Saturday, May 31, 2008

I'd vote for a cyclist any day

To build on the last post, we often vote for a person/people with charm, charisma, money, and a personality that is interesting in two minute sound bites. But do those characteristics really prove a person is capable of leading? Sometimes yes; sometimes no. In my mind, disagree if you like, there are two types of leaders: those who lead by inspiring; those who lead by example.

I think those who lead by inspiring, someone like Obama, have charm, charisma, and an interesting two minute personality. This is not to say Obama doesn't have more substance; just that given what we know of him (a speech at the 2004 convention as a rookie senate candidate and this campaign) it really is a two minute sound bite.

Hillary (and McCain and Dodd for that matter) have a little more history and move from the sound bite candidate to leading by example a little more with each person. So what does this have to do with voting for a cyclist? Well there really are no flash in the pan, sound bite cyclists. It takes years of training, suffering, work, failure and training to reach the highest levels. Each racing cyclist has a different highest level. I will never be a pro or even a semi-pro, with some luck and a lot of hard work maybe a middle of the pack expert. Others will be a sport rider for ever, others a top level pro. What I know though is at any of these levels, if a person has worked to reach their potential as a cyclist they know how to work hard, lead by example, dedicate themselves to a cause they believe in.

Riding four hours in a Colorado winter, four hours in 100 degree heat, racing full out for 2+ hours isn't easy. Cyclists know (to quote Phil Levine) What Work Is.

Each time I go out on the bike I feel refreshed, I solve problems, I work hard and dedicate myself for the pure enjoyment of riding. Cycling is to hard to particpate in for only the money and fame (even if you are Lance), I just wish politics had that same problem.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Today was Work

Most times, for me, riding the bike isn't work. Today it was. Just a short ride home, an easy spin, not hard riding, not training. Using the bike for a very utilitarian purpose was all, but the entire ride was work.

It could have been the cold, wet weather; it could have been being tired after some fun, fast riding on the weekend; it could have been work actually carried over onto the bike; it could have been music I listened to during the day; it could have been articles I read today. I'm not sure but it was work.

I bought the new James McMurtry album, Just Us Kids, today. JM is a working man. A singer/songwriter who writes from the heart, from the earth. To paraphrase he's not an overly friendly outgoing guy and there isn't a lot of love in his life. But the stores he tells are real and make you think about how life isn't as easy as we might like. So anyway I bought the album and was listening all day at work (five listens already) and checked out his website. I found a couple articles JM wrote on the election process. One of the articles really got to me ( not because of his choice to vote for Hillary, but for his take on Obama and Hillary.

I don't care what either candidate would do in the event of an emergency phone call in the White House at 3 a.m. They might do right, they might do wrong. No head of state can keep his or her population safe, if they could, there'd be no bus bombings in Israel. I'm concerned with the average. Which one of them is going to make the right decision, on a full range of issues, most of the time? Which one of them is better at making deals, which one of them is going to work harder?

I've stayed away from overt politics, but it is getting to a point where each of us must voice our thoughts. I've supported Hillary for awhile (since Chris Dodd dropped out) and I've decided I don't give a shit about pledged delegates or who has won what state. I care about "the average". I care about who can do the best for me, for Ade, for you, and mostly for Seamus. The Democrats have built a process with "super delegates" to help decide. Really this is no different than the Electoral College. Give the people some voice, but allow an educated/elite few power to override fools. As JM said, "I kept remembering a quote, "Euphoria spreads across the face of our nation like the broad grin of an idiot." well I want to make sure the super delegates stem the tide of euphoria with Obama and stop the idiots votes from counting.

This all was surfacing on the ride home, no wonder it was work today. But riding the bike is like that sometime. Some days the bike is just average, it's about taking care of getting home from work; it's about saving a few bucks on gas; it's about knowing your transportation is reliable and will get you to and from where you need to go; it's about knowing how to fix the problem with your transportation, not needing to take it to someone else to fix the problem; it's about the utilitarian purposes of the bike. Today the bike was like politics. I didn't want or need the flashy, expensive bike that people look at; ask questions about; are impressed with; I need the bike for the simple average purposes. Was I glad to have a nice bike to do the average with? Hell yes, the bike was the super delegate, doing it's job to take care of the average and to make sure we don't make another huge mistake.

Think about why you support your candidate. If it is more than hype, great stay with it. If not think about taking care of the day to day, making sure we are looking at issues and taking care of today and tomorrow. If after thinking about it your mind has changed from February (or whenever your primary was) let the super delegates know so they can vote accordingly.

