturday followed by the 75 mile option on Sunday, making it my biggest mile weekend ever. More exciting for me on that ride was that Robyn rode 75 miles on Saturday, her longest ride ever! Did some training rides in July, but nothing big.

Just yesterday (August 9), I rode the ULCER, 111 mile epic century. To challenge myself further, and to see if I think I can actually do the 200 miles in two weeks, I decided to ride to the event and home again as well. This added 27 miles on either end of the trip, and included crossing over Point of the Mountain for a grand total for the day of 163.1 miles, averaging about 16.8 mph (on the bike time, I didn't include the rest stops) Total time was about 11 1/2 hours, I think. I crashed pretty hard last night. We decided to meet some friends out at the Bayou since Gary (Robyn's brother) is here visiting. I was starving, so I was all on board. About halfway through the meal, though (and halfway through my second beer), I hit the wall, as would be expected. I slept very well last night and actually feel not really that bad today, which gives me great hope that I will not die on the Desperado! The weather there should be slightly cooler than here because of the elevation, so that's good. The climbing, though will probably be my (and everyone else, I'd think) biggest challenge. I've gotten pretty ok at climbing, much, much better than this time last year but the climbs on the way home yesterday were painful...and slow. I think I was averaging about 17.2 mph before having to climb home over the Point again...
And most of the big climbs, from what I can tell, on the Dual are in the second half. Fun times. They limit you to no more than 17 hours. Jason did it in 13 hours 40 minutes in 2006. I'd like to come in sometime around that time. There are fewer rest stops (about six plush lunch), which is a good and bad thing. Good because it'll make me stay in the saddle longer, bad because I know I'm going to have to work extra hard to keep myself fed and hydrated. And the longer space between stops means longer periods without kicking my shoe off for a minute, which with a foot like mine, may be a problem. I'm honestly more worried about that than any other part of the ride. The burning pain that starts up when it does is amazing, and not in a good way. This ride may be the determining factor on when I go for surgery, since the doctor said he would do it at my convenience. Convenient was going to be in October of November, so I can keep cycling for the summer and be healed in time to try more skiing in the winter. This may make me want to push that up a few weeks.

Anyway, enough of that. Other big~ish news, we're planning a trip to Guatemala for September, looks like we'll be there for my birthday, which is also their Independence Day, I think, so that'll be fun.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I've got to admit, I've never been more proud of my party than I am today. I grew up in the south, well, not really the 'south' - Texas (it's like a whole other country), where racism was not hidden. To think that we're in a position to nominate the first African-American to run for president on a major party ticket, and he's not only going to be nominated but is very, very, very, very likely to's amazing to me. I know that Edwards was my first pick in this primary but Obama has impressed me all along with his tactics, his pride, his resolve and quite honestly, the prospect of having a president that I don't have to cringe when he speaks, well, that's almost too good to be true. Enough of this 'would you want to have a beer nonsense' or idiot David Brooks (NY Times), "Obama‘s problem is he doesn‘t seem like a guy who can go into an Applebee‘s salad bar and people think he fits in naturally there. He has to change to be more like that Applebee‘s guy..." (NOTE TO Mr. Brooks - Applebee's DOESN'T HAVE A SALAD BAR! If you're going to try to peg a guy as being not regular guy enough for America, pull you head out of your ass long enough to go actually SEE the 'regular guy icon' you're referring to, dumb-ass), I - for one- would actually like my president to be smarter than me.

And for the record, sure I'd like to have a beer with Barack, for that matter, I'd slam back a few with John Kerry, too. I actually LIKE intellegent conversation over beers.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday ride

My wife, Robyn, her friend and I rode from our house out to the Great Salt Lake marina this morning. It was Robyn's longest ride to date. They rode about 44 miles, I logged 47.51 (lapped back to check on them twice.)

I'm absolutely thrilled that she's liking cycling. She's scheduled to ride the Little Red Riding Hood ride on the 7th with a group of her friends. Very cool, in my book.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Harmon's Best Dam Bike Ride 2008

I've signed up to ride in the Harmon's Best Dam Bike Ride 2008 for the Utah State Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society (MS 150). I plan on riding the full century route on Saturday, June 28 and the 75 mile route on Sunday, June 29. So, should you choose to support me, you're actually getting an extra 17% for your money!
If you'd like to support my ride, click the logo above or the link on the right. And, thanks in advance.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Today's mileage: ~8.4 (commute)
93 days and counting.

Not a lot to say today. All kinds of things happening politically that I haven't written about; like this and this. On the first, I'd like to say it's about time Mr. McSame; only took saying that god sent Hitler to force the Jews into Israel so all of the apocalyptic wet-dreamers can fantasize about the second coming to make you decide that this crack-pot may not be worth your political trouble, eh? On the second, we all know, Mr. Rove, that you're going to try to plead executive privilege, but if the president didn't know about this, then that wouldn't hold up, now would it? Here's to hoping that Congress sticks to it's guns and grows a set to enforce this this time. I'd love to see Karl hauled in in handcuffs, sweating like the fat pig that he is. (no offense to our porcine friends.)

