Friday, May 29, 2009

Ride with Brianero: Day 2

Damn, I am a sucker. I should have known better. I thought that a ride with Brian today might be easier than last night. Umm. No.

The initial talk a few days ago was of a Thursday night ride followed by the Friday noon ride. With the Thursday ride done I left myself an out due to some longer distance swimming I needed to do. The swimming was top priority and the ride with Brian secondary despite the fact that I would much rather ride than swim. This is mainly because I am more worried about drowning than the riding in the triathlon.

So while I really thought about bailing on the ride I didn't want to be seen as a wuss. I didn't want it to be known that I couldn't handle riding a couple of days back to back, even if I was toasted. Time to suck it up. I did want to ride. I just didn't want to suffer so much today.

So, briefly here is how the day went. I swam 2500 yards at a nice pace in about 52-55 minutes. I felt good despite having a very sore lower back from the ride yesterday. I raced home to pick up my bike gear and a ham sandwich and then raced to the parking structure near Brian's work. We rode to pick up his brother, Ward and another guy Craig. I have met both of them before--good guys. I have never ridden with Ward, the Wookie (as Brian named him early into the ride because of his shaggy legs). Craig, I had ridden with previously at a cyclocross practice last fall. They all pummeled me into submission today. I cried uncle at the top of a hill about an hour into the ride. I was done. I was almost to the point of getting off the bike and walking. They went up hill after hill and I continued to follow in misery. The only bright spot was one particular descent where I went over 53 mph. Talk about cookin'!

They had to wait for me numerous times. I was givin' it all I had, but there was nothin' left in the tank. Still, I was glad to have done it and they were great guys to ride with. But damn, I need to start my taper for the triathlon now that these past two days are over. My legs will be rubber if I keep this up.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pete's Mountain/Wisteria Road Savagery

Plan on some Pete's Mtn/Wisteria Rd savagery. I'm not feeling so hot so you should clobber me and clamber all over the place.

Those were the words that Brian wrote on this blog either last night or today on another post. I don't know when exactly, I didn't notice them until after the ride this evening with him. If I had known I would have done things a little different. First of all the second sentence is just Brian being humble. He is a hammer. I was the nail.

Let me set the stage here.

Brian is a top 1/3 Master A rider in cyclocross. Those are his words too, by the way. When I called him a top-half Master A racer he corrected me, smirk fully in effect when he said it. He races other disciplines too, but I don't keep track how he rates with those.

I am a top 1/3 Master C rider. Perhaps you can see an issue here. Since it was just us on the ride, I figured it would be immediately apparent that I am would be the anchor out there. Not that it was a race, but I don't want to be shamed on my first ride with Brian. One should do his best to make a good first impression.

When we talked briefly, very briefly about riding together today, I seem to remember him mentioning hills or a hill, but it didn't seem like a significant part of the conversation. It really didn't stick in my mind in such a way that I would have made any changes to, say, the gearing on my bike for instance.

I am currently rocking a manly 39/53 up front and a similarly manly 11/23 in the back. It works well enough for the riding I do usually. Sure it occasionally hurts, but usually just for a few minutes and than I am back to being glad I have that 11/23 cassette in the back. Afterall, 12/27 cassettes are for pansies. Just like compact crankset. Well, pansies and old men. I feel like having that combo ups my man card to something akin to a Platinum Visa card or something. The Platinum Man Card if you will. Well, the bill came due to day for that card and it hurt. But I paid it anyway.

On with the story...

The temp was in the mid-80's when we headed out the door of circle P about 4:15. When we accelerated from a dead stop at the first couple of signals I was immediately impressed at how much acceleration Brian has compared to me. Effortlessly, without knowing it he immediately gapped me. I stepped it up a notch to keep up. I knew that it could be one ugly outing if he pushed it. Luckily, Brian was nice to me. He lollygagged with me on some of the hills on roads I had never been on before. Although these hills were no comparison to some of the roads I have been on in other places (such as the Alpine Loop in Utah), they were accumulatively brutal with the pace I was trying to keep. It was like I was getting continually jabbed in the body by those roads. No roundhouse punches, or anything, thankfully.

