Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Shoping 2007

That would be me discovering Bath and Body Works.
Merry Christmas!

Spaghetti Western Sequel

I stood behind this guy in line at Bath and Body Works.
He didn't speak Italian & I didn't cut his head off.
I just saw Munson and my former UP colleague Hema there.
What do you make of it, Blondie?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Abominable Snow Run

When: 8:00 AM Saturday
Where: 63rd and Center Starbucks
Distance: Pending. Let's try for 75 minutes.
Conditions: The cold, blowing snow is one for the memories. Bundle up and let's go. You won't regret it, especially you Bryan. Your memory is skewed.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sunday's Bear Lake Run

Last Sunday's run by the numbers:

Distance: Including the neighborhood, about 6.5 miles
Conditions: 3" powder/packed powder. Flat to rolling hills
Temperature: 21 °F with 5 mph winds
Elapsed Time: 54 minutes 12 seconds
Average Pace: 8:02 per mile
Max Heart Rate: 169
Average Heart Rate: 145
Calories Burned: 651 (45% Fat)

Comments:
Good steady burn. Hot chocolate at Bryan's with the 'fam afterwards.

Best quote:
How did that guy get his snow blower on his second floor deck?

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Primer to Winter Running

How to Run
Running in the cold winter is mostly about base mileage. You don't have to run fast. In fact, running fast in the snow is ludicrous and should be reserved for organized races in good conditions (see below). Winter runs are more about steady, fat-burning runs of low intensity. Trudging slowly through snow/icy conditions is also a lot safer. Plus, your body temp is generally cooler, so the risk of injury decreases if you're not hammering away. Instead, just shuffle along. When it comes to cornering, slow to a walking speed before taking a corner. Just think slow.

What To Wear
Just like anything else in the cold, layering is your best bet. But what to wear is a matter of personal preference and how much circulation your extremities get. Generally, on the core and legs I'll upgrade the layering with each 10°F below 30°F.

  • I always wear a hat and fleece mittens below 30°F
  • 20 - 30°F: two long sleeve tech shirts. Tights & nylon shell pants
  • 10 - 20°F: a tech shirt and a fleece; add mitten shells
  • 0 - 10°F: the same as above: add heavy mittens & liners; Balaclava.
  • Less than 0°F: Slumberjack mummy bag with arm and leg cutouts.
When To Run
Thanks to the axial tilt, winter running is also about coping with the darkness. Darkness is a motivation killer: who wants to get up in the morning when it's both cold and dark, or trudge out in the evening darkness when the day is nearly done? Mentally preparing yourself for darkness can overcome the lethargy. Edit: And as Munsy will tell you, go out before eating, as your stomach will never have a chance to settle before your favorite TV show comes on. Once you get going outside, your drive will kick in. Next, because of the darkness, you've got to wear protective clothing. Get some press-on reflective strips for $3 from your local sports store and iron them to a long sleeve outer layer. A $15-$20 reflective vest is always a good choice. A blinky light also works. Just let others know where you are.

Where to Run
I avoid the sidewalk because it's usually a mess of packed snow, frozen footprints and icy dog-bombs. So if you're gonna run in the winter, your best bet is to run on the street. In fact, I run on the street year round due to the camber of the sidewalk. I recommend running down the center line because of this camber on the road. However, street running requires picking a plowed, non-busy route. Neighborhood roads are the best. Run against traffic and if it's tight, cautiously hop onto the sidewalk if necessary. A one or two mile route is really all you need as you can repeat it as often as you like. Here's a great example for you, Munsy.

Speed Work
Now if you're really nuts, you've done some amount of steady slow burning runs, you can incorporate some speed work into it. The Omaha Running Club Calendar is a good source for published races. For example, the BRC/OTR Lake Manawa Series 10K races at Lake Manawa are held on every other Saturday at 10:00 AM. They cost $3 to enter. Yes, $3. Medals are given to the top five in each ten year age group, so you're practically guaranteed some hardware, even if it's a no frills ribbonless jobby from Taiwan. Still, it's a race, and that alone is enough to ramp up the heart rate and get the adrenaline flowing. Every mile of the course is marked, your time is called out at the finish, and race results are immediate. Nobody sticks around for chit-chat due to the cold, so you can get in and out pretty quickly. Typically, about 10-20 people show up and they're real psychos from all walks and ages of life. On any give Saturday, you can be out-kicking a prepubescent boy for your PR and the win, or have your ass handed to you by a 60 year old female. It's also a good way to get some steady tempo runs in as it provides ample motivation.

Overall, be safe and cautious.

Afterwards, have a cup of hot chocolate or head down to Hardees for one of these.

You've earned it.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sunday's Run

Another snowy run this weekend. Will the trails be plowed by then?

Place: Standing Bear Lake (132nd & Fort)
Time: 3:00 PM
Distance: 7 - 9 miles

One loop around Standing Bear Lake is 4.3 miles. We can double it or improvise. Invite others.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Primer to Riding the MAT Bus

10) Get Route and Schedule
It's available online and MAT will even send you free publications of the routes.

9) Be Early
Expect to wait at the bus stop. It's usually only a few extra minutes, but be especially prepared for long delays on Fridays, holidays, extreme weather and when Hanna Montona is in town.

8) Know the Fare
$1.25 for regular, $1.50 for express. A book of ten rides for $12.50 and an unlimited monthly pass for $40 can be purchased at local grocers. Transfers are a dime. If paying with cash, have exact change.

7) No Food or Drink
Also no radios, boom-boxes, weapons, etc...

6) Before Sitting, Look Down
Watch for bodily fluids and other bio-hazards. It's complement is rule #3, and both are dandy to keep in mind when riding the MAT.


5) Pay Attention
Just don't act like it. Among other things, you'll find out who's sleeping with who, how much it costs to get a handgun out of hoc and who's up for parole.

4) Don't Fall Asleep.

3) Did You Drop Anything?
I left a pair of black leather gloves on the bus once. I loved those gloves. I called MAT to check the lost and found the next morning. To my utter shock that there's actually a decent person in the world, I was told that a pair of gloves had been turned in from the same bus. I nearly dropped everything to rush over and pick them up. Thankfully, my wits quickly returned. I asked to have them described. The voice at the other end replied, "They're bright neon-green and it appears as though the finger tips have been burned off."

2) Avoid Eye Contact
I nearly got the crap kicked out of me while riding the St. Louis BI-State system back in high school. One day, while seated in the back, I was just as happy as I could be --it was a warm spring day, the tulips were blooming and all of that wholesome goodness was in the air. My eyes drifted then settled on another passenger. I noticed that his mouth was moving rapidly, but I couldn't hear him over the roar of the diesel engine. As the driver let off the accelerator, I asked, "What did you say?" Again, lips flapping. I couldn't make out a single word. The bus coasted as I said, "I didn't catch that - whatcha say?" White noise and lots of teeth was his response. Communication was futile. Finally, somebody pulled the stop cord. As the bus slowed, I asked one final time, "What was that?!" The bus stopped. It was quiet enough to hear the birds singing outside. At that same moment, he opened his mouth and delivered these words: "DON'T YOU F***ING LOOK AT ME YOU MUTHA ..." and so on so forth. Man, he liked to use the F word. A lot. He went on and on, cussing me out while the other passengers feigned indifference. Fortunately, he exited the bus at that stop. I can still recall how my heart was pounding while my friend Todd shook from contained laughter next to me. As the bus shut its doors with an exaggerated sigh, I vowed to never look another passenger in the eye.

