Showing posts from 2017

Day By Day.

My second ride was better. Faster. Drier. Shorter...

It was a nice fall day, with only a few damp spots in the shadows. I jumped early and kept pushing. What was only a 'meh' ride a couple months ago was a major achievement for me.

I did the same route as the day before, mostly because I didn't have a whole lot of time available to ride. I had to pick up kids from school. I still felt myself tense at the sight of paint of gravel, but I reminded myself to ride loose and roll through it. I stayed upright, which was nice.

For the second straight day, I didn't download my ride. There's a time for data and charts and tracking, and this isn't it. This is the time to turn the pedals and hopefully become a cyclist again. I'm not geeking out about the latest bit of carbon or the optimum tire pressure. It's all about rolling down the road and finding my inner roadie before the snow falls. It will be a lot easier to endure a winter on the trainer if I rediscover that…

No Time Like The Present.

It was raining steadily and the temperatures were hovering in the low 50s.

Didn't matter. It was time.

I kitted up after work, pulled the bike off the car, and started riding. Despite the precautions I took, I got wet. Not soaked, but wet. My hip ached, but I tried to put it out of my mind.

With my rain jacket and state of fitness, I didn't set any speed records. I pushed a bit here and there to feel normal, but it's been too long for "normal". The best I can hope for is a gradual return to that feeling.

Every painted line or rock on the road was viewed as a threat. My last rainy ride didn't end so well. Being overly cautious is probably worse than being blissfully ignorant and brave. It's just where I am today. I just have to work through the steps and stages to rebuild. With time, I will return to my usual state of overconfidence.

I won't say that I was flooded with an overall sense of well-being when I climbed off the bike, because that would be a lie.…


My family was sitting in the RV, nestled comfortably in a very nice campground in Denali State Park. We'd spent the morning hiking up the ridge to take in the scenery and stretch our legs. The teen was stretched out in the bed over the cab, sound asleep. The youngest and his sister were playing on the iPads on the bench seat on one side of the table. My wife and I were curled up on the other side. I just gazed contently out the window at the leaves in all of the fall glory and the snow-dusted mountains that surrounded us while the wife read.

My wife looked at me and said, "this is good."

It was presented as a statement of fact. Not "good enough" or "this will do", but rather this was exactly where we should be at that particular moment.

Rare are the times that I've experienced that sensation so completely. That's not to say I haven't been happy or content or satisfied or whatever else you want to call it, but this was one of those times wher…

It Ain't Easy.

Judging by the posts on Facebook (when I feel like spending any time on it), I'm associated with some pretty awesome people doing some pretty awesome things in any number of ventures.

Road season has ended and 'cross season has begun. The persistent rain and cooler temperatures have certainly made for more "Belgian" conditions, and it sounds like people are having fun. If I wasn't broken and hadn't already made the determination that 'cross is detrimental to my physical well-being, I'd be out there in the mud with them, happily doing serious harm to my body.

As it is, I've been buried on all sides of my life. Work is a never-ending crush of paperwork that has to be reviewed with a magnifying glass, and it's always time-critical. Back-to-school means the kids have to be ferried hither and yon for whatever extra-curricular activities they're pursuing at the moment. I have three kids in three different schools, so I can't even double-up eve…

Variations on a Theme.

My hands are trashed. Cut, scarred, and stained by unidentified substances. Sometimes they ache and don't close fully. Seems familiar.

My back is trashed. Pains come from various points depending on the stresses I placed on them the day before. Also seems familiar.

Before I was a bike racing guy, before I was a ski racing guy, I was a Jeep guy. My old CJ-5 would hammer my body as I traversed rough trails. Then I would do more muscular damage by wrenching on the Jeep so I could drive to work on Monday. That was the rhythm of my life: wheel-wrench-repeat. As much as my body and wallet could stand. I'd break stuff, upgrade it, then break something else. There wasn't a component within that 83.5" wheelbase I didn't lay hands on at one point or another during the 20+ years I owned it.

Eventually I couldn't do it anymore. The local culture changed to something I didn't identify with. I reached a point when the bang for my buck on upgrades didn't justify the exp…

Hitting The Pause Button Again.

I had to stop.

The back is a serious concern at this point. Complete strangers keep coming up to me and asking me if I'm OK, just based on the way I'm walking. It smooths out once I get going, but initially it's pretty ragged. My face takes on a look of grim determination. I'm not letting this stop me.

