28 February 2007

Today

Just a quick note -- California was good, returned home early due to family. I'll update another time.

17 February 2007

Kid = Candy

From where I'm sitting at this very moment, eating my free food and drinking my free root beer from my free pint glass, I can see the all-carbon Scott complete with SRAM TT gear; a Salsa with SRAM Force; a full brace of Velocity rims; a rack of SixSixOne gloves, helmets and shoes; the entire range of Salsa bikes; everything Thule under the sun; and what looks like miles and miles of product in the QBP warehouse. It may have been a long, long day -- but this is the ultimate payback.

I'm at QBP for FrostBike, the annual gathering of some of the biggest and best retailers and the best and brightest suppliers. "Q" is the largest distributor of bicycle parts, and has everyone up to their base in February each year for a sort of season kick-off. And I mean everyone -- if Q's got it, or you buy it, you're here.

So, yeah, I'm working hard -- but man, it's pretty cool when you get to look at bike porn all day. And to think this is just an appetizer of the warm weather and beautiful sunshine that awaits me in California ...

ONLY 300 DAYS TO KC!!

15 February 2007

Be mine

Generic post today lest my office mate make fun of me. Shout out over there, yo.

My Valentine yesterday was Jose, master mechanic of the SRAM Neutral Race Support team. Jose has saved my ass a number of times at StupidWeek, and yesterday spent hours pulling together (and pushing, and hammering, and standing on) two of our Africa bikes. He did an awesome job ... check out the spy photo:

Also thanks to MountainGoat and Rachael, I almost spit coffee all over my keyboard I was laughing so hard.

ONLY 302 DAYS TO KC!!

13 February 2007

Damage

In case you haven't seen the comments section or the CAMBr message board, I was incorrect about the damage at Out & Back and Gravity Cavity/One-Day Trail: the FPD went in there with tree choppers to put in bridges over the creeks. These trail "improvements" have been in the works for a long time, it's just taken them until now to get going on them. The bridges will enable emergency workers to access the trails, and will keep us in singletrack nirvana ...

I'm still not sure about the devastation I saw over at Dan McMahon Woods. I've never been on the trails over there, so I may be incorrect, but holy crap did it look horrible. According to the CAMBr map, that area is "Phase 8" of development, so maybe it's not as bad as it seemed ...

Speaking of destruction, check out the Bartlett Lake TT results and story: How much would it suck to be Drew Miller? Well, maybe not -- it would be pretty cool to have some heavy hitters to compare against.

Big shout out to my next-door neighbor at work, who discovered my blog yesterday. Now I'm totally self-conscious. At least for today.

ONLY 304 DAYS TO KC!!

Oh, the humanity!

Flipped on WGN this morning before heading out to work, and Judy Garcia was astonished that -- GASP! -- people will actually be riding their bikes to work today! I was, like, oh-my-gawd, how could anyone be so crazy?!

Seriously, though -- there's a full-on blizzard going south of the city, and here in Chicago we've got blowing snow, nasty winds, and more snow on the way. (Freudian typo: I just typed "more snot on the way.") I chose to ride the L -- coming in wasn't so bad; the trip home may be super nasty.

Check out this observation from Andrew Hood in a recent article on VeloNews.com about Tyler Hamilton's return to racing:
It was later revealed that blood tests taken after his time trial victory in stage 8 showed evidence of homologous blood transfusions and the presence of foreign blood cells within his system. Sadly, Hamilton's last day as a pro serves as a painful reminder of just what the sport has suffered through in recent years. That day's stage was won by Roberto Heras (stripped of the 2005 Vuelta title and suspended for EPO), who knocked Floyd Landis (facing the loss of the 2006 Tour de France title on a testosterone charge) out of the leader's jersey. Finishing second that day was Santiago Perez (suspended for blood doping), who finished ahead of third-placed Francisco Mancebo (named in Operation Puerto and ejected from the 2006 Tour).

Yeah, yeah, doping in the peloton is nothing new. But I don't care who you are, this sort of crap just sucks.

ONLY 305 DAYS TO KC!!

11 February 2007

Destruction

Quick update -- great day out at Palos today. Lots of log practice.

I didn't end up doing the cemetery loop; I opted to head across the street and along the Crucible toward Swallow Cliffs. I was having fun ... until right after the underpass.