1) Fear the Bus Driver
The driver is the sole authority on the bus and what they so goes. They are like a god over their domain. Respect that and everything will be fine. So while a friendly greeting to them is nice, it's not necessary. Just make sure to have the exact fare ready and move along. Never question their judgment.

I arrived at the stop early one day this past spring. It was a good thing I did because I almost missed catching the bus. The impatient look on the driver's face struck deep fear in my heart. I averted her eyes by looking down and quickly paying the fare. Most days, the driver waits until you're seated before accelerating. Not this day - she hammered that accelerator as soon as I had paid. The bus lurched and jerked as it weaved in and out of parked cars and raced to the next stop. Finally, we came to a squealing halt in front of an unmarked stop: Petit's Bakery on 16th and Cass. We all watched as she leaped out the door and scurried inside. And there she stood at the end of a line ten-deep, waiting for glazed donuts. I could have walked the remaining four blocks to work faster than the bus would now deliver me, but I was too paralyzed by fear to move. There was no way I was going to disrespect the driver by stepping off the bus. She returned five minutes later and climbed into her seat. The door whooshed shut. An uncomfortable silence and blank stares followed. With a mouthful of glazed donut, she then called out, "NEXT STOP, 16TH AND CAPITOL!" A master of her domain.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Distance

Saint Ralph is an fantastic film for runners and non-runners alike. A great story line and a cool soundtrack, you should put this on your Netflix rental.

Back in 2004, I set my eyes on running the Omaha Corporate Cup 10K at the sub 40 minute mark. Having never been a runner -- no high school cross-country nor track -- I had no idea what this meant.

To my running resume credit, I had completed two 10Ks in my entire life, once after a night of drinking in college and another much later in life in 2001. Both were sub 50 minute efforts. How hard could it be to train and drop ten minutes over six miles? So I decided that I was going to do this one right. You know, with a proper training regimen and all. And with six weeks to gun time, I laced up and began training.

It was an impressive goal. I ran four days a week, three to six miles each time. I read an article on the benefits of interval workouts and managed to squeeze in two track sessions in the final couple of weeks before the race. I threw up after one of them.

On the morning of the race, I mentally recalled the vigors of my last six weeks and decided that I was indeed ready to go for the sub 40 minute mark. I managed to hold the pace for the first 5K, and then ... *BOOM* ... out of gas, I struggled in at 44:07. I was pissed.

It's such folly to look back upon it now.

But the dejection I felt from that let-down fueled the next step of my training. No longer a seasonal runner, I got the bug and started running as a habit.

A couple months after that race, another UP runner invited me to join his group in a nine mile outing in what was known locally as "The Distance."

At the time, all I heard were the words: distance and nine miles. Nine miles? You could have told me we were running to Wisconsin and back. Till that date, the furthest I'd gone in a single run was just over six miles. Somehow, nine seemed so incredibly far.

We went at a moderate pace and the miles ticked off with good company. The hill climb into Rosenblatt wasn't too bad. I then learned where the South Omaha bridge was before discovering the mysterious levee and its beer-toting hermits that lived alongside in shanties. Finally, the maddening steep grade of the Hickory hill was a preposterous way to end a nine mile run, but the sense of accomplishment upon its ascent was thrilling.

I'm sure I was tired afterwards, but just doing it simply unraveled the ball of mental knots that I preconceived it to be. Oh yeah, the endorphin rush of my first runners' high also did a lot in forgetting about the pains endured.

Running the Distance was an important milestone in my running life. What I saw previously unattainable was shattered and freed me to be no longer bound by my own limits. I began incorporating long distance runs into a weekly workout plan and sensibly added to the distance in small increments. I learned the paradox that to get faster sometimes meant to go slower. Most of all, running the distance converted me from a casual runner to an avid enthusiast in my own mind. I think that's what mattered most.

So what's your "distance"? Is it 5 miles? A 10K? A 7.42 mile run (and a 172 lb 36" TV being carried upstairs afterwards), 10 miles? A Marathon or an ultra? A particular race?

For me, it is defined as the distance you think that you would have never covered before. It the one that defines yourself as a runner.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

7.42 mile run: Good job Munson!

You too, Bryan, but you're already a runner so it doesn't count as much. Sorry. File a complaint.

So we did 7.42 miles today at Lake Zorinsky. By the time we started at 3:30, it was 15°F, but Bryan would tell you that the wind chill made it feel 9. It really didn't feel that bad. In fact, I'd contend that 30°F on a bike feels a lot worse.

It was a nice long run around the entire lake with good commentary and occasional grunts about firing the snow plow guy from Bryan to help pass the time. Thanks for the run, guys. We should do it again soon.

By the Numbers
Total elapsed time: 1:05
Avg pace: 8:45/mi
Heart rate: 133 avg; high 158
Calories: 740

Oh yeah, Mike got the bonus workout of helping me lug a 36" Toshiba television upstairs at my house afterwards. No, this wasn't a flat panel job; it was the old school, fully crystal tube weighing about 200 lbs. Seriously--Thanks Munson!!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Miracle Max

I've always been a quick healer. What are our liabilities?
   --The Princess Bride

After a four hour nap that was like a sleep with the dead, the fever broke early last night. My appetite has since returned, the headache is gone and things are staying down. I'd say that I'm about 95%. Staying fit certainly has its benefits when it comes to recovery.

So perhaps a Sunday afternoon run is in the works? Nothing strenuous, but just a nice little cold feet shake out. Tentatively, let's plan on:

Time: Sunday 3:00PM
Place: Lake Zorinski boat dock
Distance 4 - 7 miles


Sunday calls for a high of 18°F after 3-5 inches of snow on Saturday, so layer it up. In this kind of weather, I usually wear three long sleeve tech shirts, a tuke, gloves and liners, tights, warm up pants & wool socks. I have a pair of yaktrax pros, but I'd like to keep to plowed trails and hopefully will not need them.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Fever

That's WKRP's Johnny Fever.

Today, it was about the other one: 101 F and chills. Oh yeah, that feels good.

I haven't been listening to the clues of my body lately. Today I paid for that.

Over the past few days, the only thing odd was that I had a zero count on going number two. Going 48 hours without is very unusual for this altogether regular guy. Then this morning, all of a sudden it all wants to come out. And it did. Quite fast, in fact.

