Saturday, October 28, 2006

Change in plans

No racing this weekend. I pre-reged for Beacon and I was very much looking forward to making it down. Staying home is just a better plan.

On Wednesday of this week I sold over $5000 worth of fitness. Friday I had to deliver it all. Separate deliveries but that didn’t make it any easier. Treadmills and elipticals, some weighing in over 200lbs, going up steps and down steps. It seems like it’s never easy and getting heavier all the time. I’m getting too old for this shit. I’m not sure if I’m happy or sad to be old enough to say “I’m getting too old for this shit”.

At any rate, by the time Friday 5pm rolled around and Erin and I were ready to hit the road for Cape May for the weekend, I was feeling like crap and the rain had moved in. With Erin in the condition she’s in and me significantly weary the idea of spending the following 3+ hrs in a car fighting traffic and crap weather didn’t seem all too appealing. Given the forecast for a total crap day at the shore for Saturday and high winds for Sunday I’m not so sure the entire effort would have been worth it for a 45 minute race. Not like I’m in a points battle or anything.

So, we stayed home. Friday after I got home I was asleep on the couch by 6pm for a good 2hr nap. Then I went to bed at 11pm and slept solidly until 8:30am. That’s an unprecedented 9.5 straight hours of sleep for me. For the few people who know me well enough, they know I can’t stand sleeping. What a waste of time. The paradox of it all is I have no qualms spending an afternoon watching football on the tele. Go figure.

With all that sleep I felt like a new man this morning. Maybe The Mrs Legend really is on to something with those 12hr bouts of sleeping she’s oh so fond of.

The chance to actually get some stuff done today was very welcomed. Erin and I cruised down to Wallyworld this afternoon with my mom. Picked up a few things we need for Little Jr. We had Mex for lunch. Stopped at my sis’s on the way home to say hello to that gang. Shannon put some color in my hair, or more accurately removed the gray. She told me that industry “hair people” officially refer to my natural hair color as “mousy”. As in, the color of a mouse. Good to know.

We got home around 5pm so I spent the rest of the afternoon getting the garage cleaned up and semi-organized. I assembled Little Jr’s new stroller. I can’t wait. Then I took a quick shower and hit the couch for the Flyers game. I gave up on those jerk-offs when the score went 6-1. Might I add, while I have a difficult time rooting for Sid The Kid, the Pens have a ridiculous amount of young talented hockey players. The future looks bright in the Steel City. BTW, did anyone notice there is a Kessel in the pro hockey ranks? Nice.

Good luck to all my ‘crosser friends down at Beacon.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My Favorite Pagan Holiday

Today is an anniversary of sorts for me and The Wifey. Six years ago on this night I met The Future Mrs Kessel. I lived in town New Cumberland, which has one of the more fantastic Halloween Parades in the area. The parade route went right by my apartment so I made a ritual of dragging my dusty old couch out onto the sidewalk, with Legendary help, and had a party. Costumes were not mandatory but strongly encouraged. If only I could find some of those pics.

So, back to six years ago. I begged The Mrs Legend to bring her hot cousin (that’s all I knew about Erin at the time) to my party. Somehow, Amy knowing what sort of trouble she might be exposing her cousin to, showed up with Erin in tow. I was sporting my Gladiator costume that night. I’d like to think it was my witty charm and stunningly handsome good looks but I think what really drove Erin nuts was the costume.

At any rate, as they say, the rest is history.

Monday, October 23, 2006

For Whom the Bell Tolls

MAC double. Granogue followed by Wissy. I was really hoping to get at least one single series point out of the weekend. Saturday had the bigger field with 90. This was my first visit to this course. I’ve heard good things. My first warm-up lap was all I needed to realize this would be the hardest course I’d have raced on in my short little time racing CX. I started in the third row thanks to my series points from last year. I had no real plan other than to try to find a solid group and roll with it.

