Saturday, December 31, 2005
Last night Erin and I met our friends Zach & Angela at Coakley's for some grub. I love hanging out with them but we don’t see them near as much since they became proud parents to little Jocelyn. So we powered down some wings and had some dinner and caught up on things. Good times.
Tonight we'll ring in the New Year with the Legendary Mr & Mrs. I’m wonder where I’ll be sleeping tonight? My own bed or face-down in the Hebe’s flower bed? Neither me or The Wifey are big drinkers so it won’t take much to get me vociferous and cantankerous. Perhaps garrulous even. I love MS Word. Anyway, should be fun. Stay tuned for more.
Friday, December 30, 2005
Done for another year. We had a good time last weekend giving and receiving. Visiting and hosting. Eating and, well, eating. Much fun was had. I think everyone was happy with the gifting. I was. I can’t remember ever getting so many edible gifts but that’s just fine with me. Perhaps my favorite was a couple boxes of Bottle Caps. I guess I made such a big deal on Halloween about how much I love those things and haven’t seen them since I was a kid. I think I lived on those things when I was 10. Anyway, Erin’s dad bought me two boxes of ‘em.
However, The Legend gets the most points for edible gifting. Being an almost daily visitor to the bike shop he has noticed my love of mangos and kiwis AND cashews(eaten separately). And wouldn’t you know The Legendary Mr & Mrs provide me with a fruit/nut/chocolate basket of delight. Yum.
Little Elwood got some kitty toys to monkey around with. Erin wrapped his gift laced with catnip and he was flipping out trying to rip it open. I got him those fake but real looking furry mice toys. He loved it. All his primal kitty hunting skills were in full display. Cats are a riot.
Thorpe was cool. We hit all the little antique/junk/crafts(junk)/knickknack type stores. Ate good food. Relaxed a ton. Rested up for the remaining 5 days off I have before I go back to work.
Today I’m going to nail down the remaining 29.3 miles I need to hit 3k for the year. Tomorrow looks like crap so it has to be today. I weighed myself this morning fearing the worst but again being amazed at the findings. 148 and 9.4. I can definitely feel a softening of the belly but for as much garbage that I’ve eaten the past few weeks I can’t believe I’m not fatter. I won’t argue or complain though.
For the puck fan in all of you. Can it get any more entertaining for a Flyers fan than two consecutive overtime wins on back to back nights. There was one point in last nights game where the action was end to end back and forth rushes up the ice when I commented to my hockey loving wife “how can you NOT love this?”
I took a picture of Elwood from about 30 feet away in low light while he was frolicking in the gift wrap hammering away at his mouse. Check out this picture. Don't mess with little El.
Time to ride. 43 and overcast. It is December so I’m thinking sunny would be great but this really ain’t so bad. Happy new year.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
This afternoon I got out for another 2hrs on my road bike. Third day in a row. I didn’t feel to bad. I dicked around Lewisberry then over around Ski Roundtop. Never too far from home but zig-zagging just in case I lost interest but it was sooo frickin nice I couldn’t justify cutting a ride short. I went with the shorts again. I think today was warmer than yesterday. Definitely the sun was out more. Hebe yelled at me for not wearing tights and I know he’s right but as I stated previously my mood is lifted tremendously when I can ride in shorts in the winter. 2952 as it stands right now. Looks like I’ll get my 3k but it won’t be ‘til later next week. Tomorrow is busy. Work Monday and Tuesday. Thorpe Wednesday and Thursday. Sheesh.
Tonight we went over to Erin’s cousins place for a little xmas eve gathering. Calvin & Amy and little Riley and Maggie. Calvin is brother of Mrs Legend. More goodies to cram down my cake hole. I’m overloading on high calorie mega-fattening grub. I love it. Tis the season, eh? Now, as I sit here and bang away, Erin and Emily are half asleep still planning on going to church at 11pm. Not me. I’ll probably bust out the PS2 when they leave.
NYE with Mr and Mrs Legend. Dinner at Zia’s then who knows what afterward. Fun and frolicking for sure. Should be a great time.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Until next time. Cheers.
The family-in-law stopped over tonight to catch some Flyers HD hockey. Flyers v Ottawa. Great game. Emily was at the game in Philly and called us right as a goal was scored. It was pretty cool to hear over the phone the mega-airhorn blast when Philly lit the lamp. I asked for an airhorn for my basement as a gift but no one has stepped up to the plate yet.
I just played PS2 for a couple hours. College Football(Bama). Now it’s 2AM and I have a serious case of playstation thumb. And I’m kinda wired. I probably should go to bed but if I’m not sleepy I might annoy The Wifey by fidgeting for an hour. That’s why you’re getting a half-assed blog entry in the middle of the night.
I feel like eating some wings. I also had an urge to power down some funnel cake earlier tonight. I better put in 3hrs on the road sled tomorrow with my appetite what it is right now. Have any of you ever noticed that there is no food that can’t be improved by adding bacon. Go ahead, try to come up with anything. “Bacon tastes good. Pork chops tastes good“. Name that movie quote. Ponder that, until next time. GOODNIGHTNOW!
Monday, December 19, 2005
Joining me today and making a stressful event like shopping much more enjoyable was The Wifey’s sis, Emily. She’s cool. We had a good time. As long as I’ve know Erin’s family, I never really had much chance to get to know Em. She saved me a big headache today simply by putting the idea in my head to cross the river over to the East Shore where practically every store I wanted to hit was in the same complex. Otherwise I’d have been yanking my hair out on this side driving to 19 different stores fighting traffic all the way. The last place we stopped was the Bass Pro Shop. It was my first visit to that mega-store. Holy shit that place is huge. Giant stuffed wildlife everywhere. Pretty amazing place. Anyway, it was cool to get to know Em a little. She LOVES hockey too, BTW. Are there any single dudes out there looking for a beach/surf/hockey lovin’ chick?
