Monday, March 31, 2008

Ahh the weekend, or a first time for everything

I guess it started sometime Friday. Finished up work and went to meet A. She asked me once how much a "man's man" I am. Keep in mind I am 154 lbs sopping wet with guns the size of pipecleaners and ankles and legs that could be mistaken for chopsticks. That led to asking if I would be willing to get a manicure/pedicure with her sometime. That brings us to Friday. Damn my feet are friggin' hot! A nice pampering pedi and foot massage. Have it Doucheblog.
Friday night brought the Yinzers from the Burgh to crash for Bike Game #1. Sprinter extraordinnaire saw the new Slice and damn near went ballistic. I am expecting a call any day now to assess how I actually got the bike and why I went through MTB team. I think the answer as to why is the fact I have it.
Bike Game went not so well. Overdressed. For me that meant knee warmers. After 15 minutes they were down at my ankles Irene Cara Flashdance style. Many comments on that through the race. DISCLAIMER. The next line is for Steevo, Babik & Mayhew. I will not stoop to Chodroff levels. Avg power for 2:30 282 watts, NP was 323, best 1 hr NP 340, TSS 320. Yes kids that is what sitting on the front in an uphill headwind will do. Turner & I had no chance vs 3 Rite Aid pros, Ramon & Empire guy. Rest of field basically rolled around. Finished, that was good.
Got my tix for Crowes. That was awesome, thanks K-Mad's mom & A from 'TPA. Funny good luck text from A, and the obligatory sass. Very funny. Team rolling to line & I am texting. Nice.
Sunday was the first road tire 29'er ride. Five hours went pretty quick although knee was getting sore.
Then the supposed coup de gras of new experiences. ROLLER DERBY. Went to see H.A.R.D. scrimmage. It was an eye opening experience to say the least. Who knew that Roller Derby is a generational way to spend a Sunday evening? I did not? Grandma's smoking Malboro's and pounding Keystone Light's in the parking lot at intermission. Americana baby. It was equal parts, intriguing, disturbing and educational. There were way too many "big" girls in fishnets for my taste. The repulsion factor was pretty high. There was one chick who was wicked fast and very fit. You couls tell she schooled all the others, Mother Trucker was the name. The cool moment of the night was when one of the skaters went to see her kids and husband after the match. The kids jumped up in her arms and she gave them big hugs and a kiss to the hubby. That was cool. Maybe Roller Derby is a family affair. I can say that Roller Derby is now in the file of " glad i did it once, never again."
Off to Wegman's for some cards, I like card shopping, and other food stuff. Hope the cards go well. $87 later I leave the store. WTF. Word to the wise. The tipping point on truly delicious dark chocolate is 72%. I got the 88% last night, not even appealing.
Watched my Ebay auctions go for about $300 less than I wanted, yet covered all of my costs, so that was good. Two sets of wheels brought $1,500. Sweet.
So that was the weekend.
Tonight is birthday dinner with A. Still have not bought a gift, have some ideas bought it is challenging to not purchase too much, too little, special enough, yet not too special. This dating stuff is hard.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Bike Game ott eight

On the eve of The ott eight Bike Game, the Benyou Hostel is settling in and down for the start of the new gaming season.
This year's seasonal starter looks to be a baptism by fire. 90ish riders on a tight 7 mile loop with big teams representing. I predict the pain cave will be open for visitors after about 30 seconds. I also predict there will be more than a few flashlights going out in the pain cave after about thirty minutes. Two laps of eight in the books, 40 out of 90 riders in their cars. Yeah boys and girls this will be nervy. Hopefully not, I want to quit racing my bike forever Branchbrook nervy.
Another season starts, twenty-one years after the first official season I feel better than ever. We will see if long hard mtb tempo translates into fast jumpy road fitness.
The best part is; no matter what happens tomorrow, even a cataclysmic perfect storm dropping a, chortle, snort, giggle, bah hah hah, win in my lap would be better than my last couple days.
Yep, I think I may have that pesky priority thing under better control.
I wonder what Len McDonald & Gerald Soltis are doing these days?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A gentle reminder

That is what I got today from Diggler & A, at damn near the same time. The gist was simple. Every time I whine about my job, remember the time it affords me to do other things, like ride.
I swore to not bitch as much about my job, and I think I have been good. The reminders, although from totally different contexts, really hit home. A's was so out of the blue from the conversation that we were having. Diggler's was like an ah-ha/gotcha, you finally admitted it, as we were referencing someone Else's free time and training.
These two reminders really made me think while out riding. A's made me feel guilty, and rightfully so. I felt this way with old A a few years ago when she was slammed at work. Guilty in that I have a very advantageous schedule for someone of my pursuits. Whereas, others with the same passion, like A, are not nearly so fortunate. This is precisely why I try to avoid most work conversation when we speak. I am almost ashamed of my free time/good fortune. I am not ashamed of what I do. I am good at what I do, when I get the chance to actually do it. There are days where I wish I could talk on and on about what I did at work. It just does not happen.
Diggler's reminder was more of the "you better use this opportunity to be damn good". Essentially, I have the time, knowledge and skills to succeed as a racer, so there is no excuse not to.
To each instance I wholeheartedly agreed. The other thing that made these reminders so poignant, sorry Diggler you will have to look that one up, is the respect that I have for these two people. Diggler as a cyclist, and A as a person and professional who does not seem to get the work credit she deserves.
Add to this situation the email I received from A Shizz today about just this dilemma, and things were hitting close to home.
For those who reminded me today, Diggler, A Shizz and A, of just how I fortunate I am, at the present time, thank you. Hopefully tomorrow, and the next day, the day after, and so on, I will keep your words in the front of my mind and take them to heart.
At some point, every run has an end. Deja vu, all over again.
I wonder what Bev Sweger would say if she read this crap?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Remember kids, safety first

