Monday, January 25, 2010

A long day on the trainer.

I woke up this morning feeling a bit lazy but optimistic. The forecast was for unseasonably warm temperatures which turned out to be close to 60 degrees. Unfortunately, the warm temps were supposed to bring heavy rains. By the time I got downstairs, it was already in the mid 50's and looked like it had already rained quite a bit. So without really thinking about it and a fair amount of procrastinating, I got on the trainer and started banging away at the 3.5 hours I had scheduled for the day. As I worked away suffering in my boredom, I kept staring outside and got to thinking it actually did not look so bad. I figured what the hell and jumped off the trainer and started getting dressed to go outside. Cora came in and told me I was crazy as it was "unbelievable nasty" out. After a look out the back window, I realized the wind was probably blowing 40 mph so I got undressed and headed back down to the trainer. I looked out front and it was now pouring.

This continued for another 4 hours--good save, Cora.

Back on the trainer, I managed to bang out 4 hours when it was all done and said--man, did it suck and all I can say is that I better be getting faster.

I went through 5 bottles: 3 water, 1 FRS from concentrate and 1 Infint. I also had a can of FRS and a banana. For entertainment, I made it through the second half of the 2002 Tour and most of the 2003. The good news is that tomorrow's 2.5 hours should be a breeze.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Some late birthday gifts

I got a couple of packages in the mail today. To my delight, it was 2 more of the items on my birthday wishful thinking list.

Love the models--the Hincapie Alpe Brim Cap is fantastic. It's stylish, warm, comfortable and fits perfectly under my helmet. I may actually put it on my "10 best" list.

Road to Roubaix--I don't know where it stands in the hierarchy of documentaries but Cora and I really enjoyed it--it's well worth a watch.

Phoebe took this picture of Boo giving me an "extra special" late birthday smoocher.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Me, my mom and a lot of Belgian mud.

My mom is a wonder woman and I love her to death. She is such a sweetheart, always there for us. Today I wanted to explore a new route, so I gave her a call to see if she would follow along behind, as usual she said she would, so with Nan in toe (no pun intended, for those of you who know her), she showed up about 10 mins. after I called. When I met her outside, I dropped the camera on her and suggested that along with her soigneur duties, if that was not already asking enough, that she could serve as the official team photographer as well. She looked at the camera and I think was a bit bewildered with what must have looked pretty complicated for someone who does not regularly use a digital SLR with zoom lens.

I'm not sure if this is in reaction to hearing I was planning to ride for 2.5 hours or finding out about her new role as team photographer.

We headed up towards Cherry Valley along the back roads--I have not been out along these roads for 2 years. I remember suffering up these hills several winters ago on the mountain bike--it was a different kind of suffering today with the 21x11.

The roads started out pretty decent and rapidly deteriorated--just what I was looking for. I think my mom was horrified.

The top coat of ice was not too bad until it was time to go downhill--just a touch sketchy.

I tried to pick lines that had already been broken up by cars, though the mud underneath was even tougher to ride as it was so wet. I was sinking in half an inch, getting totally bogged down--so much for a z1z2 ride.

As you can see, it was a perfect day--maybe 32-34 degrees. At times I forgot it was even cold because it was so comfortable. Supposedly the next couple of days are going to be just as nice--not the best time to have a scheduled rest week and the time off to ride--I swore I would stick to my plan.

So what's Belgian mud? As I understand it, it's a fine mixture of native mud mixed with cow shit then heavily watered. Apparently the roads of rural Belgium are covered with the mixture and the springtime rains make it an every day battle while out riding--ever seen Paris Roubaix when it's wet? I used to think playing in the mud was fun as a kid and truth be told, I still do not mind it as an adult, but this mud literally sinks like shit. As I was plowing over this mile-long muddy stretch bumping all over the place, I noticed a handful of cows and 4 people stopped on snowmobiles watching me aghast. I got goose bumps and said out loud "pave." I spent the next 5 mins. racing head to head with Big Georgie over the famed cobbles of Paris-Roubaix. As I hit the cement, my mom was waiting with her window down, screaming "Way to go--that was awful!" I said, "Are you kidding me? That was the most fun I've had all winter--that was awesome!"

It may take awhile to get her clean tomorrow--just to do it all over again.

I just want to say how great my mom did taking pictures (she took all of these)--I was really impressed. Poor thing is screwed though as she just earned herself a new job. Tomorrow I'll get her mic'd up with the radios and give her a cue sheet so she does not get lost when she stops to take the "detail" shots.
Now that I'm thinking about it, I may see if I can get her on food and drink duty. Again, Mom, thank you so much for being you--you are a pretty cool chickadee.