Now, despite my best wishes to get on my bike, I realize I need to chisel the inch of ice off our driveway before someone dies. Freaking winter. Grin and bear it.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
One of the beauties of such a long hard ride on a Sunday is the relative guilt free existence I can experience the rest of the day. Food. Football. In no particular order. Lots of it too. I think I ate around 17 Hershey Kiss sugar cookies today. Maybe a half a pound of brownies. Pretzels. Chips. A slice of pizza. The Wifey made some shrimp scampi tonight. Ice cream. Am I missing anything?
I have off tomorrow so I get to do it all again. Weather looks decent. I only need a little over 100 miles to wrap up 3k miles on my road sled. A full 1k more than last year. Between my LeMond and my TCX(‘cross/commuter) I will have ridden over 7500 miles since Jan 1st 2004. I know it’s chump change for some but it’s easily more than all I’ve ridden in the 5 or 6 years prior combined. Nice.
The Wifey wants to take a trip over to Europe one of these days. I mentioned something about a trip to catch a ‘cross race in Belgium or somewhere nearby would be cool and she’s totally into it. At this point it may have to wait until after our ‘06 season but I’m glad she’s cool about it. Where are ’cross worlds in ’07?
I’m watching football on espn(HD!) right now. The game is in Chicago. It’s 9 degrees with a -7 windchill. All that’s missing is snow. What I love is all the dudes playing in short sleeves. Great stuff.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
All this leads me to something I wonder about. The human spirit. ‘Cross Nationals were held last weekend up in RI. Without me. I’ve read the reports and seen the pics & videos. Nutty weather. Friday was the worst in terms of bad weather. Temps in the low 30’s, 3-4 inches of snow followed by sleet/freezing rain/rain/heavy rain accompanied by 25-35+mph winds. Mike’s race, 35-39, is when the it all hit at once. Video from parts of that race can be seen via a link on Hebe’s blog. 150+ racers started the race. Approx 50 or so finished. Without being there, and I will be next year, I wonder what goes through an individuals mind as he races in crap like that. What makes 100 guys drop out when 50 DID finish. They’re all racing in the same conditions. Is it physical? Mental? Both? What makes a dude who finishes regularly a minute or two or three behind another but on this one day in these conditions finish when the other doesn’t. I know quite a few of the people that did the race, finish or not, were driven to an emotional depth that they never thought they could or would ever want to reach. A level of cold that only an Eskimo would have a handle on. I'm sure i'd have DNF'd that race. Or not, I guess it's almost as easy to say I wouldn't have than it is to say I would have. Without being there it's silly for me to say. One thing is for certain, my hat is off to everyone who raced at Nationals especially those who raced Friday. It’s unfortunate that the weather was what it was last weekend. It sounds as though the course would have been awesome otherwise. Regardless, some had great weekends. I was happy to see Ryan Leech(The MAC’s fastest) had a great race Saturday. 14th in the Men’s Elite. If you read his thoughts, I think he was pretty stoked as well. Nice ride. Fort James did a nice ride in the B race. So, the season is done. No more ‘cross until next fall. When will Dieter begin counting down the days?
It’s official. The Wifey and I now live in a WirelessDSL home. Pretty sweet. Faster than I ever imagined. It took a while for the Verizon techies to remotely figure out why their software was not connecting but once it did I can’t say enough how great it is. Wireless Toshiba lapper downstairs. Dell PC in the office. Smooth.
Damn, this year is rapidly coming to a close. I have a lot of days off between now and Jan 1st. I only work 6 more days this year. We’re headed back up to Jim Thorpe for a couple nights after Xmas. I like it up there. Neat little town.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Having the right gear, both clothes and bike, make such a huge difference. Working at Holmes helps when it comes to having the right gear. I’d never be able to support my habit if not for the employee purchase or pro deal and the occasional blowout list. The EP is a wonderful thing. Usually figure that I pay approx half of retail on any given EP. The beauty is, given that I buy at such a great price, I can ride/use said goodie until my attention span tells me it’s time for something new. At which point I can sell and most often get back what I paid in order to pay for the new goodie. Almost as though once you make your initial investment you’re in the club.
Thursday I switched my light road bike stuff back from my TCX to the LeMond Tete. A Syntace stem, FSA carbon cranks, and Bonty Race X-Lites were the biggies. While I was at it I also installed a new Ritchey WCS carbon fork and stem on the TCX. The fork is lighter than the Alpha Q I took off and placed on my other TCX(The Wifey’s bike). I didn’t get a chance to weigh it but my main ‘cross sled in full race mode should be somewhere in the 17.5lb range. Pretty sweet. My Tete weighs 16lbs. Erin’s new bike, a Giant TCR carbon, weighs 17.5lbs. Nice ride for her. She likes to ride on the road. She put in 1000 miles this year on the spare TCX.
Back to Erin’s visit to the grocery store. First let me preface by saying this is in no way a complaint against my wonderful wife. She runs a tight ship and puts up with more than enough crap from her neurotic husband, your humble narrator. Today she nailed the grocery visit. 100% effort on her behalf. Every stupid little food neurosis I possess was satisfied. Diet Iced Tea, not the regular stuff-got it. Lite Cookies & Cream Ice cream, not the super fattening premium stuff-got it. Breyer’s Lite Raspberry Yogurt, not the full on high fat stuff-got it. Mangos, kiwis, green bananas-got it. Zero fat chips, the kind that’s supposed to make some people, not me, shit their brains out-got it. Wow, as I write this I realize two things. First, I AM neurotic. Two, all the pounds of fat I’ve shed over the past couple years from eating lowfat/no fat food probably isn’t any healthier than all the freakin’ chemicals I’ve digested from such lowfat/no fat food. Oh well, I like being skinny instead of fat so until I grow a second head or a sixth toe or something like that aspartame wins out over lard. Anyway, props to The Wifey. I love you E.
