Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter 5K Cross Country Race

What better way to celebrate Easter than to run!? Jean, myself, Jeff Hattem and two "newbies" (Mike & Jo Schnyder) headed up to the Salem Country Club to participate in the 5K cross country race on the golf course. This was Mike and Jo's first ever event like this--I hope it's the first of many! After the run, it was time to replenish depleted calories, and Jean had QUITE the spread with banana bread, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, sweat potato biscuits, German apple pancakes, sausages, tempeh bacon, fresh cut fruit, two different quiche's and mimosas... Hmmm... I didn't deplete enough calories!

Spring is Springing...

Jean and I (and Luna) hit the trails ar Bradley Palmer--FINALLY. It was good to get out on the bike while in FL, but that was on the road. There's nothing like dirt. Jean also had a chance to test out her new Cannondale Rush (too bad she forgot her cycling clothes--at least she remembered her helmet and shoes...). The trails were a little muddy in sections, but overall they were in great shape. Too bad I couldn't say the same thing about the legs! Ride on!

Got Weapons?

When we were checking in for the flight to London last month, one of the security guards asked if I had anything with me that "could be used as a weapon."

I had SO many wise-ass answers that I wanted to use...

I wanted to say that words can hurt so does that count?

I wanted to remind him that the pen is mightier than the sword, and I had a few pens with me.

And speaking of pens, I wanted to point out that a well placed bic or Papermate, into a carotid artery could probably be fatal. Or, that I could use two pens as handles tied on to the ends of a shoelace to strangle someone.

I wanted to simply say that, if launched from a catapult or trebuchet, I could be a weapon.

With the folks at the TSA not known for their sense of humor, I said none of these things.

Traffic Lights

I have about a 25 mile commute each way for work. The vast majority is on highways, and based on the time of day that I go in or go home, I rarely have a problem on US1. However, the 2.3 mile stretch from the highway to the hospital is MISERABLE, no matter what time of day I drive it. I have to contend with 13 traffic lights that seem to be perfectly timed so that you have to stop at each one. With so many lights, you can usually see the next one while you are stopped at one, and as soon as the one you are at turns green, looking down the road I see yellow, then red. It most frustrating at 3:00am when there are NO other cars on the road. I HATE Cambridge Street. I'd love to be able to ride in--and it's not the distance that prevents me from doing so. It's #1--the fact that there is NO decent route (i.e. safe) from my house to the hospital, and #2 based on my hours, I'd either be leaving the house at about 5:00am (to get in with enough time to shower and change), getting home that same day at about 9:00pm, or I'd be getting home sometime after 4:00am--not great times to be commuting. Ugh. I just needed to vent.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

How big?

Now don’t get me wrong—I am heartbroken for anyone who is missing a dog, but how big is the missing pup? (as seen on one of my Orlando rides)


Here I am in Orlando for a four days of family stuff and road riding.

Day one: My morning—and Jean’s morning—started EARLY. We were up at about 4:00 and on the road to the airport by about 5:00am (that’s a dedicated wife). My 6:50 flight left on time and it was PACKED full of kids. Packed. I was in the middle seat and the woman next to me even had a toddler sitting on her lap for the whole flight. Well—most of the flight. He was also running up and down the aisle along with the other kids for a Romper Room at 36,000 feet. The little lap dog next to me even had me covered in pieces of waffle and snot. I do have to say though, that the Jet Blue airline had a good amount of leg room and free DirectTV entertainment. Thanks Jet Blue. I landed in Orlando without incident and immediately picked up a large, black Starbucks coffee. I was feeling the lack of sleep. My mom picked me up and we stopped off Bike Works of Orlando to get my road bike (which had been sent down ahead of time via FedEx) and some supplies.

I wanted to get as much riding in as I could so I assembled my Sarthe, squeezed my self into some spandex, and, despite being dead tired, hit the road. So much has changed since my last ride in this area. Miles and miles of roads that used to be lined with orange trees are now lined with new housing developments and strip malls. It’s total sprawl with repeating sequences of Mobils, Starbucks, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Best Buy, Linen & Things, Marshalls, Ross, Circuit City, Home Depot, Subway, Walgreens, Blockbuster, Olive Gargen, etc, etc. It all looks the same. About 13 miles in, I got a flat, ironically, along a stretch of road that I was remembering getting a flat on years ago and being besieged by mosquitos as I was changing it. No bugs this time. My first ride was a little over 22 miles and it felt good to spin the legs out.

Day two. I mapped out a route and headed out for a longer ride, this time hopefully about 40 miles. I had a tiny map with very little detail and a large, but older map, with great detail. And, of course, as my luck always runs, my course would take me off the edge of the good map. So, yes, I did miss a turn. In the end, I still managed to pull in a little more than 40 miles. Forty flat miles. It was on this day that I realized how out of shape that I am. Damn.

Day three. No riding today—we’re having some wild weather: wind, rain, thunder, lightening, and a tornado warning. I spend the day bringing my mother into the 20th century by getting her off dial-up and on to DSL. Why is anyone still using dial up?

Day four. Unfortunately, the wild weather persists. We’ve got a wind advisory with sustained winds of 20-30mph and gusts over 40mph (see vide0). Yeah. So, I thought about going running instead, but I figured that I had spent money to ship my bike down so I should suck it up and head out. I did. It was CRAZY windy, with head winds that just about stopped me cold, nasty cross winds that tossed me around like an empty can, and merciful (but proportionally limited) high-speed tail winds. I had hoped for 50-60 miles for the day, but after 37 miles I rolled in and called it quits. With a morning flight on Sunday, I had to box my bike up and ship it out right after the ride.

My total mileage for the four days was about 100 miles. Not great, but better than I would have done at home on the trainer or out in the elements.