Friday, February 24, 2006

rolling along

So my parents have said on more than one occasion,
"When are you going to stop this biking of yours?"

The answer, of course, is never.

So a few days ago I was in what can only be described as an attitude downward spiral due primarily to stress at work. I jumped on the bike for 90ish minutes and attacked a few hills on the West side. The surliness and frustration exited my body as sweat. At the end of it, my attitude was completely changed. I was a new man. Without the bike, I would have been doomed. There are no reasonable substitutes to the two-wheeled medication. Something like a 90 minute skate-ski suffer fest would have a similar effect but it would be wrapped in an hour drive each way. Going for a little run or hike has some theraputic effect but it's not a powerful enough med to get the job done.

Beyond this mental/physical maintenance that the bike enables, there's the functional bike-as-vehicle part of my riding. Most people have developed a tolerance for and an acceptance of being in a vehicle all the time. It's just part of life. In our house, this tolerance is near zero. We've cleared the cultural head trash on this and we reach for the car keys only when biking is not practical or safe. In our outlook, it's a hardship to take the car versus rolling on two wheels. This concept is hard to grasp when the tolerance and numbness to the car is well established. Supposing cars ran not on petrol but instead ran on grass clippings or random bits of garbage (i.e. an ecologically free choice) I'd still opt for the bike 99% of the time.

And then finally, there's riding as recreation, sport and adventure. All of our elective vacations are bike-centric. Whether it's exploring a country or enjoying a beautiful piece of a mountain trail, two wheels is really the only way to do it. Again, it comes full circle to the bicycle over car preference. If someone were to say, "Yeah, we're visiting [country or place x] and plan on driving here and there and over there." most people accept that as just the way things are done without question. Sure it's probably the easiest but rarely is it the best.

Then there's biking as a competitive sport. This season, I'll be involved in most of these: road stage racing, mountain bike racing, mountain epic racing, road crit, road TT, velodrome track racing, and the perfect winter pastime: cyclocross. Five years ago I raced only mountain bike racing and epic mountain bike racing.

There's more to be said on this topic but I need to go to a coffee shop... where are my car keys?

Monday, February 20, 2006

to the dark side

The UPS package that arrived two weeks ago has been put to good use. Yesterday I entered my first real road race atop my new scandium & carbon fiber road bike. The frame weighs in at 2.9lbs...freaky light although it's possible to break the 2lb barrier if extremely well funded. The sub 2 bikes should only be raced for a season or two which compounds the total cost. Nothing I need to get into, not until I get fast anyway.

I got killed in a Cat4 race. I hung with the peloton until the final climb where the group blew apart. I was in a second chase group in sight of the peloton but unable to bridge the gap. So our group worked together, sort of, in a feeble effort to get back into the mix. Was more interesting than fun. I learned plenty. The most important lesson is to put more miles in on the bike. It is pretty wild to be rolling along at 28mph or so without putting in much effort which is what happens when in a group of 100 riders. Being handlebar to handlebar at such speeds is complete lunacy, especially when some riders are squirrelly. I kept my distance from them and the potential carnage of the sloppy riders.

I like the bike. I'm thinking that the race venues that will interest me the most will have lots of climbing and suffering. First I need to suffer in training so I can make others suffer on the race course. Ahhh... it's all about the suffering.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Friday, February 03, 2006


PORTLAND, OR, US 02/03/2006 11:56 A.M. ARRIVAL SCAN

02/03/2006 7:06 A.M. ARRIVAL SCAN

Thursday, February 02, 2006

raindrops keep falling ...

Amy says we're in a 25 year record for amount of rain, something like 300% of normal. This is a comforting fact because it's perhaps getting a tiny bit old. BUT... as it turns out, the end is near. The following is an excerpt of the geeky tech explanation of weather patterns from I like the story format as it's a real picture versus an icon of a cloud and a percentage chance of precip. The words, "nice respite" are key. Here it is:

In any event...forecast area should remain dry Monday
through Wednesday. Expect coastal...Coast Range and Cascade foothill areas
to see rather warm daytime temperatures due to the offshore flow.
Coast should also be warm due to limited inversions. Coast Range and
Cascade foothills would be within the subsidence inversions. The Pacific
northwest will likely get a nice respite from the incessant rain...
flooding...slides...etc that dominated the latter part of December
and all of January. Blocking pattern likely to persist through much
of next week.