Last night we went to Herby’s for some Mexican grub. Best place in Harrisburg for mex, hands down. Not the easiest place to get to, but worth the drive. Not distance wide but it’s in a weird area of Steelton. Lots of rights and lefts. VisitPA Ray and his better half, Nancy, joined us for the chow down. Good stuff.
I finally bought a lapper. I got it from Best Buy. Toshiba. It’s a nice little rig. Now, as I type away this very instant, I’m in front of the 55’er watching some HD football, surfin, and bloggin. Is this what they call multi-tasking? Wednesday we’re getting set up with DSL so we can go wireless ‘net. I was paying $10 for dial-up. Verizon DSL is only $5 more. A no brainer. Nice. Out.
Friday, November 25, 2005
Wow! I just knocked out my things to do list already. Before noon even. Took me two hours. The garage looks presentable again. That was the big one I wanted to get done. I also cleared the rain gutters of leaves. Cleaned the little animal’s shitbox. Moved a hunk of furniture around. Now I can kick back and watch the Flyers underachieve again. Noontime drop of the puck seems weird but who am I to argue with a 55” television that beckons me with a HD broadcast of quality hockey action?
The Legend(Hebe) has made the jump into blogdom. He does an occasional entry among others at http://midatlanticcross.com/ . Now, however, Mike has procured his own little slice of bloggerness. Check him out at http://theoriginallegend.blogspot.com/. Maybe he’ll even answer the question of Why do we gloss him “The Legend”. Amy, aka Mrs. Legend, now needs to give us a fresh counter perspective to the couple who are pretty much my closest and finest friends ever. Step up to the plate Amy. JackieBrown.blogspot.com is available for the taking.
Yesterday’s Thanksgiving feast was somewhat uneventful. As I moved in and out of my post-turkey slumber on one of the many fine recliners, I believe one of the dogs pissed all over the floor. Nothing compared to the humping event I spoke of in my prior post.
Now begins the gallop leading up the Xmas. Joy. I entertained the idea of getting out of bed at 4:30AM to hit Best Buy for one of their $379 laptop computers. I would love to get a lapper but purely for lazy reasons. I watch TV in the basement but my PC is upstairs. Being that I am a TOTAL fantasy sports geek I need to periodically check scores and whatnot. You know, to see how my team is fairing 5 minutes into a hockey, basketball, baseball, football, golf, or Nascar event. A lapper would eliminate the need to do all those stair intervals all night long. Needless to say, The Wifey is not impressed with my idea. Maybe Santa can hook me up. Late.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Anyway, quick story. Back when I was wooooing the future Mrs. Kessel I was invited to my first Thanksgiving feast up Juniata way. It’s a big deal up there. Probably 20 people give or take. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, several dogs. I just try to blend in. No problems. Get through the meal. Awesome foodage. What does any man do after the meal? Of course, watch football. Convene in front of the TV in the living room…..where the dogs are chillin. Dog #1 named Milo is trained to assist Erin’s 2nd cousin, Jan, who has CP. Milo is a large but gentle dude. Nice fella. Must have cost a fortune. Dog #2 named ???? is Karla’s, Erin’s aunt. Dog2 is big, female, a mutt, and, pardon my French, a sped. As we’re watching football, the dogs are following each other around the room in circles sniffing and nudging, doing general dog type stuff. Until, without warning Dog2(THE FEMALE) mounts and begins humping Milo(THE MALE). For obvious reasons there are a few seconds of bedlam and mayhem. Looks of horror on many faces in the room. Now, how would you handle this? I’m in my first visit with these fine folks but I think this scenario is funny as hell. I’m trying to restrain from even a smirk until I notice Erin’s Grandfather, Stanley, laughing his ASS off, slapping his knee, and telling anyone that will listen “That’s the funniest damn thing I’ve ever seen!!!.” Which, pretty much, thanks to Stanley, was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. Who knows what today will bring.
It snowed last night. Maybe an inch. Anyone who knows me knows I despise the white stuff. I hate it with all my being. I hate being cold. I hate snow. I hate ice. To me, nothing useful comes from snow and ice, and 30 degrees for that matter. Isn’t it just a little troubling that your body has a built-in reflex, called shivering, so you don’t DIE when get too cold? And we live our lives in this shit for 4 months a year!!!?? Thanks to Amy(The Real Legend) for calling to remind me this morning that, indeed, it did snow last night. Thanks. Enclosed you will find where my thoughts will be for the next 4 months. Happy Thanksgiving all.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Twenty of us lined up for the start on Saturday. I started in the back row, which was also the second row so it was no big deal. The start was good. Within a couple minutes there was a group of eight who rode the first lap together. I was slotted six or seventh but I knew I wasn’t going to hang with the pace being thrown down or I would have exploded catastrophically. I eased off.
I’m realizing that I’ve got a good minute, maybe two after the gun to go hard but I’m not actually a fast starter. I don’t know if it would help me to not go so hard off the line or go hard and ease into a comfortable pace until things come together, like I have been doing.
Anyway, the group of eight turned into a group of five after a few laps. Totaro, Ferrari, Mealy, Szczepanski, Alcorn, and Morgan. I was sorta in no mans land with Fouche(LSV/Kelly) a few seconds behind me. Alcorn had a melt down and Morgan popped out of the front. Fouche caught me.