And should our next president be awaken at 3:00am because of an emergancy I hope they have James McMurtry's number at hand. I have a feeling he has made a few hard life choices at 3:00am and lives up to them every day. I just hope our next president can do the same.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Daddy's an Idiot

Daddy's an Idiot,Daddy's an Idiot,Daddy's an Idiot,Daddy's an Idiot. No better way to walk into the house than to have your six your old screaming that, to bad in this case it was true. Got up this morning before Seamus was awake, left the house to ride the mountain bike. Stop, get coffee, drive, pull into the parking lot, pull out bag, grab jersey, hat helmet, shorts, shoes. Oh no we have a problem here. Left shoe, good. Right shoe, shit! Old road shoe. Ok maybe this can still work, right? At least I have a left and right shoe. Nope, this won't work. Remember idiot you switched all pedals this winter that shoe is at least three years old. It will fit an old bike but not this one.

Pack every up and drive home. Walk in, Ade and Seamus still in PJ's wondering what I'm doing home. Well, daddy's an idiot.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Why has Colorado, or at least the front range, decided to part with the rest of the nation when it comes to bike to work day? Most (if not all) of the rest of the country held bike to work day last week. Not here in good old Colorado, ours is June 25, a full six weeks later.

Sure there is the weather excuse (it can, and does, snow in May) but that is lame since we have afternoon thunderstorms all June. I guess we just want to be different. Why do I bring this up? Well for a hippie bike rider, bike to work day is a big event. You get praised (once a year) for riding your bike and maybe (if you are lucky) you can get a few other people to ride and help the environment.

This year I am coordinating BTWD at my work and helping promote multiple events in the neighborhood. Why put this much time into BTWD when chances are it won't create more commuters? I really don't know, but if we reduce our collective carbon footprint one day by getting people to ride or get one more regular commuter out of the work than my hippie side is happy. No need to mention the fact I like riding my bike (ok love would be more accurate) and want to have other people participate and enjoy the benefits of riding.

If you're in Denver check out the team website in the next few days for details on our events. One will be June 15, a planning session and Q&A on how and why to take part in BTWD and the second event will be on June 25, BTWD, with a guided ride to downtown from Stapleton and Happy Hour for BTWD participants at SouthEnders.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


That's where I finished up on Saturday, not a good result at all. After every race there is a period of evaluation. What did I do good (finished, consistent), what did I do bad (slow start, cramping) what can I improve (general speed, ability to stick with leaders early). Based on those evaluations, as a racer, you make choices. I've been using a coach for almost a year again. Following the program and making strides in some fitness area, but overall not a huge gain when it comes to speed in racing.

This is not to say the program doesn't work, just to say I need to get faster and the program is more about metered changes. The two people I know who have had the best results the past two seasons (and in reality great results on an very large scale basis) don't use coaches, don't use power meters, don't use heart rate monitors, hell they don't even have computers on their bikes. One of these two took the overall last year at WP in expert with 3 or 4 wins, the other has won 4 race as a cat 3 this year (including 2 in a row). What does this mean? Not sure, but they both go out and ride on feel. Ride hard and fast if that is how they feel. Slow and steady if that is how they feel. Drink a 6 pack if that is how they feel. Enjoy riding and racing, cause that is how they feel.

I got rid of my coach yesterday. Rode for 2 hours, mostly hard. Rode for 2 hours today, every time I saw another rider, no matter where or their skill level, I pegged it to catch them. I'm giving this ride by feel a try for a period. Train hard, train easy? No, just ride how I feel. Tomorrow I'm going out in the morning. It may be big ring the entire time, may be small ring, probably around 2 hours before work. But if I don't feel like it I'll take it easy and just ride to work. I can always ride hard another day.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Real Race

Battle the Bear, my least favorite race of the year. Why? Well the course is fairly flat (though a new climb this year made for a more interesting course), no trees and somehow always hot. The good news about the race is that it is nearly in Denver, only about 20 minutes from home so BTB always is on the calendar.

Thus far this season, training or racing I havdn't ridden in any weather with temps above the mid-60's; however, all week prior the weather promised high 70's+ for the race. With no hot miles, no tan and a course that has no shade and radiates heat I was ready for BTB. They started nearly all the Experts at one time so there was no telling who I was actually racing, but the pace seemed high so I let myself fall back and ride my own temp. For the first two laps I saw very few people, nobody passed me and I didn't really pass until the end of the second lap. On the third lap the heat and distance started to show and people begin to appear in front of me. I passed 4-5 people prior to the climb. On the bottom of the climb I saw Rob 200 meters in front and yelled at him. See we had a 6 pack on the line so I figured harassment might help. "Hey Rob you want that beer pretty bad?" He looked back and kept pedaling, passed two guys and looked strong. I kept my pace and passed the same two guys, Rob was still close. As we neared the 2nd to last rise Rob was within 50 meters and I thought I'd grab him. We rolled along very close, passing one more person. On the last rise Hank (from Nathrop) and a teammate of his were in front of Rob and I. Rob passed at the top of the last climb and took off. I cramped at the top of the climb and couldn't pass. Trying to stay up with those three for the last mile or so was hard, and no distance was made up or lost after the downhill from the last climb.