The gun goes off and we start. Mad dash. Some dude from behind comes by me on the right then cuts left so I grabbed his wheel and blew up the left side. Before I knew it we were at the front. And I mean THE FRONT. Once I realized where I was I started to geek out a bit and got off the gas. I knew that’s not where I should be. I want to be fast but I know I’m not front-of-the-race-fast. Of course I paid very quickly for the early pace and couldn’t hold anyone’s wheel to save my life. I just rode around until I got myself together. By that time it was too late to think about points. Ended up 31st. I must give credit to KHam for executing two flawless bike hand-offs in the pit for me. My XO-2 got glopped up good halfway through so I jumped to the TCX for a lap. Thanks to Kyle for cleaning my bike and helping me out.

I watched the start of Mike’s race and then I wanted nothing more than to be home. I hit the road and found Metalica quite soothing to the soul. I love that shit.

Sunday was Wissy. Erin came with me so there was no Lars & the boys for that trip. I made her listen to The Clash instead. I felt much better the entire race but I knew I was real close to missing out on points. We came through the barriers/run-up with one to go and I had Nystrom, Morgan, Brill, etc on my ass when I dumped my chain in a serious rookie maneuver. Just like that I go from second wheel in the group to chasing all lap to tag back on. I just didn’t have enough left to put up a sprint and I had that shitty feeling that it cost me. Points go 25 deep. You can guess where I ended up.

I did have a nice little conversation with Chris N while we were freezing our asses off waiting for the start. He’s got a cool blog with lots of ‘cross and a cute little dude named Thor. So we talked pregnancy/Dad stuff for a few minutes. Good guy.

So, no MAC points. Beacon this weekend. I did this race a couple years ago as a C. Loved it. I’m looking forward to it. With no points I’ll have to scrum for a start spot. Maybe that'll be better anyway. It might benefit my psyche to start in the back and pass some people instead of getting passed. We’re going down to Cape May Friday night to stay in Uncle Willie’s condo for the weekend. We’ll stop in Bridgeton for the race on the way home. I like it down there when it’s less crowded. Should be nice.

I had another massage this morning. Body Logic Therapy. I don’t have much experience with massage therapy but in the past two weeks I've had two terrific massages from Deb at BLT. Pretty amazing to go in feeling like crap and an hour later feel like a new person. If anyone within the sound of this blog has it in their means to fetch out supreme massage therapy I strongly recommend you track down Deb & Lisa at BLT.

I swapped commiserating emails with Nate today about the weekends races. My exact words. “I sucked. Plain & simple. I had fun though.” Somehow turning myself inside out racing ‘cross is pure misery for 45 minutes but pure ecstasy at the same time.

I had fun though.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Wifey

Go Phillies!
I rarely speak of how fantastic my wonderful wife, Erin, is. I'd be sunk without her. I must be the luckiest clown around to have such a great wifey. Tonight she went shopping for Little Jr and found a Phillies outfit. Nevermind that Little Jr very well could be a girl. I'm sure she'll root for the Phils also. We're approx 7 months into this pregnancy journey and I must say it's been a real experience. Watching Erin go through the different phases of symptoms and physical changes. She's been pretty good with everything so far. I guess the real work is just beginning. 9 weeks to go plus or minus.
Baby Shower a couple weeks ago
My wonderful wife also puts up with the fact that its damn near impossible for me to take a serious picture. Even when I actually clean myself up and put nice clothes on I still deny her a quality photo. I suppose when Little Jr is born I'll have to start taking some nice family pictures. This weekends racing should be fun. When I said earlier that it would be fun racing for a single MAC series point (25th place) I wasn't joking. 83 pre-reged. Charm City had 88 total B's and I yanked a 20th outta my arse. Looking at the stacked field for Granogue on Saturday and I'd say if I landed 25th I'd be ecstatic. I can't figure out why Sunday's Wissy race has such a smaller pre-reged field. These races are only 45 minutes apart from each other. Either way, as with Charm, I'm anxious but eager at the same time.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Oh Yes

Like my new lamp?

Sunday, October 15, 2006


What an awesome fall day. I could get used to this. Might have hit 60. Got outta bed early. That always sets the tone. Had a good breakfast. A little internetting. Got my do-list crossed off. By the time 11:30am rolled around I was pushing off for a ride.