Half of Brian and me
We caught Morgan. We had our own race in the final laps, trading pulls. In the last few turns before the finishing straight I rolled third in our group hoping to lay down a nice sprint for 5th overall but Fouche went down in the last corner and Morgan was already full gas by the time I got around Brian. So I ended up 6th. Two minutes off the leaders, which came down to a three-up sprint for the win. I missed all that excitement unfortunately. I felt good about the race. I went 53 minutes. A far cry from winning C’s last year in 26 minutes and change. ‘Cross is so much fun that prolonging the pain for another 20 minutes is actually quite enjoyable. Especially when I’m trading paint, so to speak.
In other news, Dieter ran away with the A crown. Solid work from the Fort/GPOA armada behind made sure no one else had a chance. Poetry on wheels. Nice ride.
Sunday was a different ball of wax. The relay. I had a feeling this would be a blast. I wasn’t disappointed. VisitPARay and I talked about putting a team together at least a month ago. We grabbed Taylor quick knowing that having a fast Jr such as him would be a huge advantage. Rules stipulated no more than one A and at least one Jr, C, or woman racer. Fill in the rest as you see fit. Ray is our A. I was our B. Taylor our Jr. We tried to get Hebe as our 4th which would have worked perfectly but he held out. Ray’s buddy from NY, Jeremy, ended up our 4th and he did a hell of a job. He raced and finished 11th in the B race Saturday, so there was no doubt he was fast. Nice dude too. Hebe and Leech put something together last minute after sweating about it for the past week needing a 4th. They snagged Taylor’s step mom, Sally AND Chad Totaro, who, oh by the way, is your PA State B Champ. Nice, Your A Champ, B Champ, a wicked fast Master, and a fast B Woman, all in one team. So they were in the game. I knew SSWes had put a team together via FatMarc’s blog. Szczepanski and Fort James filled out their team. They would be strong. Hebe told me Lux, Root, and Kuhn had a team. All fast dudes. I figured the EVO(Go Nate) team would be in the mix as well. I also had good vibes about our team.
Nine teams lined up. Quick math. Top three teams get paid. Our order; Ray, me, Jeremy, Taylor. Btw, Adam S wore a dress.
On my first two laps I was chasing a ‘cross dresser and being chased by a ‘cross dresser. Interesting stuff. Hebe’s team got buried early, 4th or 5th until at least halfway. We rode a strong, steady race in the lead. SSWes’s team rolled second. Eventually, Dieter and Hebe started taking their turns, after Chad and Sally rode most of the early laps. Did the strategy backfire?.....allowing too much of a lead? They chipped away at us as the laps dwindled. With 3 to go, Totaro knocked it down to under 10 seconds.
I took the handoff for my final lap and wouldn’t you know my fantasy race and my worst nightmare all at once. Hebe was hot on my trail. Fantasy because, afterall, he is The Legend. Nightmare because, he didn’t earn that nickname by being slow.
He caught me half a lap in. He passed me in a good spot for me to hang onto his wheel. Through the technical stuff and back around I stayed glued to his wheel. Final lap was VisitPARay and Leech. Those two are buds and Ray is one fast mf’er but Ray’s season ended a couple months ago after winning the MASS Mtb series title. Leech’s season is in full swing. Ray rode an awesome final lap. So did Dieter. Final results will show we lost by only 15 seconds or so. But make no mistake, the Hebe, Leech, Totaro, McLain team left nothing in the tank by the end of the race to make up at least 2 minutes. Helluva job. We won 200 bucks for our efforts so we had no reason to hang our heads. Cash eases the pain.
2nd place Taylor-Ray-Me-Jeremy
The moral of the story: DO NOT miss this race next year. You will love it. Period. I’m tired. I’m sore. And I feel like I’ve ignored The Wifey so it’s time to spend many hours doing what she wants to do.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Some of the blogs I read from ‘crossers near and far have talked recently about hopping on the scales of justice this time of year and not liking what they see. It’s inevitable that some lbs are going to find you unless you cut down on your caloric intake. A lot of guys are racing once or twice every weekend and because of shorter days just aren’t getting the time to ride during the week as much. So far I’ve managed to maintain my summer weight. This morning pre-eat-post#2 my Tanita scale read 145.4 and 8.9 bodyfat. I certainly haven’t been doing anything close to the riding I did this summer so I feel somewhat fortunate to not be fighting extra poundage. I still commute to work daily and do ‘cross workouts on the way so that’s helped, for sure.
I have such a love/hate feeling about this time of year. Autumn is my favorite season. And this year, so far, it’s been fantastic. Awesome weather. Hell, I was sweating my nuts off at Lower Allen. The bad news is after November comes December. And we all know what comes after that…..January(yuck)….February(nasty)…..March(a glimmer of hope)…..Finally April rolls around and if the winter blues hasn’t forced you to off yourself you get the biggest tease month of all. You get 70 degrees one day and 35 and snow the next.
I just ate a large bowl of sauerkraut. Mmmmmm. Love that stuff. All that was missing was sandwich. Maybe two pieces of bread and a hunk of cheese and you could call that a meal. Errrr.....uummmmm, almost.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Mark and Phyllis had a DJ spin some tunes. It took a while for our crowd to get on the dance floor but once we did there was no apologies offered. I’m sure the more refined guests in attendance, someone told me at least two were actual rocket scientists, have never seen a bigger collection of well dressed retards. If only I remembered my camera. Probably best I didn’t. Late in the evening we made our way to the Milton S. Hershey Suite where Mark & Phyllis and Brian & Jenn were staying for the night. Pretty sweet little room. It had a long balcony outside that looks out over Hershey. You can see the Park below. I’ve been down there looking up and wondering how nice it would look from up top and now I had my answer.