Tally for the race: 2:15 minutes; 3 laps all at 45 minutes even; 4 water bottles; 4 gels, cramps at the end; lost 6 pack to Rob. Now I just need to find out where I finished.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Racing (Kinda0

I was leaving the office yesterday to ride home, right as I was getting on the bike in front of the office a guy I work with who lives a block from me was walking out of the office. He offered a 6 pack to the winner, I took him up on the bet. It's just over 7 miles straight home, take into account walking to a parking lot, lights etc. and my ability to always see a green light (or maybe I just don't understand how lights work) it was an easy race.

About 20 minutes later I was on the phone...tonight I have beer. Another benefit of commuting by bike.

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Mind

I've had a lot going on recently, causing my mind to jump, wander and forget. I put together a community fun ride for my team. Time was spent figuring out routes, putting together information on bike safety, bike riding tips for commuting and (cause I'm a hippy) how riding the bike and other simple changes can lessen environmental impact. Add to that working with my sponsors on the ride (helping to prompt them), getting people to help (huge thanks to those that did) and getting prizes to people who showed up (and yes, some actually did) I spent most of my free time for three weeks on the ride.

Oh yea, did I mention I was still training 12+ hours a week. I also added some time to that 12 hours by making an effort to actually ride the mountain bike on a mountain since in the first race I sucked, due in large part to no (ok three) mountain bike rides since September of 2007. Hopefully the riding in the dirt helps, though this morning I stacked it up good, going through a section with a 1.5 then 3 foot drop in(s) I decided to crash off the side of the trail, down an embankment about 10 feet. The rear wheel somehow came out of the bike, der hanger bent, knee swollen and bruised and in general sore. The good news is tomorrow is a road ride, the bad news is 4:30 am wake up call if I want to get in my miles. Sly Fox is giving DH lessons now, I think I'll sign up when I'm in SLC in July. I can't think of a better way to spend a day then riding trails with Sly Fox.

Oh yea, did I mention work? Well I can't say very much, mostly I avoid work on the blog. Right now though there is a lot going on...all I can say here is glad I'm only being requested to provide information cause dealing with lawyers all day is a pain.

Oh yea, did I mention I got lucky? No, not that way (ok kinda), yesterday was Mother's Day and I'm lucky cause my wife (ade) and mother to my son (again ade) is great. The community ride, it was on Mother's day...she went out, rode the course, helped me put together stuff, watched our son, and was great about it all. Another bike ride on Mother's Day and she had fun. I've been married 10+ years and a father 6+ years and am lucky every day that I have a wife (and more importantly a friend) who supports me and lets me have my passions too. Not sure what having a family means to you, but to me a wife who is there to help me and support me and let me have my own passions and times is great. Thanks Ade.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


I'm not going to say much about the race in Nathrop today other than sand and hard. It was my first mountain bike race of the year and I feel it now. Results will come later, mostly because the only thing I know is I finished and beat Hank from RMR. Don't know Hank at all and the only reason I know I beat him is because for 4 laps we were close at the start/finish and I heard people cheering for him.

Hank, if you're out there good race, had I a literal minute to spare I would have talked with you. However, the reality is I never even stopped after the race. I crossed the finish line, filled a bottle with water and hammered back to the car. Why? well somethings are more important than bike races and today my older sister (finally) graduated from college. So what does this have to do with racing? Well what was going to be a relaxing weekend with the family turned into a 8 hour speed run for a race. I left Denver at 8:30, hit Nathrop in time to register at 11, lined up at 12:06, finished at 2:30, got to the car at 2:43, was on the road by 2:50, home by 5:10 and at my sisters graduation 1/2 way across town at 6. She was thinking I was still going to be in Nathrop for the race weekend and broke down in tears when I showed up. Like I said, sometime racing isn't the most important thing.

I will say I felt strong, especially on the flats and climbs. The downhill sucked, maybe I should ride in dirt once in a while. But (and this is without knowing results) for the first time in expert I felt like I was racing. There were a few people passing me, I passed a few people. A lot of back and forth. Maybe we were battling for the last few places (I really don't know) but at least we were battling. In the past I haven't had a lot of action around me in expert, so it was nice to have Hank and a few others near.

At this point it has been a long, hard day. I'm going to bed.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

New Link

So those of us who blog all have ways to track who hits our site and from where. There is always a sense of pride when a new site provides a link, so thanks to Flahute Steve in Utah. For those in the know I have a special spot in my heart for Utah (and cycling), my wife was raised in Sandy and is the older sister to one of the most famous retired racers ever from Utah (first person besides Sly Fox who knows the racer will get a prize next time I hit Utah).

I'm embarking on a strange trip this year as I am running a team for the first time. But unlike many others I'm not limiting myself to just getting money for a few racers; I'm working to let people know about their environmental impact (yea you can call it global warming if you want) and how riding the bike can reduce that impact.

I don't want to change your politics, just provide a little background and start some thoughts on changing each of our lifestyles (and yes I'm trying to change mine every day).

Kick back and enjoy the site. Thanks for stopping by and thanks to Flahute for the link.