I brought extra gloves--did not know what to expect. I was actually more thinking I would soak the insides rather than get cold.

I'm a beast of habit--what else can I say.

Slayer--now that's what I need.

Since I was trying to be practical with the cars--I thought I would fantasize with the coffee machine. Is 18,000 too much for a coffee machine?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

2011 Mini Countryman, 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder and the 2011 Shelby GT 350

OK, so I have digressed to talking about cars. I came across these photos--love the cars, all in white even better.

Cora and I had a 2003 Mini Cooper S when we lived in NYC--we loved it and swore we would never get rid of it. Well, little did I know that we had two beautiful possums on the way. We tried--but twins and a stroller were not happening so as the story goes, we now drive a Volvo.
I'm thinking the Countryman in a year or so may just work for the Joneses or at least for me and my bikes.

My first car was a 1986 Porsche 944--white with white rims--I was pimping.
I recently read that the Porsche Boxster is the best "all around" Porsche one can buy.
I thought I would give them a look and found the Boxster Spyder-- not sure if the best "all around" applies to the Spyder but in my opinion, it is certainly much easier on the eyes--I suppose if you made me, I could take one of these--not sure where the bikes are going to go though.

I had to add some American muscle to the mix and of course it had to be a Ford. The GT 350 is a beast. One of us who presides over this blog may even say it should have been the only car in the mix--black with a white stripe may look pretty nice.

The entertainment of the three cars above is solely based on the premise that I should be practical, otherwise I would refer you to the end of my Christmas wish list for starters.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Picture of the Day

Ever wonder why we call him The Bull?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

3 Hours and 10 Mins. and Now I'm Smoked!!

Today was nothing special--I had 3 hours scheduled for the day, mostly Z1Z2 with some force intervals during hour 2. I was fortunate enough to get some rest last night at work and the weather was looking pretty good, so I headed over to Middlefield and back--the same relatively flat route I did a couple of days ago. I wanted to avoid the "big" hills--one, because the descent is cold, as you have heard me complain about many a time, and two, I put a 11-21 cog on for the force intervals and the real hills would have been a huge ouch.

The weather was reasonable with the exception of a stiff wind blowing to the north, so starting out, I was a bit cold as I had only dressed for the 40 degrees that was reading on the kitchen thermometer. This route is perfect for today's work out--for hour 2, I put it in the 53x13 and sprint (sitting) on all the rollers. In all, I did about 12 1-2 mins efforts which lit my legs up by the time I was home.

It's been a while, so I thought I would give the flat a try--nice, given I just changed the tube this morning. Hopefully I'm not jinxing myself--it was my first flat of the season. Cora was sweet enough to bring me a spare front wheel--all in all, it was only about 9 mins of down time.

A couple of the sights along the way.

I know, it's coffee porn--I just can't help myself. Hope tomorrow goes well--2.5 hours on tap and I'd love to get outside again, although I hear the weather is supposed to get quite a bit colder.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

More Happy Birthday! More Fat Matt.

We had a little down time tonight at work so the nurses took the opportunity to fatten me up a bit--thank you OO and SW for thinking of me as I stroll into my geriatric years--you guys are the best!

Yes, I caved--the ice cream cake was delicious!

Who's the monkey?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Birthday Ride--It was a Happy Birthday!

Yes, yes, yes--the cat's out of the bag--I turned 41 today. And no, my birthday ride was not a new car, not even a new bike. What's with the blatant ignoring of my wish list? Just kidding, I got some great presents from the Moose: 5 clementines, a bottle of Poland Spring, a half-drunk, flat bottle of raspberry seltzer, a bag of walnuts, 4 small snack packs of Craisins and a tub of Moose Milk. Cora said he was too cute as he went around the kitchen looking for stuff that I would like.

The day didn't start off so hot. I did my best not to sleep all day after getting off work Wednesday morning. Let's just say that didn't go so well--that means I was wide awake at 1:50 am. I laid in bed for 2 or 3 hours, pondering life and thinking about how cool it is that I don't feel old. I finally got out of bed at 4:30 ish, came downstairs, had a protein shake, sifted through an assortment of infomercials until settling on the ever-so-soothing SportsCenter which runs over and over again. I made it back to bed just in time for Cora's daily snooze alarm game. I got a couple more hours of sleep before Max came in to give me my birthday presents.