The two steepest climbs were on Pete's Mountain Road and Wisteria Road. I had not been on either road before believe it or not. I had heard of them more times than I can count. But what can I say other than that I stay in the areas mainly north of the house, which is about 20 miles or more away from where we were riding. Wisteria is a nice hard smooth climb. Pete's Mountain has two short steep parts in addition to the rest of the climbing. Those two steep bits were at that point very much like hard kidney punches--they just suck the life out of you for a bit. I was cursing my lack of anything easier than a 39/23 combination. But I made it and Brian only had to wait like a couple of minutes each time at the top. Could have been worse. At least I didn't have to walk.

The best thing about the ride was having someone around to take my mind off of the pain and the miles rolling under the tires. Good times, I enjoyed it even if the bill was steep so to speak. While I don't think I could handle that sort of ride everyday, there was a time not long ago that I couldn't have done it at all, especially with that gearing I had.

Oh, I can't end this post without related something amazing that happened. I forgot to bring a multi-tool. So of course I ended up needing one. For some reason one of my brake pads on the fork was slightly mis-alligned and when I applied the front brakes it would rub the front tire ever so slightly. It had started to wear the tire just a bit. I most assuredly would have had a blow out though eventually. It must have just happened because the wear mark on the tire was barely visible. I tried to move the brake pad with my fingers and I ended up moving and loosening it in a bad way. No way it would stay in place now. It would have been dangerous. Crap. I thought I had just ended our ride way early. No way we were going to attempt those descents with out front brakes in good working order.

Brian said something like, "Good thing there is a little residential bike shop just around the corner." I totally thought he was being snarky. There probably wasn't a business within 5 miles of us at that point. But sure enough, about 500 feet away there was a nice older home with a huge lot in the middle of 100 foot tall trees that had a little sign that advertised bike repair. Un-freaking-believable! I knocked on the door and an older gentlemen came out to help. He opened up the third car garage door and there was his little shop. Apparently he donates his time to helping schools out at bike days and tries to keep the kids bicycles in the area safe. He said it keeps him busy. Awesome! After a bit of conversation with one of the coolest fellows I have met recently we were back on the road. How great was that?!?! How lucky that it happened when it did. The ride was just meant to happen. I must need the miles. With the brakes in good order I hit a max speed of 47mph despite being on totally unfamiliar semi-twisting roads. I am sure Brian broke 50, he was blazing down ahead of me.

After we were done we got back to the shop and I did well enough I guess that Brian asked if we were still on for tomorrow at lunch. I told him I thought so, but I would see how I felt after I swam. I suppose if I had really been the anchor he wouldn't have brought it up. Nevertheless, the dude is way more of a hammer than I and I rode much harder with him than I would have ridden on my own probably. Good times.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Swim Class 5/27

I felt good today. No other stupid strokes. I my stoke felt good in the pool, I hope I can feel somewhat close to this on race day next month.

8 25's at 35 seconds each
4 50's at 1:00 each
2 100's at 1:55 each
1 200 at 3:45
2 100's at 1:55 each
4 50's at 55 sec. each
8 25's at 35 seconds each
300 yards free or mixed stroke cool down

I only had time to do 150 yards of the last 300 yard cool down because I had to be a work a hour earlier than normal.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I Blame My Wife if I Suck at the 70.3

Bridget went to Black Butte Ranch from Friday evening until Sunday. Then I had to work and do the family thing for the rest of Memorial Day itself. I had planned on running Monday evening but that did not occur.

The main reason is that I had to go with Bridget and the boy to make a showing at a little get-together of friends. They are my friends to, but mostly Bridget's friends. I am there to show that I am not a weirdo and that we are a normal fun-loving family, worthy of being invited to future gatherings. It was not stated, but definitely a given that I was to be on my best behavior since my lovely wife genuinely likes these people and would like to expand her small circle of friends. A husband that overeaten at lunch/dinner and is tired, grumpy and unhappy because I can't train for the fourth day in a row because of more wife-sponsored activities is not the husband that Bridget wants to show up.