But the truth is, I am.

I decided to hold off a bit longer on the riding and try to heal a bit more. The rain recently has helped with that choice a bit. I putter around the RV, doing odd jobs and trying not to stress my back too much. I usually end up pushing it too far, and pray for the sweet, sweet fog of Flexeril. Hell of a way to live your life.

This can't go on much longer. I need my regular dose of endorphins to balance my moods out. I'm short with people and dwell on minor things for far longer than they deserve. I need my alone time to shout profanities into the wind. I need to bury my frustrations into long, pointless efforts. I need to ride.

Unfortunately, …

It Ain't Working.

The hip is better. The back isn't. Usually the back stiffens up when I don't ride, then loosens up almost immediately once I start to ride again. This time it didn't. In fact, it seems to have doubled-down on me. I'm not sleeping because of it, which makes the transition from inactivity to activity all that much harder.

I went back to the doctor. He had them take some more X-Rays, referred me to physical therapy, and gave me some Flexeril. He said to be patient. It will be six months before I'm back to normal. I was initially told six weeks. Small difference there.

Hopefully the muscle relaxer takes the edge off of things. Hopefully the stretching and riding combine to push me a little closer to normal. Six months? That's just too long. Six weeks already seemed like an eternity.

I just want to be normal again, free to return from the opioids and NSAIDS to a proper cyclist's diet of testosterone, EPO, and SARMs, cut with a healthy dose of clenbuterol to promote…


My driveway looks like something out of Sanford and Son.

Piles of construction debris, auto parts, and various components either just removed from or about to go into the RV are either under blue tarps, my portable awning, or heaped unceremoniously on the side. It really boils down to how much I value the individual item. As I come to the end of the project, I am faced with the onerous task of sorting it all out and finding some way to store the good stuff and dispose of the rest. "The rest" is a description that encompasses the majority of the piles. It's truly amazing how much junk I pulled out of a relatively small space, and not all of it was orange shag rug. Some of the "good stuff" will go on Craigslist, in hopes someone will pay me a nominal amount and then haul it away.
It can't go into the garage. There just isn't room for anything else. There isn't room for what's in there.

I need to make room for winter month bike wrenching. There will c…


I feel them. Each and every one of them.

Every crack, ripple, bump, pothole, and other imperfection in the road. I feel them. They ripple up my right side in jolts of moderate pain. Nothing I can't stand, but not something I generally enjoy.

I notice myself tensing up in preparation for a hit and have to remind myself that it will be better if I take it loose and absorb it more. I tell myself that, but I don't believe it. It's going to hurt either way.

It seems the whole Anchorage road system is a living, interconnected thing, birthed with the sole purpose of playing xylophone on my ribcage.

Still, I'm turning the pedals. Out-of-saddle efforts are an exercise in futility, immediate regret, and a few tears. I can't climb (not that I ever could). Standing starts from stoplights elicit a few winces and grunts before I'm moving. Nothing aggressive in cornering or bike handling. I can't afford another fall at the moment. The wife would take away my bikes.

I can turn …


After my glorious-ish return to the road yesterday, I decided not to put my bike in the garage.

Actually, it wasn't so much a decision as an acceptance of reality. The garage is packed, even more so than usual. Construction debris, tools, raw materials, and other RV project-related stuff clog the entry. I risked serious physical harm just extracting the bike while wearing road cleats. For the moment, the garage isn't an option.

I put the bike in the RV. Sad that it has more open floor space than a two-car garage, but that pretty much is a reflection of my life- cluttered and disorganized. I know where everything is (more or less), but I make a bigger mess digging things out.

While I was stowing the bike, I started thinking about different mounting solutions for it. Maybe bolt a receiver hitch on the back for a rack. Maybe a spare tire rack. On the roof? How about inside? Plenty of options, there. Unfortunately they all amount to additional projects. I just don't think my body…

It's Time.

