Sunday, June 22, 2008


I've been thinking a lot about gas (and of course the price). Today the formerly elusive $50 tank hit me. I remember in 2000 when I had my first $25 fill-up, just after buying a new car (with a much larger tank than the old) and freaking out. Now a $30 fill-up would be nice.

I'm pretty lucky as we clearly don't fill-up as much as many people. During the week I ride to work (or sometimes in the morning carpool in with Ade) but nearly always ride home. Sure there are those days I have to drive, or want to drive (like to go mountain biking before/after work), but those are about once every 2-3 weeks. But still our primary car gets filled-up about every 10-14 days and the cost sucks.

When I've been thinking about gas, I start to blame us, collectively; the U.S. In 2001 my company looked into "outsourcing" jobs to India, as did many others. We ended up with our own staff in Bangkok, but the fact is big businesses desire to cut labor costs has come back to bite us again. India (and other places, China, Thailand etc.) have had huge economic influxes; creating a middle class that can afford cars and therefore needs gas. This money flowing into developing nations in many cases is the direct result of job cuts in the U.S. and causes a double economic problem in the U.S., job loss and now increased gas/food/materials prices because of the supply and demand of oil/gas.

I've had the opportunity and privilege to work with many people in India over the past three years and know that the jobs they have are great for the individuals and extended families. I would never dismiss or do away with the benefits of a global economy as the benefits out-weigh the negatives (gas prices, employment concerns) in my mind. I do think that big business does need to look beyond the short term cost savings (labor) and look at long term cost implications (gas prices) before making moves. We do live in a global economy and a choice here affects the world economy on many levels.

So for now I'll keep riding my bike to work (as many friends and co-workers in India do) to help reduce the demand for gas.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rock Racing

No, not the team (though those kits are by far the best) I'm talking Rock and Roll and racing. The first race of the Winter Park series was on Saturday, the local hill climb, 5.5 miles from the bast to the top of Mary Jane - 9,000 feet to 11,000+ feet all on service road, parts of it pretty steep.

We went off with 21+ guys (there were 21 finishers and at least one DNF). Per the script Kelly took off at the start, only this year he only finished 4th (unlike last year where he won damn near everything). I settled in towards the middle and was feeling good. Passed some people, got passed, passed some people, got passed but overall stayed pretty good position. Coming to the top I knew I was having (for me) a good day...I could see three guys within striking distance and wanted to make the effort to pass. I made it past one with about 3/4 mile to go and had two more in my sights when I was done. The guy I passed caught me and the other two pulled away. Finished in 14th less than a minute out of 11th and less than 2 minutes out of a top 10. All in all I was happy, feeling like I'm making progress and can pull out a "competative top 10" this year (versus a top 10 against a small/weak field).

Rode for another hour after the race with Kelly, some dirt/mud mostly road. After headed back to Denver for some Rock...The Drive by Truckers and some PBR...nothing like finishing off a day with load rock and roll live. First we saw a local band The Knew (drummer for the band works for me). They were solid and fun, drew a good crowd and played at a place with $2 PBR. Headed over to the main stage to catch DBT. I've never seen them live and gotta say it was fun. Southern Rock, the band drinking Jack on stage, chain smoking and dropping F Bombs; rock and roll the way it was suppose to be. After seeing DBT live I can only say I like them more

Friday, June 13, 2008

Remember the Ride

As a cyclist I've ridden close to, if not more then,100,000 miles. I've been on thousands of rides and ridden with hundreds (or more) of people. Most of my rides have been focused on racing or training for racing. Yet, being very honest there are very few races or rides I remember. Sure I can look back in training logs and see where I rode, how far and with who; but what rides do I remember?

The rides I remember are the unexpected rides with friends, people who don't race, people who I slow down to ride with. I've spent a lot of time riding over nearly 25 years (I got addicted to this sport young) and over that time there are only a few rides I really remember. A cold ride in the fall, probably in 83 with my dad to Morrison. At the time it seemed epic, now just an ordinary ride. But I remember it was cold, windy and the hill on Old Kipling was huge.

I also remember a ride on Easter of 85, with an old friend, a friend of my parents, who took me out to Cherry Creek after a neighborhood Easter brunch. I found out today he has Leukemia, and that ride and many others with him stick out in my mind. At 14 going on a ride with a family friend was fun. Over the years I'd unexpectedly bump into him and ride. Always I'd slow down. Always he'd tell me to go ahead and do my "planned ride". But always I'd slow down and ride. Somewhere along the way this person stopped being my parents friend and became mine. He gave me a job when it was needed (more than once), he (and his wife) bought Ade and I a great wedding present, they hosted a wedding party for us in Denver after being married in SLC because not everyone from Denver could make it, they bought us a present (I still know exactly what it was) when Seamus was born. The rides didn't make us friends, but I'll always remember laps in Washington Park, talking, enjoying a slower pace, enjoying riding with a friend, enjoying riding.

Riding a bike has always been part of me, but now I look back and wonder why? Was it because so many people I knew rode and enjoyed it? Was it because of the friendships? Was it because people like this rode and were/are important in other parts of my life. Where does the bike riding end and life begin?

