Monday, March 23, 2009

General Miller wouldn't have it any other way

Marty: Let's...uh talk a little bit about the history of the group.
I understand Nigel you and David originally started the band
wuh...back in...when was it...back in 1964?
David: Well before that we were in different groups, I was in a
group called The Creatures and w-which was a skiffle group.
Nigel: I was in Lovely Lads.
David: Yeah.
Nigel: And then we looked at each other and says well we might as well
join up you know and uh....
David: So we became The Originals.
Nigel: Right.
David: And we had to change our name actually....
Nigel: Well there was, there was another group in the east end called The
Originals and we had to rename ourselves.
David: The New Originals.
Nigel: The New Originals and then, uh, they became....
David: The Regulars, they changed their name back to The Regulars and
we thought well, we could go back to The Originals but
what's the point?
Nigel: We became The Thamesmen at that point.

My first epic ride of this season went off rather well. The Scott CR1 (saunier duval team bike, not the newer CR1) and I performed as well as I had hoped. I need a couple of small tweaks on the bike, and I suffered no incidents of knee or ankle pain at all. The ride was schedule to be 3 1/2 hours but ended up 4:45. This was due in part to waiting for a rider who really shouldn't have attempted the ride, but also for getting slightly lost, and riding on a hilly dirt road (nice and soft from the snowmelt) for two miles or so. By the end I was getting tired and hungry, but it was the ride leader that cracked, and we ended up dropping him hard on the last hill before we got back into nashua. He didn't bring nearly enough food and didn't eat enough before we left.

We started with 5 riders, then picked up two more along the way. WE headed up 119 through willard brook SP, and continued on 119 into New Hampshire. The ice storm last winter had left severe damage to a lot of the trees up there, it actually looked like a hurricane had gone through with all the snapped and downed trees.

At one point, Our Hero and Blogger Extraordinaire Solobreak had decided on a route of his own, and went about his merry way. This was before one rider known for his affinity for the dirt decided to take us on the hilly dirt road, which was known as 'old new ipswich road'. I guess this would be as opposed to old ipswich road, new ipswich road, old old ipswich road, new new ipswich road, or new old ipswich road (hence the spinal tap reference).

Anyways, we were down to six riders at that point, and once we got to a recognizable area, the one rider who should have stayed home took a direct line back. We stayed together for a while longer until we got to abbot hill road in wilton, nh, then the two we had picked up on the way out decided to take the easy way back, so then we were three. Me, this Team Type One rider and long time friend, and Our Host.

It turns out that Mr. TT1 has been training for the TT1 RAAm team. He claims to have been riding for 12 to 15 hours /week since the beginning of the year, and has 2200 miles in. He had being quietly riding with the group, not flaunting his fitness, until we took this loooong downhill called General Miller Highway. He's about my size (a little dude), but he pulled almost all the way down. I couldn't come around him, and didn't really want to, he was haulin'.......

So we hit Abbot Hill road, maybe a 1/2 mile long, maybe an average pitch of 6%, and he just rolls away from us, and not slowly. Our Host attempted to go with him, but between his lack of food and TT1's SOUPeriour fitness, Our Host cracked as quickly as he accelerated to try and catch TT1, then I simply rolled by him. TT1 had a good 30 seconds on me at the top, and when I caught him he wasn't breathing very hard. We coasted down the other side, and Our Host had to work to catch us.

Finally getting back to the nashua area, we started up Farlee Road at a moderate pace. TT1 rode respectfully, letting me set the pace. I glanced back half-way up to see that we had gapped Our Host by over 100 yards. Farlee road isn't a big hill, it might be 1/2 mile at 3%, but Our Host was as dead as a teenagers cellphone after a day of texting.