A body at rest tends to stay at rest... unless acted on by a net external force.
-Newton's first law of motion ____________________________________________________________________________ It was time. My body had stayed at rest for far longer than I wanted it to. The distraction of the RV project is winding down, and my epic battles with orange shag rug are at an end. While it isn't finished, it's pretty darn close- close enough for one year. My hip is still misshapen (especially in spandex), but it's not quite as noticeable if I'm standing behind a brick wall. My ribs ache and my back spasm occasionally, but otherwise I saw no reason not to ride. Thing is, I wasted two perfectly good days not riding. It wasn't that I was afraid. My body was just at rest. It wasn't moving, and sometimes it needs an extra push or two to get going again. Finally, after a day at the state fair with the family, I kitted up and did a late ride. I fumbled around finding all of the stu…

Targeted Marketing.

It used to be all of the ads that would pop up on my social media time-wasting applications were for poorly-manufactured carbon wheels, kit I wouldn't be caught dead wearing, "sales" that were too costly to be true, and other things related to a bike junky. Mostly I ignored them, because they distracted me from my true purpose on the internet- finding out what really happened to the actress who played Jo on the "Facts of Life"- what she looks like now will astound you! Still, the marketers pretty much had me and my interest(s) pegged and were jamming as much as they could through my eye-holes.

Lately, however, there's been a shift. Now I see ads for vintage orange shag carpet, RV blackwater tank additives, and remanufactured auto parts for Chevy G30 vans. I guess my browsing habits really have changed, the computer algorithms that rule our collective existence have taken note, then they pivoted without missing a beat. Impressive.

The way I see it, it keeps th…

Rebuilding the Dungeon.

As much as I wanted to jump right back on the bike, I couldn't. With the slow healing, the weather, and the shagging wagon remodel, I just didn't have the time or the ability. I'm starting to realize there is a distinct possibility that I might not see much of the road this fall before the snow locks me away again. Snow is already dusting the back ranges. It's only a matter of time.

With this in the back of my mind, I decided to start prepping the trainer dungeon a little earlier this year while I had the free time. There's a good chance my first ride will be on the trainer, and I have a lot of work to do before I can jump on Zwift for a few laps of whatever course is on that day.

The Storck was more or less rebuilt when I swapped on the Rival drivetrain. It still needs a power meter, so I'm thinking of pulling the Riken off the crit bike. It's barely been used, and maybe I can work out some of the negative energy retained in it from the crash. I'm not a …

The Grand Vision.

When we bought the motorhome, in all of it's orange shag carpet glory, we had grand visions of what it could become. Our expectations of what we could accomplish were colored by our near-new rental RV from a few weeks back and internet "research" (RV porn) on renovations of older campers. Through all of this, we overlooked the obvious elephant in the room. I'm a better wrench than a carpenter, and I'm a shitty wrench.

Still, as the project moves to a "not-finished-but-finally getting there" stage, I think it looks light years better than it did before. Replacing the dark carpet with lighter linoleum and painting the walls made the place seem much larger, even if the paint scheme we ended up reminds me of WWII battleships. We'll brighten it up with throw pillows or something. Removing the 35 year old fabric eliminated much of the musty smell, which I replaced with poisonous paint fumes. You ever paint fiberglass (in this case, the countertop) in an en…

Catch 22.

The front wheels are still on my back seat. The aluminum wheel from the ti bike and the carbon wheel from the crit bike. I never removed them after the fall.

Helmets and gloves and sunglasses litter the front seat. A couple pair of cycling shoes are on the passenger floorboard. The back is piled high with race gear.

As I use the car on a daily basis, I shove this pile or that mess to one side or another to make way for whatever else I'm carrying. While race season is over for me (and almost over for everyone else), I'd like to believe I'll need some of it in the near future, so I keep it all in the car. Plus, the garage is a disaster. A toothpick would have a hard time squeezing in there.

I want to ride, but I can't. My hip just isn't there yet. My back is tied up in knots and jerks around in painful spasms. The change to lower temperatures and steady rain recently has also given me pause. A cold soak would do me absolutely no favors when it comes to recovery.

The back…

Maybe It's That One.

Yesterday I was trying to remove the propane oven from the RV so my wife could prime and paint the kitchen cabinets. Removing the oven allows access to some hard-to reach areas and allows removal of other components. It's like a giant Rubik's Cube. To get a block to a certain point, you have to make several other moves in sequence.

To remove the oven, I have to figure out how it's mounted. Mainly that involves looking around for screws with a flashlight, loosening them to see what they do, hearing the clink as the hidden nut drops somewhere in the interior of the oven, realizing that wasn't a mounting screw, then starting the process all over again. When I finally get what I think are all of the screws out, I yank on the oven and find I missed 20 or so more of them.