I had a 4-hour ride on the training schedule for the day, so I was bummed when I looked out the window and it was overcast and in the low 20s. As I lay on the couch coming up with a million reasons why to take another day off, I decided to play the birthday card to enlist Cora into making oatmeal and coffee and rubbing my legs for 2 hours. By that time, it had turned into a beautiful, not-a-cloud in the skies, day in the low 30s. I had no choice, so I showered, embrocated and spent what always seems like an hour getting dressed for the cold weather.

You have to click on it to actually see where I went. I've had this new route in mind, so I figured no better time than the present. I headed south down River Road, which is usually a pretty nice spin, but today, there was a pretty stiff headwind--15 minutes in, I was already working a lot harder than I wanted to. The only real exciting part of the ride was a climb up Konchar Road, which is just plain not friendly with a 39-23. The road was covered with mud, so the back tire was spinning out all the way up the hill. I was totally maxed out for a good 10-12 minutes. Going down the backside was super sketchy--steep and covered with mud. I was absolutely covered. The remainder of the ride was relatively flat, with the exceptions of Hooker Mountain and Murphy Hill. That was enough, because as Max would say, my legs were essploded.

You can't really tell, but the bike was absolutely covered in mud and salt. I was far too lazy to clean her up, so I parked her in the newly heated basement. I will clean her up tomorrow morning and change what little is left of the brake pads.

The fruit of a hard day's labor.

The best present of the day--the kids were all outside waiting for me when I came home from my ride. Notice Max sporting the Rapha winter cap.

I was a bit cold as I sat on the porch to take my shoes off. Cora made me an awesome cup of coffee and brought me out a plate of my favorite cookies--oatmeal craisin with white chocolate chips. After polishing off about 5 or 6 of them, I noticed a package for me from Amazon. It was amusingly ironic to find the book Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance in the package.

As I sat down on the couch to browse the book, the kids sat down to a birthday celebratory feast. Let's just say that I'll start reading the book seriously tomorrow.

Friday, January 8, 2010

I'm weak and working on getting fat

Why am I weak? I actually was dressed to ride, downstairs putting my shoes on when the plea came. Cora looked so in need when she very quietly asked if I would take her and the Baby Don downtown to get a burger. I said yes and man was it good!

We figured we would walk and if you haven't figured it out by now, Max is the youngest crotchety old man you've ever met, so of course he gave us an earful about the snow, the cold and having to exert himself.

We walked a quarter-mile down the street to Cooley's, which in my opinion, is the best burger in Cooperstown. I was also craving their sweet potato fries.

We made peace with the crotchety old man by getting him a root beer in a "big boy cup." Not only were we amazed that he didn't puke after drinking the whole thing, it was quite surprising that he didn't spill it all over the place.

The little guy didn't seem to be too interested in his chicken fingers, but the fries sure were a big hit, with extra ketchup, of course. No worries, though, 'cause Cora and I were all to happy to scarf up the chicken fingers. After all, go big or go home. Notice the annihilation of the mammoth bacon cheeseburger in the upper right corner. Go, Cora, go!

I wish I could tell you that I exercised some restraint, but my burger went bye-bye in a hurry and as you can see, there weren't very many sweet potato fries left either. All in all, we had a great time with Max.

We froze our arses off on the walk home. Unfortunately the walk wasn't long enough to even make a dent in the 2,500 useless calories I just consumed. Yeah, well ...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It was cold today!

I waffled back and forth for about an hour about riding outside, but since I am determined to get out as often as possible, it was time to suck it up and go--the thermometer was reading 16 degrees.

I got out a week or two ago and it was 11 degrees--today felt much colder, I think it was the fine snow that was coming down and blasting me that did it. I made it about a hour and a half, at which point I was still 10 miles from home. It was late and the wind started to pick up. It got so cold that I had to "pack some heat." No, I wasn't going NBA and bringing a gun with me, I had to put something in my pants to shield my unit from the frigid air. I wish I could say that I needed to take off my shoe cover or my extra long wool sock, but sadly, my sweatband was adequate protection. Poor little me.

So I managed to get in 2 hours outside. I rode a big loop out in Middlefield in an effort to stay on flat roads. It was a little boring, but I didn't have to deal with descending in the cold. The roads were pretty clear of ice and traffic.

You know the story, 2 hours of riding and an hour of clean-up time. It's amazing how trashed a bike gets with all the salt. Again, another plug for the fenders. Aside from my knees down, I was mud-free and dry as a bone.

