Thursday, January 22, 2009

A New Day Is Upon Us

I'll bet you're thinking this post is about obama.


I found a picture on the web recently, on Drunk Cyclist to be exact. It's of a lower back tattoo, on a woman, affectionately known as a 'tramp stamp'. Now, I think chicks with tattoos are hot, well, the chick has to be at least mediocre looking to begin with. I don't find scary fat crackwhore chicks with tattoos to be very hot, but I think even your everyday, girl-next-door with ink is cool, and the more erotically placed and based, the better. I think tattoos that wrap fully around a womans vagina are cool. I like it when I see a woman with asian-style artwork of a white tiger that wraps around her waist. Nothing really shocks me, because I surf alot of porn, and I've even seen tattoos on a white womans 'mons pubis' that said "black cock whore".

Still, I have to admit, what I saw today took me slightly aback. I'm not a judgmental person by any stretch of the imagination when it comes to personal appearance (I save that for your political beliefs), but, I'd love to meet the woman sporting this tattoo, just to find out what in her personality would prompt her to get such a....hmmmm....inflammatory tattoo?

So there she is. It is truly a New Day in America, when a woman has the the freedom to publicly display a tattoo of two chicks licking a spurting penis on her back, albeit camouflaged as a butterfly. More power to you, honey.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Motivation, or the lack thereof

My friend and blogger extraordinaire Solo lamented the conspiracy of the elements to prevent meaningful base/endurance workouts in a recent post. Albeit a bit whiny (oooo, I'm gonna pay for that...) he brings a legitimate point to discussion.

It's difficult during the week with the weather we've had, between the combination of cold and snow, I can't bring myself to get outside during the day at work. It takes so much time to layer up all my clothing that it takes time away from the workout. Even if it were warmer, there's so much snow on the roads, the sidewalks aren't clear, it's just too dangerous with all the traffic trying to rush around and get errands done. Call it an extension of my life philosophy of reciprocity, but I know if I were trying to get paperwork shuffled between the insurance company and the registry, and I got stuck behind a line of traffic because some octogenarian in a 15 year old buick was too timid to go around a runner on snow clogged roads, I'd be pretty aggravated too, so I don't do it.

I deal with winter malaise though diversity. No, I'm not talking about drinking obscure imported beer or surfing south asian porn (I do that anyways), I'm talking about changing up the workouts. I'm fortunate in that my place of employment has a reasonably well equipped gym. No free weights, but two universal machines, 15 nautilus type machines, 5 stair simulators, 4 treadmills, two ellipticals, two recumbent bikes, and one regular life cycle. During the week, I'll do 20 minutes each on the stair machine, treadmill, and life cycle, maybe three times a week. Tuesdays I do the track workouts hosted by MVS.

Another good motivational tool is some sort of event - running, snowshoe, or ski races, maybe an indoor TT. Of course, not with the intent of winning, but with the intent of just doing it, and feeling good about it afterward.

I've missed any substantial workouts the last two weeks due to a combination of laziness and legitimate familial obligations (except for the track workouts), but that should change this weekend. I have several events on the near horizon that I'm hoping to meet certain personal goals at. Not set PRs, just do reasonably well. I've actually felt a sense of motivation for these events, defeating the malaise.

With all the snow, I can either snowshoe, ICEbike, or ski. I prefer ICEbike. I love ICEbike. Two hours on ICEbike and I'm a happy guy.

So _my_ answer to winter malaise is diversity. Think of rewards as well. If you have the same addiction to physical activity that I do, then you know how great you feel after a good workout in the cold. It's refreshing. It generates endorphins, and endorphins are good. Think about, after you've taken the hot shower and you feel like you've actually accomplished something, sitting down to a good tv show/movie, or a book, with a glass of something special. I prefer single malt scotch.

Do yourself a favor. On your way home tonight, stop at the liquor store and pick out something you like to relax with. Use it as incentive.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's finally over.....

And this from Crooks and Liars:

“A lot of right-wing talking heads (see esp. BillO the Clown) have been dismissing Bush’s longtime critics as mere “Bush haters” who saw him as illegitimate from the get-go and never gave him a chance. And it’s true that many of us were motivated to defeat him from the day he took office in no small part because of the way he took office — without even a popular plurality, foisted upon the public by probably the most dubious ruling in Supreme Court history.

It wasn’t simply, however, that he was illegitimate; it was something much bigger than that. It was that he was the leader of a gang of political thugs who had stolen democracy from us. From a rotten tree springs rotten fruit; most of us could see well down the pike that the kind of governance the Bush intended would drive the country to the brink of ruin.”

I couldn’t have said it better……

Welcome to the Banality of the Middle-Aged Wannabe Bike Racer

Alright, it's been a week since my last post, but, well, it's that time of year. Not much goes on. Random thoughts:

Our New President is getting inaugurated today, and as much as I'm a supporter of the new administration, I'm tired of and disgusted by the media frenzy. I usually listen to NPR in the morning, but today I watched the NFL networks' "total access". Even then, I had to turn it off because they were running a segment on the inauguration, from the perspective of black football players. I drove to work pressing the seek button on my radio hoping for music.

In the past week I've had to repair both my snow blower (stripped auger gear) and vacuum cleaner (broken brush belt).