Pissed part 2 or sick & tired of subsidizing everyone else

So, if you remember my little rant on Dub Ya's economic stimulus pandering plan this will be a nice follow up.
Today was my annual meeting with my tax preparer. As many of you know I am very loal to people. The same person has done my taxes for the past 5-6 years. It is not like they are complicated, but it is one less stress and she truly tries to help me out and get every last deduction for me.
This year I thought would be my year. I am filing single for the first time in thirteen years and old A's withholdings, or lack thereof, would not hurt me. Yes, I say ME since I poaid the bills.
Fast forward. As we start my tax prep lady notices a big issue with my local earnings. They are somehow THREE times LESS than State & Federal. "This is not good", she says. "Let's do Federal first." Fair enough, we go through the info and she says, "you are not going to like this". Sure enough, I did not. Seriously it felt like I had just been punched in the gut. I was flabbergasted. I owed $1,300+! How is this possible I damn near shriek. "Do you want to know the real reason", she replied. Yes. "You are paying for those people who do not pay taxes and suck off of the Government. There it is. I pay 27% of my earnings in taxes, so that I can subsidize the rest of this country. I am so pissed that it makes no sense to write anymore.
Ooops sorry, I forgot about mt Local Taxes. We shall forever refer to this as "the great rabbit punch of '07." Seems that after my move out of the State St. apartment and buying my new place, Lilly stopped paying into local taxes for seven months. Basically Lilly feels Fairview Twp is too small and does not want to withhold local taxes "as a courtesy" to me. So, either pay quarterly, or pay in a lump sum. $900 later Westab had their pound of flesh.
Yes kids, I am equal parts upset, frustrated, confused and out and out pissed.
To top it off, the only $0 on my tax return was at the bottom of the Federal portion. That was to tell me what I would be receiving in economic stimulus. So enjoy your stimulus if you get one. In fact you may feel free to send me small gifts or provide sympathy beers at any race or bar that you may see me at this summer.
This is yet another reason why I support a flat tax with no deducctions. Let every citizen pay their fair share. I am not poor, nor am I rich. I just want to be treated fairly in the whole scheme of taxation.
If you think of it in an even larger global context I am taxed much more heavily due to the fact that I am a consumer with disposable income. So, I stimulate the economy. I accrue ZERO debt, to hurt the economy. I somehow get the privelege of paying a disproportionate part of my income to the government.
Get ride of sales taxes. Seriously get rid of them. Without sales tax peole have an increased buying power of 6%, essentially. That is stimulus. Then institute a flat taxe directly from yoyur wages. Granted this is still unfair in many respects, under the table work comes to mind, but it does accomplish the concept of equitable taxation.
The poor do not pay, because it is just set up that way. The rich do not pay because there are so many bogus loopholes. It leaves the burden on those in the lower, upper & middle middle class.
OK, that is enough ranting. I have used my break before lunch.
Off to make some more cash, so I can pay it all back to Uncle Sam & his little cronie, WESTAB.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Life is like a plate of sashimi, chachiri to be exact

It is raw.
It is delightful.
It is a different experience for everyone.
It is cultured.
It is fishy.
It goes best with good company.

My plate of sashimi started off with a quick Ebay check to see who is willing to overpay for the wheel sets that I have up for auction. For the three or four non-bike riders who read this literary atrocity, I am hoping to make $1,800 for two sets of wheels. Yes, $1,800. Yes wheels. As in no bike involved. As in no tires involved. I heart capitalism. I heart Ebay. Delightful.
Next up was a ride in State Cawledge with Bubb Ry. We set out to ride so easy that Pat & Bill could have joined us. It is amazing the "ground" you can cover in an hour with a close friend. A nice chill ride and good conversation about life, passions, goals, relationships, perspectives. Lots of good ground covered. Delightful.
Drove home to put in a little work for the Colonel. Same as it ever was. That was quick. Literally & proverbially. Raw and fishy.
Started to put together the new Scalpel and do yet another tinker session with parts. The Scalpel is going to be sweet. I am thinking a set of Stan's 347's and chi-chi rotors will put it in the 21 lb ballpark.So, back to the title. Life is like a plate of sashimi. It is quite diverse. Each "slice" so different than the next, yet complimentary. Ultimately each little slice of life is quite enjoyable in its own way. Maybe it is the texture, the taste, the color, the contrast, the presentation. When each little slice is then presented as a whole it is something to be enjoyed. It is something best enjoyed with good company.
Today was such a day from start to finish.
Ry and CSS thank you.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Fresh tracks