It's almost exactly like working on a modern carbon fiber bike, except the bike has a greater chance of having instructions readily available somewhere.

That one there looks like a good candidate.



Ever since I fell down, something interesting happened.

I don't frequent Facebook as much anymore. I don't spend time scrolling through other people's posts, scared that I might miss something important. Facebook isn't important.

I don't visit cycling websites obsessively, mainly because it reminds me I can't ride myself at the moment.

If I do get on the interweb, it's to look up parts for the RV or look for how-to articles/videos. Nothing about the bike.

I've even stopped listening to NPR as I drive to work, but that has more to do with the constant stream of negativity that characterizes the world at the moment. Without my daily dose of endorphins to blunt the onslaught and put it into perspective, I find I just can't deal with it at the moment.

I have no fear of missing out, because I've opted to ignore the world for the moment and concentrate all of my energies into a smaller space where I have some influence.

I'm sure once I'm done and he…

Hobbling Away For A While.

When I broke my collarbone, I was back on the trainer in about a week and blogging away about it. I never stopped.

This time, with a bigger break from being able to turn the pedals and nothing to ride into shape for, I've stepped away from cycling-related things. They just frustrate me, because I can't ride. That includes this blog.

Instead, I've poured my time and energy into the RV. I limp around and tackle thousands of large and small projects. At the end of the day, even if I haven't accomplished much in the big scheme of things, I can see progress. Even when I spend eight full hours cutting and fitting mitered plastic pieces that don't completely line up, I can feel like I did something.  That is a positive thing. I'm making things better.

I ran into my teammate, Craig, at Lowes the other day. He hasn't been riding much either, and has been building up a Sprinter-style van for bike-oriented travel. It's the latest trend. Don't ride your bike and b…

Bloggus Interruptus.

I've been neck-deep in the new RV. 18 hour days of demolition, flooring, re-paneling...

If I can't ride (and I still can't), I might as well do something. A fist-full of pills and I'm good for a day of construction.

It already looks a lot better, even if there's not a 90 degree angle on the whole thing, which makes cutting mitered edges an exercise in futility. I guess after almost 35 years, things kinda settled into whatever they wanted to be.

The new cushions for the benches that fold down into a bed were fielded out to a local upholstery shop. This was the expensive bit. Jaw-dropping expensive, but as I'm going to be sleeping on them, I want them to be done right. I'm too old and broken down to sleep on what's left of the old cushions or a poorly conceived replacement.

When I get done, I'll post before and after pictures so you can see why I haven't been posting like normal. I just don't have the time right now for much blogging.

Right now I …

Sorry 'Bout This.

The Tour of Anchorage was this past week. I didn't race. From the looks of it, a lot of people didn't race. We're going to move heaven and earth to fix that next year.

I'm still broke and pretty much off the bike at the moment.

I did catch the "glamping" bug, and am in the process of acquiring a brand-new 1983 Lazy Daze 20' Class III motorhome. It's like a full-on shaggin' wagon, with orange shag carpet, orange/brown upholstery, and pretty much a lot of other brown. Yeah, it's going to be gutted.

My body just can't handle tent-camping anymore up here. When we camp, it's usually on the coldest, rainiest days of the summer. Wet tent, wet sleeping bags, wet kids... For us, an ancient camper that smells of moldy socks is a giant leap forward. Warm and dry is a serious upgrade.

I also began looking at the bike-related possibilities for the rv:
Stage race team bus. It's small, but I'm the only guy on my team that shows up for road races,…

Don't Go There.

Remember when you were a kid and you would avoid stepping on a particular color tile or other portion of the floor because it was "hot lava" and would burn you? You'd go through all sorts of contortions to avoid being incinerated as you navigated to a given destination.

My life is like that recently.

Certain movements encourage searing pain to shoot across my hip. Unfortunately, these movement are integral to activities I do every day. Getting in or out of bed, a chair, my car, opening a door, reaching for the phone... I've learned when to expect "hot lava", and I can either find another way to do the movement or just brace myself for the pain.

Sometimes I get caught unprepared, and it usually results in a whimper or other involuntary sound. The other night my wife witnessed such an incident and remarked, "I've never heard you make that noise before. It kinda freaked me out." I just sit a still as possible until the pain passes, then try to get …

Not Pretty.