Eric and Julie were staying over at our place. We made it home in time to see Lance on SNL. Don’t quit your day job Lance.
Fast forward to November 5th. My second ‘cross race of the season. My first MAC race this year. My first Mac B race ever. I was a little tense especially after 55 pre-reged and another 20 or so were expected day of. Ended up being 76 at the start line. Wow! Let me back up a bit. I had been practicing on the course for weeks if not months so I was pretty comfortable with that. Myself, Mike and Nate were there last week doing laps working on the layout some and I helped tape the course Friday night before I got a couple real laps in before dark. I knew it was going to FUN. I was most uptight about the start more than anything. Somehow I managed to slot in around 50th or so.
There was a short prologue lap before we started the big laps. I took a good look at the masters race and noticed on their prologue that it strung out pretty quick but the long line wasn’t moving very fast because of the few twists and turns. Hell, from about 30th on back most of the guys were just coasting, content to be on the wheel of the rider in front of him. Note to myself……I will NOT have a great starting spot, therefore, if I want to even get a sniff of the front I need to bust my balls and go hard in that prologue lap. Whistle and we’re off. Very dry dusty start but I was in the right gear. Once we hit the grass I sprinted, sat down, sprinted, sat down and sprinted again. The first lap through the sand and mulch I believe my father-in-law shouted 31st. I was good with that.
With that many racers it was real strung out for another lap and a half but I just tried to settle into a rhythm and race my race and not worry about anything else. About halfway I really settled in. The course was fast and not as congested by that point. I was picking off people here and there. One by one. A couple crashes took out one or two(or six). I got by some of the guys I really wanted to beat, which was important for my morale.with about two to go Erin’s dad yells 21st. Whoa, I’m really good with that. I was hoping for a top 25 placing. Now I was in the points. I followed Hebe’s teammate Chris for a while thinking if I just stay put I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. Chris is a roadie and has some nice results in ‘cross this season so I guess I was more or less content to ride his wheel in and maybe try to sprint for 20th. Last lap he bobbled in the sand so I got ahead of him. I didn’t attack him I just set a good comfy pace thinking he’d ride my wheel a bit.
Coming back up through the pine trees, which I thought would be the hardest part of the course, I big-ringed it and looked back, hey, a little gap, cool. Again, I didn’t put in a huge effort when I saw I had a gap, just stayed steady. Suddenly I was catching another Fort guy. Colin. In the last 180 before the long straight on the back of the course, about 85% through the lap, he lost his grip and went down. I wanted to say, yo?…..you alright?…but I put in a strong effort there and held it to the line thinking I just pulled off a top twenty, probably 19th. I couldn’t have been happier.
Holy shit! I checked out the results posted on the Verge trailer. 14th!!!! I guess Erin’s dad counted a couple lappers when he yelled 21st with 2 to go. What a great race. Hebe did a hell of a job. I loved last years course. He made this years even better. I loved the high-speed barriers. It was definitely a bike handlers course. I don’t have near the race fitness a lot of these guys have but I can stay upright in some tricky stuff and that’s where I make hay, I suppose. Now I actually feel guilty not racing more than I am. Probably won’t go again until PA States in two weeks.
Taylor borrowed my other ‘cross bike which happens to be the bike Erin rode all season on the road. He was the only UCI Junior to race but he fared pretty well riding with the masters field. It was his first ‘cross race. VisitPA Ray finished 4th in the same race I did. Nice effort from him. His first ‘cross race this season. I ran into FortJames. We raced last year in the C's at Lower Allen. He was friendly enough to say hello last year and recognized my orange handlebar tape and said hello before my race this year. Nice guy. The Fort guys have a good teammate in FortJames. I also said hello to Leech(Dieter). First time I met him. He asked if I owned Holmes Cycling. I said no but I do get to boss his VisitPA.com teammate(Ray) around. All in good fun. We all know that Kenny actually runs the place.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
My first ‘cross race was last Saturday. Also my first B race. It went well. 9th place. I suffered like a dog for the first couple laps. Just didn’t feel great at all. The start was a gradual rise on a dirt/stone road that got steeper about a minute into it. I started in the back. No bigggie only about 25 on line. I’m amazed at the gears some people choose to leave the line in. Regardless of where I start, but especially if I’m starting in the back, I want a gear that will get me haulin ass in a hurry. I use a 46-21 on starts and shift to the 19 pretty quick and go from there. So, about 20 seconds into it, I was hovering around 10th. That’s pretty much where I stayed. Some came back from the front and some went to the front from behind. I raced with a couple dudes but one in particular, who finished just ahead of me, I spent the entire race back and forth with. He was terrible in technical stuff. The barriers, cornering, single track stuff through the woods. I was faster in those spots. But this dude was strong as a mule on straights and the dirt road stuff. His strength was my weakness and vice versa. In the end I was pretty happy with a top ten. The winner was two minutes in front of me. Not bad. My next race will be Lower Allen. 2.5 miles from my humble abode. It’s where do my ‘cross workouts. I’d like to do well. It’s a MAC race so I’ll be racing 60 other ‘crossers instead of 25. Can’t wait.