I knew from Out & Back and One-Day Trail that the ATVs had been in the area. I had heard about the police presence and had seen some of their tracks on my previous couple of rides. But nothing -- NOTHING -- prepared me for what I saw over on the other side of 104th Ave.

Words cannot describe it. I wish I had a camera -- the entire area is destroyed. Not a little -- completely wiped out. If there was singletrack there before, it is gone -- probably forever. The closest thing I can liken it to is images from the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, when German Panzers and American main battle tanks squared off in the middle of the Ardennes -- the forests were decimated.

I almost started to cry. I think those trails might have been illegal, but that doesn't forgive the destruction I saw out there. If we don't respect the world around us, what do we respect?

Fun in the sun

It's an hour earlier, but 10 degrees warmer than yesterday -- woo-hoo! I think I won't have to double up on the tights today ... finally!

Lots of fun yesterday with him, a couple of these, and one of these. Palos got a lot more snow last week than we did up north in the city, and from the opening climbs on the blue trail we knew we were in for a workout. It wasn't quite laying down tracks in the fresh powder, but it was close, and in some spots we were the first. So after not quite bringing it yesterday, today I'm on a quest to do three things: 1) relax, as I am still riding WAY too tight; 2) attempt every ridable log crossing on the cemetery loop, even if it means walking back up the trail and trying again; and 3) find the "new trail" over on the east side -- all that fire road pedaling yesterday SUCKED!

Gonna' be a great day -- perfect weather and a packed-down trail ... what more could you want?

ONLY 307 DAYS TO KC!!

10 February 2007

5.5 at 5:55

Up early again to head down to Palos -- this time, John is driving, and then we're headed out to Woodstock. It's kind of strange seeing the same people/person six of seven days each week, especially when we're going to be together 100% starting next Sunday at the Tour ... at this point, I think I'm with John more than I'm with Kim!

I just hate it when things get trendy, don't you? Only 'cause then people think I'm just a wannabe.

Oh, wait, I am just a wannabe.

Fun weekend ahead with family celebrations of Kim's b-day and a fair bit of presentation creation for work. And at least 6 hours of riding -- Nothing this whole week, until I finally broke down yesterday at lunch and went for a 30-minute run. I can't remember ever being so desperate to just do something!

ONLY 308 DAYS TO KC!!

09 February 2007

Elixir

I told Kim I had to go into work early today to work on our presentation. I had my laptop at home, and could have worked their while she did her morning workout ... but I just learned about the not-so-secret stash of good coffee at work, and I figured if I was starting at 6:30, I darn well better be caffinated!

So I'm here in the loft, high above Kingsbury, rocking out to The Rollins Band and going through e-mails. (That was the other excuse for coming in -- our shared iPod drive. I love my library, but have a full 10 days on the road coming up, so any chance I have to listen to someone else's music is good!) And drinking good coffee. Surrounded by miscellaneous bike parts, and my new furniture -- which is a pretty cool rolling drawer set and full-size locker. Now complete with stickers and magnets. It looks so much like my dining room it's scary, right down to the holes in the wall.

Is it home, or is it Memorex?



Happy b-day: Happy birthday wishes to 'Stina, here's hoping the little ones (and the big one) give you a nice day off! Happy birthday! [And yes, the music choice is in honor of your big day. Tell Tom I say hi!]


Also to: The venerable Steve Tilford, who turns 184 tomorrow. Yes, he still races faster than most of the 20-something Cat. 1s you know.


And speaking of Kansas native Tilford ...



ONLY 309 DAYS TO KC!!

08 February 2007

Happy birthday!

Just one message today: Happy birthday to Kim! You're the best!

ONLY 310 DAYS TO KC!!

07 February 2007

Holy crap

Wow. Color me ... WHITE! Donovan connects with Conrad on a corner to go up 1-nil, and then in the 92nd minute outruns the entire Mexican team -- including the goalie -- to score a solo shot to go up 2-0!!! That's 9 games -- 8 years of playing -- that have seen the Mexican team completely shut out on U.S. soil. WOW.

Man of the match for me has to be the U.S. keeper. Howard had a killer game, stopping shot after shot in the second half to preserve the clean sheet. Just amazing.

Now, would U.S.A. Soccer PLEASE remove the "interim" title from Bob Bradley? HE'S THE COACH. JUST WATCH HIM WIN!!!!