Whatever. So I shrugged it off and preceded to go to my Thursday morning plyometrics class. Bad idea #1. I didn't even consider re-hydrating. Bad idea #2. Twenty minutes into the class, my heart rate is a roller coaster of highs during floor drills and plummeting-lows during recoveries. Then the other signs of dehydration started manifesting: over heating, dryness and chills.

I pulled the plug on the workout and began the cool down phase. First good idea. My hope was to keep from barfing, but my stomach was making other plans. A quick glance in the mirror revealed a very pasty complexion, telling me that vomiting was not a question of if, but when.

Vomitorium:
The next ten minutes was spent in the locker room toilet emptying what remained in my gut. Oh yeah, I saw Lanny in the locker right after. He asked me, What are you training for? The tone in which he asked could have been my imagination, but it's quite possible that he heard the fracas in the stall and wondered what kind of nut I am. We had a nice little chat in a post-barfing surreal kind of way.

The rest of today has been on and off bouts of the chills and low grade fever. In conclusion, I must have picked up some sort of virus a few days ago that resulted in dehydration today. The aftermath of the day was all me.

Needless to say, Saturday's snow-run might have to be postponed.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Once A Runner

More heart rate monitor training today, this time during a recovery run.

Conditions
Time: 4:30 PM
Temp: 23 F with 13 mph winds and 23 mph gusts
Wore: Knit hat, two long sleeve tech shirts, reflective vest, gloves, liners & running pants.

Workout
Warmup: 1 mi easy w/Emmy.
Main: 6.2 miles; 52 minutes

  • 45 minutes in zone (75% max)
  • Max during today's workout=155 bpm
  • 612 calories burned
  • 8:23 mi pace avg

  • Comments
    Emmy dropped a pretty big log 1/2 mile into it, slowing us both down as I had to scoop & carry. Bet I look pretty stoopid running with a bag of dog shit flopping around. Looped around and dropped Emmy off at mile one to continue.

    Today's run was a moderate 6 miles. My goal was to keep the heart rate between 70% and 80% max. After yesterday, this felt easy. In fact, it took discipline to keep the heart rate below 80% max when climbing any hill.

    Tomorrow's plan: AM weight lifting legs with goal to become stronger at turning the big chain ring. Easy run at lunch.

    Saturday, December 1, 2007

    I, Locutus

    I'm being assimilated.

    Being clipped into the Cervelo P2sL with a cyclo-computer and wearing a heart rate monitor, I couldn't help but feeling assimilated today during a 60 minute interval workout on the trainer.

    And of course, the BORG was present: the G.Borg's perceived exertion and pain scales.
    My first contact with the Borg RPE came during a six session stress test conducted by my friend and fellow triathlete Jorge at UNO last winter. It was quite an experience. Stationery bike, lactic acid blood sticks, and a darth vadar mask to capture my V02 max. I felt like crying at the end of each of those workouts. But I got good metrics from it. Thanks Jorge!

    Today's encounter with the Borg wasn't much better.

    Today's Trainer Workout
    10 minutes spin warmup
    6 x 3 minutes at 90% max BPM w/3 minute recovery at < 65%
    10 minutes spin cooldown

    Comments:
    Watching Ironman Hawaii during workout was helpful
    Having the fan behind me was a bad idea. Pits really stink.
    I think that I've got Picard's nose & I hear voices in my head from time to time. Maybe I'll go for the bald look...

    Friday, November 30, 2007

    Quadro-Frankia

    Like a good rock opera, this image says it all.

    Act I: Shock. This self-indulgent image of some bloody lunatic named Frank provided a stinging rebuke of Bryan's initial Face-Painting Arsonist post. Awesome!

    Act II: Disillusionment characterizes the second part. A few days passes with only a couple comments on Frank. Surely, there's gonna be more. But after weeks of the same thing, the viewer is only left with a retina-burn of Frank and a cold, hollow feeling. Is this the same Ace Face that we once knew? Is The Punk and the Godfather known as fredcube even aware that he's larger than life due to his loyal fan base? Who are you, anyway?

    Act III: Is It in My Head, or is everyone feeling the inconsolable frustration at this point? In this act, the blogo-viewer is ripped with angst about the static nature of things at fredcube. We've had Frank for an entire month -- I need something fresh! So leaving no other option, I came to realize that I've Had Enough. Fine. Good riddance! I'll pass my time at the mountain biking forum reading sweet postings about Chipotle burritos.

    The Final Act: Call Dr. Jimmy, I'm going insane!! No offense, but the other blogs lack the dry, sardonic humor of fredcube.

    Yet somewhere in the midst of this depressing stupor, a sudden moment of pristine clarity overwhelmed me... like the sort of noise you'd expect to hear in heaven, if there is such a place. It's gonna be ok. In fact, the insight is validated by a recent comment posted by Fred on Munson's blog. Indeed, there's hope! Still in a weakened state, yet refreshed by this late development, this blogoviewer is now steely resolved to go forth.

    I can't sleep and I lay and I think
    The night is hot and black as ink
    Oh God, I need a drink of cool cool rain


    Frank can stay on your blog, Fred. Keep him front and center for another month, a year, forever. Once an obstacle, this icon is seemingly an omnipresent inspiration.

    Wednesday, November 28, 2007

    This Little Piggy

    One of the things I've enjoyed learning this year is how to dress for cold weather riding.

    Last winter, it was about running. I learned how to manage just about any foul weather, even a blizzard. I don't recommend the latter unless absolutely necessary, like if you're hypothetically stuck at work, the city shuts down, MAT recalls all their buses and your boss is calling for T.P.S. reports from the warmth and coziness of his/her home. Not that that's happened to me. More than once. Last winter. At 2:52pm on March 1, 2007 when it was 27 F, snowing with 31.1 mph steady winds and 43.7 mph gusts. If this happens to you, bundle up with everything you've got, put yaktrax on your boots, say a prayer, call your loved ones and take care of any unsettled necessary business. Then, say another prayer for a tail wind, head outside and run straight down the middle of the street. Don't worry about traffic as cars are stuck, buried, or in the hypothetical case of my boss, is parked securely in the warmth and coziness of her attached garage.

    But I digress. This post is on what I've discovered on my last four cold rides: my toes can't take it.

    T-Day +1 Ride with Murphini at 11:00 AM in KC.
    26.1 F with 9mph Winds. From head to toe: helmet, helmet hat, muffler; silk thermal, long sleeve tech shirt, long sleeve woolie, glove liners, mittens, tights, bib overalls, smart wool socks and road shoes. After the initial shock, the head and torso were very warm. Legs and hands were cool. Feet were deathly cold and I couldn't feel my toes. They felt like this for about 60 minutes.

    T-Day +2 (Shabbos) Time Trial at 1:00 PM in Omaha.
    35 F with 12-16mph winds. Same gear as above. Feet were cool, toes were cold but bearable.

    Tuesday, 11/27 commute to work at 7:00 AM.
    21 F with 8mph North winds. Same gear. In the 20 minute ride, the torso was just warming up while the toes were working toward freezing. It's amazing how tingly a hot shower is on those little fellas afterwards.