Coach Hebe crossing the line
This dude was strong where he needed to be
Inflicting pain on eventual 4th place racer
Big Hink is getting married next Saturday. Of all the friends I have in this world, Mark has been there the longest. When I moved to East Berlin way back in second grade my mom rented a house from Mark’s parents. His parents also had a service station/garage behind the house so Mark and I would do what little boys do at that age. Terrorize the next-door neighbor. We called him Mr. Meanie. He would bitch at us if we set on toe nail on his yard. Hell, we had baseballs, kickballs, footballs, any ball you can think of in his yard at any given time. It was a real sense of adventure getting our stuff back. Anyway, good to see Mark and Phylis getting married. The “bach party will be a round of golf at the Dauphin Highlands across the river. Nice joint. I played there once. I haven’t “swung a club in anger” in two years. It will be fun to see how it goes. Hebe, I think you should come out of retirement and dust off your clubs.
It’s now, in my own mind, officially ri-god-damn-diculous how fast years are ticking off. I swear it was only a month ago that spring arrived. Now everything is dying and it’s getting cold again. Next week we turn the clocks back already. Shit. The winter blues won’t be far behind.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Tonight we went in to NewCumb to Erin’s parents to watch a highly overrated Ohio State lose to an even more ridiculously overrated Penn State. Big Eleven football rots. No bigger collection of mediocre football teams that get more unwarranted pub and respect has ever been assembled. Needless to say, I despise PSU and root every week for the team playing PSU.
Once again, I know I’m in the vast minority in voicing my love for Hockey, but isn’t it great to have the NHL back. Seems to be a lot more goals being scored and ties have been eliminated. Gotta win in OT or a shootout now. Long overdue rule change IMHO.
My first ‘cross race will be next Saturday at Carlisle. It will be nice to “turn the pedals in anger” as Mrs. Legend’s favorite cycling announcer of all time would say. Should be a fairly low key event to shake out the cobwebs a bit. Perfect. I was talking to Coach Hebe earlier this week about training. In my mind after taking a week+1 off totally from exercising I feel like I’m waaay behind. Especially cardio. Tomorrow I will head over to the park for a structured workout. I can’t wait to see how I feel during and after.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
I had slept about 3 hours the night before our flight mainly because I stayed up to watch the Phillies lose 6-5 after leading 5-2 in the 8th. Aholes. Put me in a grumpy mood. Cost them a trip to the playoffs. At any rate, when we got to the hotel I was spent. I wanted to go check things out but I had to take a nap. So I did. We stayed at Circus, Circus the first two nights. Not a bad place. More on that later.
The main mission on day two of the Las Vegas trip was to hit Interbike in search of cool schwag and to see new goodies. It did not disappoint. I could have spent at least another half day at the show. More crap on display than I expected. We chatted with Phil about Harrisburg/Hershey which he remembered from the Tour DuPont days. Got an autograph from him on a couple copies of Mike & The Bike. We also got Magnus Backstedt to sign a poster and pose for a pic. He’s tall but not as huge as I expected. I guess he is a roadie after all. Not like he could be as big as Shaq-Fu. Erin also got Levi Leipheimer and Gord Fraser to sign some goods while I was off on shop business. I think Erin had more fun than I did. She had a blast.
We hit SD and immediately went to Ocean Beach for some grub. Then cruised over to Coronado and hooked up with our gracious and terminally hyper host, Glen, at the Island Saloon for a couple Pacificos. Then back to his crib where his wonderful wife, Lupe, had more food for us. Steak, taties, and corn. Mmmmm. I couldn’t finish it but it was tastey.
Friday in SD. Back to Coronado for breakfast and then a ferry ride across SD Bay to the USS Midway, A monster aircraft carrier that has be decommissioned and turned into a floating museum. This was one of the things I definitely wanted to do on our trip. We spent 3hrs checking it out. I’m amazed at the sheer mass of this ship. How small the sleeping quarters/bunks are. The tiny little rooms here and there. No wasted space anywhere. 4500 Navy personnel called it home at any given time. Erin’s dad spent time on a ship during the Vietnam War. I think we both took something from our tour of the Midway. The deck was full of jets, planes, and choppers from its era. Pretty cool. I was fascinated by the ridiculous amount of trust a pilot had to have on his own skills and instincts as well as a number of other people on the flight deck just to land. Nutty stuff.
Friday night back to Coronado to the Hotel Del Coronado for dinner. Top shelf stuff here, friends. Maybe next time I’ll spend a weeks pay just to spend the night there but this time dinner would have to do. The marine layer hanging over the coast all day crept inland as the sun was going down. Basically it was sunny in SD but as soon as we crossed the bridge into Coronado halfway down Orange Ave we drove into a thick bank of fog. It would have been nice to see the sun set over the Pacific but we had a nice time anyway.
Saturday we had breakfast in Pacific Beach. Best breakfast of the trip. I had an omelet with all sorts of wonderful veggies and meats. Then we hit OB again for an afternoon sunning at the beach. We took a swim. The water was a bit chilly but saltwater does seem to have a therapeutic nature t it. Then I proceeded to burn the hell out of my pastey belly which doesn’t get sun while I ride all summer. The main event Saturday eve was a trip to Petco Park downtown for a Padres game. Dinner at Chuey’s in Barrio Logan and then a quick trolley ride to the ballpark. What a beautiful stadium. Padres lost but they did have a killer 20 minute fireworks display after the game.
Sunday morning after thanking Glen for putting up with us we were on our way back to LV. 335miles in 255 minutes on our return trip. Good stuff. Once back in LV we checked into Excalibur which is on the opposite end of The Strip. What a HUGE difference. Not that I minded Circus, Circus but on the south end it’s a completely different cookie. You’ll spend a little more but you can see where that extra moola goes. We had lunch in the Luxor(where Mr &Mrs Legend hang) which is connected too and situated between Excalibur and Mandalay Bay. Nice. Luxor is the one shaped like a pyramid. If I ever do go to LV again I will stay there. After lunch we cruised The Strip to do some sightseeing and some shopping. I saw Elvis but he wasn’t signing autographs. Weird thing was it was a skinny Elvis in the fat Elvis get-up.