Rolled some nice fresh tracks in State Cawledge powder today. Not tele, not downhill, no XC. A damn fine 5 hours on the new Cannondale F1 29er. The bike is absolutely awesome. Very light front end, predictable tracking and wicked quick in singletrack.
Back to the fresh tracks. We did a lot of dirt road climbing and descending today. Actually almost all dirt road snow stuff. There were three really cool trails that we hit. Totally fresh snow, first tacks stuff. Going through the trees and hitting the lowhanging snow covered branches was awesome. Feeling the cold of the powder hit your face was so refreshing. I must have had the biggest smile riding that singletrack. Sooooo fun.
Later in the eve was the team meeting and dinner at the home of our gracious hosts, the Schempfs. A wonderful spinach lasagna and killer desert with good company in an awesome 1810 farmhouse. That is what a day should be like. Thanks to all, especially the Leech's who have been so generous in allowing me to spend a long weekend, over a holiday no less.
The riding these past two days further engrains in my mind just how fun it is to ride a bike. The sheer joy, pleasure, feeling of accomplishment that can be achieved by something as simple as riding a bike is incredible. So tomorrow I am on tap for four more hours of joy on the roads of Central PA. Good fun. All for a weekend in VT in July.
In your heart you know, the juice is worth the squeeze. That's what moral fiber is all about.
Yes, I am watching The Girl Next Door.
That is what it is though. Taking the things you are the most passionate about and putting them/that person in front of everything else. Having the strength, courage and guts to commit to someone/thing and go out on a limb and say "this is what I want."
I know what I want, I know what I feel. I know what I am willing to do to meet those ends.
The juice is definitely worth the squeeze.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Because I think better standing up

Not so much.
I am staying at Chez Leech, in State College this weekend, for the MTB training camp. The computer is at the bar so I am standing. If you play along with this blogging thing you will remember that I stated I have the good fortune of surrounding myself with greatness, and great people. Today on our team ride the group was an ex National Champ, a present National Champ, a present 24 hr National series champ, a pro racer and myself. Yeah, I won the MASS last year, a cross series, and ten races outright. Yet, i was totally outclassed. It felt good to ride very well technically and definitely hold my own. It is so much fun to push yourself against those who are better than you. This is especially true on a MTB. So much of MTB racing is about lines and braking. Today was a grad school course with some of the best. Following Ry, Rob and Wes's lines through the fast shit was awesome. Watching Ray come flying by on the big road climb was humbling.
Three hours today with some nice climbing and two of the longest, steepest sustained rocky singletrack descents i have ever been on. I am not one for exaggeration and blowing my own horn. They were some technical hard descents. I am also a very good technical descender. I was holding on with controlled slides for a lot of these descents. It is hard to explain this to a layperson. I will say it this way. Most sane and normal people would not want to walk down these descents or try to walk across the rock gardens that we ride. Really, not to be full of myself. The sections really are that difficult.
A nice dinner followed and a little team building beer pong and quarters, I still have the touch.
Six hours on tap for tomorrow, should be fun. Good friends, good trails. Yeah, I dig riding a bike.
Sounds like I may get lucky and get to ride some fresh snow tracks tomorrow.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A different perspective or four ways from Wednesday

I have never considered myself to be a company man. Yet, i still have this naive notion that I will work for Lilly until I can retire at 55. I met with three old work colleagues yesterday. We have all taken very different paths in our careers. It was an interesting perspective on loyalty, service, money, passion and drive.
J is retired from the Mothership after working thirty years. This man is a true pillar. His perspective was one of "now i can objectively see with my own two eyes."
C was with Lilly for three years and split to sell orthapedic surgical products.
JJ has been with Lilly for eight years and is taking a job in Indy in two weeks.
I have been with Lilly for eleven years and am still an empiral cycnic/skeptic.
J's ekynote pearl was this, The Colonel needs you, more than you will ever need the Colonel. I never knew that until I retired." He was amazed at the downfall of the industry and The Mothership in the last five years. It was great perspective and advice on loyalty, it is one-sided, and why do you get up every morning to do this job.
C split for the cash and conflict with an old manager. Interestingly enough, when exit interviewed the number one reason to leave a job is due to your direct report.
JJ is all about advancement right now. He sees the next two, three years of twelve hour days as a way to come back to PA as a manger and make mad cash. Yes, the managers do get paid well. The question I ask is this. Is it really worth two, three YEARS of your life for a POSSIBLE chance to be a manager? I just do not see the pay-off.
Which leads to me. I have steadfastly refused to go to Indy for an assignment. I have no desire for that type of lifestyle. I do not enjoy kissing asses. They stink. I do not enjoy being cooped up for twelve hours, just to say that I stayed at work longer than you. People in The Colonel's army have mistaken this for being apathetic to advancement. that is not it. I just take a firm stand on what is important to me.
The irony is that I still hold this notion of retiring from Lilly at 55. Can I keep this up for fifteen more years? There is no rational thought process that would lead me to think I could. Maybe if I start buying an additional two weeks vacation every year I could do it. So after this discussion I just had an intersting perspective as to who I am.
I wonder what JD & Mr. Bennett are doing right now?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tipping point

