Monday, December 31, 2007

What's the secret?

Ok, I have a serious question to pose to the small, yet hopefully enlightened, group of readers that occasionally visit my blog. How do you stay healthy when your kids (or nieces, nephews, clients/patients, etc.) are sick? I for one have yet to figure this out since whenever my kid(s) bring home a cold I find a way to participate in the fun. EVERY SINGLE TIME. Without fail. No, I am not exaggerating. I am sick (pun intended) of it and need to figure out a way to stop the vicious cycle. And yes, I currently have a cold thanks to my 7 year old son. Which, I might add, is one reason why I am sitting at work instead of skiing with my brother. Alright, I'm being less than honest now. The reason I'm not skiing is because I totally chickened out. The freezing temperatures combined with 15" of new snow (I never did figure out how to ski powder...) were too much for my fragile confidence to handle. Even the realization that it had been 6 years - and not 7 as I had previously thought - since I last stepped into my ski bindings, wasn't enough to get me up on the mountain.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Gym Rat

Nothing too exciting going on lately. My top secret training plan for 2008 began on Monday which meant I actually rode my bike. The only problem was that my ride was indoors, on a trainer, for a whopping 60 minutes. Oh yeah, and that was without a fan. The experience can be summed up in two words: Hot and Boring. Lucky for me Fox had an unused fan that I picked up today so my next ride should just be boring. I can't wait. I'm getting so desperate for outside stimulation that I'm seriously considering skiing with my brother on Monday. I'll probably chicken out (it's been at least 7 years since I was last on skis) since he's in town to log as many hours as possible on the steep stuff in preparation for an upcoming cat boarding trip to British Columbia. Oh well, at least the gym has proven somewhat interesting. I've been doing a solid 60 minute aerobic workout split between the Elliptical (25 minutes), StairMaster (20 minutes) and rowing machine (15 minutes) that feels pretty good. I'd like to get out on the road but until the snow/ice melts and the temperature creeps above 35 I'm staying indoors.

Monday, December 24, 2007

More Bobke II

Per Kris' request. Excerpt taken from Blind Faith was My Motto at the '86 Tour in Bobke II.

The next three stages were merciless, inhumanly hard days in the Pyrénées and into the oven of central France. The sun had turned the chip-and-seal roads to playdough, and - kick me hard in the balls - I got sick again. The walls of my hotel room bled as hallucinations replaced sleep - interrupted only by screaming voices ringing in my head as I ran to the toilet to vomit. This time, I was in tears before the day's stage even started. I packed my bags, made plane reservations, and told Shelley V. to drive me to the airport from the first feed zone.

When that day's stage started, we went easy for about 10 meters, until some moron launched, and we all were in single file going 60 kph. I couldn't believe it. You can't even drop out of the Tour easily. I dug down deep and somehow managed to stay in the pack, until we reached the first feed zone. When Shelley saw me coming, she naturally held out the feed bag. I looked at her funny, but grabbed my bag and kept going. The moment I reached for that feed, I changed. From then on, I wanted to finish the Tour de France.

Since I hadn't slept or eaten in two days, I was famished after the stage and ate a huge dinner with a gigantic peach melba for dessert. The next day, I woke up - after actually sleeping - and ate four ham-and-cheese omelets. While this eating took the edge off my appetite, I became as constipated as the Colorado River at Hoover Dam.

When we started the next stage, I had about 7 pounds of manure in my bowels. After carrying half my body weight in my lower intestines for three hours into the stage, the load decided to cut loose. Sheeeeeiittt! I desperately grabbed my jersey, trying to pull it off right in the middle of the peleton. I got it over my head ... and it stuck right there. Mike Neel had pinned my number on that day - through my jersey, through my T-shirt, and into my bib shorts, I was as blind as a bat weaving through the pack, spastically yanking on my jersey and knocking Colombians and Spaniards over like bowling pins. Finally, the road curved and I went straight ... straight into a ditch. I was careening down the ditch spraying mud on all the spectators, until finally I smashed into a driveway and went flying over the bars in a blind somersault, tearing loose the jersey. I left the bike right there, ducked behind a tall hedge, and squatted down for a massive doo.

