Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday Night Worlds

I joined up with about 20 other riders for the year's first running of the Trek Store Omaha's 'Wednesday Night Worlds' group ride. I think Bryan made that title up. Good choice. In a word (or four): it was totally awesome. With light winds and temperatures in the 70s, what more could you ask for?

The riders gather outside the Trek store

The roll out down the Keystone. Nice turn out of riders

Newcomer Sarah on her first Trek Store Omaha ride

A first for Rafal (front) Kevin, and James (not pictured)

The peleton bunches up on a hill climb

After I took this shot, the tempo picked up and the camera was tucked away. As usual, we rode into Ft Calhoun and made a quick pit stop at the convenience store before turning back to Omaha via the Boyer Chute and Ponca Hills. In Boyer's Chute, the tempo ratcheted up until a complete hammerfest was going down. Limpach and Vaughn were mercilessly driving the pace as we approached the hills. Then Mod launched an attack at the foot of Ponca. Man, it was on.

What a ride (exclamation point).

In summary, great weather, great turn out, great (<--last great) ride. Regardless of how well one performed, it's safe to say that warm spring air and open road was a tonic to the soul, especially after the brutal winter we've endured.

Here's to Wednesday Night Worlds.

See you all next week.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Trees are Tomorrow's Burden

This is not a rally cry for tree huggers. Although it could be, because man, I really love trees. In fact, I cry a little when I have to pull the volunteer maples that sprout up from acorns each year. Poor little buggers.
I digress. This post is an answer to Rafal and Mike Miles comments on Bryan's recent mountain biking post. By the way, nice wookie sticks Bryan. The forests of Endor are calling for your return.

Since my priority has shifted from running to riding, some (a few (actually one)) have asked when I'm also going to begin riding mountain bikes.

To this, I say mountain biking among the trees is tomorrow's burden.

You see, I'm broke. I don't mean broke as in cash, although purchasing a previously loved Madone hasn't helped my cash flow. No, what I'm referring to is the commodity of time. There just isn't enough of it. Especially if I want to continue running and swimming. (I do). Not to mention having time for a life apart from bicycles, which also includes blogging about it, Mike Miles.

So there it is. I'm broke. Brother can you spare an hour or two?

Now I'm sad. I'm gonna go hug a tree.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Mile for Every Degree

After ten days of clouds and cooler weather, we finally had sun and +60°F yesterday. Hands down, it was the best day of the year so far. And with nasty weather looming, I acted quickly and took the afternoon off to ride.

Earlier in the day, I had tweeted that my stated goal for the day was to ride 1 mile for each degree F. As a group, we did exactly that, riding 64 miles (map) in some 3 hours and 45 minutes.

I caught up with Shim and the Real Wes J. at 11:45 AM. We formed a three man echelon to attack the 15-20 mph SSW on the open plains before arriving at the base of the seven mile climb into Glenwood. The sunny warmth and beauty of the scenic Loess highway more than compensated for the winds. In fact, it was just warm enough to feel the heat reflecting off the tarmac for the first in a long time.

The roads are obviously in bad shape. Potholes and sandy conditions are everywhere. Anticipating this, I rode Bontrager Race X Lite Hardcase tires. Hardcases are excellent all-around training tires because they significantly reduce the chances of flatting. They're also quite durable. The last set I had lasted many seasons and thousands of miles.

Still, hardcases aren't bomb-proof. Shim was riding them when he flatted about 50 miles into the ride. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

Wes and I fought over the spoils (a patchable innertube). Wes won. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

When times are bad, frugality is good. Which reminds me: hey Shim, do you have any slightly worn Ultegra (or better) pedals that you're gonna toss aside?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hill Repeats in CB

I joined Shim and Jonathan Wait for a ride into the hills of Council Bluffs after work tonight. The weather was almost perfect: sunny, very little wind and temperatures hovering around 50 F. After ten days of cooler weather and clouds, it was euphoric.

There are some steep hills over there, some topping off at 22% gradient. Coach Shim says that it was probably too early in the spring to be hitting that kind of intensity, but we did it anyway.

We spent a couple hours chasing wheels before peeling off on our separate ways. Overall, a great ride. In the end, I was exhausted, but nevertheless content from enjoying nice weather in the wholesome goodness of the great outdoors.

On the way home, I encountered a car coming up Hamilton Street on the wrong side of the road. Four blocks later, a pickup truck belched blue diesel in my face as the driver yelled at me to get off the F*ing road. Nice.

Happy St Patrick's Day, everyone.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Ride-quality has been neutralized

Intervals were this Morning's Burden

I got up early this morning to do intervals. The workout called for five sets of five high-intensity intervals (25 total) on an ascending clock. The first five were on 1:15 with five seconds of recovery, followed by two sets of five on 1:20 with five seconds rest, and then two sets at 1:25 with 15 seconds recovery. This would roughly translate to heart rates in zone 5c, 5b, 5a.

The throw down began after a ten minute warm up. As any of you know who've done intervals, it takes a few before your heart rate catches up to what's going on. The first felt silky smooth with lots of power and low heart rate, but by the fourth interval, the voice in your head transforms from the tranquil civility of an NPR talk show host to shouting death metal lyrics with heavy electric guitar distortion.

So it was this morning.

On interval #12, Erin was waiting at the wall and grabbed my leg as I flip-turned. (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that these are swimming intervals.) Anyway, I'm was leading the lane and on our third set of 100s, Erin stops me to yell, 'THIS INTERVAL IS SUPPOSED TO BE ON THE 1:40.*'

The lactic acid in my blood violently spikes. 'Excuse me?' -- but before the rebuttal's out, she pushed off the wall. A strong stench of freshly released chlorine permeates the air, possibly from the water boiling around me.