In everything there is a fine balancing act to keep a general equilibrium. At some point there is the tipping point where something throws the balance off. It may be to the good, it may be to the bad. At that point do you go with the tip, or do you try to achieve equilibrium again?
If the ultimate outcome is deemed to be unpleasant, how much are you willing to endure before hitting your tipping point? If the outcome is to be a good outcome, do you maybe ease off and take the money and run, per se?
This is where I get seriouse and toss the veil. When I my Blazer finally died last October my good buddy Ryan mentioned that I have very little left to remind me of my life but a year or two ago. This is with one exception. Hobbes.
Little buddy is somewhat sick, mostly from old age. He is sixteen years old. From November to January he managed to lose 30% of his body weight. Granted he could stand to lose a little heft. In context, let's say that I ballooned to 200 lbs. That would be like me dropping to 140 in three months. Pretty friggin' gross. I am not done. The former Fat Cat has dropped two more pounds. he know weighs in at a very bony 10 pounds. That would be like me dropping 24 more pounds and weighing in at 116 pounds. Weigh yourself tonight. Then figure out what 58% of that would be. Now you see the issue. That would be like Steevo weighing 75 pounds!
Hobbes has lost 42% of his body weight in six months. He is not really eating much. He does not drink much. At what point is there the tipping point of me watching him waste away to stay alive? Hell, I could not even go see my Grandmother last month because she is so emaciated.
This leads to my moral dilemna and tipping point. What do I do. The Vet has said the weight loss will not stop. Eventually the Parathyroid will run so rampant it shuts down the kidneys.
When is it finally too much? When can I no longer allow the quantity of his time overrule the quality? He is the being that I have spent more of my life life than any other person/being over the past twenty years.
At what point is it Ok to say this just can not go on?
Am I a bad person for even considering that maybe living like this is not a good thing for him?
I just now that I have reached the tipping point.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Two left hands

That is how I have felt at the shop lately. It seems i can do nothing correctly. In my own defense, of which there really should not be any, the bikes I was working on were totally new to me. In style, components, lay-out everything. Thing is, I rather pride myself at being able to do all of my own bike wrench work, except for wheel building.
The TT bike and the F1 29er damn near defeated me. The bikes are sweet and the components top notch. It was just that I was not thinking straight and every time I added one and one, I got three. It went from comical, to almost hard to watch for the guys at the shop. Today was only slightly better. I managed to Stan's up the new wheels and tires spot on, with the first go. That was good. The hydraulic brakes were another issue. Added oil, but mostly air. So that did not work so well. Then bled the system, or better, basically watched as Jeff bled the system. Still no dice. Just not working out.
Add to that general stress about life and being tired from the weekend and I am not at a good mental game. Thankfully I get to leave the area for a few days to do nothing but ride with the mates. Hopefully that will clear my head.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Because I care...

Someone, and I am not sure who, once told me this: "If you are going to take the time to do something, why not do it to the best you possibly can. Do it well enough that you would sign your name to it."
I try, I really do. I put myself out there for people and things, and I try to care and give my best.
Maybe that is the whole problem? I truly care. I truly care what people think, even though I may say otherwise. I have some bizarre overabundance of empathy at times.
I care about my job.
I care about my family.
I care about my friends.
I care about past relationships.
I care about present relationships.
I care more about other people than I do myself. I am sure some will find that quite hard to believe.
I care about racing my bikes.

So that being said, I do not write this blog for anyone but me. There is no need to read into anything. If I am going to write about someone, they will know it. There will be no ambiguity as to the meaning of the post. I write this blog so I can have a release. I write this blog not because I think I am so special that eveyone should read it and aspire to this this life. I write it, because it is my life, and I care enough about "you" that I want to share it. It is not like I am getting rich and famous from doing this. Hell, I am probably skirting the fine line of general disaster because I am more open about my life, in this format, than in person.
Take the time to get to know me. I dare you.
You may be surprised, or you may not?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Now that was a full day

Not 36 hours in a cab mind you, but long, fun and tiring nonetheless.
5:30 get up and do party prep work.
10:00 greet Ry & Sunshine and get ready for our ride
10:30 Ride four hours on a gorgeous day
2:00 End up at St. Patty's day parade in H-burg. Watch that for a bit.
2:15 See New Adventures of old A with the Satan Sisters. Can not even say hello to Sisters since Old A's new adventure is there. I thought he may be uncomfortable. How noble of me.
2:30 Ride last 30 minutes home
2:50 Have the funniest Paul & Phil commentary with Ry on the last climb
3:15 Cook burgers on the grill for Ry & Sunshine
3:16 Start drinking
5:00 Chamois time is still training time. Get cleaned up and go to El Rodeo /w Sunshine to pick up food, ice, and yes more MARSHMALLOWS.
6:30 Make up for not drinking the last hour
7:00 Eat, drink, be merry
8:00 Start Monty Python playing on the neighbor's house. It was great watching it and going through the lines with no sound.
9:00 Keep drinking, get the picture? I learned that in a pinch you can use four cases of samples, an old door, two nitrogen insert dispensers from Guiness cans and come up with a killer beer pong set-up
10:00 See 9:00 With the added benefit of watching almost all of my cycling helmets, ski goggles, rain gear, helmet cases etc... end up being worn by party guests. There are some good pics somewhere
10:30 Have another epic marshmallow war. This may end up a party tradition
11:00 Decide that I should wear my TT helmet the rest of the night to be more aero and drink faster. I think it worked
11:30 Got my ass handed to me not once but twice, in beer pong, by a sloppy drunk Leprechaun. Yes, a full-on Leprechaun
12:00 Turns out the hot tub heater sensor fixed itself. Decide to get in the hot tub. Forgot that I had Sportsbalm after-ride lotion on my legs. That was quite unpleasantly hot.
12:30 Get dry and drink some more.
1:30 Finally decide to call it a night

Paid the price today. Tired, lethargic, dehydrated, blah blah blah. The sudden boom and brief darkness today at 3:45 was the sound of my body blowing up and the lights going out as I made the turn onto the final climb of my ride.
Good times, good friends. Thanks everyone.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Now I am pissed!