    Tuesday, 11/27 15 mile lunch ride.
    28 F with 9mph winds. Same gear. This time, after 55 minutes of riding my feet and toes were both frozen. It should be noted that I followed Fredcube's advice to pick the one day of the week that was nice enough to ride. The weatherman promised 51 F. Maybe he was looking at a weather chart for Houston.

    So, what I'm discovering is that in these temps, most of my body can take the cold except the feet and especially the toes. They just can't bear it.

    Looks like some Neoprene booties will be on the stocking stuffer for Christmas this year.

    Until then...Hey Munson! Teach me how to duct tape my road shoes. I'm looking for an R-Factor 49.

    Monday, November 26, 2007

    Giving Thanks

    Merriam-Webster's etymology of "thank" is from Old English thanc thought, gratitude; akin to Old High German dank gratitude, Latin tongēre to know.

    This past weekend's Thanksgiving road trip to the Murphinis was a refresher on knowing that I belong to the Murphy clan.

    Let's start with a wonderful meal: tortellini soup & fresh greens salad mix, bacon-wrapped sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, strawberry fruit jello with pretzel topping, a golden-brown brined turkey, decorated ginger cookies and two homemade pies: pumpkin and strawberry-rhubarb. Delicious. Who's Rachel Ray? Connie's kitchen was where it's at and was worth the trip in and of itself.

    But there was more than just fine dining. It's the companionship, the kinship, that I relished the most.

    To illustrate, the Murphinis have some traditions at Thanksgiving. One is to watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. There aren't many better ways to cope with holiday zaniness than to watch the antics & dysfunction of the lovable Griswalds.

    Another Murphini tradition is to name something for which we are thankful during the Thanksgiving meal. Doing so is an exercise in communicating those things important to family.

    I told about the lessons I learned the first time I ran away from home. I don't exactly remember why I did it, but it was probably because of my older brother Matt. I was eight; he was ten. There is a thin line between love and hate among brothers at that age. In truth, I loved him but despised what he inflicted upon me. His favorite torture was to pin me down and thump my chest and put wet-willys in my ears. But this was just a prelude to the dreaded, hacked-up, deep guttural goober being dangled precariously over my forehead. It would hang there for a few seconds before being voraciously sucked back into his mouth. I tried to play it cool by counting - one... two... three... fou - "Sluuuuurp!!!" Matt sucked that nastiness back in and the cycle resets. Each time that snot ball got closer and closer while I anxiously mumbled another ten-count. Inevitably, the goobery weight would snap the over-extended sinuous snot-strand. With a warm and viscous slap, it hit my forehead and drove this eight year old mad. It was probably something like that that compelled me to run away. With burning tears running down the cheeks, I ran with fury for a few blocks, believing in my heart that each step would lead me away from them forever. After exhaustion hit, I was forced to rethink this strategy. I was cold and hungry. Fifteen minutes after I ran out of their lives for good, I returned and asked Mom what was for dinner. I'm sure that I wasn't even missed because I didn't even tell anyone of my plan to run away. Still, it meant a lot that they were there when I came home.

    "You got to learn to stick to your own blood or you ain’t going to have any blood to stick to you."    --Colonel Abner Snopes to young Sarty in William Faulkner's Barn Burning.

    It wasn't the last time that I ran away from them. I made some painful choices later in life that could have resulted in them shutting the door on me for good. Still, they've been patient, correcting and compassionate when I returned to my senses and came home.

    I suppose that I'm little like Cousin Eddie. My wife's name is Katherine, I have a large clumsy dog and my neighbors would tell you that I've worn goofy hats and robe outside plenty of times. And even though I don't have an RV to abduct your boss in, like cousin Eddie, I've had my shares of blunders.

    This year, I have gratitude to know that my family has stuck with me through it all.

    Wednesday, November 21, 2007

    Shabbos Time Trial

    My triathlete friend Scott has proposed a Time Trial out at Epply this Saturday afternoon with beer and food at his Old Market apartment following.

    I'm IN and will be wearing my heart rate monitor to get a good lactate acid threshold base test.

    All are welcome...this includes YOU!

    SATURDAY November 24, 2007: Time-Trial & Beer

    1:00 PM
    Meet at Delice's in Old Market. Drop off extra gear at Scott's apartment nearby.

    Group ride to Epply Service Road for the start of the 9.3 mile time-trial (individual starts in one minute increments).

    After the last finisher, maybe another quick loop as a group and then back to the Old Market to Scott's apartment for beer and food

    2:45 PM

    Post Time-Trial Showers, Beer, and Food

    There are five riders in for sure. The more the merrier. I was thinking that it would be sweet to have a prize purse. Everyone could pay $5; we would put $1 of that in the prize purse for the winner and $4 in the Pizza and Beer fund.

    I Bet the Mavs Could Beat the Huskers, Part II

    While mum's the word on Callahan and the state of Husker Nation, the Mavs sure are stirring up some hometown excitement.

    I saw first hand at Al F. Caniglia Field what that means while running 1200m repeats with Gerald and Scott last night: new bleacher railings were being installed under the stadium lights for this Saturday's second round playoff game.

    The lights were an added benefit for our Tuesday night track workout. One of the nice things about running is that you can do interval workouts well into late autumn without too much difficulty. Last night, it was 43 F with 81% humidity and a 12 mph N wind, feeling like 36 F. While I suppose that getting a decent bike workout in such weather can be done, it's so impractical trainers and rollers are used more frequently. Good options, but it doesn't compare with being outside. But you can go out for a run without much discomfort in these conditions while wearing a hat, long sleeve tech shirt, knit gloves and sweatpants.

    If the winning continues, that crazy lady who complains that the Mavs should be on the World Herald's front page might just get her wish.

    Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    Suppose I built a large wooden badger...

    Wow. Tough crowd. Thanks to Bryan for bailing me out with at least one comment. And to the rest of you: Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.

    It wasn't really that bad was it? Nudge-nudge, wink-wink?
    I mean look at the similarities! It's uncanny!

    Ok. I'll put it to rest for now. I suppose it's one of the those things that just because I think is funny doesn't mean that it is for you.

    Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!

    Sunday, November 18, 2007

    Fetchez la Vache! LHF Recap

    Twong....mooooooooo!

    I -- Patsy -- didn't actually run LHF this year. Sorry! Sorry! It's sad but true. After putting this splendid get-up together, all I could do was run around the old neighborhood while banging those coconuts together.

    You see, the cycling crowd has brought out the race-entry slacker in me. When I went to register for the race online Friday afternoon, I got the following:

    "Sorry: Register at packet pickup on Fri. Nov. 16 at Living History Farms at the intersection of I-80 and Hickman Rd in Urbandale IA.- 5 to 8:30 P.M. Fee will be $40 for the 7 Mile. No entries will be accepted on race day."