Death metal/Cookie Monster voice in now violently shouting in my head

Only ten minutes beforehand, the group had decided to do the sets in ascending order. The initial 15 intervals weren't going to be easy, but that's what we agreed upon. So I thought. Apparently to some, ascending order meant 1:20, 1:25, 1:40, 1:25, 1:40.

By the end of practice, apologies were plenty and everybody was all huggy-huggy again.

There, for those of you who've wondered what a Masters' swim practice is like at 5:30 AM, now you know.

Like Munson on the bike, I swim better when I'm angry.

* exclamation marks are yesterday's burden, but all-caps are not. Hi Fred.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Exclamation Marks are Yesterday's Burden

Enormous snowflakes were falling as I drove to swimming practice this morning. I had a sudden urge to pull over and tweet, "Crap! More Snow!! Somebody take Old Man winter off Viagra!!!"

But I was strong and refrained. Whew, that was a close call.

For those wondering what I'm talking about, I've come to a punctuation crossroads on the usage of the exclamation mark (!). Apparently, I use way too many of them. Recently, I read that it's in bad form to use more than one exclamation mark in every 100,000 words. Scanning through my writings, I found examples of using two or three at a time, sometimes with multiple references per page. Yikes.

I've hit rock bottom and have decided to make a change for the better. Unfortunately, there is no Betty Ford clinic for punctuation rehabilitation. Having nowhere else to go, I've turned to the internet for the help. As an aside, the internet is the best place to seek such help, because you can always find something you want to hear that you can believe in. Anyway, I settled on a modified 12 step program suited towards my needs.

Hello my name is Brady. I am a recovering exclamation-markaholic.

Allow me clarify that in no way am I making light of 12 step methods. These programs are quite effective in treating many who are desperate for change. It is for this reason I can take solace that perhaps I can break bad habits, too.

I'm a quick study. I breezed through the first few steps. I then discovered how cathartic it was to take a personal grammar inventory. Among other things, I gained an new appreciation for the English language. Whereas English has only the one, Spanish also has the inverted exclamation mark. Crikeys. One exclamation mark is more than enough; imagine having to give up both. ¡Dé gracias a Dios yo no sé español!

Now I'm on to step 8: making amends to all I've harmed.

First, to you my public audience, I am sorry for using the exclamation point more than once in every 100K words. It must have been unbearable to read my prose at times. Thank you for sticking with me.

Specifically, I apologize to Miles, who I believe once expressed his frustration on facebook about people who abuse the exclamation mark. While I'm unsure if you were speaking to me, I'm fairly certain you've cringed more than once when visiting this blog. Miles: I am sorry to have offended you. I'm glad you're still reading this blog.

And To Bryan, who's writing is the envy of the AP Style guide editors, I owe you an amends. I cannot even recall the last time I saw you use an exclamation point. Your unencumbered writing is a clear beacon to the internet's dark cloud. Thank you for not giving up on me.

Even though my third grade teacher ridiculed me as the 'Big Cheese' in front of the entire class, I owe Ms Hannebrink an apology for having clapped, "Hanabana is a bitch!!!!!" on the brick wall with chalk board erasers. I'm sorry to have displayed such bad form, Ms Hannebrink. One exclamation point was sufficient.

I'd also be remiss if I didn't apologize to the period (.). True, a punctuation mark is not a person, but I've still managed to hold the period in contempt for being boring and understated. This is especially the case with interjections. And though there have been documented shortages of periods affecting the Times Roman Font, the superfluous use of exclamation marks on social networking sites has created a glut of periods for years to come. Indeed, I'm in arrears for an apology to the period. Sorry, period(.), dot(.) and stop(.).(period).

To Shim I owe nothing. The email with subject,"How's work?" you sent last Friday while you were cycling in Texas was predictable. Jerk. Thanks for attaching the pictures, pig. I especially enjoyed seeing those while I was at the office, you miserable vomitous mass. And while you logged over 300 miles in the warmth of Fredericksburg, I got to chase Limpach's wheel in the 34°F with overcast skies. Yes, work and Omaha were grand, you LOUSY NO GOOD SONOFABITCH!

Crap! (Sorry Miles!) Double-crap!! Aiyeeee!!!!!


Step one. I admit I'm powerless...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Pants are Yesterday's Burden

My Neighbors saw me run out the door without my pants today.

I didn't mind. I just kept running down the street without a care in the world. From there I ran through Dundee. From Dundee, through Memorial and Elmwood parks; and then along Farnam Street before streaking through Midtown crossing. It was a blissful running all the way through downtown Omaha. All without my pants.

Good pantless. Bad Pantless.
Let's be frank. There is good and bad pantless running. Case in point is the guy on your right. Freak. Not only is he pantless, but also shoeless. I am not condoning this. Definitely bad pantless.

Better pantless: today's temperature of 41° F and light rain wasn't ideal weather to run outside without pants. Certainly after a long winter, it took a little to get reacquainted to the cool winds and puddles splashing against the legs. But it could have been worse. For example, it was 4°F the morning after I declared coats to be yesterday's burden last week. On that chilly morning, I didn't wear a coat to the bus stop, but you can bet your sweet bippy that I wore pants. Today's +40° F was balmy by comparison.

So with that, it's final. Pants are now yesterday's burden too. At least while running. Chances are that the next time you see some dude sprinting through Dundee sans pants, it could be me. If you do, give a honk.

In return, I may flash you a cheeky smile.