The principle is economic stimulus, not I want $600. Keep that in mind. It is a macro concept.
This is not about the money. Those who know me well enough know it not about money. Has not been for the past 10+ years. It is all about the principle and good sound fiscal logic to create the supposed "stimulus". That being said this economic stimulus plan is pure politico opportunist bunk!
If you want to stimulate the economy you need to make sure the money goes to people who will spend it to actually, dare I say it, stimulate the economy! So much of this "stimulus" will go to reducing personal debt, or sheer life necessities. Under that concept, basically the US is creating state debt to pay for personal debt. WTF!
I know this may sound greedy. Trust me it is not. I will still spend the same way, regardless of $600. The concept is just horseshit and shortsighted. Basically it is Bush trying to save face near the end of his term. How quaint. In reality all he has done is saddled more debt on the government and incoming regime. If you do not have disposable income, $600 surely is not going to create disposable income. I would venture to guess the money doled out will be used to pay to live. Groceries, gas, credit card debt, etc... So little retail goods will be purchased. Good strategery, Dub Ya. Makes me feel better I renounced any and all political party affiliation. GDI baby!
Whatever?!?! You want pure stimulus? Give cash to everyone, especially those who will spend it on the intended purpose. I love it. I pay more taxes, and I get no stimulus. I am fine with paying more. I just do not feel I should be disproportionately taxed, or conversely disproportionately shafted on a benefit. My back is getting a little sore from carrying dead weight.
How much does a pound of flesh go for these days?
Flame away. However, you better have your ducks in a row if you choose.
Grrrr pandering makes me angry.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cause that's how we roll in New Comptonland

Got home from picking up the rides yesterday and set about building them last night. Yeah, I know that I referenced this yesterday. Here is where the story turns.
A High School English teacher once told me, "sometime, you just need to know when to BOG." Huh, BOG? Bow out gracefully, he said. There comes a point in time when you need to when that is your best option.
So last evening I knew how tired I was, and how excited I was to build some bikes. I knew there would be a disconnect. As many know, I love beer. I particularly love good beer. Building bikes and drinking beer is standard operating procedure at Chez Legend. Thing is I knew, I would be to excited. So New Comptonland style I poured half a bottle of wine into a large plastic cup and set about my way. No floral bouquet, no rose petal finish, better yet no broken parts or thrown tools. I did what I could & made the decision to BOG when I knew it best served me. Meaning the 2007 race mtb parts stayed boxed, as did the 2008 Cannondale 29er.
Fast Forward to today. I took the bike and parts into the shop to build it up. Anticipation was high and time was short to try to get in a good long ride. Right from the start I was rushing shit and making VERY dumb rookie wrench mistakes. It was embarassing, humiliating and overall not fun. What should have taken 1, 1.5 hours took three. I made so many mistakes that it was a miracle tools were not thrown or parts were not sacrificed. Maybe I should take a bottle of wine into the shop to help me slow down, chill and enjoy the process? Today after finally getting shit all back together I realized I needed to BOG before any more damage was done. Pack it in, and go pedal the bike.
Also referencing my yesterday's post some of the best wrenches in the biz, saved my skin and sanity today. Well most of my skin. Blood was flowing fast after I shivved myself with a flathead. XTR FD and pedals were a nice Merlot color when I was done. I was so pissed I just kept wrenching and bleeding. Deep down, I know they wanted to see a Vesuviusian explosion.
No dice, I am a kinder and gentler version these days.
There will be no bowing out gracefully Saturday night. Epic consumption, epic!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Add it up or Viva Femmes

But the day after today, I will stop and I will start.
Stop what? Start what?
Wait a minute honey I'm gonna add it up.
Be a romantic and play this for your chic over a bottle of wine. Let me know how it works out. Prolly the most played party song at the OX box in the 80's. Oh, back to the post.
Add it up. team bikes have arrived. I made the trip to Ardmore in record time, start the car to Valley Forge turmpike turnstile in 70 minutes. Oh yeah, 87 miles for those playing at home.
I must say that is run so well and supported so well, that I am swimming in an embarrassment of riches. The equipment we get to use is top notch. The support from Cannondale is spectacular. Not only for MTB & CROSS. Yeah CROSS baby, you read correctly. Cannondale knows we ride on the road and affords us the opportunity to get road or TT bikes so we can fully race their line. This type of amateur support is unheard of. I hope that I can repay the great support that I have been afforded.
Damn, back to add it up theme. This is my garage presently. Keep in mind to, or more specifically support Bedford.
Cannondale CAAD 9 road bike
Cannondale Slice 1 TT bike
Cannondale CAAD 8 fixed gear
Cannondale X6 cross bike
Cannondale XJ6 cross bike
Cannondale Caffeine 1 29'er
That is SIX super sweet rides from the heart of PA. The most super sweet totally neat ride is yet to arrive
Cannondale Team issue Scalpel

There it is. Add it up. Seven Cannondale rides to be in the garage. If it works, don't fix it.
Thank you very much to and Cannondale.
I wonder what CSS is doing right now?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I can not tell you when...