All I know was upon hearing he had leukemia I was happy. Happy for every unexpected ride with him. Happy for always knowing riding with a friend was more important than the plan. Happy to remember all his bikes (a black Eddy, a titanium Sampson) and his yellow Skid Lid. Happy for showing me (and many others) how to make the world a better place through activism and day to day actions. Happy for my "uncle".

Disease may have him now, but I'll never forget any of the rides with him.

Saturday, June 07, 2008


I planted a vegtable garden earlier this year. There were a couple of reasons I decided to try, one was the environmental benefit of growing my own organic food, locally. The average fruit or vegtable consumed in the US travels 1500 miles. That is a lot of carbon put off into the environment. The second reason was growing a garden seemed like a fun little project. If it works fresh tomatoes, lettuce etc. any night of the week.

Some of the food I planted had already been started; tomatoes and peppers; everything else was from seed; carrot ts,broccoli, squash, pumpkin (for carving in the fall), lettuce, onions and mint. Today we were checking out the garden and surprisingly things are actually growing. Small tomatoes are forming, mini-peppers are appearing and the lettuce, squash, broccoli and carrots are taking off. I guess now it is a sit and wait time with the garden. Hope for some rain (and sprinkler water), no hail, good sunlight, no rabbits or other pests and in a few weeks I can pick a salad 10 minutes before eating.

It seems so simple, plant some seeds and a few months later you have food. But there is a lot of luck in growing food too. We've had a few hard and heavy rain storms over the past few weeks. Luckily no hail at this point. You can plan, plant, organize and prepare for the garden, a bike race, protecting the environment or whatever you wish, but without a little luck the hard work isn't going to matter.

But it is the challenges, the things that don't work that are fun and cause personal growth. My onions really aren't doing anything. Not sure why. Maybe they don't have enough water, maybe not enough sun, maybe the soil in the far corner of the garden isn't very good. It is just like racing, why haven't I been fast, will training/riding a different way help or hurt, have I hit my limit or can I go further. For riding I can try switching the plan mid-season (as I just have done) and check the results. The onions may have to wait until next year. But taking what I have now and keeping track of it and analysing it will let me change and improve going forward. Because the onions don't grow this year I'll learn and grow for next year.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Sometimes you have to ask why? Why do I get up at strange hours to ride my bike? Why do I carry wet wipes in my backpack? Do they really help reduce the sweat smell after riding in to work? Why do I update my blog? Why are most of my blogs about riding? Why do I care about global warming and the environment? Why do I think Hillary has handled her defeat like a 2 year old?

Sometimes you have to answer the why's as well. I love riding, and know early is the time to ride. Don't really care much if I smell after riding, but I do think the wet wipes help. The blog, I don't know on that. The environment, well because we do have an impact and even little changes can make a difference ( a quick example, shipping of goods. The heavier the shipment the more fuel it takes to ship; therefore the more carbon released. Consider buying goods that have taken this into account. One of my new favorite brands of drinks is Honest Tea, great tasting, all organic (less methane and carbon in growing the ingredients) and shipped in lighter weight easily recyclable plastic bottles. Check them out at look for companies making the small changes.

Why do I think Hillary is acting like a 2 year old, well she lost. Maybe she has more popular votes, maybe not (caucus states are impossible to accurately count, Michigan was a debacle)but either way she doesn't have the delegates. Admit defeat, step aside and work to help Obama win. We don't need more time in a war that was suppose to protect us from weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist.

I strongly supported Hillary until last night. I voted for Nader in 2000, maybe I will again.

Monday, June 02, 2008

City Park

I raced yesterday at the closest race of the year (well tied for since I raced there earlier), the famed City Park Crit. This race has been held at City Park in Denver for 37 years, gotta be one of the longest running races in the country. I don't hit up road races much, and crits (especially dead flat ones) are even more rare; however, I couldn't pass up the race this year.

The course is 5 blocks from where I grew up (and my parents still live) and a 15 minute ride from the house. And for whatever reason this season I've been riding a lot of miles at City Park. It isn't the greastest place to put in laps, but it works. So Sunday morning I got ready and rode over to the race. Left the house 70 minutes before the start which is super nice. We had a huge field of 92 racers on a tight, technical and fast course. For a guy who doesn't spend a lot of time on crit courses this was not ideal, but I wanted a hard effort so got ready to start.

From the gun the race was fast, single file most of the time. Every time I looked at my computer I saw 26+mph, sections of the park I ride at 22-23 were being ridden at 30 in the race. Given my technical skills on the road I hung towards the back and clawed my way on to the field every time someone got dropped. I kept expecting the pace to slow, as usually after 5-10 minutes of racing the pace slows. Yesterday though there was no slowing down, just a fast course all day. Hanging in the pack was fun though and the speed on the road can't be matched. I hung in till the last lap when I took it easy through the last couple of corners, no reason to crash going for 30th. Ended up 49th, middle of the pack (kinda, since only 52 finished without being lapped). Through the race riders were falling off by ones and twos until just over half the field finished.

After the race I saw we averaged 26.3 mph for 45 minutes, I guess I got the hard work in I wanted.