31 December 2008

At least we know she's mine

Any of you who have shared a hotel room or a car ride with me, or have spent any time around me at all can appreciate this: Kate's got gas. Not much spit-up (generally speaking), hardly ever a burp, but this kid can wake me up out of a dead sleep in the middle of the night with the most obscene flatulance imaginable. She sounds like an old man -- at least we know she's mine!

Last night was kind of tough -- she slept fine, but then when Kim fed her and put her down, she had some gas going. So she started grunting. For 45 minutes. Twice. Not crying, nothing that's hurting her, just grunting every few seconds, then stop, then grunting again. It's pretty surreal ...

Anyway, her second feeding ended just before my alarm was about to go off -- is it too good to be true? Palos?

29 December 2008

Quick thought

I really hate to be negative here, but I have one thing I want to point out. Cyclingnews does some editorializing on the Page case:
That brings us to the main issue in this case. How can a rider know about a control if he cannot make it to the finish line? If a Belgian top rider would abandon for some reason then one might expect that someone would at least inform the rider about the control. Page doesn't have the huge entourage that most Belgians have and he relied on his mechanic, his wife and a few friends to inform him about a possible control. Nevertheless, Page acknowledges that he made a stupid mistake and he knows that he has the final responsibility of checking out about a possible control.

The UCI has these rules in place for a reason, and it's sad but necessary. The issue isn't 'cross, it's the road: if you excuse DNFs from controls, you open up races to become "practice" races for dopers. Why not race 200km of a ProTour race completely doped up and abandon with 10km to go because you know you won't get caught? (Oh, wait, that happens -- they announce the 'randoms' 40km or so before the end of the race.) That's why DNFs are not excused.

I hope Page is innocent. There. I said it. I'll paraphrase an idea I heard when Hamilton was first busted: "If it weren't him, if he weren't a 'nice' American, if it were instead some random Belgian, would you give him the benefit of the doubt?"

Holy crap, am I really this jaded?

27 December 2008

Sun-Times!

World Bicycle Relief made the Sun-Times! Check out the story, and be sure to "recommend" it:

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/1351395,CST-NWS-cycle28.article

24 December 2008

Let it ... snow

Update: Watching CLTV right now ... Chicago has had more than 20 inches of snow since Dec. 1. We're ahead of last year's snowfall ... and last year was the snowiest on record. Yikes.

We out!

USA Cycling has made it official: 'Cross Nats is moving to Bend next year. They are staying in December, which is a bit of a surprise to me. All due respect, but this means one thing: we out. I sort of knew it was coming, but was kind of hoping for a more central location at least one more time. Chasing the points next year -- not to mention figuring out the first 12 months of the life of a little one, every step of the way! -- will preclude any other major race travel. It'll be strange: I think this will be the first time in 6 or 7 years I haven't raced at Nationals of some sort, track, crit, mountain or 'cross. (24 Hr. Nats is the weekend after Interbike, no chance.) I'm not terribly disappointed -- unless we skip the snowstorm next December 1-2, Montrose itself may be a game-day call.

Because that's where I'm at right now. I'm SAD. It's raining and 37 degrees here in the city -- at least north it's turning to snow. You can't even ski in this crap! And Julie said it best -- snow is great. Snow in the city is a brown, slushy, gross mess. The Park District beat me to the punch yesterday morning: I was hoping for a snow ride on the Lakefront Path to get me to work, but instead they had already cleared and salted it. Their version of salt is to lay down a LAYER of the stuff -- by the time I grabbed my bike to lube it (3 hours after the ride), my chain already had rust on it. After one ride!

So I'm sort of sick of riding in crappy weather. Like, forever. I have to keep reminding myself that my racing doesn't start until May next year, and my first big appointment isn't until June, but when you're racing a cabbie for the hole shot on Clark Street, just so you don't get completely covered in salty, slushy goop, it's hard to keep perspective.

23 December 2008

Narcissism

This one's for Goat: a rehash of an L.A. Times article about people postponing families because of the economy. Done with a Midwestern slant, erstwhile parents are -- GASP -- choosing between "cutting back" on cable and having a new baby, and one couple has put off their "family planning" decision of adding a third child until February (after putting their first two on state-run insurance). But they're determined to have another kid, because, well:

"We would like to repopulate the world with smart people."

Smiles!

We've got smiles! Kate and Kim got home last night, and to wake her up (Kate, not Kim), I started giving her tummy raspberries. And she smiled! Intentionally! It was so awesome. Love them dimples!

So the UCI says Palos won't be hard enough. Actually, they say Lemont won't be hard enough for road events. So they're suggesting "west of Madison" instead. Ahem, Mayor Daley, uh ... didn't see that one coming? We're talking here in the office, and if -- BIG IF -- Chicago still gets the bid, we're guessing Devil's Head for MTB events. It's got championship history, it's got infrastructure, and it's got a course with some elevation change. I just hope it doesn't derail the Palos Meltdown for 2009 and beyond ...

That's it. All I got. Hoping the snow packs down so we can ride tomorrow, but not too promising ...