    At $40 and no plans to spend the night in Urbandale Friday evening, Patsy stayed home. Maybe next year. I've got extra materials for more costumes...anyone care to join me as one of the Knights of the Round table?

    Hey, if the suit fits, wear it. It's only a model...

    Wednesday, November 14, 2007

    Another One Rides the Bus

    When I'm not commuting by foot, cycle or carpool, I take the MAT bus to and from work. Good old MAT. Awesome!

    By now, you've probably figured that I have a slight tendency toward neurotic/obsessive behavior from time to time. Scratch-scratch. I tried to weed that undesirable trait out of my life years ago, but it just turned into a downward spiral of obsessing on obsessing. So I gave up on trying to root it out and just let it be. So, I'm a nutjob; tell me someone who isn't.

    Instead of struggling, I enjoy making healthy concessions to my neurosis. One of these happens to be in taking a log of every MAT bus ride I take. I record the bus number, date, route, and comments about its state of cleanliness, disorder, etc.

    I should note that this logging trait runs deep in my family as I picked this idea up from Murphini, who diligently logs every business flight he takes. Thanks, Murphini!

    While I've been riding the bus for nearly seven years, I started taking a log only a few months ago. Here's some highlights of what I've recorded so far:

  • I've ridden 46 different buses at least once
  • Most rides on a single bus: I've ridden two buses 6x each (2015, 2016)
  • Nearly one of every five has at least one cracked window (2004, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2022, 2030, 2034, 8022, 8041)
  • About 5% have advertising on the exterior
  • Two have multiple cracked windows (2011,2014)
  • One had a broken Air Conditioner (8026), which made for an interesting ride one hot summer day. The smells were extraordinary!

    My personal favorites are the #9500 series. MAT picked up these rigs this past summer for a total of $100,000 at some sort of used bus auction from Gainsville, FL.

    These buses are a sensational delight. They come in a rainbow of colors: green, blue, red, yellow even mauve. They have exotic fabric patterns & colors on the seats, resembling a cross between where the Brady Bunch meets Miami Vice. Groovy! The fabric itself is this heavy industrial grade poly-blend of recycled automobile tires. But take note: MAT is not responsible for friction burns.

    They also have this funky mildew smell, warmly reminding me of summer vacation motels. Breathe deeply. Hold for four seconds. Exhale....

    While I've ridden 9502, 9507, 9508, 9514, 9516 and 9517, last night's ride on #9506 has been the best till date. 9506 has a navy blue exterior and a warm peach floor to ceiling interior with maddening orange, red and blue swirly-patterned seats. But what I liked best about it was the sound. An audiophile's dream! If only George Lucas could have recorded this bus for his pod racers. It was amazing. It begs one to wonder, how does a transmission get racked enough to sound like that?!

    Indeed, the 9500s are a superb sensual experience, with vibrant pleasures for all the senses.

    Yes, I love riding the MAT. Not only a great public transport service, it also provides wonderful entertainment and a healthy channeling of a trait I gave up dropping long ago.

  • Monday, November 12, 2007

    O! Cranksgiving Recap

    This past Saturday morning, I participated in Omaha's first inaugural Cranksgiving cycling scavenger hunt benefiting the local food bank. Arriving directly from swimming practice, I quickly pulled Old Yeller out of the car and frantically attempted to install the rack on the back of the bike while shoveling mcGarbage in my mouth. It was hectic and my hands were quivering with excitement as I tried to tighten those little allen bolts.

    There was a reason for this rush: the coveted gold painted crank for the first cyclist to finish.

    I had about 30 seconds to spare by the time I gotten it all together. Fortunately, Munson was right there and said to hang on his wheel. Thanks, Munson...who knows where I would have ridden without you.

    Shortly, the race was on and we were peddling with a fury into stiff crosswinds along Fort Street with the first destination as the Irvington Wal-Mart. We passed a couple mountain bikers along the way and were the first to arrive there. Grabbing a box of pasta, I went through the self checkout while Munson opted for the express lane. The woman in front of me was taking her sweet time while I must have looked like the village fool: helmet, bike gear, road shoes and all doing a tap dance like a four year old 'bout ready to piss his pants while Barry Manilow muzak filtered down from the PA system above.

    The next stop, Hy-Vee on Fort, was the place where we got stuck in the Tuna Helper nightmare. We lost precious time checking and re-checking the baking aisle's countless varieties of *-Helpers. I mean, there was hamburger, lasagna, beef stroganoff, linguine, chicken and pork helpers, but no tuna. Apparently, we found out five minutes later, Tuna Helper is in such demand that it has its commands its own shelf space in the luncheon meats aisle. Arrggh. Another dash to checkout and off to the gas station across the street.

    When we arrived at this store, the woman behind the counter barely peeks over her copy of People to quip, "peanut butter for the scavenger hunt's in aisle four." Then, Munson and I were ambushed by Qianna Bradley, a World Herald reporter who happened on us by random chance. "You guys doing that Cranksgiving thing?" she inquired while I put a jar of Jiffy on the counter. She went on to say that she was at the start at Bike Masters and was looking to see what it was like out on the street. Pretty cool. This Cranksgiving thing was taking on a life of its own. Qianna interviewed us over the next few stops and wrote a piece that was in the Sunday Paper.

    The rest of Cranksgiving was more of the same: riding, clip-cloppity & sliding through waxed floors in road shoes and managing self- checkout machines that effervescently inquired, "Do you have a coupon that you would like to use?"

    There were already a few bikes outside by the time Munson and I made it back to Bike Masters. Damn that Tuna Helper. I felt a tad better when they weighed my sack [sic] at 20 lbs. I looked disdainfully at Munson's 13.9 lbs and gave a gorilla press to show how steel-cut I was. Then again, he was riding a 1x9 spd cromoly tank with a hub generator that looks like the fuse to an atomic bomb. Still, I felt like the alpha male until I heard another weigh-in at 39 lbs. I turned to see a 20 lb bag of flour with puncture marks being removed from the scale. Apparently, the bag was torn by the handlebars during the ride, resulting in a flour cloud and gluten mess for the cyclist & his bike. Then, another came in with a B.O.B and 76lbs of food. Dang! This guy hoisted a frozen turkey and a sack of potatoes out of his bag while someone muttered incredulously, "Potatoes weren't on the list!" It was pretty cool to see the generosity of folks and what they could do on a bike ride.

    In fact, the generosity is what I appreciated most about the event. Way to go, Bryan & Chris, on getting this thing going. I remember thinking that you were crazy to even consider doing this, especially after having a kid a few months back. I still think that, but you did it. There was great participation, in both riders and in sponsors. While the rest of us were munching down sloppy joes and soup (all terrific, but the Wisconsin cheese was my favorite), Bryan was working the crowd and stuffing people's arms with all kinds of handouts while socializing. Meanwhile, Chris and a group of volunteers were weighing-in bags, counting and sorting food. And, There must have been one heck of a clean-up afterwards.