This was the very first one of these rides, hosted by Our Host, famous for his spring rides, where he cracked to the point of me waiting for him. I was quite hungry at this point since we were out well over an hour longer than planned, Our Host was in bonk, then TT1 says "I haven't eaten since we left". Well, I guess there's alot to be said for putting on 2200 miles over the past ten weeks. He noted that it was all base, just LSD, zone one training, with little above zone two.

Solo finally got back, had to be almost an hour later. He had well over 5:30 on the bike, and I can't imagine he didn't get a century, since Our Host, TT1 and I did 80 miles.

The Scott CR 1 was fantastic. It climbed as well as you would expect, but was smooth and stable on the descents, and took every quick move with grace and predictability. It behaved especially well on the dirt, even when avoiding the pothole on the dirt descent . I believe the only time I felt something that suprprised me was a frost heave on the General Miller Highway. I'm a bit too far forward on the bike due to a long stem, (new one on order), so in the drops on the down hill doing over 40 I felt the rear end jump a bit higher than I would like, but it was still well under control. I used to ride a Devinci compact aluminum years ago that use to toss the rear end around even on flat roads when I would hit a bump in the pavement. The rear wheel on the Devinci left the ground a few times when I was riding in a hard pace line on that bike. This was nothing like that, as even when I _did_ fell the rear wheel come up it barely left the ground, and I'm sure once I dial in my position it will take quite a bit more than that to come off the ground. The only other issue is the saddle, it's a stupid light selle san marco, and very hard. I'll get used it, it was just a much for a 5 hour ride the first time out.

On that note, the CR1 comes in at just under 16 pounds with a older set of Ksyriums (not even SLs!). With my Zipp 303s on the bike it will be under 15.

I had hoped to get out on the MTB on sunday, but a late night bonfire/birthday party left me a bit drained on sunday, and I had plans to head to boston with the family in the afternoon. Sitting around a bonfire until 1 am with a 12 pack of Molson isn't exactly the best recovery regimen.

I'll undoubtedly be getting more road miles in this week, and I'll report later on how that goes.

Friday, March 20, 2009

And Now, Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Program

I've finally been getting some decent training hours in. I rode to work a few days last week, got a couple of short (1/2 hour) runs in, got two 3 1/2 hour rides in on the weekend, two short runs this week and a commute today. I would have ridden every day this week but I was on a business trip to long island monday thru wednesday, and yesterday it was supposed to rain all day. It turns out it only rained between 9 am and 3 pm, so I went home and ran for about 45 minutes, half of it with my dog. I got another 45 minute run on the treadmill in the hotel gym on tuesday.

The rides last weekend were fun, though they started out a bit cold. We stayed around the gently rolling terrain of southeast NewHampshire with slight excursions over the Mass border. I made it a point not to fight on the hills. I picked whoever was leading up each climb, and paced him unless he was trying to prove something. In those cases, I just stayed with the ride leader.

A couple of times each day the ride leader coaxed me into setting a steady hard pace on a hill. Not as if we were racing, but a smooth steady, intense effort, more of a long interval. I did maybe two of these each day.

At the end of sundays ride, a couple of the guys got frisky, so I went with them. The first one eased back a bit and when the rest of the group got on another guy took off. He stayed out for a while until the next series of small hills. When we caught him, I was pulling the group along but not hard. As the hills started I simply kept the pace. I turned to see who was with me nearing the top of the last climb, and the road was empty. I kept the pace until the next intersection, waited until I saw them (~ 30 seconds later), then headed out. From there I never saw them again. I wasn't hammering, but I was keeping a pretty steady high aerobic pace. I kind of surprised myself that I was able to sustain that effort after two days of riding.

Disturbing was that I felt some twinges in my achilles on monday, not painful, but definitely reminiscent of this time last year when I tore my achilles. I felt no pain during either run this week, but this mornings ride gave me that same sensation I felt mondy morning. Again, not painful, but it's that 'I can feel something I shouldn't be feeling' type of feeling.

