Wednesday, January 26, 2005

I should have taken another water bottle

We've been having some unbelievably nice weather here, so I decided to go for a bike ride at lunch yesterday and do a fitness test (to see if my training is worth anything). It was so nice that I didn't need my tights, thermal jersey, jacket, or fleece gloves!
About 10 minutes into my ride I was approaching an intersection at about the same time as a dump truck coming the opposite direction. He was turning left and decided that he just couldn't wait the extra 3 seconds it would take for me to continue going straight and pass him, so he went ahead and cut me off big time. For the second time in 2 weeks I had to jam on my brakes to avoid someone.
I don't know what it is about being on my bike with cars whipping around me all the time, but it's given me a short fuse. Since this a-hole had nearly run me over I felt it was my duty to shout at him and give him the finger, and the response I got from him was "go f yourself" nod. I fumed for a couple seconds and decided that he was an ass and needed to be dealt with, so I turned around and chased him down the street. I jawed at him through his open window for a few seconds before I decided to grab the nearest projectile, which happened to be my water bottle. I usually carry 2 water bottles, but for the sake of weight during the fitness test I was about to do, I ditched one of them before I left. That sucked, because I would have loved nothing more than to hurl a full water bottle at this guy. Instead, I had to settle for giving him a nice face full of water. That could be the most gratifying thing ever. It looked like he thought about stopping, but for some reason changed his mind. I certainly wasn't going anywhere.
After that little bit of "cross training" I went on to do my ride, and had some good results. Although my average heart rate was nearly identical to the last time I did this test, my average speed and total time dropped significantly.


Last weekend Christine and I went to Utah to become Mormon. We also did some skiing and went to the Utah Lindy Exchange.

The snow left something to be desired, but at least it was nice and sunny. Our host recommended skiing at Solitude because it's not crowded, and he sure wasn't kidding. When we arrived there couldn't have much more than 20 cars in the lot. They had several really wide runs that were groomed, so we had some fun on those for a while since the rest of the snow was pretty rough. One neat thing about this place was that instead of lift tickets they gave you RFID cards. You just put it in your jacket pocket and it gets magically scanned every time you get on a lift. A nice side benefit to this system is that they're able to sell you a card that's good for x number of lift rides. So you can buy a 10 lift card and use it over a couple afternoons instead of having to buy a full lift ticket each day.

The next day was spent at Snowbird. Again the snow wasn't anything to write home about, but the sunshine was very nice. In addition to all their lifts, snowbird has a tram that will take you from the bottom of the mountain to the very top in short order. Don't believe the hype. That could have easily been the most annoying skiing experience ever. Pretty much it's a train car on a cable, and the goal is to shove as many people as possible into it. Then add 10 more. Apparently the line is usually ferocious, and I can't imagine that anyone would actually wait a long time to ride up in this thing. I'd much rather take the alternate route up to the top by riding a few regular lifts.

While the weather at the resorts was bright and sunny, the weather in SLC was overcast and foggy. It was quite strange how you would be sitting in bright in the canyons, and then suddenly run into fog as you drive out. In the picture below you can see how the fog is just covering the city. Pretty neat actually.

Oh yeah, there was dancing too. Quite honestly, I was more interested in the skiing, but one of the swing factors making me decide to go was that George Gee was going to be there. I wasn't disappointed, because they played a pretty good set. It's funny, though, how may of the really good dancers were from Colorado. The whole exchange was like a good night at the Merc. Just another reason to love Colorado.

Aside from the stop at Little America for some ice cream, the trip back across Wyoming was not surprisingly lackluster. Here's Christine enjoying here $0.35 Little America cone.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Team name update

I was at the bike shop yesterday and I ran into the person who's starting their cycling team and club.  I mentioned to him that I still needed to send in my racing license application and he told me to wait because I'll get a discount once he registers the club.  So I guess I'll be associated with Peloton Cycles, and that's what will show up under my team name.  From what I can tell, I'll pay club dues and get a Peloton jersey and a discount at the store.  Then, once they realize what a super-kickass racer I am, they'll sponsor me and give me cool bikes and gear and send me to Europe to race in the pro-peloton.  I'm allowed to dream, right?

Monday, January 17, 2005

Within Inches

Today was a really nice day and I had the day off so I went for a training ride. I rode for about two hours at a pretty brisk (for me) pace. I rode last week and felt pretty sluggish the whole time, but I think my body is adapting because today I felt great (even after a day of snowboarding on crappy snow). It's a great feeling to know that your training is working.

My route had taken me into Loveland and I was just starting north towards home when I almost got hit by a car. Or, rather, I almost hit a car.


Christine and I went to Winter Park yesterday in an attempt to use our Four-pass, and neither of us were smart enough to check the blackout dates for the pass. And, go figure, yesterday was a blackout day. Argh!!! Is MLK day even a real holiday? It was so aggravating. And it was equally aggravating that they wouldn't give us a discounted lift ticket since our passes were unusable. We eventually were able to get the season pass holder's discount because we were in line right behind a season pass holder. This picture about sums up my feelings:

At least the drive was nice. On the way over Berthoud pass there was an Acura Integra Type R to play with, and on the way back there was an Audi RS6. The RS6 is a $80,000+ twin turbo sedan. Holy horsepower batman. That thing was really pulling away from me.