Back to the hotel for a short nap before a 3:30AM trip to the airport. Monday was spent either in a plane or in an airport. Home by 7:00PM. Long day in the saddle. In summary. LV was exactly what I thought it would be. It didn’t exceed nor did it fall short of my expectations. I’d go back. The Wifey would have to know ahead of time that I’d spend an ENTIRE day in one of the casinos sportsbook. A sports junkies heaven. SD was fun as it always is. I’m never disappointed there. Other than the fog bank we drove into we had great weather the whole trip. And after the fact I realized that Erin and I were never separated the entire trip with the exception of approx 30 minutes. We really had a great time.
Erin double-fisting $8 a cone ice cream at the Billagio. It was damn good ice cream.
It felt strange getting on my bike Tuesday morning to ride to work. After a couple days now I feel my legs coming back. I got out this morning and felt good. Fairly easy ride but I was comfortable. This weekend I’ll step it up another notch.
Flyers lost last night. Aholes. Just prolonging the sting of the Phillies missing the playoffs by one game.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Now, on to the dishwasher foolishness. I again refer to the The Wifey’s email. Load the dishes, scrub off the grime first. ????? Am I the only one who doesn’t get it? As I’m loading the dishes I’m instructed to clean them first BEFORE inserting. What’s the point? I found myself cleaning them but stopping just short of totally clean just so I could still load a dirty dish. If you can’t load a dirty dish into the dishwasher without some “pre”cleaning, why bother? Just spend the extra two seconds and just totally clean the dish and be done. I’ll never get it. Scholars have tried to explain it to me but I’m too Dunce to comprehend. Sorta like straightening your bed after you sleep in it. If you’re just going to sleep in it again the following evening, again, what’s the point? Funny thing about that is BedSheet scientists have discovered that those little bed critters that feast on your dead skin while you sleep become MORE prevalent when you DO straighten the bed. And yet, the beat goes on.
Makes you want to launder the bed sheets, huh?
Vegas/San Diego in less than two weeks! Wow, that’s soon. I can’t wait. I’ve made a few appointments with some of our bike reps to go through the ’06 bikes. Should be fun.
I’m fully aware that approx 5 people read this blog, but is it asking too much to tell me who you are when you leave a comment? Or at least start your own damn blog and let me comment anonymously. Now I know by saying that, all 5 of you will leave anonymous comments. I just need to figure out who says what. Clowns!
Thursday, September 08, 2005
So I think of all the places I’ve dreamed of going. And why I haven’t been there or what’s holding me back now. Mexico. Central America-Costa Rica, Belize. South America-Brazil, Argentina, Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego(the end of the road). Europe(see above)-Portugal, Germany, Belgium. Why not Asia too? Nepal, Japan, Hong Kong. Not to mention Australia & New Zealand. Fiji. Tahiti. PNG. The funny thing about all those places is I haven’t even mentioned Alaska, PacNorWest, Montana, NoCal, AZ, TX, CO, WY……blah, blah, blah. The list goes on. That’s a lot of travel. How could I possibly see all that? I only get two weeks vacation a year. Maybe I’ll just become a slacker and not work anymore. Give up my cushy bike job and travel the world. The Wifey can support my trips, eh Wifey? Didn’t think so. I want to take her along. So I’m back to my quandary. Old people travel. Not all, but some. Do I need to wait ‘til I’m old? Will I ever make it to old? Existentialism at work. Do I just need to watch PBS-HD and pretend I’m there? Maybe lottery tickets should be a part of my life. Maybe I’ll just take baby steps and travel to Carlisle Sunday to partake in some good ‘cross practice.
As nice as today was I could not get my ass in gear and start my ride. 30 minutes in I still felt uninterested. So I started a 20 minute “interval” and felt really good while doing it. Pushed it harder than Coach told me to, even after he told me to resist the temptation to do so. 10 minutes rest was actually 6(shh…don’t tell Mike) and another 22 minute “interval” pushed harder than prescribed. Mind you, we’re not talking fullgas here but I was 7-10bpm off of race pace and felt great doing it. 41 miles in total today after not having the motivation to even get started. Not a bad day, I guess.
Raiders are on. Losing but not looking terrible doing it. Football on the double nickel. Phillies are tanking, again. Penn State barely gets over on South Florida?? I root for whoever plays PSU. Hockey less than a month away. ‘Cross in less than 3 weeks. Fall is here.
GoodNightNow! ‘Sup Josh?
Monday, September 05, 2005
Sunday afternoon we cruised over to Mike & Amy’s for a birthday party/crabfeast. Those little buggers are tastey. Shame they’re such a pain in the ass to eat. Steve made some of the famous pinwheels. Awesome. Pasta salad was yummy. Beer was great.
Later we had a DQ Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard ice cream cake. Wow! The thing weighed 19 pounds. My piece alone, that is.
In between crabs and cake we had a croquet smackdown. I DOMINATED the action from the start with a ridiculous display of talent and skill. I’m sure backyard croquet has rarely seen such a high level of performance, if ever. However, in games of chance, where the brightest star doesn’t always finish first, an unfortunate act of cowardice won the event. Very similar to winning The Singlespeed Worlds race but losing the silly go-cart thing afterwards, I was left an empty and broken warrior with nothing. I sucked on my sour grapes and refused to play game two. It was as much fun to watch. Mike’s neighbor Bob took my place and was launching people to the moon.
That’s Mike after Bob sent him halfway to Goldsboro. Funniest thing I saw all night.