...I have felt this good.
So many things are going really well right now. It is like I am finally getting some sort of karma redemption. Work, for as generally unrewarding as it is, is going pretty well. Another peer award the other day. Seven of the last nine over the past two plus years. That has to be worth something? Hopefully with an interim manager who is totally supportive will parlay this into something good in the Fall. The old manager definitely helped with the recent raise. I get to see that on Friday, sweet. Thanks. Good meeting last night. Even better that Sapporo East made a Spicy Tuna roll and some Sashimi so I could treat CSS with a nice dinner, flowers and a card. All well received, yeah deep down I can be a romantic. Someone may disagree. Who knows. I am well past the caring point right now. CSS is doing some boarding in Tahoe this weekend. Shame she misses the party. Well, upon second thought maybe the party is not the most conducive place to meet the inner circle. Can you say drunken texting?
Riding is going well. Sez will like this, the POWER TAP does not lie. And it is talking some smack right now. I freakin' love riding a bike. CSS & I were talking about training last night, and riding in general. I just love riding a bike, there I said it twice. This winter has been some of the best I have ever done. JRA baby JRA. I can not wait to go on a ride with her. To share something that gives you so much pleasure with someone else who just gets it, man that will be fun.
Listened to Black Crowes Warpaint prolly 10-12 times through the past two days. Damn fine effort. Walk Believer Walk is even growing on me. Oh Josephine is top notch. For the non-Crowes believer, think real early bluesy Stones, Sticky Fingers vintage. Slowed down and and tight. Give it a listen.
Have you ever met someone that does so much good on a day to day basis in their career, and is so good at what they do? One thing in my life I have learned is to have a healthy dose of respect for those who excel at what they do. The neat thing in my life right now is that I am surrounded by so many people who are some of the absolute best at what they do professionally and for enjoyment. Every day I am thoroughly amazed at how good people can be, skillwise and as people. I could name names, but that would go against the grain. If you think I am referring to you, I probably am. Life is too short to surround yourself with people who do not fit this bill. Precisely why I let my work colleague share the lunch today. Not worth my time. My work colleague is also one of the people who are damn good at what they do.
I hope the people who read this know I am talking about them. This is also one of those times where I did wish someone read this drivel. At least I think she does not read it?
I wonder if Diggler is done being a sadsack yet?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Happy day

BLACK CROWES and DAVE MATTHEWS BAND JUNE 27th at HERSHEYPARK. Oh yeah, you can better believe i will be rockin that one out.
Felt good to blow off the Derby & Circlefest in favor of riding with the Adams family. No need to battle 20mph winds and sub freezing on the road yet again. Went to Stoney Creek rail trail for what is essentially a boring out and back. Thing is, good company makes for a good ride. I enjoy riding with Ray & Nancy. Good times. I showed them the Rausch gap cemetary. That was pretty cool. Rausch Gap used to be a prominent railroad community in the 1800's. There is a very small cemetary with three headstones from 1854, 51 and 51 respectively. The engraving is still readable. Someone chalked the engraving to enhance it's readability. Very cool, more an honor than desecration. Obviously this person knew where the cemetary was and went there with the chalk with the sole purpose of allowing others like myself to read what these people's family had engraved 157 years ago.
After the cemetary field trip we found a foundation for an old house and checked that out a bit. Then we procedd to finish the trail. Well ma nature had other plans the last 1-2 miles were a sheet of ice. I was a little full of myself and was cruising when the front wheel started to slip. Next thing I know my right foot is sliding on the ice while my left foot is clipped in and left hand is still holding the bars as the bike is sliding out to the left. it had to like like some weird rodeo act. Boom, then i hit the ice. No biggie.
We turned at that point. Nancy went down right in front of me. I some how managed to unclip both feet and jump off backwards. I am skidding on my feet with my belly resting on my saddle as i skid past a downed nancy. Not sweet and sweet at the same time. We finish off the ride at 3 hours, then I refuel i head back out for the infamous Tower climb. I am sure people know i am not a big fan of the big climb. Add to that i am running a single front set-up of a 36. Nice. Twenty-five minutes later I crest the mountain. Low speed was 3mph, top pitch was 20% for 200 meters on soft dirt, three seperate times. Yeah, that was pleasant. Finally cross the VERY soft ground on the ridge top and finish the trail off. 4.5 hours later, I felt pretty decent, yet pretty cracked.
Poor CSS text's that she is illin', bummer. I tell you, more mental toughness in her than I can ever imagine me possessing, no shit.
Too tired to even gorge at home. I guess that is good. More fun to progressively eat for hours anyhow.
Got a sweet message from Spanky, Flyin' & Killa late last night. Friggin' hilarious. The best part is not Spanky's diatribe, but the Killa's rationalization that his act of love is actually acceptable in this day and age.
New team bikes are in, at least the 29er and cross steed. Oh baby, oh baby, all Cannondale all the time.
What a good day.
Even knowing that i am sharing a work lunch function with my oh so fave bag o rocks on Tuesday can not bring me down.
I wonder what Kamallah the Ugandan Giant is doing right now?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

True to my word

I said I could feel a multi-post day, so here it is. I also wrote earlier of the little things that I will hopefully accomplish that will make me happy.
So here goes a pretty lazy day with little bits o' pleasure for good measure.
Got up earlier for coffee.
EASY trainer ride. Hung with McDaniel for a couple hours loading the MAC equipment and having lunch.
Cleaned 1 car side of garage and made that the firewood, lawncare central.
Cleaned other side for all bikes, all the time.
Watched Rounders again. Tommy KGB is pure Malkovich genius. Edward Norton is also top notch.
Grocery shopping w/ the iPod. My Morning Song, Soul Singing, Sometimes Salvation, Miracle to Me. All live, definitely a sweet shopping trip. I think I noticed that a good mood makes you buy more. $205 later I was still Soul Singing. Try it sometime, mouth the words to yourself. You can not help being happy. Funny watching others look at you as if you had three heads.
Fort Collins Brewery Retro Red. I think I could handle living in Fort Collins.
Ditching the Derby, too windy. Yes that makes me happy. Chill 4-5 on the MTB with the Adams family.
So there it is. I could look back and say that I did not "do" a lot. Yet all the little things made me happy.
Bought a cool card tonight. I like cards, and really try to make the words equal my thoughts and feelings. No gratuitous card giving from me. A few people know my proclivity for being a pretty decent good card giver. Hopefully my written word will match the card. Oh yeah, if you have ever received a card with written word, then you know exactly where you stand. I do not "glad hand" my feelings to anyone.
I guess that is an upside to being very opinionated and wearing your heart on your sleeve, people should know just where they stand with me.