    Memories from this Cranksgiving I shall not forget:

  • Nearly fifty bikes strewn all over the parking lot at the start
  • Munson's head-wag during the starting line sprint
  • Cyclists & backpacks peddling like mad to the next stop
  • The clerk at the quick shop reading the magazine
  • The Flour Man and his bike
  • The torn bag of flour
  • A sack of potatoes
  • Festive atmosphere in the store
  • Award ceremonies: Gold-painted crank, Silver cassettes and bronze crank arms for top finishers. Silver brake caliper for the last person.
  • Home made soups and a sweet potato? cake. That thing was awesome

    In short: it was grande. Way to go, Bryan and gang, on getting Cranksgiving-Omaha it's start.

  • Tuesday, November 6, 2007

    Newbie on a Trainer

    I'm no longer a virgin. Well, at least no longer a cycling trainer virgin.

    I picked up a used Blackburn mag trainer a year ago but never went for it. But last night, I did, as put Old Yeller to the test.

    It hurt a lot in the legs and cardio, but it was most painful for my brain. I mean, it was more boring than running on a treadmill, and I hate doing that with a passion. To illustrate, last year I ran outside throughout the entire winter -- sleet, snow, negative wind chills and all -- to avoid the treadmill. But cycling is obviously more dangerous in cold weather than running, so it looks like there's no escaping it this time.

    Heck. I wish I could escape it. In fact, I would rather spend 90 minutes in the dentist chair than on the trainer. Oh, the horror.

    Seriously, please help me out by offering your suggestions and tips so I can make it through this winter:
    1) What works for you to keep from going nuts?
    2) What are some good workouts?
    3) How do you measure your workout performance?

    Priceless: 1999 GT ZR 4000 Upgrades


    She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid. I've made a lot of special modifications myself.

    Credit to where it's due, a big thanks to Munson's mechanical skills in reassembling it. That, and the best that Taco Johns can offer.

    Old Yeller's back and better than ever!

    Monday, November 5, 2007

    Steel-Cut Goodness

    I never skip breakfast.

    Lots of times, it's toast with marmalade, or a solitary pop-tart washed down by hot inky coffee. That's enough to make me happy.

    But if I've got a the time, then steel-cut Irish Oats are where it's at. Slow-cooked for twenty minutes, this wholesome treat breaks the fast with a snappy bite. It's got attitude and texture, not like that mushy instant stuff. It's nutty and will stick to your ribs. Add raisins, brown sugar and chopped walnuts and you've got the perfect meal on a cold autumn morning.

    What I desire to produce here at WSCG is not unlike these steel cut oats. This blog requires a measure of patience to deal with my stubborn Irish heritage. And just like these oats, I tend to have some bite and can be a tad nutty, too. Still, my viewpoints can be as warm and sweet as melted brown sugar. Of course, it aught to have some substance to stick around for awhile.

    Yes indeed. Pull up a chair and enjoy another helping of Wholesome, Steel-Cut Goodness.

    Wednesday, October 31, 2007

    I have No Shame

    I ran home from work dressed like this today.

    Happy Halloween.

    Saturday, October 27, 2007

    I Bet the Mavs Could Beat the Longhorns

    The way Nebraska and Texas played, it's quite possible.

    That's the funniest thing in this blog, so you can stop reading now if you'd like to.

    Mavericks Grind Out 13-3 Win

    Anyway, here's my weekend update:

    Friday
    1) Ms Katherine and I watched the entire Disc 4 of NBC Must See TV: Heroes. Woo! That Sylar's a nasty feller.

    2) Before going to bed, I checked the blogotubes. LOL on shim's fredcube comment about "going to hell". Seriously Fred, I don't want to spend eternity in hell, especially with you.

    Saturday:
    1) Met a couple of friends at Zorinksi for a 12 mile run at dark:thirty in the morning. Saw three deer in the moonlight. The deer scared the crap out of my friend Mike, who had the fight/flight syndrome; it was one of those things that's only funny being there while endorphins course through your veins. Quite hilarious, though.

    2) I had a very enjoyable lunch with Ms Katherine and one of her friends at the Korean House in Bellevue. Munched on all kinds of BBQ meats, kimchi, bean sprouts and Korean pan cake. The Korean House is right next to the Offut base entrance on 24th St. I recommend.

    3) While watching the Huskers implode in the 4th and coming up with the creative title to this blog, I had a negative reaction to shim's google mirror-mirror hungarian notation comment. Being forced to think like Charles Simonyi is not unlike going to hell. I think Shim made an effective point. I've since repented. Fred, you're on your own.

    Sunday
    Church at Glad Tidings in the morning followed by another trip to the Donut Professor. It's kind of a pattern. This time, I stepped out on a limb and went for the blueberry cake donut. It was delicious. I actually hoped to see the Shabbos+1 group at the store. Just some scrubby kid with dirty hair and shoes plopped up on the bench opposite him while he shrewdly ate an apple fritter. You could plainly see that he didn't care about anything but the immediacy of that donut. Needless to say, the kid's got promise to one day carry the Shabbos+1 tradition.

    A productive afternoon involved cleaning the house and tearing out old growth and weeds in the front yard around the house.

    At 4pm, I was finally able to get the Cervélo out for a 90 minute solo down the keystone to Capehart road and back. Man, it felt great. Well, at least the first 75 minutes of it did. The last 15 minutes I was feeling dizzy and my legs were totally wiped out. I struggled to maintain 15 mph with a tail wind and barely made it up the small hill on 52nd St between Western and Hamilton.

    Friday, October 26, 2007

    A Little Fishy


    Ms Katherine made fish curry last night: tillapia in a lovely medley of tomatoes, onions garlic and ginger in a coconut and chicken broth curry. Yeah, it was rather good.

    Tuesday, October 23, 2007

    Let's Get Ready to rrrrrrrrrrrRUMBLE!!!

    In a bit of posturing yesterday, the NCAA posted its future list of NCAA championship host cities. Omaha was not listed as the CWS home for 2011.

    However, the list did include the Qwest center as the home for the 2010 NCAA Wrestling championship. This piece of news aught to bode well for the Omaha sports fan. After all, wrestling, err wrasslin', has a strong tradition in the big O!

    Indeed some of the greats, including Maurice Vachon and Dick the Bruiser were home grown wrestling talent.

    So anyway, what's all the panic for about losing the CWS?

    I can't wait to see the next generation of talent pick up from where the likes of Macho Man Randy Savage and the Ultimate Warrior left off. Maybe Ms Elizabeth and Scary Sherri will be there too. All of this in the beautiful Qwest center!

    With such excitement, will we even miss the CWS?

    Monday, October 22, 2007

    Weekend Recap

    Friday Night:
    Ms Katherine and I had a big date. First, her swimming lesson was canceled due to a high school/club swimming meet at UNO. We stuck around and watched for a half hour before going out to dinner (Great Wall) and grocery shopping. Whew! What a date. If I said that we then went home and watched disc 3 of Heroes Season 1, would that be sharing too much information about my personal life?