Spurs lost last night and lost a 20 point lead in the process. But the Lakers have to win three more for it to really matter. Go SA!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cycle Salt Lake Century

My friend, Jason, and I rode the Cycle Salt Lake Century last Saturday (that's me on the red bike.) According to my computer, I rode 105.73 miles. Max speed was 31.0 mph. average was 14.3. That average is the total ride time, including breaks (7 hours 24 minutes). We took some long breaks, especially the last one while we were waiting for Jason's wife (Heather) and daughter and my wife, dad and his wife to show up and then hung out with them for a while.

Over all, it was a really good ride, we were really moving the first 50+ miles, averaging well over 20 mph. The worst part for me was crossing the causeway to Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake. I rotting brine shrimp smell really made me feel nauseous. I made a couple of mistakes. I bought new shoes on Friday (Pearl Izumi carbon soled shoes, got a fantastic deal at the outlet) and I got my new Selle Italia saddle in the mail on Friday. So I rode a new saddle and new shoes on a century, which in general is a stupid thing to do. I was having major hot-spots on my right foot and I had the saddle about a quarter inch too high, which caused some not-so-great soreness that, in the long run, I think this saddle will actually help reduce. Not smart, but I had to break them in sometime, right?

On Sunday, Robyn and I rode with Jason and Heather and some other friends up to City Creek canyon again to have breakfast (it's going to be a regular Sunday ride.) I rode up the canyon some and back, so I rode further than most of them. A total of 12.8 miles.

I rode City Creek again on Monday morning, for the first time up to the water treatment plant, for a total of 18.51 miles.

Tuesday and today I just did my regular commute. About 8.4 miles, round trip.

We've canceled our camping trip this weekend due to weather. (It's 50 degrees out now, and raining. It was 80+ yesterday.) So, I hope to get some good rides in this weekend. I have 94 days until the Desperado Dual and I need to really get some good saddle time in.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Win Susan

I finally got around to snapping a couple of pictures of my bike with my little support for Susan and her fight against this damn cancer (see Fatty).

It's not much, I know.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Emigration Canyon

Made my first ride up Emigration Canyon yesterday. There was so much construction last summer that I never made the attempt (and I was sure I would never have made it.) Nowhere near as bad as I expected. It's actually pretty moderate. Rode a total of 25.98 miles in 1 hour 58 minutes. It's a really nice ride and now that I've been shown a relatively easy way to get there that doesn't involve killing myself trying to climb up 8th south, I"ll be riding it more often.

Funny thing happened, though, that kind of put it all into perspective. I'm cruising up near the top of Little Mountain doing what I think is pretty good time and I get passed. By an old shirtless guy on a mountain bike with panniers and tennis shoes on.

I chickened out a little bit on the way down and rode my brakes probably more than I needed to. One problem is, of course, that it was my first decent and I don't know the road. Another is I think I've decided that I hate my bars. They're ergonomic and I'm not sure I like the feel in the drops. It may be an adjustment issue or I may just like regular drops better. I'll try making some adjustments first, but I may find myself in the market for new bars.

I definitely need a new saddle. The Bontrager Race Lite that I have on there is just leaving me, how should I say, with too little feeling after long rides. After the century on Saturday I was really numb (I thought during the ride that it was primarily the cold, but the rides since have proven that it's the saddle). Even after two hours in the saddle yesterday, I'm not comfortable. Could be, again, an adjustment issue, but I switched to the old Specialized saddle that I got with the bike for now.

Anyway, not sure how much I'll ride today, as I need to go home right after work and clean like mad for my father's pending visit. He's supposed to be here tomorrow. It's his first visit to Salt Lake, and the first visit by anyone from my family (except my brother and his family) ever...but that's a whole other post...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Ghost Town, City Creek and heartbreak

First off, the Ghost Town went really well. Spent more time out than I'd have liked (total time start to finish, 8 hours 20 minutes) but for the first big ride of the year, it wasn't bad. It was a cake walk compared to last year, but still the headwinds on the return trip slowed us up a bit. I forgot sunscreen and now my face is red as a tomato (slight exaggeration, but still, can't wait for the pealing skin to start.) Total miles 103.83. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday. And most importantly, the climb to Ophir didn't kill me, though for a sec, I thought it was going to.

On Sunday, we went with some friends to bike up City Creek canyon for a breakfast picnic. It was my first time biking the canyon and I was surprised at how 'not hard' it was. But there was no way I would have not been able to do it, since three of my companions were towing kids in trailers or trail-a bikes.