Meanwhile, Mike is driving along in the caravan and sees my bike lying in a driveway in bumpuke France. He stops and asks where in freaking French hell is the guy who was riding it. The spectators started yelling at Mike, because I had covered them all in mud, so Mike starts screaming, "Bob, where the hell are you?" I figured I better finish and get going. So I look around for some leaves, and instead, find a family of absolutely horrified French people staring at me from the picnic they were having on their front lawn. They looked at me in utter disbelief and exasperation as I smiled, grabbed a linen napkin, wiped myself, grabbed a piece of cake, and ran in a full, Carl Lewis sprint. Mike was on the road, shaking his head in pure wonder, and I said, "When you got to go man, you got to go." I hung tough the rest of the stage, and the rest of the Tour...

In Search of a Fan

Apparently fans are a seasonal item which makes them currently impossible to find in stock. I wonder if this true across the country or limited to those states that experience a true winter? Don't ask what the definition of a "true" winter is becauase I really don't know. However, it seems odd to think that residents of Arizona, Florida, Texas, Nevada, California, etc. would be unable to buy a fan at any time of the year. So there must be a formula used by retail establishments to determine whether or not fans should be considered seasonal. Anyway, thus far my wife and I have tried Home Depot, WalMart, Target and the IFA Country Store with no success. As I'm sure all of you have learned over the years, it's hard enough to cycle indoors with one or more fans strategically placed to provide maximum air flow over your hot, sweating body but to ride inside with no fan? Forget it. If I wanted a sweat of that magnitude I'd go sit in the sauna at the gym. So if anybody has a spare fan (or two, or three) that is currently collecting dust I'd be glad to buy/borrow/rent your excess inventory.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bobke II

April 22, 1998
Oh Lord, can't ya hear me cry? Another savage epic. High of 40 degrees, pissin' ass, shag-nasty rain, just carvin' the flab off me like a molten razor blade through room-temperature butter. There is no rest for the wicked, and no ticket to ride. Just ceaseless coos of madness from the slightly round gyroscope in my innermost brain that slings me forward. The highway never ends, but this 6-hour hit parade did - right at the top of Beech Mountain. The name says it all. Lance fragged me miles from the top, and I was left crawling like a salamander in my 21-cog, blowing chunks of lung. Like I said, I be fit or I be dead. After sixteen climbs today, no stops at all, no stories of the old days, just side-by-side hard drivin', I am totally wasted.

Let me know if you'd like to borrow my copy. This book is a fast, funny, hilarious read. Check it out here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fly Christmas Gifts

Check out these hella sweet slang flashcards. My sister-in-law's little brother has a grip of these on the wall in his room and they're straight up hilarious. Kris and I saw them during our trip to AZ and were doubled over laughing so hard we almost cried. Perfect for the people on your list looking to modernize their vocabulary or seeking to understand their older children. Alternatively, if you've been cold dissed, freaked or had somebody up in your grill and still haven't figured out exactly what happened these cards may help shed some light on the situation.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Lifetime of Fitness

Well, at least a winter of fitness. Since the new, top-secret 2008 training plan includes a cycle of weight training, I am now a member of Lifetime Fitness located in South Jordan. And while we chose to join Lifetime because of its location (according to Google Maps it's 2.6 miles door-to-door), I should say that the cherrywood lockers, granite countertops and limestone tile aren't bad either. After two visits I must admit that I'm actually enjoying the experience. Thus far I'm just messing around with the cardio machines as I finish up my 2nd week off the bike: Elliptical, stairmaster and rowing machine (in that order) combine for close to an hour of aerobic exercise the likes of which I had never experienced (this is the time I've been a member of a gym). Who knew that it was possible to "run" with little to no impact on my knees? Crazy. On Saturday I even tried a few laps in the pool with mixed results. I was happy to realize I could still swim but struggled finding a rhythm breathing. I don't see a triathalon in my future anytime soon!

Next week I'm back on the bike and plan to give rollers a go for the first time. So far winter is proving to be a season of firsts.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

I'm Beat

A little more than 13 hours and 100 miles for the week - all on the dirt. Not bad for the 1st week of December. I was completely wasted for today's ride but still enjoyed the scenery. Usery Park is pretty sweet. Now for 2 weeks rest before the real training with a plan begins...