I was really tired, in a food-coma in fact. I needed to run, but didn't really want to. I really didn't want to hang out with other people and try and act humorous and jovial.

So what did I do? I went, acted somewhat humorous, fairly jovial without any snide bitching to the wife under my breath. It wasn't too hard, these people are for the most part really nice, well mannered and very considerate. It wasn't too hard to NOT be a jerk. I even got a compliment from Bridget when we left. Yea!

Today I got to work at 8am and then worked until 4:30. I was supposed to be off at 3:30. I rushed home and ate leftovers from about 5 days ago (my absolute leftover limit, I wont eat anything beyond 5 days and often not more than 3). Dinner was ready yet, but I had no time. I went to the library and did some legal work. Then I rushed home around 8pm and hurriedly dressed and went to the gym to run. I managed to run just over 9 miles before they closed at 10pm. Now I am taking a break before I do just a bit more work and then go to bed. Busy day. I get up before 6am tomorrow to go to my swim class. And then work at the shop, rush home do more legal work until 9 or so. Long days.

Still I am not sure that I would trade Bridget. She has to be alone with 3 boys all day long.

As far as my run went for those who care, it went down like this:

At a 1% grade on a treadmill I ran 3 miles at a 10:54 pace and then 3 miles at a 9:50 pace and then 2 miles at an 8:50 pace and then the last mile I ran at around a 7:50 pace or so. I don't really remember that last mile too much. I was about ready to pass out. HR for the first 3 miles was 145 to 147. The next 3 miles is was around 153. The next 2 miles is was 161 to 163 and then for the final mile is was 173 when I finished. Not sure if this was good or bad, just putting it out there for Fish and Dave (formerly known as DTP).

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Toys and Recollections

I like toys, you know, guy toys. Expensive stuff usually. In the past it has mainly been bikes, but also it has been things like stereo equipment, cars and video games. I tend to get pretty deep into whatever it is that fascinates me. With bikes, it means that I read all sort of techno babble about weights, performance, geometry, etc. I think I get this from my father.

My dad, as long as I can remember, has always had his toys. His toys have been for the most part much different than mine. He has many, many, many guns. Lots of collectible pieces. He made his own cartridges to get performance variations out of his guns. Hot loads, slow loads, lots of variations for the same gun. He did this for quite some time. I remember the sounds of the tumbler machine than cleaned and polished the brass before he reused it, turning for hours at a time in my parents bedroom. I remember my father working his forearms in order to be better able to hold his handguns and control the recoil, which if I were to shoot one of them would probably recoil back right into my forehead.

My father was also an audiophile. He spent around $8K or 10K on custom speakers. That was back in the late 1970's. Crazy. Silly in my mind, but my dad really enjoyed the clarity that those speakers could bring to some of the master recordings that he purchased on vinyl back then. I remember that he played one such master recording of Handel's Messiah through that system and that it brought tears to my grandmother's (my mom's mom) eyes because of the beauty that she heard. They were incredible.

My dad loves cars and motorcycles too. Not long ago he bought a Ford Cobra convertible (and if I wanted to irritate him, all I had to do was call it a Mustang, instead of a Cobra). He proceeded to add about 150 additional horsepower to it so that it was over 500 hp in total. Crazy. It is very fast.

He wanted my mom to have a piano. We had an old upright piano, but that wasn't good enough, so they bought a Baldwin Grand Piano. I think that cost around $40K. That was about 25 years ago. My mom loves that piano. It is really too big for the house, and with 4 kids in the household it took up some significant space. The house is not that large either. We were not allowed to touch the piano, lest our greasy, oily hands corrupt the finish....

The list could continue on for a while.

Sometimes I felt like stuff mattered more than it should. I am often the same way.

I try to manage my passion for stuff, but it is difficult. I love bikes. I love it when they run smooth and you just fly on the road or the trail. I love the feel of a good shift right before I stand up to hammer up a hill out of the saddle.