Top cards ever given.
1) The Williams at the first Christmas
2) My mom on Father's Day. Yes father's day, think it through.
3) Early cards to the ex
4) 1st b-day card to D & E on H's b-day

Interestingly enough, I do not keep cards.
Seven days until the first bike game. Can you feel the anticipation?
I wonder what Torrey Marks is doing right now?

Multi-post day. I can feel it

I figured I would get a little yard/garden work done before Noah's ark shows up later today. Raked some leaves, put in some more solar lights and assessed the next backyard project.
After MAJOR work last year, this year will hopefully be much more tame. I need to make a boundary around a back flower bed. As, I noticed today a good deal of my mulch is now in my neighbor's yard. I also need to do some major reseed work around the back of the yard. Those will be the first issues.
I am going to dig up an area of yard that is fer shite out front and join two flower beds to make a very large sweeping bed area in the front. That should look pretty sharp.
I zipped out to Home Depot to get some party supplies for next weekend for everyone's warming pleasure. I picked up two 7' high propane tower heaters. They are pretty sharp and should kick the heat for the remainder of the patio and deck area. I put in a few more solar lights for ambiance. I should be set for the fete. Maybe I should just host the MAC party?
As for the fete. IF YOU READ THIS DRIVEL, YOU ARE INVITED. Smithwick's on tap and good times will flow. I am trying to pull a super neat super sweet (totally pilfered from Steevo) surprise for everyone. We shall see.
As for my poll question, I knew that the results would show that way. Why? Simple, most of the people who peruse this drivel realize that what you do today is far more important that anything you may do in 20 years. My old colleague, who did some serious coattail riding, just got his golden ticket punched to go to the Mothership. He was told to count on an 18-24 month stint working from 6:30-6:30, plus some weekend prep work. That is where my disconnect lies. I, you, we could build the nest egg of our dreams, yet never enjoy the time in which we are building it. How does working twelve hours a day and sleeping for eight hours on top of that equate to any sort of well-being?
A few things have happened of late that further cement why I am so steadfastly adamant of keeping my present lifestyle. Two very good friends were hit while riding this week. Thankfully, both are only bruised. Another person very close to me is going through a myriad of concerns. I am not really sure how a CSS actuallt manages on a day to day basis. Strong, very strong.
These instances serve as a glaring reminder that what is precious is today. We have today to enjoy. Tomorrow is not gauranteed. It is not granted as some god-given right. So what if I retire with a gazillion dollars in my 401k and a good pension to live off of. I guess I write this from the standpoint of this, why on God's great paved Earth would I want to do something that has a negative impact on my enjoyment of life? Happy, safe, comfortable are all relative terms. You are kidding yourself if you equate money and status to these concepts.
Todays little list of things to provide happiness.
Rake leaves in the rain.
Clean out garage of MAC equipment and see McD
Listen to new Crowes CD.
See some Blues at Jackson's Junction.
Txt message.
Ride my trainer so slowly that you would laugh at me.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

That kind of takes all the fun out of it?

Yeah, it pretty much does doesn't it?
The title was a friend's reply when I tried to explain training with a PowerTap and all the charts, graphs, bells and whistles. I could do nothing but agree. Then I went out and did some intervals at a prescibed wattage.
Today was the last big meeting that relates to the present blog poll. It seems that the poll is a moot point. No dice on the killer trainer roll. I am not too bummed for a few reasons.
The new compound has some FDA concerns and may not even get approved.
I have a LOT of time right now, with a flexible work schedule.
The pay is no better.
A sales realignment is imminenet so that should solve some things.
A have no permanent manager to report to.
I have a great interim manager who is objective about things and is supporting me for a different promotion.
I saw and heard again today how generally unsatisfied associates and managers are withing the Colonel's army.
Training time.
Possible travel time.
Greater race schedule flexibility.

Deep down I have never been one to really seek out the limelight and prestige of things. Do not get me wrong. I strive to be successful, and work hard and/or efficiently to meet that end. If good things happened, then so be it. It has never been about money. It may make things easier, but it will not make you happier. It has never been about being the next big thing. There is another Next Big Thing, who has an even lower price for their soul, standing right behind you.
I want to do what feels right to me. I want to make myself and those around me happy, not necessarily in that order. Some may get it, some may not. No one has to understand or agree, only respect the position that I take.

Lot of people come to me to talk about things try to tell me all that is wrong in my life
They give me all of their opinions and their strongly held convictions and all of them sure that their right
Bulletproof; courtesy of Stiff Little Fingers, And Best of All: Hope Street 1999
Bee you double ell ee tee pee are double oh eff

I wonder if boo boo belly is better now? Hope so.
Someone is due for an effin freight train load of good karma to pull in to their station.