Today, I was supposed to ride up Emigration for the first time, but my friend who I was supposed to ride with hasn't called yet and I had to take one of the cats to the vet this morning, so it'll be an afternoon ride or not at all today.

But enough of that. If you're a fan of Fat Cyclist, or even if you're not, you should read this.

I cannot comprehend the strength that Elden and Susan will need to get through this. I cannot comprehend the strength Elden has to write about it. I'm going to put Susan's name on my bike and I'm going to dedicate every ride to her until she beats this. (I'm an optimist...a lie, I know, those of you who actually know me, but hey, a guy can hope). Stay strong Susan. Stay strong, Elden. And your kids. This road is going to be rough but keep the rubber side down and you'll make it through, as absolutely shitty as this is almost guaranteed to be. I've never met you but I'm one of the thousands out here sending you all of the most positive thoughts I can muster. Hang in there.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Weather sucks

edit: getting better.

I'm supposed to ride the Ghost Town Century on Saturday. This is the century that was my first century attempt last year. The one where it ended up snowing with 25-35 mph winds. The one where I ended up abandoning after 68~ish miles due to said winds. Forcast yesterday called for a high of about 66, winds about 9 mph and mostly cloudy. Today's forecast? High of 58, 30% chance of rain.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Huffy Mark 10

So, I was out riding a little over a week ago and passed a garage sale a block or so from my house. I caught sight of a bike leaning against a pole and stopped to take a look.

It was a red and white Huffy Mark 10, which I'd never heard of before.

What intrigued me, though was that it said "made in England" and, even with the little bit of bike knowledge I had, I didn't think Huffy made bikes in England, so I asked how much it was. $10. I told the guy I'd be right back and rode home for some cash.

This is what I ended up with. I had to carry it home (it's heavy!) because the rear derailleur was bent into the wheel.

Thanks to the guys over in the Classics and Vintage forum on I was able to determine that this is actually a Raleigh Sprite, rebadged as a Huffy sometime in the late 1950-early 1960 range. Apparently, Huffy would buy other manufacturers bikes and re-badge them. It looks to have all original parts, down the the tires. The Cyclo Benelux drive train components (English made) were a mess, as you can see from the picture. I've stripped everything off but the cranks so far and I have the derailleurs clean and functional! (Pics soon, I hope).
My goal right now is to use everything I pulled from the bike and restore it as best as I can to ridable condition. She'll never be a daily rider but this will be a fun for which I've already been instructed not to spend a lot of money! I think the only thing I'll have to replace may be the saddle. A nice Brooks B72, I'm thinking... :-)

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Got back a couple of hours ago from biking up in Yellowstone. One word, cliche though it is, awesome!

Unfortunately, my camera sucks and on top of that, I forgot to haul it along on Wednesday when we did most of our riding, so I'll have to wait to get photos from the other guys.

When it boils down, we drove from Salt Lake City to West Yellowstone, MT on Tuesday through some very sketchy weather, arriving too late, too cold and too snowy to get any riding in Tuesday night. Wednesday, we awoke to a reported six (6) degrees, and crunchy, crunchy ice on the roads. We walked a half mile or so into the park (the hotel, the Kelly Inn - highly recommended- was walking distance from the west gate) and the roads were looking better. We met a very friendly ranger whose name I can't remember and she told us to hang out and she was driving a few miles in and back and would give us a conditions report on her way out. Oh, and to walk single file and quickly past the sick bison cow who was standing on the side of the road... so we did. Ever walk within 20 feet of a bison before? Neither had I. It was the first of many. She drove out as we were walking back to the hotel and said that by the time we got out bikes, the roads would be fine. Right she was. With the exception of one snow shower as we turned around later Wednesday afternoon, the weather was perfect. OK, not perfect, it was freakin' cold. But highly rideable and highly enjoyable. Wednesday's total, 6 hours 45 minutes in the park, 56.88 miles. Avg. mph (including all stopping) 8.4 mph. The Kelly Inn's hot tub sure felt good!

Thursday, we got up and had to be out of the hotel by noon, so we wanted to get a quick ride into the park again. Ended up doing about 18.93 miles in and out in about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Avg. 14.2 mph.

More details to come later when I have more time.

This will be an annual event!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Maybe next week

So, as I kind of thought would happen, we've decided that the weather was going to be a little too much like last year's Ghost Town Century (read: cold and snowy), though probably without the 20+ mph winds...and we decided that next week will be a much nicer ride. So, instead of leaving tomorrow morning, we're going to Yellowstone next Tuesday - Thursday. It's supposed to be warmer (low 40's) and no snow (yet).

That'll be much, much more fun. And really, it's a good thing too...I'm still at work at 7:48 pm on Wednesday. I've been here since 6:40 am. I'm cranky, tired and, frankly, a little pissed off. The only reason I'm not yelling right now is I know I have a bottle of my new coffee stout in cooling at home. That and there's only one other guy here right now and there's really no point yelling at him. Well, yes there is, but hey that's what I get for being the "boss", right?