I hate, Hate, HATE it when a bike is not working and I can't figure out why. Currently the Fuji had a creak that has eluded me. Either I will figure out what the creak is or the offending parts will one by one be swapped until I figure it must be the frame and if so, one way or another, it will be gone too. I am a stickler for perfection. Luckily I don't think it will come to that.

But anyway...I, like my dad, seem to need to always have something to tinker with. Something physical. Reading about stuff is not enough. It has to be something that seems to allow me to get deeper and deeper into the subject while being able to hold it in my hands. I really know a lot about bikes generally and have lots of opinions on bikes that may or may not be valid. There are some areas that I have deliberately closed off because I don't want to get involved in them right now--such as track. I just don't have time and I really don't need to be tempted to buy another bike.

But there is a dark side to toys. Sometimes they distract us from what really matters. I am not sure if my dad's toys ever really did that in a major way. I think that other things like work were a big issue in his involvement in our lives growing up. He was always working. And he worked most of the time in the hot California sun. He was gone before we were up and home around dinner time. And he was cranky when he got home. I tried to stay out of his way a lot of the time.

I am sometimes cranky too when I get home. When I get frustrated at my boys I raise me voice and there is a part of me that is sad after I do this. But, like my dad often said, "What else can I do to get you to do (fill in the blank with whatever it was that I should have been doing but wasn't)?" He yelled. I jumped. My teen years were not fun for the most part. I had anxiety whenever I returned home to see my family, even after I was married. It was a Pavlovian response. There has to be another way though. I don't want my boys to feel the same way. Bridget is pretty good about letting me know if I am being stupid. I try to listen. I think I do OK for the most part.

Bridget is gone this weekend to Black Butte Ranch for a weekend wither some of her girl friends. I have the boys to myself, with some substantial help from their grandma. They are work. The six year old is usually great, but then occasionally he goes ape for no reason and messes with the boy who will be 4 this summer. If that happens it can get ugly fast between those two. The 8 month old is crawling all over the place and likes to fall down head first just to freak me out. All in all, I am stressed, but less so now that they are all asleep right now. I can't wait until Bridget gets back....


My father is in California, we are in Oregon. He doesn't travel much. He just doesn't like to go outside his little area where he is at. He came up a couple of summers ago when I graduated law school. He was here for about 2 months. It was at times awkward, because my dad is socially uncomfortable in other's domiciles for some reason. At least at times, depending upon who's domicile it is. He and Bridget don't really see eye to eye on things and that is probably part of it. Nevertheless, he really liked hang out with my boys and watching them play. He would try and figure out what made them tick. What sorts of things they were good at and where they could use some direction. He really wants his grand kids to do well in life. He worries about them. Whenever I talk to him he asks if they are eating well, what they are doing, what they are learning.

My boys will never learn much more about my dad, at least not in the first person. He is dying. He has what I guess is a terminal type of cancer. He had some other health issues recently regarding diabetes and the cancer was overlooked. Either that or it is a very aggressive type that has moved in fast. I am not sure if it was preventable or curable at one point. It isn't now though. They told him he has 3 or 4 months to live. If he does chemo, them it could extend his life anywhere from an additional 2 months to maybe a year or so. He is not sure it is worth that if he is miserable the whole time.

He says he is not afraid of death. He said that he is ready. He also said that he wasn't sure if the finality of it has set in yet when I talked to him a couple of days ago.

During that conversation we talked about his stuff. His toys. His guitars. Lots of guitars. His guns. Lots of guns. His cars, not lots, but he has a couple and a very nice Harley Davidson. He has lots of other things too, like a 2 year old Dura Ace Specialized and a full XTR carbon Stumpjumper. Where was this stuff going to go. How to dispose of it. How to get things in order so that he was not a burden to us. Talking about the toys and stuff was easier that talking about him leaving us. Bridget doesn't understand why all we talk about is this ridiculous stuff. I think it is because it is so much easier than not talking about it. Without the stuff the conversations would be so much tougher.

I am sad, because, well I don't know why exactly--other than the obvious.

When I watch Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner, I always tear up at the end. Heck I am tearing up now just thinking about it. The part where he just plays catch with his dad on the field at the end of the movie. It always gets me.