Tomorrow is another day. I'm scheduled to ride a hilly 70 mile ride with a group that is notable stronger than last weekends crew. Last weekend out of the two days there were three guys total that race regularly, and only one of whom is regularly stronger than me (though not in the hills). Tomorrow the whole group will be guys that race at least as often as I do, and two of them are usually stronger than me. The other two, sometimes stronger sometimes not.

This will be a good test of my achilles, to see if I'm just suffereing from some muscular induced not-really-pain or something to do with over-use again. I just hope it doesn't flare up 30 miles out.

Also being debuted tomorrow is my new steed. I won't ruin it for the two of you that read this blog, but I weighed the thing last night - with older ksyriums, but no bottlecages or bar tape - 7.00 KG, 15.4 pounds. I have a few things to do to it tonight (bottle cages, bar tape, ride the trainer and tweak the seat and handlebars), but if all goes well I'll be stylin' (or 'posing', anyways).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

An Open Letter to AIG Chairman Edward M. Liddy

Yo, Eddie,

I listened to a lot of your testimony in front of congress the other day, I think you did pretty well. Let me say I have no sympathy for you though even if some of opportunistic abuse from the senators was over the top (and it was). We know you weren't there when the mess was created, but you took the job know the mess was there, so, you own it now, just like Barack Obama owns the mess the rest of the nation is in (due in no small part to your recently acquired subordinates).

The one item I did take a severe issue with was the contention that the bonuses were intended to retain the best people.....The best at what? Fucking up beyond all belief?

I think you get that we're not pissed off over the amount of the bonuses, but that there were bonuses at all. For the people in your corner attempting to reason that the bonuses are such a small part of the TARP fund as to be insignificant, they completely miss the point. You see, it wouldn't matter if they got a 50 cent bonus. A bonus is supposed to show appreciation for a job well done. Yet, your new charges are getting rather substantial bonuses, so how does that work? Sure, I supposed if the stated goal of the business unit was to bring the United States to the brink of economic collapse, they did quite well. Or perhaps there wasn't really a goal per se, but rather to just see how badly they could fuck up. Again, they would have met that performance goal.

I have a proposition for you. Hire me. I can fuck up with the best of them, and I won't demand nearly the bonus the rest of your employees demand. I can guarantee you that I can out-fuck-up anyone on your staff, bar none. If I meet your fucking-up goal, simply give me 10% of the salary plus bonus of the top fuck-up in your group. If I am not your top fuck-up at the end of the year, I'll just take 10% of your top-fuck-ups salary, and you can keep the bonus. One thing is for sure, I certainly couldn't do any _worse_ than your 'top performers'. No, you would need a card carrying neo-con to do _that_ bad.

I think we should start with creating a new mutual fund based on the porn industry, Just set that puppy rolling and we'll be swimming in dough in a matter of weeks. You'll have that debt paid off in a few years. The only thing left would be what to do with that free time, since the debt of our nation would be amply settled by people fucking themselves stupid, we would only need to count the cash and sent it out to our debtors once or twice a week.

I'm thinkin':

Commando Mondays - where all employees are prevented from wearing underwear. The beauty of this is that it isn't even sexist. I would have absolutely no problem making you drop your pants in the lobby of the AIG headquarters for inspection, as well as everyone else on your 'staff'. If there's one thing that would bring humility to your office, it would be a junk inspection every monday AM.

Cross dressing wednesdays (speaks for itself)

(I volunteer to head the inspection committees)

Beer Trike fridays where the office is divided into several teams, a hold a relay race through the cubicles wearing beer hats and you must complete the beer _and_ the lap before the next person takes over.

Feel free to contact me, I have no doubt that you have the resources to find me if you want to. Take care, but please, get to fucking working cleaning up this mess, and make sure you pay the rest of us back, k?


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Another Episode of My Previous Life

Inspired by numerous blog entries from Solobreak, I recount a trip to california in 1993

In 1993, I was president of the Northeast Bicycle club. One of the 'perks' of the position was a subsidized trip to the annual USCF convention, that year it was in Long Beach. Between the USCF stipend and the largess of the club, I was able to pull a three day weekend for less than $100 out of my own pocket.