Friday, December 7, 2007

That's How I Roll

Today was another go at McDowell with Kris and my brother. The bro spends too much time in his dental office and kept remarking how "good it feels to be outside." Limited time is one of the many joys of owning your own business. Well, not really but it does make one appreciate the rare moments of leisure and recreation. We knocked off the Sport, Technical, Long, Sport and Scenic loops in that order. There was a brief 10 minutes of rain during which we hung out in the bathroom (we had just finished the Technical loop and were about to start the Long - all loops begin and end at the parking lot) but other than that the weather was dark, cloudy, windy but dry. Until 2 pm that is at which point it rained steadily until 9 pm. Hopefully the trails will be rideable tomorrow...


Thursday, December 6, 2007

South Mountain: National & Desert Classic

Today's pace was significantly faster than the previous three days given that Kris is now in town. Luckily he didn't go too crazy knowing he has a couple more days to ride and my legs were able to keep the gaps respectable! We knocked off National first, riding it as an out-n-back from the Pima Canyon trailhead, up Mormon to National then on to the Buena Vista parking lot. We then flipped a U-turn and rode National all the way down. Feeling hungry after completing the ride we ripped over to In-N-Out burger for a quick lunch followed by another hour on the Desert Classic trail. This is a sweet ride, with tons of big ups and downs as you drop in and out of washes. Super fun. The scenery is a bit sparse during the first 1-2 miles but once you distance yourself from the neighborhoods the visuals get really good. Check out the pictures and start planning your trip south. Arizona is the place to be in the winter!

Mormon - National Trail (check out Kris shredding the Waterfall - going up!)

Desert Classic (also includes the leading photo)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Pima Dynamite

I learned one thing today: Desert singletrack + motorcycles = sand. The theme of today's ride was SAND. Luckily 95% of the trail/road was rideable but the remaining 5% was deep, soft, hike-a-bike in the sand. The next time I ride this network I need to tag along with somebody who's ridden it before. The singletrack I did ride was fun and different than anything I've ridden before: Lots of ups and downs on and through fields of huge granite boulders on a narrow, sandy/crushed granite base.

A couple of times I popped out into a neighborhood to escape the sand. The last time, as I was making my way back to Dynamite Road, I ended up riding a street named after me. Seems like everybody who lives on my street should pay me a royalty for the use of my name!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sunrise Peak

While the Sunrise Trail is described as not "...too burly, but surely burly enough..." I can say that for my December legs it definitely leaned towards the burly! Starting from the Lost Dog Wash trailhead at the end of 124th Street, I knew it would be an out-and-bike ride: Climb up to the top and then rip it back down. What I didn't realize was that the trail, while completely rideable, is extremely rocky and that the final .25 miles to the summit is not intended for bikes. Regardless, the ride was a blast and a good strength workout for my legs. I rode everything on the way up with the exception of a few steep, tight switchbacks and the final .25 miles to the top. I did, however, bring my bike with me so I could get a shot of it at the summit. The handful of hikers I passed at the top were completely amazed to see a rider that high. It was a good, solid ride and as you can see from the pictures (taken on the way down so as not to interrupt my rythm climbing which means that sequentially they are from the top down...) the scenery was fantastic.

The view from my balcony

Monday, December 3, 2007

What a difference 700 miles makes

I rolled away from the car today with bare arms and legs. My tan has faded significantly over the past few months and my form is limited but man, how sweet it was to ride in shorts and a jersey! My legs didn't feel that good, and I had a few aches and pains on the bike, but after 12 hours in the car yesterday I figure it's to be expected. They should come around over the next few days so that when Kris arrives on Thursday I'm ready to throw down on the National trail.

The area experienced severe rain this past weekend and I saw the evidence of the resulting floods on the trails. It was difficult to follow the route in sections as all previous tracks had been wiped clean. At one point, upon entering a wash, I couldn't see where the trail exited on the other side so started following some fresh hoof prints. I assumed the prints were left by horses but after arriving at a watering trough after a few minutes of riding I realized I'd been following a group of thirsty cows! At times I encountered puddles which seemed out of place in the amongst the cactus, sand and rock of the desert. Some trails had seen no traffic since the storms and these, especially the Secret Trail, were the hardest to follow. Even on the road leading into the park I drove over sand and debris deposited by the massive run off. Average rainfall for Scottsdale in November is .80 inches. There was no recorded precipitation until the last day of the month - November 30th, Friday - when it nearly doubled the average with 1.53 inches!