Talking about our various toys was often a way for my dad and I to talk when we really couldn't talk about much else. Even if my toys weren't his toys and vise-versa, we could appreciate the others passion for them. It was a way for us to remain in contact and gloss over the underlying issues that at least I, for one, did not want to confront between he and I. If only it were as easy as just going and playing catch....relationships between parents and children can often be hard.

As guys we often don't verbalize things well. At least I don't. Even now I have issues. After I talked to my dad the other night about the cancer, Bridget wanted to know how things were going. I told her I didn't want to talk about it. It is easier to shut the door than to sort though all that stuff. Much less painful too. Bridget likes to do just the opposite.

My dad is still around, but I am not looking forward to the next few months. I am looking forward to seeing him, but I expect it to be very bittersweet. I am sure the toys will again allow us to converse and joke during otherwise painful times. He will tell me about what he did to one of his guitars in order to tune it, or a story behind a gun in his collection. We may talk about bikes even. But, talking about losing him is going to be really really hard. I don't know what to do about that.

If you have made it this far, sorry for blabbing. But it helps me at least. I debated posting this, but I think I will leave it up for now.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Forgive the grainy pictures...

Just got something new and cool put on the Fuji. I took this shortly after installing this Portland, Oregon made beauty.

swim class 5/20

I am not going to go into too much detail about today's workout. Here is what we did basically: we swam free then fly then back then breast. Over and over again until I got sick of it and I stopped doing the workout and just swam the last 15 minutes freestyle. Medley swimming sucks.

I did ride to the pool and then to work where I now sit until it time to work. It is nice to have done 1600 yards in the pool and biked 17 miles by a little after 8am.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Swim Class 5/18

Class sucked today. I hate drills. I have no coordination for anything but freestyle.

150 yds warm up
5 100's 2:10 each
4 50's (25 kick only on side, 25 free)
4 50's (25 one arm drill, 25 free)
4 50's (25 catch-up drill, 25 free)
4 50's 1:05 each
2 100's 2:10 each

The workout was supposed to include 2 additional 100's and 8 25's but we ran out of time.

I am going to see I can't still get in a long run today. I would rather ride though.

UPDATE: I ran 12 miles this afternoon. My previous long run this year was 10 miles a couple of times. It was all good until the last few miles when coming home. Those hills just kill, especially when combined with the heat. My last 4 miles of the route were either gradually ascending or just brutally ascending. I think I will be OK in Boise for the 13 miles there where the course is flat.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Forest Park on a Warm Day Awesome! Leif Erikson is mostly shaded and the temp was perfect there. I rode up and down Germantown Road and down to Leif. I rode on Leif for quite a ways and then back and down to the car. I estimate that I rode a fun 22 miles in all. It felt great. My pace was fast but nothing that killed me. I could have ridden much longer except for I knew I risked the ire of my dear wife.


And I had to try and take a couple pics of me riding on the bike...

I forgot to take a picture of myself when I rode through fresh dog crap. That was the only downer of the ride.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Swim Class 5/13

I continue to put these workout up because there are a couple of people that care, to those that don't--ignore the following.

300 yards warm up
12 25's, 35 sec. each
100 yards free, medium pace
4 50's (first 25 fly, second 25 free) 15 seconds rest after each
100 yards free, medium pace
4 50's (first 25 back, second 25 free) 15 seconds rest
100 yards free, medium pace
4 50's (first 25 breast, second 25 free) 15 seconds rest
100 yards free
4 50's, 1:00 each
12 25's, 30 seconds each (I only had time for 6 of the 25's)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Low on Mo

I just don't have much motivation lately. The stupid Boise Half Ironman is a month away and I can't seem to get my butt in gear this week or last week. Sure, events have conspired against me, as has the weather, but....I am quite low on mo.

Anyone have some to spare?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Swim class

8 25's 40 sec each
4 50's 1:20 each
4 100's 2:20 each
4 50's 1:15 each
8 25's 35 sec each
200 yards free cool down slow

Friday, May 8, 2009

Taking one for the wife and family

Bridget is off to do her 1/2 marathon tomorrow. Becuase of that and other activites I won't get to ride much or do anything for the next few days. I will live, but at least Bridget will have a good day to run.