Two hours of good road riding on a day like today is pure therapy. Started off just a tad chilly but once I got going it was a perfect temp. I put a few hard efforts in. A couple shortish tempo efforts. All in all a pretty good ride.

I mowed the lawn for what will hopefully be the last time today. Looks good. After that The Wifey had me hang a shelf in Little Jrs. room. And just like that I was free to lounge the rest of the afternoon. I took full advantage and wore a good ass groove into the sofa. Beauty, eh?

The final pregnancy class is tomorrow night. Although I can say that I did pick up a few useful things the past 5 weeks I will certainly be quite happy to get my Monday evenings back. Last night Little Jr. was doing some serious working out in Erin’s belly. There was all kinds of poking and prodding plainly visible. It was really cool to watch but Erin was a bit uncomfortable since she was getting kicked in the ribs left and right. I think we have about 8 or 9 weeks to go. Can’t get here quick enough. Am I having a son or a daughter?

Happy Valley ain’t so happy today. Which makes me incredibly happy. I love it when they lose.

My ‘cross bike weighs 16.8lbs which means absolutely didley-poo when I can’t go fast on it. The winner of IC Lite was 2:30 minutes ahead of me yesterday. In retrospect that’s not terrible although I feel like I should be more up front than I was. In comparison, at Lower Allen last year I finished 14th and 4 minutes back. But 2:30 behind 4th. There were a lot of good ‘crossers behind me at that race which are now in front of me so far this year. I did have some home course advantage going for me but I still feel like I have some good rides in me in the upcoming MAC season.

Why does it take so long for race results to be posted? I have nothing to base my gripe on other than impatience. I know race promoters have a ton of work to do. Speaking of which, did I mention I liked the slight changes made at IC Lite yesterday. Slight enough that I think I almost enjoyed it. High-speed double barriers always help.

The Raiders suck.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

IC Lite

I should have stayed home. 17th. Probably 40 or so starters. Whatever. I felt waaay better than Charm but the results sure don’t bear that out. Although 14th was actually behind me coming up the climb on the last lap. Fouche attacked and two others went with him and I had no response. So the number 17 probably looks worse than it was. It was another Brewer/Hesel sprint for the win. Hesel took it. The Really Fast Young Dude finished 4th. Nice ride Zach.

I stayed for the Elite race. Good show. Only 12 or 13 lined up and 7 of them rode wheel to wheel for approx 2 laps. Nate, Sean G, KHam, to name a few. SSWes had a really bad start and was hanging off the back of that group for several laps. Once he tagged on the group split into four and four. Sean G is a feakin beast. KHam made the front group. SSWes in group two with Nate. Somewhere in the middle Sean G opened up a good gap but dropped his chain in the sandpit. KHam and two others blew by but he calmly fixed his sled and bridged back up within a minute and kept on going. Straight through and off the front. Kyle started to fade with about 3 to go and looked to be out of it just about the time SSWes started make a strong move forward. Sean G wasn’t going to be caught but KHam put in a couple HUGE efforts to go from 5th to riding SSWes’s wheel fighting for 2nd. Last lap Kyle made another big-time pull up the climb just before the finish to gap Wes for 2nd place by about 5 seconds. Nate finished well in 6th.

Those last few efforts Kyle put in were pretty impressive considering he’d been racing for 50 minutes at that point. He definitely earned 2nd place. SSWes looked like death warmed over for the first 20 minutes. Helluva ride to make it back to 3rd. Nate looked super strong in the first 30 minutes. Once he lost the front it was tough for him to get back. Good ride. Probably shut it down a little towards the end to save some for IC on Sunday. Pretty entertaining race.

I got a call from The Legend out in The Nati. Leech was 5th, Hebe 10th, and Steevo 12th. Sounds like they were pretty happy with things out there. The big race is Sunday for those guys. UCI type big race. Let’s all Jedi-mind-trick The Legend into some UCI points tomorrow.