22 December 2008

For the sake of it

Just random thoughts for the sake of a blog entry:
  • Three weeks tomorrow. Wow. Kate is doing well, although last night was a tough one. Seems to be about once a week -- not crying so much as eating non-stop for like 4 hours straight. Kim is amazing!
  • Yesterday was Christmas pancake day -- every year something different, this year praline pancakes. They turned out alright -- even if I did decide to triple the batch. Anyone want leftovers?
  • Nice, short week this week. Hoping to hit Palos Wednesday morning, depends on the snow in the next 48 hours. Why is this winter shaping up like last year's? I was looking through some old holiday letters -- in 1998, it was 60 degrees the week before Christmas!
  • Speed Racer and In Bruges this weekend. Speed was fun, more faithful to the original series than I thought it would be (for a live-action flick). Spritle got old quick though. Bruges was awesome, in a dark, sick sort of way. "Did you heet the Canadian?" F* yeah. You know, there's going to be a war ...

19 December 2008

Calls to action!

Have you contributed to World Bicycle Relief yet? Our DoubleBikeMatch micro-effort didn't quite hit the total we were looking for, but ALL donations through the end of the year are doubled! If you're looking for a perfect tax deduction and want to help spread The Power of Bicycles, check it out today! So far, our year-end efforts are at more than $445,000 -- all to be doubled to nearly $900,000!

If you ride mountain bikes, or are thinking about mountain bikes, go here, for document 1024-AD72, and submit a comment in support of this important National Parks Service rules change proposal. It doesn't automatically open new trails on Parks Service lands, but it puts power into the hands of local land managers and expedites the review process. The American Hiking Society has come out against it (they're now working with IMBA to be a bit more balanced), and IMBA estimates that it will take 20,000 positive comments to get the rule to stick. Do it now!

17 December 2008

DOUBLEbikeMATCH!

As many of you know, a generous supporter has stepped up to match all donations to World Bicycle Relief through the end of the year dollar-for-dollar. Each wheel becomes two, each bike purchased gets doubled. The impact will be amazing!

Our friends at Stalelife Inc. have really gotten into this, and suggested that we reach out through the Interweb to make some noise. Help us spread The Power of Bicycles!

HOW YOU CAN HELP

1. Go here to donate. $5, $10, $134 for a whole bike -- any amount will help us spread The Power this holiday season. And every gift is DOUBLED! We're shooting to raise $13,400 by noon on Friday. That's 100 bikes ... but it's really 200!

2. Tell your friends! Join the World Bicycle Relief Facebook Cause, blog about it, Tweet about it, email ... The more people that know, the better.

Let's make it happen! Thank you!

15 December 2008

In other news ...

Yes, there's still bike riding to be had.

Last week was cold but do-able, and I started laying the base for 2009. This weekend was awesome -- 3 hours of "single speeding" at Palos on Saturday in near-perfect winter conditions and 3 hours on the lakefront path yesterday, wet but warm(ish). They say you never gain back the time you lose in a headwind when you have a tailwind ... I say you just need to ride in south winds like it was yesterday. So much fun!

I realized that I'm super-excited for next year already. 'Cross was fun, but you get out of it what you put in, and my focus this year just wasn't there. I didn't check results from KC until this morning -- I spent yesterday planning my assault on the endurance scene instead. That, and grocery shopping and buying a Christmas tree. Funny how it all balances out!

Kim and Kate are doing well, and Kate got to meet a couple of cousins on Saturday. We had a super-full house, and it was a ton of fun to see the kids playing. Next year about this time is going to be insane with a 1-year-old, a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old!

12 December 2008

Last night

OK, so I know it's not real -- as in, it's not a response to a stimulus -- but last night, Kate giggled.

Oh. My. Gosh.

Sure, at this point it's just gas. But between her half-smiles, her "surprised" look, the way she wrinkles her forehead, her "wtf mom?" look, and those amazing dimples, our kid is melting my heart over and over. On Wednesday when I got home from work I got a "happy to see you," bright-eyes smile. Wow.

I can't wait for the real thing!

In other news, work is going well -- our donor match is bringing in more donations than last year, and we continue to feel the amazing generosity of our supporters, despite this horrible economy. It's impossible to overestimate the impact that $1.5 million will have on the people of Zambia.

As for me? I'm riding to and from work, which until last night was pretty sloppy. And I'm drinking coffee ... lots and lots of coffee. Kate and Kim are still trying to figure some stuff out, and Kim is being awesome about letting me sleep -- but it's still an adjustment, and I can still nod off on a whim. But today I feel more human, and a good weekend will be all we need ...

10 December 2008

1 Week!

Kim's sister Kari did this really cool thing a few years back, taking a photo of Kaylie every week on the day she was born (I think it was a Thursday?). She put a toy block next to her to mark each week.

We are going to shamelessly borrow the idea, and I've now got an Outlook reminder in my calendar every Tuesday for the next 51 weeks! This week, we got "Been There" and "Done That" in on the act, on our way to Kate's first doctor's appointment yesterday.