I got home from work the day after the accident, sore but otherwise semi-mobile. Staying in one position (like in a chair or on a bed) is fine, with just a dull ache to remind me. Changing positions makes things interesting for the affected limb. Standing up is not fun, as reminders of all of the injuries come flooding back at once. It always brings forth a moan and a grunt as I transition. Sometimes I cry. The first dozen or so steps are the worst, and then the body realizes I'm committed and gets with the program. For brief moments I can almost fake a normal walk. So far it's getting better, although people keep warning me the worst is yet to come.

As I removed my uniform (slowly), I recoiled in horror. Blood had pooled around my pelvis and other spots in most unattractive ways. I don't usually bruise, and this went far beyond bruising. It didn't hurt, but it scared the hell out of me. I called my wife, who took one look and said flatly, "I guess we're going …

Ruining the Wife.

I ruined my wife.

She used to love Applebee's. "They make the best steaks!" Especially if they were cooked medium well to well done.

Then I took her to better restaurants that took good cuts of meat and treated them properly. I introduced her to medium and medium rare steaks, which she now demands.

My wife wont step foot in an Applebee's anymore. Date night is incredibly expensive these days.

This past weekend I rented an RV. It was the only weekend open before the Tour of Anchorage (I reserved it before dropping my bike in the Kulis crit), so I felt like I owed the family a weekend of fun.

We'd always tent-camped previously, and invariably it had been cold and rainy. We have a spacious tent that is a veritable mansion. I used to just go out with a sleeping bag and a shower curtain, wrapping up like a burrito and sleeping under my Jeep. The family camping in a big tent in a prepared campground, with thick air mattresses and comforts I would have never conceived of in…

Not All Rainy Days Are Alike.

This was written the week before Last Tuesday's crit incident. The last line is more true than ever. I'm still going to ride and race in the rain.

Tuesday it was raining.

A light rain that had just started darkening the pavement. I didn't wear a rain jacket, but tucked a packable one in my back pocket just in case. I didn't wear shoe covers. I slapped the fenders on to keep the rooster tail off my back. Pushing off, I didn't expect much out of the afternoon except low-intensity miles.

Turns out, it was a great ride. I settled into a groove that was a couple notches higher than expected. The rain didn't soak me, but was just enough to cool me off. The legs chugged away happily, and I added extra mileage in to fully use my allotted time. I'm came back a little damp, but happy.

Wednesday it was raining.

A steady rain was falling, pooling on the roads. I didn't even bother with the thin,…

Indications All Point To...

The other day I had a blinding moment of clarity.

I realized I had enough bikes.

You want to know how I know? Like with all things of any importance in cycling, my Garmins told me so.

I have three Garmins. Two are Edge 500s and one is an Edge 800. With the Edge 500s I'm limited to three bike profiles. The Edge 800 allows five.

I have seven bikes. The race bike, the crit bike, and the TT bike all are on an Edge 500, because it's always been my race computer (doesn't everyone have a dedicated bike computer just for racing?). The other Edge 500 takes care of trainer duties, mainly because the USB port cover popped off somewhere and they're near impossible to find these days. I think right now it has a couple profiles in there, but the only one I use is the Storck. The Edge 800 has my ti road bike, ti gravel bike, and Madone 5.2 Pro, as well as my TT bike and road race bike for warmup tracking.

Sometimes I have to think about which bike is on which computer, and more than once …

Another Year, Another Crash.

Don't you hate that feeling when you slam your hip, shoulder, and head into the pavement in rapid succession and then grind your flesh off as you slide across the tarmac? 

Yeah, me too.

Tuesday's crit was going well enough. I rode around with the D and C riders, pacing dropped riders around the loop and generally trying to stay out of their race. It was fun and didn't require a lot of energy to do. Hopefully I helped some of them.

When the combined A/B race kicked off, we had a pretty large group by our standards. Kaladi and Beaded Stream were well represented, and the race was characterized by constant attacks and counter-attacks. Other than bridging a couple gaps that looked dangerous, I mostly sat in. Breaks were never allowed much of a lead and usually were pulled back within a couple laps. I was just watching and conserving energy.