(Oh, and would ESPN please dump Bruce Arena. He sucked as a coach, he's worse as a commentator. GET RID OF HIM!)

Time for bed.

Changing times?

Sitting on the couch, trying to write, totally absorbed in the US-Mexico friendly on ESPN2. Mexico has brought the heat, in the first match for their new coach, calling back a bunch of guys from Euro-land. The U.S., on the other hand, is running a young lineup, with not much experience -- only two guys played in the last US-Mex match, for instance.

Although Mex has a longstanding upper hand in this rivalry, the U.S. has not allowed a goal against on home soil in the past 8 years or so. In fact, their only two losses to Mex are in Azteca -- and no one wins there unless they're conditioned to the horrible environment. That may change tonight in Arizona ... stay tuned ... former Fire coach Bob Bradley at the U.S. helm, trying to make a statement and become the permanent coach ...

ONLY 311 DAYS TO KC!!

06 February 2007

Tired

Someone told me about the not-so-secret stash of real coffee that's not in the cafeteria ... thank goodness, it was just what I needed this morning to get going. I'm now in home-brew-Starbucks heaven, starting to get all jittery and stuff ... with absolutely nothing in my head to write about.

Yesterday was killer: "on" for nearly 17 hours straight, starting with the Monday meeting and running through an event last night for contributors and friends. Plus it was a triple deadline day: brochure, video shoot and event, so when I say "on," I mean "on." Not sure I'll get a ride in today -- I think I need to rest a bit more, and caffiene-induced hyperactivity doesn't mean I'm ready to work out.

Does it?

ONLY 312 DAYS TO KC!!

04 February 2007

It wasn't that bad

Check it:


6 bucks

I am sitting at Borders in Milwaukee, killing time before heading to the WCA dinner. I would really like to be doing this via my computer, but wifi is $6 per hour. Crackberry is free.

Fun ride today with the Goat on the MKE River trails - car said -4, protected from the wind, it didn't feel colder than about 3 or so. I am beginning to forget what riding is like in just shorts!

HUGE thanks to the MG-in-laws for the warm shower!

OK, time to watch the tourists try to figure out if The Onion is real or not.

03 February 2007

Mad World

On the drive home from Palos today, Q101 was doing a "Super On-Demand Weekend" and they took caller No. 1. When they came back from commercial and started talking to the lucky lady from Winnetka, I just knew what song she would choose. And I was right. Good stuff -- even better, since it's the same song I would have chosen!

Lots of fun down at Palos today. Cold, but with enough layers, no worries at all. Some minor trouble on my first loop -- 38 minutes in, pinch flat. CO2 head busted. No minipump. And ... I was about 2/3 of the way through Turf 1. Parked at the top of Bullfrog. That's a looooong way away -- in fact, 40 minutes of run/jogging, to be exact. Minipump not working. Crap. Thankfully, one of the very few other riders happened to be at his car -- with a pump!

So an hour after flatting, I'm back out there, finally riding. And loving every minute of it! The temps may have been dropping, the wind may have been howling, but there's nothing I would have rather been doing all day!

MKE River trails tomorrow with the Goat. First time up there -- can't wait!

ONLY 315 DAYS TO KC!!

02 February 2007

Slacker

Oh! I forgot. Birthday greetings to 'crosser Rhonda Mazza. 11th place at Worlds this year!!

And according to Phil, spring is on its way ... too bad this is the COLDEST February opening weekend EVER in Chicago!

Pu-leeeze!

Blogger seemed to die yesterday, during the only few minutes I had to write. That sucked.

Check out this story in the Trib: Flu pandemics to be ranked. When does it stop? They're ranking everything now. I think the CDC will start ranking bowel movements based on the number of flushes per capita soon. Why do we need this?

I'm going to be god-damned un-Chicagoan this weekend and hold my commitment to the Wisconsin Cross dinner. 1985 was so much fun, I sorta' lost my interest in football after that. I do have to wonder -- if the green and gold were in the Bowl, would we still have dinner?

I'm trying to decided what to do this weekend. Head north with this guy, or south to Palos, where I know the trails? Last time I went north with a group, my ribs suffered the consequences. I may split the difference -- Saturday Palos, Sunday MKE and hang out until I drove over to dinner. I just need someplace warm to hide ...

Super Bowl pot luck lunch at work today. I wonder how long until someone cracks open the beer machine?

ONLY 316 DAYS TO KC!!