She has had a few injuries over the past few weeks so she is just going to take it nice and slow tomorrow. This is somewhat frustrating for her, but at least she is able to run. She bought some rainbow knee highsocks to run in. I also bought her some Sportlegs, and some some of Gu's new product Roctane. That stuff seems pretty good. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Note To Self

Running after eating lunch at Baja Fresh (way too much Molcajete salsa) and then eating the wife's Mexican-inspired casserole for dinner (it is pretty good and amazingly healthy) on the same day that I am going to run at night is not a good plan. I suffered tonight. Lots of belching and digestive discomfort. No puking though.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Swim Class

700 yards warm up
200 yards free w/ fins
100 yards free
4 x 50 backstroke
100 yards free
4 x 50 breaststroke
100 yards free
4 x 50 medley
100 yards free
5 x 50 free

I hate every stroke but free. This work out wasn't hard but the other strokes were frustrating.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Quick story: "Are You Ready?"

My brother has intimacy issues related to girls and doorsteps. He has a total block when he gets to the doorstep with a girl. He was on his 4th date with his current fixation and he was on her doorstep when he again could not pull the trigger on a liplock. I believe she said later that she was expecting it even. Instead he mumbled "I'm a wuss" and she heard. They then had a long embarrassing conversation(to him) regarding how he is an relationship idiot (my interpretation of the conversation, not his or hers) and then there was no payoff at the end, just an awkward hug.

They actually had a 5th date despite the end of the 4th date last weekend and he was going to pull the trigger on a kiss even if she denied him. The whole date his mind was bent toward that one purpose--getting a kiss at some appropriate time in the date. His mind was constantly analyzing and recalculating scenarios and probabilities during the date. Where would he be able to smoothly swoop in for a kiss? However, smooth and my brother go together like Shimano and Campagnolo--sure it is possible, but it is not a natural match. And like Campy and Shimano, my brother often needs some help, like a J-Tek shiftmate, to make something work. Without some help midway through the date, prospects for a kiss seemed to be dimming. My brother called our sister for some help during the date (seriously?), but the suggestion didn't pan out. Other hopeful scenarios failed as well.

Finally, after dinner, a motorcycle ride, and a movie at his place the opportunity seemed to be at hand. The movie was over and he had his arm around her. There was silence and they looked into each other eyes....he leans in and whispers... "Are you ready?"


"Am I ready for what?" she says. A total momentum killer, but he was already committed and he kissed her and she didn't slap him silly. It worked out OK, but seriously, what a line!

Are you ready?

I like it. It is my new slogan.

Friday, May 1, 2009


Why do I dread swimming so? At least swimming in a triathlon is dreadful for me.

Is it because I think it is going to be bad that it is bad?

Is it simply a matter of flipping the switch and thinking positive that will make it a better experience?

I don't know what the answer is. But one of the reasons I don't do more triathlons is because the swim is such a big deal for me. It is not that I am super slow (because I am, but that doesn't bother me), it is that I freak out in open water and those memories weigh me down increasingly during the weeks prior to a race. 1.2 miles in open water is just going to suck.

I mean, I know I will have a wetsuit on and that I would have to really try extremely hard to drown--but I still have an irrational fear. The dread is that I am going to be out there totally gassed and feel like I am not going to be able to finish. I will then start hyperventilating and then I will have to flip on my back while I trying to calm myself down. This has happened every time I have swam in open water in a race. It doesn't matter the distance of the swim in open water; sprint, olympic or Half IM. I expect it to happen. Which means that it will happen. A vicious circle it is.

The bike and run don't stress me. Water is my weakness just like Bruce Willis' character in Unbreakable. Water is my kryptonite.

I swam 2000 yards this morning and it sucked. I felt heavy in the water. No rhythm. No flow. It was a struggle most of the time to keep going rather than to get out and call it a morning.

At least the sun is out and I will have a nice ride into work.