I’m now tired and ready for some couch time. Looking ahead I see a CX double next weekend. Given my current state of ambivalence towards ‘cross maybe I’ll actually enjoy fighting for 25th place. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 13, 2006


IC Lite. 95-5. I guess if the sky isn’t falling tomorrow when I wake up I’ll drive to PGF and race. I wasn’t particular thrilled with the design of last years course. Obviously the promoters have a slight issue with actual real estate to work with and perhaps they make the best of what’s given to them but I can still bitch about it, can’t I?

No Legend/Hammaker/Nate showdown like we at Holmes so richly desired. There has been smack dished out all summer long about whom would “gutter” whom and what not and so forth. A MABRA race would be the best place to bear witness to such a throwdown but The Legend has hit the road for the Nati with Leech and Steevo. I hope they do well out yonder.

Erin is waking up early Saturday to travel down to the Apple Harvest Fest with my sister. That’s one of those things I was drug kicking & screaming to as a kid that I’d actually consider visiting again as a grown-up. The sights, sounds, and most of all the smell of the Fest is apparently something I haven’t forgotten. I remember it all.

Now that the pain of being a Phillies fan is fading for another long winter the not so subtle ache of being a Flyers fan is punching me in the gut. It’s a long season, right?

Mow the lawn one more time this year? Let’s hope so. GOODNIGHTNOW!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Perfect Storm

The phrase perfect storm refers to the simultaneous occurrence of events which, taken individually, would be far less powerful than the result of their chance combination. Such occurrences are rare by their very nature, so that even a slight change in any one event contributing to the perfect storm would lessen its overall impact. So, there it is. Copy and pasted straight off wikipedia. Very well defined. Now, allow me to explain.

Erin and I were down in Cape May this past weekend for her friend Jen’s wedding. Cool wedding. At a hotel smack in between Stone Harbor and Avalon. The ceremony was on the beach. Reception was in a very elegant banquet room. Real nice. Problem was this, the wedding was Sunday 3:30pm. Not Saturday. Both Erin and I had to work today. So, before we even arrive at this wedding we already have an idea that we’d like to be home by 9-ish. 3hr drive means we need to hit the road by 6pm. Easy ‘nuf.

Immediately we run into trouble. For what ever reason the ceremony doesn’t get rolling until 4. Quick ceremony and I’m feeling good about things again. Cocktail hour. Open bar. Yes. The Wifey is unable to booze so I take advantage and order up a Shiraz. The unfortunate side effect of cocktail hour is, well, it’s an hour. 5:30. People start to saunter into the banquet room. Intro’s, first dances, speeches, first course (Potato soup, my fave!), salad, and finally main course. We inhaled a very tastey meal and said our good-byes. Fire up the Volvo. Time? 7:07. Add 3. Something about best laid plans…..

Phase two of the storm. In case you live under a rock you probably know the Eagles played the Cowboys Sunday afternoon in Philthy. Since I’m continually disappointed by terrestrial radio’s music options I put on the football game. It was pretty entertaining to listen to it. I had no feelings one way or another about who won. As we’re blasting up 55 and the game was ending the thought occurred to me that my route home could get slightly cluttered by 70,000 drunken Eagle fans. Little did I know……

Phase three. We breeze across the Delaware and hit 95 North for a mile or two and then exit onto 476. It’s Sunday night. Why, How could there be any traffic issues? Did I mention 70,000 drunken Eagle fans? As soon as we hit the Blue Route, normally a fast stretch of highway that should take 20 minutes to hit the SureKill, blamo! A sea of brake lights greet me. I just about had a meltdown. Time? 8:30. Gas. Brake. Measured in inches. Slow. And I mean slooooow. At one point I did the math. Somewhere years ago I read that a reasonably fit person could walk at a 2.5-3mph pace. I could have dropped that person off and thirty minutes later that person would have still been walking ahead of us. Those thoughts didn’t take the sting out of the fact that I wanted to be in my bed but instead I was in traffic hell in Philthy-f-ing-delphia and there was no end in sight.