Well, as of this morning, the chance of snow at Yellowstone for Wednesday is 70%. High temp around 29-32. Not ideal road bike conditions. We'll see...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Plan B

So, I haven't written in a month. I should start by confessing that I have failed at my New Year's resolution to ride a century a month and earn the Larry Schwartz award from the UMCA. March got away from me. A combination of shitty weather, travelling and ill times illness - and if I'm honest, lack of will power or laziness. I'm bummed but it was probably too much anyway. I mean, I just started riding distances like that last year and other than the organized three that I completed last summer, I've only ever ridden one "personal" century and my friend organized that ride and rode it with me, on his route. So, I failed. Now for Plan B.

I was the nineth rider to sign up for the Desperado Dual . Well, actually I was the seventh rider to sign up for the dual, the other two are registered for the 100 miles. It's up to 14 riders as of today. I'm really excited and nervous about this ride, even though it's over four months away. But I wanted to sign up now so that laziness thing I mentioned in the first paragraph wouldn't prevent me from doing it. Now I'm committed. I'll try to do better keeping this blog posted regarding my training. I should probably do some.

I'm also very excited because I'm going up to Yellowstone on Tuesday with a couple of guys to ride for three days. They open the roads to non motorized traffic for a few weeks between the end of snowmobile season and when the open the roads up to cars. They plow, so hopefully the roads will be clear. It's going to be beautiful. It's going to be fun. And it's going to be cold. Tuesday, high 34, low 13, 40% chance of snow. Wednesday (the day we plan to do most of the riding) high 35, low 17, 40% chance of snow. Thursday, 33, 14, 30%. It's going to be cold. Honestly, though, it's the snow that is freaking me out a bit. I mean, it's one thing to ride the five miles to work in the snow, I actually enjoy it. But riding 50 miles. In the middle of an empty national park. Well, not empty, there are the animals. That's a little different. I'm not chickening out, but still. It makes me nervous. A little. But the roads open to traffic on the 25th, so it's pretty much now or never. I think. Both of the other guys I'm going with are, how should I put this, under (read un-) employeed at the moment so I guess it's possible we might delay a week or so. We'll see.

Oh, I should also mention that I'm still planning on riding all or most of the organized centuries that I listed in my plans earlier, so I will be riding two next month, starting with the Ghost Town century on the 3rd of May and then the Cycle Salt Lake Century on the 17th.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

New resolve

I cannot say enough about Jill, from Up in Alaska. If you haven't read her account of her six days two hours and twenty minute journey through 350 miles of Alaskan trails on the Iditarod Trail Invitational, you should. Now. Go on...

I'll wait.

Trust me it's totally worth it.

Ok, then. Not just completely inspired by Jill's adventures (though I am) but also with the harsh reality that I'm now two months and five days behind on my goal to ride a "century a month" and qualify for a Larry Schwartz award...I need to start riding. (I can still qualify,I just now must ride one century in March, April, May, June, July, August, September, November and December. And in two of those months, ride two. Or in one of those months ride three.

I'm going to have to find my own century route to ride (and a way to track it) this month and in November and December. And honestly, probably in April (since managing to get down to St George for the Cactus Hugger may not be realistic, I have to convince Robyn that she wants to go down there with me since we just have the one car between us...)

I'm not worried about the two a month, since there are two I'm planning to ride in May, July and August (one a double!) but I've got to seriously make myself start riding now to avoid missing March as well and blowing the whole thing, all because I'm lazy or bored or something and can't seem to get out and ride 100 miles on my own. (In my defense, it has been a cold winter. With lot's of snow.)

But I have to do it. And it's not like the months getting any shorter either. I've already let the 1st weekend go by and we'll be down in Texas the last weekend. So, that means that I have to ride 100 miles next weekend, or one of the two following. No problem, really. I just have to do it.

Can you tell I'm trying to pump myself up? It's not working much. In theory, I'm all over this. In reality, I let every little excuse keep me off the bike.

It's not like I'll have to sleep in a snow bank along the way. Really. I should harden up.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

F'ing cold, she is...

There's really only one word for this. Awesome.

It's raining today and Salt Lake...and a little cold. (34 F right now)

I'm nowhere near as tough as Jill.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

not as well as I would have liked...

Well, I did end up riding on Sunday morning (the weather was perfect, if a little chilly.) Got nowhere near my unrealistic thoughts of riding 100 miles, though, which really shouldn't be unexpected, since other than my 9-ish mile commute everyday, I really haven't had much saddle time since probably October. I ended up with just under 36 miles, in about 2 1/2 hours. If I remember correctly (I'm at work and don't have the figures with me) I averaged about 14 mph and topped out around 32 mph. I decided to use the Cateye on manual mode this ride, meaning that I turned it on when I left and off when I was done, so my average and time are including any stops (lights, the one break I took, etc.)