    Saturday
    After house cleaning, Katherine studied while I took Emmylou to the park for an hour walk. Then, I went hunting for components for the yellow GT. Stopped by Bike Masters, saw Bryan's poster, and talked shop with the older guy with the British accent while he shoveled some mean looking stew in his pie whole. Among the bikes there, there was a $10,000 Felt TT. Meanwhile, NU was getting their ass handed to them on the shop TV. I then went to Powerpro sports to drool over some Honda Interceptors and Suzuki Bandits. It's funny: those bikes cost $6,000 and you get one helluva rush riding them. The highlight of the rest of Saturday night: Ms Katherine and I finished disc 3 of Heroes. You can stop here if this is too personal.

    Sunday
    Church at Glad Tidings in the morning followed by a trip to the Donut Professor.

    Perhaps the Donut Professor could be the home of Shabbos +1 during the interim. Donut shop culture is like cycling anarchy: coffee made from dipping a brown crayon in hot water and artery choking deep-fried flour pucks represents an interesting dichotomy to livestrong. Just a thought.

    Then, I did yard work. The highlight of the day was going for a 9 mile run from my house to drop off videos Season 1 Heroes discs 2 and 3 at the Blockbuster on Cass Street.

    Along the way, I noticed a foreboding sign: "River City Hockey is now closed" on the shop's door. I liked Ted and his shop. Times are bad. It seems like small businesses are closing left and right.

    The remainder of the weekend was spent on a walk with Emmylou, dining on take out Cantonese noodles from the Rice Bowl (four out of five stars) and studying with Ms. Katherine.

    Congratulations. You made it to the end of this blog entry.

    Friday, October 19, 2007

    There's some lovely filth down here

    It's starting to simmer a little at UNL.

    It's not unlike the name calling at local school playgrounds. You know...Billy is a wus, and "Tommy is a crusty old fart" kind of thing.

    But Callahan says that we've got it all wrong.

    With a script prepared for him with the assistance of the UNL forensics team, he attempted to assuage the situation while paying tribute to his new AD by releasing the following statement:

    "Crazy, but thats how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe its not to late
    To learn how to love
    And forget how to hate...

    I know that things are going wrong for me
    You gotta listen to my words

    Heirs of a cold war
    Thats what we've become
    Inheriting troubles I'm mentally numb
    Crazy, I just cannot bear
    I'm living with something that just isn't fair

    Mental wounds not healing
    Who and what's to blame
    I'm going off the rails on a crazy train"

    Wednesday, October 17, 2007

    King of the who?


    CUSTOMER: Who's that, then?
    CART MASTER: I dunno. Must be a king.
    CUSTOMER: Why?
    CART MASTER: He hasn't got shit all over him.

    O! The Good Life!

    Something stinks in Husker Nation, and it ain't just the sewers.
    A proposed 2% sales tax on prepared food for the new ballpark comes out to about 10 cents for a $5 lunch, 50 cents per business week or roughly $25 per year. Since a general admission ticket to the CWS is $10, it's the equivalent to buying two CWS tickets for a game that most likely someone else will watch. O! but I forgot: we have our ego to protect as the home of the famous NCAA College World Series.

    But the ballpark is chump change to the $1.5 billion needed for Omaha's sewer repairs. At roughly 15 times the expense of building a new stadium, perhaps the mayor will propose a 30% restaurant sales tax to cover it? O! but this isn't sexy news like (drum roll please).....a New Ballpark!!!

    Speaking of sewers, how about Steve Pedersen's career? What a sham. Chancellor Harvey Perlman should be the one flushed for not listening to his neurotic booster club when he gave the former AD a bonus and a five year contract extension earlier this year. Instead, Pedersen is first rewarded and then sent out like a goat to take away all of the sins of Husker nation. Then this guy Perlman looks like a genius for bringing in former head coach, U.S. Congressman and future saint, Mr. Tom Osborne.

    Heraclitus allegedly once said that you can never enter the same river twice. Well, Husker Nation is drowning in a it's own Rubicon of tears, elimination and other exudate that's now congealing in Memorial Stadium. Tom Osborne, as you wade into this foul cesspool, "I just want to tell you good luck. We're all counting on you." (Leslie Nielson, Airplane!)

    Indeed, something reeks around here. My money (through inevitable rising property taxes) is betting on the only near term success: fixing our sewers. So good bye NCAA CWS and enjoy your new home! Good bye Mr. Pedersen and enjoy your $2M! While I'm at it: good bye Mr Callahan and enjoy your millions, too. And thanks, Mr. Perlman, for wasting the University's money, which is funded by our taxes as you may recall, on an unwanted AD and his coach.

    O! I look forward with great anticipation towards the installation of those sexy, $1.5B sump systems. Anyway, there will be one less thing stinking to high hell in the Big O! good life of Husker Nation.

    Thursday, October 11, 2007

    Big Wheel Update

    From Bicycle Village's Interbike 2007 update:


    "Big toys for big kids! For every Interbike Yakima brings some crazy new machine that draws the hordes to their booth. This year their Hot For Teacher big wheel did the trick.

    Sized two and a half times larger than the tot rod you rode as a kid, this trick trike boasts dual disc brakes, a cooler for your beverages and, unlike your first 3-wheeler, you can coast on this puppy. Oh, and since it's hard to tell in the photo, the guy on the trike here is six-feet five-inches tall!"

    Wednesday, October 10, 2007

    Injury Report

    My four year old lab-sharpei-pitbull-??? mix, Emmylou, was in a bad spot yesterday. Katherine called me at work: Emmy was shaking, having a hard time standing and was protecting her gut/back left quadrant. I could hear the yelping in the background. It was just awful sounding.

    I quickly went home and managed to get Emmy into the car for a trip to the vet. On the way, she perked up a bit when we passed Memorial Park. It's funny that way. Only moments before, she was in terrible agony, but then she saw her favorite park, her disposition shifted. It was bearable again. That was a bit of relief.

    Emmy was no longer yelping when we got to the vet. She was nervous, but that's typical beahvior upon visiting the vet.

    30 minutes and an x-ray later, the vet returned with Emmy who was now wagging her tail and flashing her trademark goofy grin. Apparently, there was no bone damage, dislocations or tendon tears, nor were there any foreign objects like chewed up pop cans or chain rings in her gut. Whew! The vet said that she likely had a muscle tear in her leg and would need some anti-inflammatory drugs and rest.

    Who knows how she did it. I have a sliding glass door -- the equivalent of a 72x84" HD TV for dogs -- that provides a perfect view of the backyard. I've witnessed Emmy leap a 60" vertical when a squirrel comes into her viewing pleasure and have had to regularly clean her nose-streaks off the top of the door...perhaps she tore the muscle that way?

    If Emmy could have just told me what was wrong, a little ice and some Tylenol would have saved big bucks. I just don't know how you parents do it, especially during the non-verbal days.