It had rained earlier in the day, but the roads were dry and I thought for a second we would be spared. Twenty minutes in, a light drizzle st…

Same Ol' Me.

Every time you go on Facebook, you see a notification that someone has changed their profile picture. Maybe it's a significant moment in their lives that they are commemorating. Maybe it's a cause they're supporting. Maybe they just felt like changing their picture to something else.

My picture hasn't changed. I'm boring like that. A little lazy. Satisfied with the status quo. The reality is that I just like the picture.
It reminds me of a certain time in my life. It was taken by my wife during the Tour of Fairbanks downtown criterium after my race was over. This was the big-show year for the ToF, with an announcer, stage, and Saul Raisin as the race marshal. I was watching the fast guys race over the bumpy course, dodging the random transient who wandered out in front of the pack. This was taken before Alex Loan went down in a corner and the ambulance came.

Back then I could still carry my daughter around on my shoulders without budging a disc. Not that she's any…

New Cheapness.

My new 60mm fake carbon wheels showed up today. They're replacing my old 60mm fake carbon wheels.

By "fake", I mean they're a carbon wheel with an aluminum rim embedded. The carbon is structural, and the spokes attach to it. The aluminum part is for the brake track and tire mounting strength. Basically they look like fancy deep section rims, but they stop somewhat better and are a whole lot cheaper. The downside? Well, they are pretty heavy and my old ones could get a little wiggly above 35 MPH. But... cheap. When you think about it, what are teeth when you have the chance to save a few dollars?

These are actually considerably wider than my old ones, so maybe they're better. Maybe they'll get shaky at 15 MPH. Only way to find out is to ride them and see. Maybe I'll wait for the next sunny day. Right now it's threatening to rain. They're too shiny and I just installed brand new tires and cassette. Gooping them up in the rain just seems wrong at the m…

Ease Up There.

75 hilly miles on Saturday. Beautiful day. Have to make the most of it.

45 hilly miles on Sunday. Beautiful day. Have to make the most of it.

Monday rolls around and it's overcast with occasional light showers. The temperature dropped about ten degrees. The wife calls up and asks me if I can skip my ride and come home right after work. I jump at the flimsy excuse. Those last two rides capped off a week of intensity. I was cooked, and shifting around a rest day seemed like a good idea.

Tuesday arrived and the weather was still dreary. The moment I walked out of work to see how the sky looked, sparse-but-large drops of rain start falling. I looked around and decided I had zero enthusiasm for any of the routes in my immediate vicinity. It wasn't bad weather. It wasn't the kind that soaks you to the bone, even if you're not wearing a rain jacket. The road was wet, but the fenders were already mounted. I had everything needed to ride out of the parking lot but motivation. Turn…

A Bit Flat.

I had done a few miles at intensity the previous two days, and I was starting to feel the weariness around my eyes. I had the bike on the car, the bag full of kit sitting by my desk, and the sky was blue. I really couldn't say no.

As I walked out, I checked which way the headquarters flag was blowing. It was one of the rare days where I would get a tailwind on the way out. From the way the flag was stretched out, a pretty good one.

I went with it, pushing harder than normal and hitting waypoints far faster than I usually do. I almost felt like I had some talent. I knew I had to turn around and face the music eventually, but I burned the matches anyway. I'd put it in the small chainring and spin easy on the way back- I had extra time thanks to the enhanced speed of the outbound trip.

Sure enough, I hit a wall as I turned around. I ran out of gears, but that didn't prevent me for periodically looking for more. I ducked low, trying to reduce my profile any way I could. I cursed …

Not Good Enough.

Every time I do any kind of intervals these days, I'm reminded that I don't do nearly enough of them. Long ones, short ones... doesn't matter, I'm just not doing as many as I should be doing to gain my desired fitness. Then again, I have pretty unrealistic goals (e.g. not sucking so much), so it's going to take a whole lot of focused interval training to make any real progress towards them.

Today was 30 second VO2max intervals with two minute of recovery in between. My legs failed on the last one, which shows I was doing them right. With more recovery, I would have likely pushed more power across all of the intervals, but the goal was to train recovery from intensity rather than bump up peak power.

Hammering, resting for a brief period, and then hammering again is something the young take for granted. Their bodies can take a lot of abuse, because they don't have decades of accumulated wear and tear built up. They have vast quantities of substances naturally cour…