Oh well, it is technically off season, right?

On another note, I got the coffee stout in the bottle last night.

Got it labeled and in the basement, where hopefully I'll forget about it and let it age for a while so it'll get good. I'm slightly concerned because it's not as dark as I'd expect. More of a brown ale color, really. We'll see.

I think next up is going to be an I.P.A.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


I received in the mail yesterday my official welcome packet for my membership in the UltraMarathon Cycling Association. So now I have my member number, the official welcome letter and a submission form for submitting my rides. In case you don't know how this works, and I've no reason to assume you do, for the Larry Schwartz Award as a Year-Rounder, I have to ride a least a century in each calendar month of 2008. As I posted below somewhere, I didn't get one in in January, so I already need a make-up ride (you get two make-up rides a year) There are two types of rides that qualify, organized rides and personal rides. Organized rides are the easier of the two. You sign up for an organized century (with a published name, start/finish time, route plan, sign in, organizer, etc.) and have someone associated with the event sign off at the end that you did, in fact complete the ride. For personal rides, you ride alone, or with friends. You document these ride by obtaining a receipt (purchase or ATM or something) at points along the route that states the location and date / time. For centuries, you should get a receipt at the beginning (or within 10 miles), 1/3, 2/3, and end of the ride. More paperwork involved in the personal ride category but there aren't organized rides around here some parts of the year, so I'll be doing some of those.

That said, I thought I'd post my planned event schedule so I'll have some personal accountability to actually get off my ass and ride. This will evolve as things happen (vacations, work, schedule changes for the rides, etc.) but here's where I stand now.

January, 2008: none
February, 2008:
Feb. 10: I plan to try my hand at a personal century. Robyn's flying out to DC that day, so I have the free time. If something happens to keep me from riding Sunday, I'm taking off work on Monday, I can try again then. (We're having warm - upper 30's low 40's - temps and sunshine for a change, I've got to ride!)
Feb. 23: the Zion Country Early Spring Century down in near St. George, UT. This is dependent on me talking my friend and riding buddy, Jason, into riding this with me (so I can talk him into driving!) and whether we can get down to St. George on Friday night (start time is 8 am Saturday.)
March, 2008: nothing scheduled.
April, 2008:
April 26: the Cactus Hugger Century also down in St. George.
May, 2008:
May 3: the Ghost Town Riders Century in Tooele, UT. This one is personal. The 2007 Ghost Town was my first attempt ever at a century. We had temperatures in the low to upper 20's, sleet, snow and 20-30 mph winds. We (Jason and I) abandoned after ~68 miles. Thanks again to the family from southern Utah who graciously picked us (and a few other riders huddling by the side of the road) up in their mobile camper.
May 17: the Cycle Salt Lake Century (the 2007 ride was my first completed century)
June, 2008:
June 28-29: the Bike MS Harmon's Best Dam Bike Ride in and around Logan, UT. I'll ride the century ride on the first day.
July, 2008:
July 12-13: the Dual State, Dual Century Challenge in Tremonton, UT. A century on Saturday up into Idaho. A century on Sunday in Utah. Should be a good test of the legs!
August, 2008:
August 9: ULCER around Utah Lake.
August 23: the Desperado Dual my first ever double century. Two hundred miles around beautiful Panguitch, UT.
September, 2008:
September 27: the Heber Valley Century
October, 2008:
October 25-26: the Livestrong Challenge in Austin, TX.
November, 2008: nothing scheduled
December, 2008: nothing scheduled

So, that's 11 organized rides (the dual state ride counts twice, the Desperado, only once) so I'll need to ride at least one personal century. However, since I've already missed January and there are no rides that I know of yet for March, November and December, I'll need to ride at least two. And I need to ride one in March, and one in either November or December, since I can only not ride a century in two months. If I actually ride a personal ride this coming Sunday, that'll make it three personal centuries I'll need this year.

I'll let you know how it goes...

wish me luck.

hmmm...a theory

but first:

"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror."

So said Mitt Romney today at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC today, "suspending" his campaign for the republican nomination.

Fuck you, Mitt.

How dare you stand there and imply that electing either Clinton or Obama is tantamount to "aiding a surrender to terror." Fuck you and the fucking white horse you rode in on...or didn't.

and now, the theory.

I'm starting to notice a trend. If you read below, there is now a pattern developing. I blog about a candidate for president and within a day or two, they suspend their campaign. John Edwards suspended his campaign two days after my angst blog. Mitt suspended one day after my rant regarding the mo votes.

I'm not saying that I'm doing it. I'm not saying that they're reading this and deciding to quit (hell, I've got no evidence at all that anyone but me is reading this.) I'm just saying...

And that said...