Monday, January 10, 2005

My team name

To do most of the bike races around here you need to apply for a license, and on the form there's a space for your team name.  After looking at some of last year's results it looks like they fill in "unattached" on the results if you don't give them a team name.  Well I don't want to be unattached, and I see no reason why I can't just make up a team name (unless that specific team name has to be registered too) so I'm enlisting the help of my friends to come up with a team name.  The stupider the better.

Thursday, January 6, 2005

Journal Archiving

Thanks to pokealex for the link to ljArchive.  I feel better knowing that I have a backup, because I'd hate to lose such an online literary masterpiece.  It has some fun plug-ins too, like a comment count analyzer and word count analyzer.  My top 3 words are: ride, bike, and weekend.  "Christine" came in at number 5.  Maybe I should remedy that.....

Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Santa at the Manger

It's a little know fact that Santa was one of the three wise men.

Holiday updates

I'm way overdue for some updates. (Hopefully I can remember just what it is I've been up to lately.)

Thursday 12-23 Dog Xmas:
What's better than a dog birthday party? Dog Xmas of course.
Here's Kuzca opening a gift:

Kuzca's best impersonation of a reindeer:

Friday 12-24:
Traditionally the last work day before Christmas is a half day, meaning you work the first half and get the rest off for free. For some reason, one of the other teams at work decided to completely disappear even though they have a product to release soon. A product, I might add, that needs some help. So since our team has all sorts of time (NOT!) I got pulled into that and ended up work a little later than planned. The good news is that I was told if they need me to come in during our holiday shutdown at all (even for an hour) I wouldn't have to take ANY of it off as vacation. Sweet!

Saturday 12-25:
Christine and I went skiing/snowboarding at Keystone. That'll go down in history as one of the best Saturday ski season drives to the slopes ever. There was practically nobody on the road. The snow wasn't that great, but we weren't expecting much so all was well. As more people started to arrive, we left to go the Christine's dad's house in Parker for some tasty home cooking.
Christine got me a the Daily Show book and super cool soft-shell jacket that'll be great for spring skiing and backcountry skiing. I got her some road biking shoes, pedals, and a heart rate monitor. Sure, she didn't have a bike yet, but there's nothing like a push in the right direction. :) Plus, it's really annoying to buy a nice bike and then realize there's a bunch more "necessary" gear to purchase.

Sunday 12-26:
After my huge nudge with the aformentioned gifts, Christine bought the bike she had test ridden a couple weeks ago. (SWEET!) I don't know who's more excited, me or her. (Probably me.) For my own safety, I won't post the picture of her with the bike since she wasn't feeling well that day, but here's a picture of the bike by itself.

Monday 12-27:
I have no idea what I did this day. Probably did some stuff at Christine's new place (which is totally cool, by the way).

Tuesday 12-28:
Dancing at the Merc was PACKED. It's great that there's so much interest, but it makes it really difficult to dance when you spend most of the time worrying about running into people. On the way home my damage-magnet car had a close call. About a mile from Christine's place a cow just decides to start jogging across the street. A COW! WTF? Let's hear it for 13" disc brakes because I stood on them and narrowly missed a serious blood bath. I still managed to clip it's rear leg, but the only damage was a $10 grill piece. They don't tell you this at the dealership, but a clear bra is also effective at protection from hoof marks. A bargain at any price.

Wednesday 12-29:
The bike shop I go to has started somewhat of a group ride on Wednesdays. I say "somewhat" because it hasn't exactly been mentioned to too many people, so I thought it was pretty cool that they asked me to join them. I guess that means they think I can hang. It was a little chilly, so there were only three of us and we rode to Carter Lake, following part of the Carter Lake race route. That may be my first race this year, so it's good to get a little familiar with the terrain.

Thursday 12-30:
Christine and I did a little riding around between my house and her's. It was super windy, which made the riding a little difficult, but thankfully we both stayed upright.

Friday 12-31:
I got on skis for the first time in over 7 years, and I suck. Well, I guess I don't suck too bad; I did go down several blues, and even some small bumps (non-gracefully). But for as much of a (relative) beginner I am on skis again, there are plenty of people that are WAY worse (and I wish they would stay out of my way). I had a good time, but I'm not giving up snowboarding any time soon. I mainly want to relearn how to ski because I think it'll be better in the backcountry than snowboarding.
Ski technology has come a long way since the last time I owned a pair, however boot technology is severely lagging behind. It's not that they were uncomfortable, but they seemed like the same boots that I wore 7 years ago. Do the boot makers not care about improvements? Take a look at snowboard boots. I've gotta believe that's half the reason someone would choose snowboarding over skiing. I'm sure there's a big difference in the stiffness requirements between the two sports' boots, but hire a mechanical engineer and get creative.

Saturday 1-1:
Recovery from multiple days of riding snow and pavement.

Sunday 1-2:
The weekly group rode to Lyons. It was pretty cold out, so we took an extended break at the Barking Dog Cafe to regain feeling in our toes. I chose to continue the celebration of Festivus by eating a muffin top. Top 'o the muffin to ya. Muffin tops yes, bagels no.

Monday 1-3:
I had planned on going to work to use the gym, but it turned out that there was some work for me too do (today is still a holiday for us). I put in a half day after I worked out, which isn't too bad because now I think I can get my vacation days back from last week.

If you've made it this far, you must really be bored.