There was no voting to be tackled that had any sort of significant impact that year. Although there were probably a dozen or so issues up for ratification, the issues I remember were the annual fight over white socks and black shorts (that used to be the regulation), a measure to stipulate that all number plates were to be black ink on a white background, and, get this, a measure to put verbiage in the anti-discrimination section of the by-laws to prevent discrimination based on sexual preference.

That last one proved to be rather contentious. I don't think anyone really thought it wasn't going to pass. In fact, I don't think most thought there would be any discussion on it, since the USCF chair_person_ of the board - Lisa Voight, who looked good in pictures but was breathtaking on real life - actually almost didn't even scan the room before announcing 'passed'.

The lone dissenter was some guy from the midwest, wearing a blue blazer with gold buttons and grey slacks. He got up in front of the microphone, and said loudly and proudly that the measure should be defeated because 'the uscf should not get involved in promoting sexual deviance'.

What a storm of howls followed. People lined up at the mike, 10 to one in favor of the resolution, and berating mr. conservative coalition. A few others spoke against it's passage, though not for the reason that Mr. CC did, they just wanted to keep the uscf 'out of the fray'. In the end it passed overwhelmingly

One afternoon I went to a meeting that Ms. Voight chaired on promoting womens racing. Hey, Paula Tedesco (bedard) the angry feminist was on the NEBC BOD and demanded that I present her views, I don't think paula was wrong, just a bit...hmm...intense. Well, I couldn't find the room the meeting was in - this was a big fucking hotel - and I happened to see Ms. Voight in the hallway. I asked her the meeting was, and she smiled broadly, said 'come this way', wrapped her arm through mine, and escorted me to the room. We walk in, arm in arm, to some odd stares. Damn....she even _smelled_ good.

After the first days meetings, we were leaving the hotel, and they happened to be a movie shoot going on in front of the hotel. The Movie was 'Speed' starring keanu reeves and sandra bullock (ranking #2 in my all time favorite hottie good actress list). Unfortunately, the movie wasn't even in publicity yet, and they were filming one of the bus scenes with crashing cars, so there were no stars, just stunt men. Still, it was fun to watch them crash cars for awhile.

We were hosted by a guy who used to race with BRC that someone from their club had hooked up with. He had a great sense of humor and was very entertaining. He took us new englanders out bar hopping the second night. One of the clubs was pretty cool - broad demographic, good music, and BRC dude sat down to start the rap on some cute chick. Well, it turns out the woman sitting next to her was her girlfriend, who got a bit jealous. BRC dude must have had a good rap, because Cute Lesbian showed significant interest with her body language. Eventually, the jealous girlfriend dragged her out. We asked him what happened, well actually I asked him 'Dude, you just chased away two lesbians, what did you say?".

True story - the dude throws on this brooklyn accent and says "I don't know, All I said was 'you know, I never fucked two lesbians before', and they got up and left!". He kept us laughing all night.

These conventions used to have a 'host club' - A local club that would help set up people with accommodations, food and entertainment suggestions, and host a couple of rides. This year the host club was the L.A. Sherrifs club. Note that I didn't say 'team', I said 'club'. There were more than a few of us that were disappointed by the confusion. Still, we got in a couple of 30 miles rides, but never got into any of the mountains around LA. The ride leaders were just hacks like us - local 3/4 riders with full time lives. Still, they were very cool, and quite gracious.

Well, that's it. If there's anything you can take away from this lame entry, it's this:
I remember how hot lisa voight was.
I remember arguing about homosexuals.
I remember the incident in the bar with the lesbians.

The sad part is, I really haven't changed all that much......

Monday, March 9, 2009

It was the best of times........