(now the test)

Mike Huckabee. What can be said that hasn't been said. He's a baptist nut-job preacher (and I was raised Southern Baptist - my grandfather was a pulpit-banging-hellfire-and-brimstone preacher, so I know from where I speak) - who thinks we need to bring the Constitution in line with the bible. He's a former fat man who lost 100 lbs and found so much energy that he thinks he should be president. He's not at all convinced that Darwin was right about anything. He thinks the earth just might be 6,000 years old. He's a right wing religious nut-job in the absolute textbook sense of the phrase. And he's winning primaries. In fairness, that may be over, pretty much, because the so-called super Tuesday states favored him, we'll see if he can keep any momentum elsewhere.

This man may soon be the republican Vice Presidential nominee. (Or, god-forbid, presidential nominee.)

I really don't know what else to say. There's no way this man can be in office. No way.

(and now we wait...)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

mo votes

[WARNING: The following is a rant. It is in no way meant as an indictment of a whole religeon. It's a rant. If you want to have a serious discussion regarding the virtues of any particular belief system, I'm your man, I'll argue till the Jesus comes to speak. But this is a rant. Deal with it.]


Mit Romney got 90% of the votes in the republican primary here in Utah. 90%.

That's more than he won anywhere else, by far.

Perhaps it's because the republican voters in Utah, in their infinite conservative wisdom, saw something in Mit that few voters elsewhere saw. Perhaps Utahns are the most convinced that Mit's flip-flopping from the positions he held as governor of Massachusets to the much more conservative positions he claims to hold now, as a candidate reaching for the republican nomination, are sincere, and he's not just pandering...saying what it takes to get to the base. Perhaps Utahns see Mit's success with the Olympics here in 2002 as translating somehow to success as the most powerful executive in the world. Perhaps Utahns just like a nice haircut.

I don't think so. I think Mit wins Utah because Mit's Mormon. Hands down. No questions asked. It's just assumed and it just plays out. Not being mormon myself, I hve no idea if they are really, as rumor has it, told or at least hinted strongly from the LDS equivelant to a pulpit, who to vote for. All I know is from my experience (not in this election, 2006) twice as a poll manager for both a primary election and general election, I heard repeatedly in my polling place comments such as, "who did Bishop [so and so] say we should vote for, again?" I'm not making this up, either. I wish I was.

Now, the biggest problem I have with this is not, as you may be thinking, something against the LDS church...not any more than I have with any organized religion. If people want to believe stupid things to make them feel better about thier lives by holding to an illusion that so what if this life sucks, it'll all be better after I be it. But I digress...

My biggest problem with this is the blatent hipocracy. You have no idea how many letters to the editor I've read, how many conversations I've had and overheard in which the main point is how unfair it is to hold being a mormon against poor Mit. How a person's religeon shouldn't play into your thinking at all when it comes to elections. How he won't be controlled or influence by the "Prophet" or the "Quarum of Twelve".

Well, it only works if it works both ways. And the lock-step, non-thinking, follow the leader voting patterns that I see here in Utah (not just with this primary, but with this whole fucking excuse of a theocracy masked as democracy we call the Utah legislature) doesn't speak well for independence from the "church." If 90% of republican Utahs think the same way, I don't hold much hope that ol' Mit will be in that other 10%. The odds are just against it.

Now, I know that I've oversimplifies this. I know that I've posted no facts regarding the percentage of voters identified as mormon, etc. And I know that there are plenty of mormons out there that don't follow the stereotype. I know this because I know them. But 90%, really? I just can't see a more reasonable explaination.

Flame away.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


If you live in AK, AL, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, GA, ID, IL, KS, MA, MN, MO, MT, ND, NJ, NM, NY, OK, TN ,UT or WV ...go vote.

It's your primary / caucus day.

And, if I may add. Vote your conscious, not who they think is viable. Even, maybe, if your conscious tells you to vote for someone who'e technically not running anymore but is still on the ballot. (Or, if they've "suspended" their campaign...) Make your voice heard. Let them know what's important.


Monday, February 4, 2008

Sheldon Brown


Sheldon Brown, of Harris Cyclery passed away yesterday of a massive heart attack, much too young to go. If you don't know Sheldon (and I didn't really "know" Mr. Brown, though I did have the distinct pleasure of gleaning some well needed advice from him over at he was (is) an iconic figure in cycling. His articles and humorous advise, given in the most delightfully unpretentious way to anyone who asked, was for lack of a better way to put it, how you learn stuff about bicycles. Without Sheldon's words of advice, I'd have never thought to install my Shimano 105 brakes on my old Miyata backwards (front in back, back in front) with the nut inside the fork when I upgraded a couple of years ago.

He was (and thanks to the wonders of the internet, is) a great repository of knowledge freely shared. More than any race hero or legend, Sheldon was truly an icon. A man of the people. Us weird cycling people.