She passed with flying colors, and they're going to let us keep her. Whew -- I was a bit worried. Not because of Kim (she is going to be the Best Mom Ever!), but because I realized when she was born that, no matter what I said before, deep down I really believed Sprout was a boy. So when she came out, and she was, well, a "she," in the flash of a moment I was surprised and a little frightened -- I mean, I have a brother, and have no idea what to do when it comes to little girls!

Thankfully, though, Kate and I have Kim, and I can't tell you how incredible the past 12-1/2 years have been ... not to mention how amazing the past 7 days were!

09 December 2008

FAQ

One week in. Kate goes for her checkup this afternoon, so we'll see how she's doing. Yeah! In the meantime, here are some answers to questions that have been rattling around in my head ...
  • Yes, I'm getting sleep. 3x3 does not equal 9, but for the moment I can't do much to help feed her in the middle of the night. That will change in about 4 weeks, so I'm banking as much now as I can.
  • No, Kim is not getting as much sleep. My job right now is to do as much housework as I can so she can nap when she needs to. That gives me time to hang out with Kate :-)
  • I'm off work through today, and will start back tomorrow. It's been nice to be home -- but even with the sleep, I am so very, very tired.
  • It sort of feels like I'm coming off an athletic peak -- I feel "great," but I also feel like I've been run over by a truck. I wasn't prepared to be so physically beat up by the emotional side! I can now nap immediately following two really strong cups of coffee.
  • Mark from Kinetic Koffee is awesome. French presses of French Konnektion is what has kept me going. With the press broken, today is brewed Morning Mayhem. Thankfully I have some Starbucks in reserve, just in case ...
  • Yes, I'm riding. Sort of. I got out for about an hour each day this weekend, and yesterday to Palos. I have big goals for 2009, but for now those goals include "taking it as it comes." I'll start riding more regularly when I go back to work, and it's time to start up the core workouts ...
  • I'm looking forward to my Kate Monster Stairmaster routine ... for those days when the weather is just horrible, we'll strap her to my chest and climb up and down our stairs a few times, until daddy is exhausted!

08 December 2008

Coyote Monday

Sitting on the couch, your 6-day-old sleeping in the bassinet behind you, Van Morrison on the stereo, is one of life's finer moments.

I was given the opportunity to head down to Montrose yesterday, but passed. Reading Kevin's blog doesn't make me miss it.

Training for 2009 sort of started today. It was supposed to start yesterday, but my shock wasn't working for some reason. Today more than made up for it.

Palos is awesome in the winter, especially when you get a day where the trails are perfect and it's 30 degrees or so. And no one is there. Rare, but incredible.

The coyotes at Palos seem to be really big this year. And loud, which was more than a bit freaky when you're running from the bonk and on the wrong side of the howling.

The jump trail is fun, it's a crime that it's illegal.

The Song is awesome in the snow.

Did I mention the amazing feeling of hanging with your new daughter?

06 December 2008

Photos!


New phase

We entered a new phase last night -- milk has arrived. Baby Kate, who slept through the whole afternoon, woke up as Nana and Grandpa were leaving around 8:30, and proceeded to eat. And eat. And eat. Holy cow that kid has a hollow leg, and every time Kim put her down, she started crying. All. Night. Long.

Our first full day at home went great, though, and she's a wonderful addition to our happy family. Lots of music and books and hugs and kisses. More family today, and maybe tomorrow, and plenty of time to get used to the idea that we are now three.

More photos and a bit of words about Delivery Day ... let's just say we now like the Skokie Police Department!

01 December 2008

Black Monday

Those of you on Facebook know I'm in a bad mood today, and I don't know why.

Thanksgiving was good. Thursday was pretty relaxed, and Friday and Saturday saw the complete rebuild on the Song and a bunch of housework get done. I even watched Nine Ball Diaries.

Thursday it was awesome to go visit baby Liam in the hospital. I was sort of hoping seeing him would send Kim into spontaneous labor, but it just didn't happen.

Maybe I'm in a bad mood because I didn't ride trail on Sunday like I wanted?

Instead, I did the Judson ride, which by Highland Park was down to five of us. Brian pushed the pace, I was on 'cross tires, and I was happy when we turned around and headed for home. My legs were cooked. The rest of the day was spent cleaning and welcoming a houseguest. The radiology convention is in town. That's what all the moving trucks were doing at Goose Poop last Wednesday. It's funny to think about doctors couch surfing ;-)

Sprout is moving, but not out. Just the normal stretching and kicking Kim in the side. Oh, and sitting on the bundles of nerves in her hips. Doctor's appointment tomorrow, we'll know more then. We've been sleeping a ton in the past few days, Kim is most comfortable on the couch, and I have to say I haven't missed the every-2-hours-pull-the-covers-off-to-go-to-the-bathroom pregnant lady routine. I've offered her the bed, but like I said, she's more comfortable on the couch.

Yesterday cemented my belief that we made the right call on Jingle Cross. Not only would my legs not have responded to even one day of racing, it was nice to miss the muck and the long drive home. And I have to be honest -- Montrose is looking more and more like a game-day call for me. The motivation is just not there, I think I'm ready to be done.

But I'm still not sure why.