Well, not really, but I did have a pretty decent weekend in light of the fantastic march heat wave, as I hope all of you did. Other than some personal issue not related to anything on this blog, here's my weekend:

Saturday I got kitted up to go for a long ride with The One And Only Duane Skofield. I've gotten into the habit for the past few months of depositing my paycheck on saturday morning at my local bank branch. It's never busy and I can get in and out right away. I ridden my bike a few times over the past week and left it in the vestibule. Today, for some reason, the manager was in. She saw me with the bike and said rather incredulously, almost condescendingly "you can't leave your bike there".
I said, just as incredulously "you're kidding"
Indignantly, she replied "No why would i kid about that"
I asked, "why not"
she said "someone could get hurt on it".
I said, "yeah right" rolling my eyes, and walked out.
fucking douchebag.
There is another branch on the other side of haverhill, so I went there.

Now, I've been riding my bike to work in north andover in spring, summer, and fall since I started there in '96. For a while I was depositing my check at one of those two branches, and I would ride my bike to either one, leave it in the vestibule, and do my banking. So saturday I go to the other haverhill bank, leave it in the vestibule, walk in, and who's there but the manager from one of the north andover branches that I used to go to all the time. She works there now. I told her what happened at the other haverhill branch, and she rolled her eyes, and said to me, 'well, you're welcome here _anytime_'.

Anyways, I get out on the road, and ride over the the meeting place. I've been getting a sharp tendinitis pain the past few times I've ridden, so I was ready to bail if it happened again.

Well, it didn't. I got 3 1/2 hours in and would have gone longer had I remembered to bring more than a kashi bar and a gu. I felt a few interesting 'bruise-like' pains, but nothing that became a problem. I felt no problems at all the last hour.

I had ridden to work the day before, and was pain free for the whole trip.

Here's why: I dropped my cadence. I figured out that the reason I had been able to do 2 hour mountain bike rides with no issues but only an hour on the road bike was the spin. You don't spin a cadence of 100 on an MTB for very long. On the bike I was doing it for tens of minutes straight. On the friday, when I felt some pain, I would drop a gear of stand on the pedals. I quickly found that the pain went away. So on saturday, I targeted my cadence at 90 instead of 100.

I'll need to get back to a steady 100, but I figure I'll work on that during my morning commutes, since they're usually around 30 minutes.

Yesterday, I did the last irish pub series race, and felt good, more on that later.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Two of my last three posts have been angry. I'd like to say 'uncharacteristically so', but the only person I'd be kidding is me. Note the title of this blog? well, I haven't been riding much. When the weather is good enough to ride, I can only get about an hour in before I get excruciating knee pain - a burning tendinitis under the kneecap.

A few weeks ago, I did the Harpoon Ale indoor TT. I had a great time. No, not that my elapsed time was great, it wasn't, it was quite mediocre. But I enjoyed the whole day immensely. I finished 52nd out of 160, 3 minutes off the winner, and 14th out of 16 in my heat. I made no pretense that I was there to do well. In order to make the point, I used a 52x16 fixed gear, and wore a t-shirt that said "I'm only here for the beer". I got my two 'free' beers afterwards, bought one more, and a six pack of a quite luscious brown ale.

I felt good from that for a couple of weeks. Well, now I'm starting to 'descend into madness', in light of the cold weather, snow, lack of riding, and knee pain when I do ride. Yes, I've been running races, but it isn't the same as riding. I don't get the cathartic 'zen' experience running that I do riding. Besides, my performance at the Claddagh 4 Miler this past sunday was less than stellar. I ran 20 seconds faster per mile last week at the frozen shamrock. This frustration has manifested itself into not only the angry posts on this site, but some nastiness on other blogsites as well. I won't say that Hydrophobic and Rosie didn't need to be reminded of the good fortune that exists for the amateur competitive cyclist in the US today, just that my method is a bit harsh, rude, and self-righteous.
I guess I should pause more often and ask "what would Nega Coach do?"