To his family and to those who knew and loved him at Harris and elsewhere in this ever shrinking world, you are all in my thoughts.

May the wind always be at your back, Sheldon. R.I.P. (Ride in Peace), Captain.

(I swiped the picture from Sheldon's site without asking...I hope that his family and friends do not mind.)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

cycling goals

I mentioned in my first post that I have a couple of cycling goals for 2008. The first of which is to ride a century a month. The second is to ride the Desperado Dual. Since January is just about over, I thought I'd make a little progress report.

For the first goal. I'm failing. I've ridden a grand total of ~170 miles this month, mostly in 4 1/2 mile segments, the length of my commute each way. I think my longest ride this month was a little over 21 miles. Barely a fifth of my goal. But, consider qualify for the Larry Schwartz award for riding 12 century or longer rides, you're allowed two make-up rides. They do this to account for people like me, who live where there's snow on the ground this time of year (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!) and it's freezing. That means that I can now ride two centuries in some up-coming month and I'll still qualify. This is good, because it's supposed to snow again tomorrow and I have to work anyway so a hundred mile ride is out. I just wish I didn't have to mis a month already. Not a good precedent. But, I'm still excited by this goal. I'm going to do it.

For the second goal, I haven't registered yet because the registration has been suspended. Apparently, the main organizer of the Dual died after a ride at the end of December and the Color County Cycling Club, who puts on the event, has put it on hold. So, hopefully it'll still go on but I can't commit to it yet because, well, I can't. It's still in the plans, though. It'll only count as one ride toward goal #1, though.

As for where most of my January miles came from, my commute, I'll tell you a little about that. As you probably remember, it's about 4 1/2 miles each way. I leave my house about 6:20 am. It's cold and dark then. Very cold lately. The coldest actual temperature that I've made the commute in, that I can remember, was about four degrees (Fahrenheit). Wind chill? Colder.

During the winter months, I'm riding my old '81 Miyata 710, outfitted with a pair of Tioga Bloodhound cyclocross tires (ever try finding a studded 27" tire? Not easy.) They barely fit with the brakes I installed (Shimano 105's) and I had to remove the cool fenders that Robyn gave me for Christmas to make them work, but I opted for traction over dryness. Because I don't want to loose my 710 to the rust and salt gods, I wash her regularly as best I can.

What I wear is some combination of the following. Bike shorts, knee warmers, tights, winter shoe covers, arm warmers, long sleeve base later, standard bike jersey (or two) and a rain shell. Along with a balaclava, helmet, and a pair or two of gloves. I don't have much by way of proper winter cycling gear, actually/ It's all about the layering. One of these days, I'll break down and go shopping for a few choice items that I really want. If you're so inclined as to want to buy me a present, post a comment and I'll give you the list. (kidding) (unless you aren't, then post away!)

My "real" road bike is a Specialized Allez Comp, I think about a 1999. I bought it last June through a friend from CA for an ungodly reasonable price. After a winter of the Miyata, it makes me feel like I'm riding on air. It's not the best bike in the world, the prettiest, or the lightest. But she's mine, she was affordable and she hasn't let me down yet.

So, as you might have figured by now, I'm more of a cyclist wanna-be than anything all too serious; but who knows what I'll become over the course of the year. That's one of the reasons for this whole blog thing, to chart what happens. Who knows, I may take up racing! (I'll admit...I'm a little intimidated to start as a 40 year old cat-5, though.)

Hell, I may even shave my legs this year...


So, looks like my angst over my support for John Edwards has been solved for me. He suspended his campaign for the Democratic nomination today. I was shocked. I was disbelieving. I was angry.

Now, I am just settled. Settled to the fact that it looks like we'll have a real fight on our hands for the presidency. Settled that the best candidate is out. Settled that the most progressive candidate is not in the running. Settled that big corporate media has, once again, settled this conflict for us. They decided, not the primary voters. Not the party. Not the delegates. Media.

But nos, you say (I'm putting words in your mouth, granted - but hey, you called me "nos"...), that's a little tin-foil hat conspiracy talk. Well, yes, I suppose it may be. I honestly think that there is a conspiracy in this country. A conspiracy of major corporations and the media that they own focusing their coverage (and hence, the lifeblood of any campaign) on candidates that they think they can get along with. That wasn't Edwards. That's not Edwards. I don't think they saw a candidate that would come to the table with them...and they need someone at the table. I think in Edwards they saw a potential president who would wrest some of the control out of their hands. A president who would push to re-regulate some of the rampant corporate greed and growth that is killing this country. A president more likely to do what was right than what was profitable. But wait, nos, you say, that sounds down-right anti-growth! Anti-capitalism! Anti-American! Well, all growth is not good. (Ever heard of cancer?)