Finally we come to realize that the highway braintrust decided to close two of the three lanes of 476 for road work Sunday night around 8pm. Yep, 8pm. One solitary single friggin lane of traffic. Once we made it through the road work it was as it should have been, clear and free sailing. We spent a very efficient 62 minutes tarveling the 80 miles of PA turnpike. Home at 11:30pm. I guess I wasn’t too disappointed at 11:30 since I was convinced that I would still be on 476 for Monday morning rush hour.

There you have it. Any one of those three would have been easily overcome by itself. Not Sunday.

Tonight we had our tour of the birthing facilities at Harrisburg Hospital. I enjoyed it. By far the most useful info I’ve gotten out of the classes we’ve been taking. Last one is next Monday. My sister is going to join us in the delivery room for the entire labor/delivery of Little Jr so she also came up tonight with Greg and DJ to take the tour with us. I’m super happy she’s going to help us. She’s been thru it and will be invaluable for Erin and me during the whole process.

60-40 IC Lite. I did a couple good rides down in CM this weekend. Motivation has been hard lately. A major part of me just wants to fast forward to Xmas so I can start this “I’m a Father” thing. It doesn’t make going out and doing intervals any easier with that in mind. We’ll see how it goes.

Speaking of perfect. The Raiders perfect season is intact. 0-4. Is it too late to jump on da Bears bandwagon? Or am I a poser at this point?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Jersey bound

The Wifey and I are headed to Cape May this weekend for a wedding. I always look forward to quick little weekend trips down there. Anything more than 3 days would drive me up the wall. Nice place to visit but there just isn’t enough to keep me occupied. I’ll take with me my ‘crosser with road wheels to get in one if not two good long solid rides. One thing I do love about CM is the abundance of good food. I’ll need to ride a lot to earn my grub.

I think doing IC Lite is looking better than 50/50 right now. I didn’t really care for last years race but Granogue is only two weeks away and there is probably no better training than racing.

Big weekend up north in New England. Gloucester double. KHam is racin’ with any and every big hitter you can think of. I hope he does well. The rest of the locals should do well. The Really Fast Young Dude should be in the mix. Dieter. I’m also eager to see how the MABRA “A” race shakes out. I will expect a call from The Legend after that one.

Flyers made their season debut tonight. Or rather they showed up in Pittsburgh to allow the Pens to spank them without putting up any resistance. Embarrassing. I hate to say it but I don’t have a good feeling about the Flyers this season. Like losing in the first round last season gave me a good feeling.

Enough already.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Today was Erin’s baby shower. Or as she likes to point out, it was our baby shower. There must have been at least 15 of our friends and family attending. I was watching football with Erin’s dad and uncle downstairs but from what I could hear it sounded as though everyone had a good time. I’ve always been very uncomfortable in gift-giving/receiving situations such as today. I guess it’s something people have always done. Baby Showers. Bridal Showers. Weddings. Birthdays. Who am I to buck centuries of tradition? At any rate, Erin and I are extremely grateful for everyone’s generosity. Thanks to our friends and family Little Junior is well stocked and just about fully supplied for his first days, months, and years. Thank you everyone.

I got out for another good hard ride today. My new AC PowerTap has been schizting out the past few rides. It makes it a little difficult to do a specific training ride when everything is power/wattage based. I still managed to get some good stuff done.

KHam did his first ‘cross race of the season today. He flatted on the first lap and fought back to finish 9th. We’ll have to work on that back-up stuff this week. Kyle also told me Nate finished a close 2nd today. Nice work.

Erin’s little sis, Emily, is leaving for Hawaii next weekend. She’ll be gone for a couple months. Sounds like a fun. She’ll be back just in time to become Aunt Emily.

If anyone cares, the Flyers new season starts Thursday. I’m ready. The Sillies, once again, broke my heart. It would be so much easier if they would either suck really bad, giving me no false hope, or dominate. I won’t hold my breathe on that dominate idea. Speaking of suck, when is appropriate to give up on a team you’ve stuck with for 20+ years but has stunk out loud for the past 3+? Raiders. They may not win a game this year. In fact, I hope they don’t. There is no distinction in having a 3-13 record. However, going O’fer 16 would create an unprecedented level of infamy that I think I could root for.

Salt and Malt Vinegar Potato Chips are grrrrr-eat!