I haven't had a good workout in a week, since my last indoor track session with Fernando Braz. But, tonight, I'm going again.

I have a big project at work that is coming due, and it looks like I'll have to go to New York to wrap up some loose ends on the installation.

I've signed up for: Battenkill-Roubaix; Irish Pub Series; and the Harpoon Indoor TT. Look forward to reports.

Welcome to the Banality of the Middle-Aged Wannabe Bike Racer, mired in the morass of the jobwifehomecarkids-life.

(courtesy of Dr. Dot)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Play Misty For Me

This picture was sent under the header "Redneck Seafood Dinner"

At the risk of exposing myself to several levels of ridicule, this picture makes me misty-eyed. I grew up as an army brat, and my dad was a sergeant, so we never had alot of money. All the way up though my teen years, a staple of our diet was Kraft mac-n-cheese, hot dogs, and canned spinach - the kind with no label on the can, just stamped with ink that said 'SPINACH'. We probably had that at least once a week, sometimes more.

Excuse me, I need to go cuddle with my teddy bear......

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ice Bike!


The Incredibly True Ballad of JC Studds

OK, First things first. I'm not JC Studds. I just wanted to make that clear. I'll get to the real JC Studds later.

It's been a snowy early winter here in New England so far. Not quite as snowy as last winter by this time, but still snowy none-the-less (and don't give me any of that ignorant conservative crap about how global warming isn't real, local environmental incidents are not usable as predictive factors in non-entropic systems). Last year I never got around to riding Ice Bike. This year will be different.

Ice Bike started life as an '95 cannondale MTB. The frame was given to me (yes, given) by a friend who left it in an unfortunate position where it got run over by a car, so the top tube was creased. It was bad enough so that the head tube was visibly misaligned with the seat tube.

I decided to experiment on the bike. I popped out the crease with a muffler clamp of about the right size. Now, I know, once aluminum has been stressed beyond the elastic point, the metal crystallizes, and subsequent working breaks the metal. The crack in the tube was obvious after I had pinched it out, but I didn't intend to leave it on.

step 1 - pop out crease
step 2 - strip paint down to bare metal a few inches on either side of crease
step 3 - trim down a piece of steel exhaust pipe so that the i.d. of the exhaust pipe is slightly smaller than the o.d. of the top tube. This is accomplished by running the length of the pipe with a cutting tool to remove material so that, when clamped, the new pipe will contact the top tube all the way around.
step 4 - liberally coat the top tube with JB weld, fully filling any voids in the aluminum
step 5 - clamp the pipe in place using several exhaust clamps, being careful not to deform the steel pipe.
step 6 - let sit for a week, remove the clamps, paint as desired.

It's hard to see in the photo, but I filleted the JB Weld with a rotary tool then painted it grey primer.

When I was done the head tube mis-alignment was negligible, using the fishing line method: tie off a piece of fishing line around the rear dropouts, run it around the top of the head tube, measure the distance from the line to the seat tube. Repeat, running the line around the bottom of the head tube. I don't remember the numbers and I'm not interested enough to remeasure it. suffice it to say it was close enough using a micrometer to consider it ridable according to the LBS I was hang around at the time.

The real test was the durability, so I put the bike together and started riding it around some of the local easy trails. I'll make the story short - that was 15 years ago, and the patch has held up through some reasonable abuse.

So I decided to make this just a GP bike - A mishmash of parts, old SR Duotrack 1" elastomer shock fork (elastomers hard as stone by now) and cheap cheezy wheels and tires, You know, something to hop on and ride to the local store and not worry about if it wasn't there when I came out.

Well, in '96 I tookice a trip to the UCI MTB race at Mt. Snow with the dude that gave me the bike. No, I didn't bring Ice Bike, I brought my ride from the time, a Pro-Flex 753. We happened to find a little bike shop that was going out of business, and he had this set of tires - IRC Piranha 2.2s, with - get this - 241 #6x1/2" stainless steel pan-head sheet metal screws installed in the knobs of each tire, points out.

The piranha was designed as a mud tire - big wide-spaced lugs - and JC Studds had put a #6x1/2" stainless steel pan-head sheet metal screw in each and every one of those fucking knobs, pointed end out, pan head _inside_ the tire. Seriously, these things look like something out of Mad Max.

I can ride on hard smooth ice, accelerate, brake and turn, and keep control. I can ride _up_ ice flows. I only run into problems when abrupt changes are made in direction or speed.

Now, JC Studds had made a little business card, but he's no longer in business. He has no web presence. He hand wrote some bits of advice on the back of the card, that suggested a tire liner and cautioning against riding on pavement or ice, even though he named the tires, with an indelible marker, the 'ice 241'. He wrote "if you ride on ice you will fall and get hurt!"

In the over ten years I've had these tires, I've slipped out, maybe twice, and never been hurt. There have been times when the snow was too deep and thick to ride through. They really do suck on pavement, and they have an annoying habit of picking up and holding onto leaves.

But, the bike is a blast in the snow, and the conditions this weekend have been almost perfect (a bit cold).

I got almost 4 hours of riding over the past two days at the winnikenni park in haverhill, riding pretty much every where except the really steep stuff and the single track.

It _really_ beats the rollers.