When you're cranking for all you're worth to power up that climb, every cog on your gear better be in good shape, otherwise you're running the risk of the chain jumping and a big crash...or at the very least, you're not getting the full potential out of all of your work. Well, those cogs are all of us, and unless we start, as a country, recognizing that things aren't working and we'd better do something to fix it, we're going to crash out.

What's good for big business isn't always what's best for the country.

What's good for Wall Street isn't always good for mom and pop.

What's good for the GDP isn't always good for those without HMOs.

We need to remember that this is a country of people, not corporate entities.

I think John Edwards stood for all of that. And I think that scarred the shit out of the powers that be. So they ignored him. And consequently, so did we.

And we're worse off for it.

Here. Ted says it way better than I can.

edit 1/31/2008: Even better said.

Monday, January 28, 2008

white man's burden

So. I have kind of an imaginary dilemma. I like John Edwards for president. Not a dilemma on the surface (nor really at all) but it's weird. I find myself in a situation where, arguably for the first time in history, my party has the potential to nominate either the first viable woman for president, or the first viable African-American. And I like the white male candidate. (In case you're wondering...I, too, am a white male.) And I feel just a tinge of guilt because of that - not being a white male...I don't think...but about not liking the "minority" candidates as my first choice. Stupid, I know. Especially because it looks like he's not going to get the nomination and I'll end up supporting whole-heartedly either Obama (I hope) or Clinton. But I like Edwards. I like his attitude. I like that he keeps progressive issues on the table. I like that he comes across as strong and confident. I like that he's admitted when he's been wrong without a hint of "I really didn't mean what my vote makes it seem like I meant" crap.

He's a great candidate and I admire the hell out of him for sticking to his guns, so to speak. I want a president who will stand for what I believe in and will try to fix what I think is wrong with this country. So. I like John Edwards for president.

Hold your ground, John. We'll see you at the convention.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


This morning I moved my latest beer, a coffee Irish stout from the primary fermenter to the secondary, in anticipation of bottling probably next weekend. It's lighter in color than I expected and I really am not detecting any coffee at all at this point. Still smells like really sweet, well, just really sweet. My last stout (an imperial stout) took forever to age into a good beer, so this one will be bottled and then left to age for a few months. My goal is six. Let's see how long I can make it for real.

One of the fun parts of brewing, other than drinking the beer, of course, is deciding what to label the beer. Some people don't label at all. I think it's cool, so I always do.

I say always like I do this all of the time. Truth be told, the coffee stout is only my fourth beer. The beer (and their labels) are:

An Imperial Stout:

A Scottish Ale:A German Alt (in the bottle now, haven't tasted it yet):

And now the coffee Irish stout (haven't finished the label for this one yet.

Brewing is interesting. Lot's of time standing around waiting for water to boil, keeping things heated to a certain temperature. Trying to keep things clean. It's time consuming while you're doing it. Of course, you can't brew without having a few beers yourself, so that makes it better.

I've got a couple of friends who brew regularly (Dave & Eric) and one who's about to brew his first batch (Bryan) so, in theory, if we trade out, we could always have some good home-brewed beer around. Not bad, especially given the very limited selection of available beers here in Utah.

Anyway, I'm rambling now and I'm sure this isn't really that interesting so I'll stop. For now.


Welcome to my blog. Both of you.

Here I plan on discussing, so to speak, things that I'm interested in, like cycling, beer, politics. Maybe my cats. We'll see what mood strikes.

A little about me: I'm 40. I'm married (hi, Robyn!). We have four cats (three of which are black, the other is tortoise-shell, I'm told) - two boys and two girls. We also have one-three cats who've adopted our porch as a place to live - probably because I've built an insulated cat house out there for them and we feed them every day, but that's a whole other story...

We moved to Salt Lake City, UT about four years ago because of my job. Before moving to Utah, I lived my entire life in Texas, most recently Austin, though I grew up in San Antonio. My wife, she's from Long Island, NY but lived in Austin the 10 years before moving here as well.

Since moving to UT, I've taken up cycling passionately. I commute to work on my bike (even when it's 6 degrees out and snowing) and don't get a chance to ride as much as I'd like to. Oh, I only road ride, not mountain bike, though I'm thinking about someday taking that plunge. I've got a few cycling related goals this year:

1. ride a Century a month (that's 100 miles) and earn a Larry Schwartz award from the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association. More on this later.
2. ride the Desperado Dual double century down in Panquitch, UT (though the event seems to be on hold right now.)

I've also taken up home brewing (in Utah, the most repressed state in the nation, of all places). We call our "brewery" Black Cats Brews. Beer is good food. Enough said.

Hmmm. I'm sure there will be more. Like me ranting incessantly about political issues, local and national. But for now that's it. Since I kind of feel like I'm writing this to myself anyway. That said, don't forget to pick up some orange juice today. And some cat food for Squeaker.

That's it.