Listen to your mind and follow your heart.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Third times a charm????

I have erased the last two posts that I have written. Some things you just want to keep to yourself because they mean enough that I selfishly want to know that the experience is mine and mine alone.

The power & the passion, or the ride is always easier on someone else's coattails

After a little sitemeter analyzing I have come to a conclusion. As much as I hate to say it, Douchebag Cyclist looks to be the winner in the which blog has the pull contest.
After a mention on Douchies blog, for my love of a certain retail establishment, the peeps flocking to see who penned the manifesto increased tremendously. Then after professing my disgust for yet another solo 4 hr slog in the wind, Blacklane dropped a link for this dribble.
After a quick consult to sitemeter it has been determined that Doucheblog pulls/steers the traffic better than BlackLane. I am not sure if I am surprised or not. Both are quality bloggers, with a loyal fanbase. I figured it would be a push. Douchie the Blogger popped 30% more daily hits.
So I guess the moral is this. If you want to go Blogtime on us, get a mention on one of the two aforemetioned sites. Second, it proves the old adage, "it is not what you know, but who you know." Based on that little tidbit, I am not quite sure how I can parlay that association into any redeeming benefit?
Hopefully I can live up to such a high standard of literary excellence.

Monday, March 03, 2008

A dress rehearsal for the rest of our lives

That was how Jesus Robinson greeted the crowd at the Starland last evening. Went to see the Black Crowes somewhere in the North Jersey Pine Barrens last night. This was something I have been looking forward to for quite some time. The show was the first time the Crowes played Warpaint for an audience. The new album played straight through, then they came out for the obligatory encore. Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution opened the joint to a raucous start that got everyone moving. Walk Believer walk was next, I am not such a big fan of that tune. Oh Josephine followed. A total classic in the vain of the Crowes bluesy rock Sometimes Salvation vein. Locust St was great. All in all there are eleven tunes on the new album. Eight of them were stellar. Kids, go take your cash out and buy Warpaint. Well worth it.
The show was incredible. The venue was superb. maybe 2,000 people. K-Mad's dad & I made it in after 45 minutes of standing in the cold. We walked right up to 6th row about 20 feet back. We were directly in front of Rich. That dude NEVER smiles.
After my last two shows being seeing the Crowes in very intimate settings, I am quite spolied. To see a show from 20 feet away is unbelievable. You can see the small tattoo's on Chris's hand. The turned up collar on Rich's jacket. The number of rings Sven is wearing. Every finger movement on the guitar equals a note that you here real time. The expressions on the guys faces, the looks of the back-up singers when their channels are too loud. The pained expression of the new keyboardist when he plays. That is how to see a show. To be so close that you are a part of something, not just seeing it.
I need to check out CrowesBase today to see the encore list. Very folky, stuff I have never heard, or heard of. Jealous Again totally ripped. The intro to Wiser Time was unreal. Instead of the basic one, two chord guitar lead-in was a session of six exchanges between Rich & the new guitarist. Then the tore ass right into Wiser Time. Proper road song as the up tempo encore of a new tour. Every member got a solo during the song. Absolutely unbelievable.
My passion for music is as strong as ever and the Crowes have not dissapointed since we all started to Shake our Moneymakers.
Thanks guys.
I wonder what the ASS-CLOWN from Maxxim who did the "review" is doing right now?

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Tall times & F U signs

I rode over to the Faulkner Honda Racing group ride today, and for the third of the last four attempts, they were a no show. WTF man. Carney is one of the hardest dudes out there, the boys in baby blue need to take a lesson.
On the way over to the "ride" Iwas cruising through 2nd to 6th St route. I love "city" riding. I bet cruising Philly, Balt, DC, on the way to a group ride would be tres cool. Back to the title. Today was a fenderific morning so I had no problem riding through the slush, well to the right of traffic. The I heard the shrill sound of someone's horn way in the distance. Now, it was not an ambulance, I could tell that. However the warning blast was pretty similar in time notification. I turn a bit and see a Dodge Coltish car about 150 yards away. Yes, that far. They are on the horn and still approaching. OK, thanks, I got it. You are coming & I am a bicycle. No worries. They are still on the horn, so I turn again and now they are closing and staying pretty far right for my taste. Before I can even show them the Dodge Colt is #1. The 75ish year old lady passenger shows me that I am number one in her book. Wow, that is awesome. I am buzzed and flipped off by a Blue Hair Grandma. Unreal.
On with the ride. Lots of time into a strong headwind. Lots of time to think about life, relationships, etc... Thankfully a little more clarity came later in the day. Crazy last week, some really good, some really stressful. All really fast.
Thankfully the ride ended with a few 34mph flat, fast rock star tailwind sections. Double thankfully my chain decided to stay on the 12 just long enough to end the 40mph sprint. As soon as I stopped pedaling said chain lodged itself between the cog and dropout. That would have been pretty much a face changing rearranging experience.
Tall times, well not so much for me, but for a lot of the other Black Crowes fans who get to experience the show tomorrow night at the Starland. This show should be cool. We will be the first people to hear the new album, Warpaint, in its entirity. Definitely looking forward to this gig. Taking K-Mad's dad, maybe he can get a Tall Times onesy. Good luck explaining that one away.
The shop was been wicked fun lately. Laughed my ass off for an hour the other night. Kylie is not so fragile, so I can rag him again. Super Seve Service has had one awesome story after another.
So when times are getting heavy on you, just remember to sit light.