Group photo of the croquet smackdown. The big man(Steve) in the center with the white t-shirt and the skirt won using questionable girlie-man-run-and-hide tactics. Despicable!
Lead play-by-play commentator and gracious host of the day’s events. Mrs. Legend.
In the end, a super fun afternoon/evening. Thanks Mike & Amy and happy b-day to Mike(38?!) and The Wifey(27).
And for the big surprise. Erin's b-day gift. A glass cook-top range. She never expected this at all. Although she did mess up my plans a little by coming home from work early on Friday. I was walking circles in the yard mowing the grass and never saw her pull in the driveway and go inside the house. So I missed her reaction to her new toy, but she loved it anyway. I'm sure I'll use it a bunch too.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
First thing I did was stop eating the night before the visit. Fasting. That sucked. I don’t get home from work until 8:15. I couldn’t eat after 9pm. So I crammed down my usual post work snack goodies quick and drank a bunch of water after 9. I couldn’t eat breakfast the next morning either. So I get to the office and the doc wants to weigh and measure my height. 147lbs and 5’7”. You read that right. Five feet, seven inches! Insert smart-ass remarks at your leisure.
Then the doc sits me down and asks me why I’m there. Huh? I was a bit confused but she explained that men my age don’t just walk into the doc’s office unless something is wrong. Otherwise, they just don’t come in. Made sense. Afterall, without the nagging of my beautiful wife, Erin, I wouldn’t have been there. Once my intentions were clear Doc took my pulse, listened to my heart, poked and prodded a bit and that was that. She split, the nurse came in and took my blood and I was out the door. 30 minute ordeal. Easy stuff.
Today I got the results from the tests in the mail. Seems as though all is well. A chart to make sense of all these numbers http://wellness.byu.edu/screenings/cholesterol.php . Total cholesterol is 166. Over 200 is bad. Under 150 is supergood. HDL was 55. Below 45 is bad. Above 60 is phenomenal. LDL is 88. Above 130 is bad. Under 100 is mucho grande. I aced the LDL’s. Triglycerides was 113. Above 150 is bad. Below 100 is fantastic. Blood sugar was 75. Normal range is 70 to 100. Over 100 is considered prediabetic. Over 125 and you are diabetic. Looks like I aced this one too. Last but not least. Homocysteine was 6.9. Over 10 is not good. Over 12 is bad. Sweet. Looks like no worries.
I eat pretty well. Usually a couple bowls of Total in the AM. Red or green tea when I get to work. A yogurt. Sometimes an apple. Always a banana with kiwi and mango all diced up in the afternoon. The guys at work are probably sick of my daily fruit rituals. A little later I’ll have a Hershey’s chocolate bar and a handful of cashews. Love cashews. Chocolate makes ‘em taste even better. Usually dinner(lunch?) is a veggie burger and a can of baked beans. Somedays I’ll get sick of eating this suff all the time but for now all this stuff tastes so good. I can’t stop eating it. I eat like crap when I get home but I’ve eaten so well up to that point that I reward myself with pretzels or chips/salsa and sometimes cookies & cream sneaks in there. Italian ice. Aaaahh. Now it’s Erin’s turn to get her blood tested. My turn to nag. Speaking of which. Erin is up to 739 miles for the year on her road sled. We rode together Sunday for 30 miles and I must say I was impressed. She’s definitely getting faster.
Monday, August 22, 2005
I bought little DJ a new bike a couple days ago and gave it to him last night. He’s 7yrs old now. Hard to believe. He’s on a 20” bmx bike now. He wanted to do tricks and jumps so he’s got the right rig for it now. He seems to have pretty good balance for a little punk. Maybe a future ‘crosser. I’ll work on that.
I went shopping Saturday night with Erin after work. I’ve been wanting a new cell phone. Picked up a Motorola V551. Nice little phone. It’s a flipper w/ a built in camera. I gave Erin my old Nokia because she hated her Sony Ericsson. Too small and hard to navigate it’s features. Now everyone seems to be happy.
I rode about 100minutes yesterday in the morning while it was still warm and humid. By the afternoon it cleared out nicely but still hot. No humidity though. Just in time for me to mow the yard. Joy. Made a huge difference. The rest of the week looks awesome. Maybe drive-ins this weekend?
Friday, August 19, 2005
Nate has a blog he put together some time ago. He’s over in Spain so it’s really the only way to see what’s happening over in his neck of the woods. Check out his blog http://thenateblog.blogspot.com/. He found a picture of Bohemia Beer. Mexican’s can really make a fine beer. All of them are NOT named Corona. Most of my visits to MX have been to the northern parts of Baja while out visiting SD. I did go to Puerto Vallarta for our honeymoon. So, keeping in mind my exposure to this matter is somewhat limited, I’ve noticed that Mexicans don’t even drink Corona. Sure they’ll sell it to us gringos but you won’t catch them drinking that crap. Find yourself a Pacifico or a SOL or the aforementioned Bohemia. All stellar choices. My fave is Pacifico. Bohemia is tough to find in the US.
Speaking of Puerto Vallarta(PV). If your ever down in those parts do yourself a favor and forego the big fancy all-inclusive resort type joints and find a B&B. erin and I stayed in a place called Casa Amorita. Centrally located in the downtown or oldtown area of PV. I imagine most people who visit PV stay in a big resort north of town and never get to see the cobblestone streets and eat in the many neighborhood bars or family owned restaurants. What a beautiful part of the world. Check out the B&B http://www.casaamorita.com/. The place is run by a 50ish woman named Rita Love(wonder where she came up with naming her place Amorita?) who was super friendly. I’d enjoy visiting PV again someday.