    Anyway, for $217 I got a couple x-ray snaps of Emmy's hips and a potent 7-day dosage of doggy-specific Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs). The hip x-rays also showed no dysplasia, which is some relief as well for my bow-legged pup. In the end, I suppose that the $217 also bought us a little peace of mind.

    Good grief, what a day.

    Friday, October 5, 2007

    Cool Weather Gear Primer

    My brother Murphini helped mark another year of my life recently with an addition to the cycling wardrobe: a Pearl Izumi long sleeve Woolie. Dang...That's hot! Thanks, Murphini! In fact, I'd have to admit that my kin is a group of hoopy froods that I'm extremely fortunate to sass.

    Anyway, this woolie segues into questions that a cycling newbie has on cool weather riding gear. Please advise or I shall rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon.

    Head
    Do I wear some sort of hat under the helmet?

    Hands
    What types of gloves will I need for different temperatures ranges:

    Torso
    I understand the concept of layering with thermal undershirt/wool/silk base layers, a long sleeve jerseys and a shell. But what is the case for wearing a short sleeve wool jersey? Would you wear arm warmers in the morning and then opt for no sleeves as the day went on? Also, until I get some more experience, I won't know how much layering to wear.

    Legs
    Tights? Knickers? Thermal underwear? Maybe I'll get knickers just to tell the young whipper-snappers when I'm 80 that I once owned a pair back in aught-seven.

    Feet
    Neoprene Booties? Munson's duct tape?

    Seriously, though, I'm lost when it comes to this stuff. Mostly, I believe that it will be used for commuting. I suppose there could be some group rides on the warmer days. So basically, what brands do you recommend and where to go to get it? Thanks in advance.

    Tuesday, October 2, 2007

    Vogon Poetry, a Refresher

    Rather than bore you with the dross of my P2sl, how about grabbing a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster and enjoy a little Vogon poetry with me.

    Oh freddled gruntbuggly,
    Thy micturations are to me
    As plurdled gabbleblotchits
    On a lurgid bee.
    Groop, I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes
    And hooptiously drangle me
    With crinkly bindlewurdles,
    Or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon,
    See if I don't!

    Monday, October 1, 2007

    Part VIII: 1999 GT ZR 4000

    Picking up from yesterday's brief interruption...riding a motorcycle was a enjoyable, but it doesn't compare to the exhilaration of a draft line or the sense of satisfaction of covering a long distance on your own power.

    While I had taken up running a couple years earlier, my kid brother Brendan had been nudging me to follow his lead in getting into triathlons. So as a primer, he permanently loaned me his 1999 GT ZR 4000 road bike. Thanks, Brendan!

    Somebody once said, "This is my grandfather's axe. My father replaced the blade and I replaced the handle. It's my grandfather's axe." Is that philosophy or geometry? I think it tends toward philosophical circles, but I would bet somebody could use side-angle-side to prove that theorem is correct. Anyway, I'm not exactly sure about it, but that same principle was about to be set in motion on the GT.

    At the time of acquisition, the GT was a commuter with green knobbies and a partial paint strip.

    I finished stripping it with the help of Jasco Premium paint and epoxy remover. That's good stuff. Just make sure to wear gloves and apply in a well ventilated area.

    Next, it was powder coated for $40 at R&R Powder Coating on 19th and Leavenworth. The shop owner Ray is like your favorite uncle who chain smokes cigarettes and drinks coal-black coffee while talking shop. He did an excellent job: the powder coat is bullet proof, looks great and you couldn't beat the price.

    Then it was time to assess the components. I knew that the chain, chain rings & cassette were well-worn, but I wasn't ready to invest much more money in it because I was unsure if I'd enjoy cycling. So I opted to replace the cassette and put some new Bontrager yellow Race X Lites tires on it. The big bucks would have to come later.


    I didn't ride much at first: commuting to work, during UP lunch rides and in the 2006 Corporate Cycling challenge. But this past summer, I finally caught the cycling bug during long group rides. It was never easy. Pain may better describe it. Maybe even preposterous. Somehow, this equates to good times. Cyclists are nuts.

    All of the wear and tear over the years finally caught up with the bike. The day after it's final triathlon race, it went to crap. Bryan's idea of pissing into the seat post tube to restore what Brendan and I rode out of it was creative. Crude, but certainly creative.

    Instead, I have decided to rebuild it properly, which could cost more on upgrades than the bike was worth brand new. That being said, I'm looking for parts: 105s or better. It needs shifters, dérailleurs, cassette, hubs, an axe blade...

    Post-Edit:
    Ol' Yeller has been restored.

    Saturday, September 29, 2007

    2007 Rodeo Run Omaha Mile

    The inaugural Rodeo Run was a quick. In fact, Ryan Kleimenhagen from Madison WI was the best of the elites, running a sub four minute mile. That was sick. It was also the first time that feat has been done in a Nebraska road race. Congratulations, Ryan!

    As a prelude to the River City Round Up Parade, the Rodeo Run Omaha Mile has the potential to be a great race. It has solid race organization, cash prizes for top finishers and a downhill course that will surely draw runners seeking a fast mile.

    Speaking of which, this ol' boy still has some kick. Thanks for the genes, Mom & Dad!

    Oh I forgot to mention that I won the citizens race.

    Kudos to Team Nebraska Brooks for hosting this event. Official Results.

    Wednesday, September 26, 2007

    Part VII: 1981 Suzuki GS250t

    OK, this is cheating, but I did venture into motorcycles, or motorsackles as Mom likes to call them, by picking up this starter bike for $700 in 2003.

    By that time, the GT Karakoram was collecting cobwebs in the basement and I hadn't yet discovered the joy of running. In fact, things weren't so great in general as I had just gone through a divorce. My way of coping with it was to buy a motorcycle. It probably wasn't the most mature way to handle it, but I suppose it's better than some.

    The idea was to learn how to ride and then upgrade into some sort of bigger bike. I had my eyes on the Suzuki Bandit. Then later, I'd trade up again for a Honda sport touring bike.

    For a small bike, this fella sure was a blast. It had surprisingly good power range and the five speed gearbox was fun to work. It was also in great shape when I bought it, having only 2,500 miles and no dings, scrapes or rust. Those chrome pipes gave it a nice cruiser look and were remarkably loud. It also got about 55 miles per gallon, so I had that going for me, which was nice. Despite its age, it started up faithfully each morning and required normal maintenance.

    By 2006, the divorce crisis was behind me and I had been remarried. Along the way of working things out, I had gotten back into physical shape first by running. Then, I began cycling; even later, swimming. Triathlons and running races became regular events in my life. Indeed, my life had changed quite a bit in a few years.

    As a result of all of these changes, the GS250t became the bike collecting the cobwebs. It was time to move on. I sold the bike this spring for $750 and used the cash toward the purchase of the Cervelo P2sl time trial bike. The GS250t was fun for a season, but I don't regret what I traded up for.

    Next installment: a second life for the GT zr 4000 road bike.