You thought I forgot my third hour, didn't you? Yes, I only rode 2 hours outside, so I jumped on the trainer for another hour of sweatbox torture. I managed to hijack one of my birthday presents early and watched the first 8 stages of the 2000 Tour de France. Earlier in the week, I managed to knock off 3 1/2 hours of the 1999 TDF. It's such a trip seeing all the old equipment--the bikes look nuts with the superlong top tubes and stems. I suppose on a less pleasant note, it's interesting to see all the guys that we now know were totally juiced. On the bright side, I figure I've got about 20 hours left to get through all 7 of Lance's victories. It gives me something small to look forward to while I suffer away on the indoor bike. As the temperatures are looking colder for tomorrow, and I only have so many sweatbands, I can't wait to see the boys of the TDF hit the Pyrenees--or should tomorrow be a rest day?

House update

Lots of little things going on with the house, so it does not look like much has changed since I last updated. The electricity is on as you can see and the insulation is about a day away from completion. I'm told the radiant heat should be on by the middle of next week and then the dry wall goes up.

The master bedroom closet.

Master bedroom facing northeast.

Master bath facing southeast.

Standing in the kitchen entry looking north into the laundry/mudroom.

Standing along the south wall of the dining room looking northeast into the kitchen.

The dining room--looking southwest.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It seems like everybody else has a "best of 2009" post so I thought I'd join the crowd. I actually thought about my "best of 2009" several weeks ago and kept coming to the conclusion that the whole year was pretty darn awesome--sure, I did not get all the results I wanted (yes, I'm talking about sub-9 at Leadville or even finishing, for that matter) but all things considered, this was a great year of riding and I really could not pick one favorite time. It was not until today when I came across some photos from Camp Jackrabbit that it occurred to me that that week really stood above the rest. Why, you ask? No stress and nothing to do but ride, rest, eat and hang out with Big Dave.

The week started with the Greenbrier 4-hour marathon, which aside from the 95+ degree heat (by far the hottest ride of the year), was a pretty decent start to the racing season, i.e. all my goals for the race were accomplished.

Big Dave I'm sure will tell you otherwise, given his only success there was changing no less than 4 flat tires.

Warming up prior to the Greenbrier start--sporting the new kit--I just love riding with the Big guy and it's always fun to race with him--for some reason I am much more chilled out when we're racing together--the races are always more fun not to mention I seem to have better results.

When we got back to Cooperstown, we still had a week to do nothing but ride, eat, and rest. For the most part we had beautiful weather, cool, crisp and not a cloud in the sky all but two of the days. Cora was super fantastic bringing us treats everyday--notice the PB&J induced smile, that hit the spot.

We always rode together, other than the last 20 miles of day 4--again multiple flat tires and we were both out of tubes--I count 9 total flats for Dave that week. Shortly after Big Dave got in the sag-wagon it started pouring-- I got dumped on for a hour and a half before getting home. Maybe he knew something I didn't.

Another perfect day--climbing up Black's Road.

All in all, we logged a little more than 25 hours in the saddle and climbed just short of 32,000 feet--not a bad week if I don't say so myself. Of course Big Dave bitched and moaned about all the hills and climbing,  re-educating me daily on the "no talk zone protocols" which I conveniently ignored. That's the best part of riding with you--talk, talk, talk!

Dave bet me I could not get up this hill on my SS--he was right, I spun out at the top--I'll clean it this year.
We must have been about 4 hours into our day and we came up Murdock Hill and found Cora and Max waiting for us. Not to sound corny but these photos give me the biggest smile--the Bull is so cool. Max says he's doing CJR II again this year too, only this year he's riding it with a geared bike and his own gumbies--shot blox to you and me. Of course my beautiful wife was not empty handed--she came bearing much needed food and drink.

I'm always getting yelled at--by Dave 'cause I talk too much and Max 'cause I'm too slow. The Bull means business.

Climbing the end of Armstrong Rd--trying to decide what to have for dinner--Cora was awesome, she made us a feast every night while we laid around like slugs on the sofa watching TV--had to keep the legs up as it's all about recovery.

More miles talking about who knows what--good times.

Big Dave chasing down the food wagon.

My only flat of the week.

Looking svelte! Taking on a post ride feed.

What a great week, no stress and nothing to do but ride. As I have said before, I've had such a great time the last two years, we've gotten together 4-5 times a year and had loads of fun riding. It's hard to believe we went years at a time without getting together--I'm looking forward to another great year and another great "training camp"--first week of May work?
A huge thanks to Cora for always being there and always tending to my/our riding needs--love you and I appreciate it so much.