Ever get a wild hair idea that won’t work its way out of your head?

In my case, I spent a short while today perusing the Connecticut racing calendar at HiTek Racing. I’ll post the way-long list of stuff I’m interested in later, when I’ve got time to look up races. But the idea that kept springing out at me as something I’d love to do was an Olympic Distance triathlon. What with the Turin games wrapping up last night with the best of all possible endings – a full out sprint to the line taken by an Italian underdog! Almost as satisfying on XC Skis as it is on bikes. Even if they were skating, which looks as unnatural to me (being raised on classical XC) as me riding a bike looks to the dog.

Olympic Distance is, in my mind, a lot like a half-marathon. Long enough to be interesting, but short enough not to leave a duffer like me broken and begging for mercy. 24 miles on the bike – hour, hour and a half depending on terrain. A 10K? After a marathon, even after a slack winter, 6 miles is a fun distance, and do-able even after an hour on the bike.

But the mile in the water – pshew. Swimming and me just don’t get along. Likely because I haven’t had any coaching, and am not likely to get any soon. I’d love to, but don’t want to sacrifice anything to get it. Yep, I’m darned to a future of mediocrity in sport, but that’s how I like it. If I can excel as a dad, and do better than most at the office(s), sport is an outlet, not a focus. (I’d rather spend the energy re-learning the piano. Not that there’s much progress there, either. But tonight is about triumph, not bleh, so disregard most of this paragraph)

Anyhoo … Continue reading 80

Public Apology

I’d like to take this space to issue a public apology to Al Trautwig. I took a cheap shot only because I figured VeloNews would publish me. I’m shallow, venal, and really like seeing my name on other people’s web sites. That, and because I endured one too many obvious comment on French culture over the past few Julys.

What I failed to grasp until watching the 50K XC final on the Olympics last night is that Al has happily made a career trying to make endurance racing understandable to non-endurance athletes. It’s not a leap a lot of programmers or talent have been willing to make.

Watching the 50K, Al’s appreciation for what the skiers were doing was apparent. And if listening to Al gets me more of the content that I want, then I’d listen to Al every Saturday and Sunday during the classics season happily. Doubly so if they keep him on with Bobbke.

So, here’s hoping that somehow my apology makes a difference. After the 50K, I’m still glad Al was in Turin. But for a completely different reason.

As a bonus, dig on today’s Frazz:
A bicycle race? In February? Up in Belgium? They don't sell enough waffles to afford a Jimmy Buffett album?
More on Het Volk.

Favorite Podcasts 23 Feb

Cory Doctorow’s Craphound.com – The (former) voice of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Cory Doctorow’s a Canadian. His podcast is usually a read of one of his short stories or novellas. At his website, craphound.com, you can download any of his novels, published under creative commons licenses. He also is one of the folks behind boingboing (dangerous to productivity, and occasionally NSFW-not safe for work). He’s one of those crazy overproductive people. Check this podcast out if you like scifi.

Despair.com – bitterly funny. Dilbert without the kindness, or faith in humanity.

Escape Pod – More scifi. Occasionally flagged “Mature”, mostly rated R. Great shows in the archive already, including a wonderful one on Free Will, and another great one about exile in time. If you’re interested, drop me a line and I’ll see if I can get URL’s for those.

Etherbeat – Ever since Wefunk dropped their podcast (bandwidth issues? Not sure…), I’ve been looking for a daily dose of funk. Etherbeat works. Not quite so well as WEFUNK, but good enough.

Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me – Weekly News Quiz. Features semi-comics from left and right. You might recognize names such as Tom Bodette, from the Motel 6 commercials, or PJ O’Rourke, from such seminal works of right wing philosophy such as “Age and Guile beat Youth and Innocence” and “A Parliament of Whores” (which should be used as a standard high school civics text). This show alone is worth donating to your local NPR station. Even if you live outside of the US.

Slacker Astronomy – actual PHD astronomers trying to be funny, and giving out decent star advice all at the same time. Entertaining. Bonus star tip – check out Stellarium. It’s an open source and free (as in both speech and beer) planetarium application that runs on OS X, Linux, and another operating system by a little company out of somewhere near Seattle, I think. Great for cloudy (or cold) nights.

Lastly, TWIT – The week in tech. Alpha Geeks being geeks. Search the archives for the shows with Steve Wozniak. Priceless.

So? What are you listening to? I generally still run to music. The podcasts are great for the commute, when you cannot stand another minute of listening to the news.
(thanks to Brogan for sparking this thread)


Ever have one of those weeks where you just can’t get anything going? That’s what I’m up against right now. Somehow, I feel like I’m occasionally my own worst enemy – too wrapped up feeling sorry for myself to get anything done. Give me rope, and I’m tying metaphysical nooses.

It’s a terrible feeling when you realize that the biggest stumbling block remaining in your life, and the source of most of your stress, is yourself.

Scratch that. Not terrible. Liberating. All I need to do is figure out how to focus, and I’m Visa, baby – everywhere you want to be.

Let’s change that noose into a lasso. I’ve got goals to wrangle.


Finally got back in the pool tonight for the first time in two weeks. The swimming felt good. Felt smooth. Felt strong.

‘Til I noticed the guy in the next lane, hardly moving, but going way, way, faster than me.

No, it shouldn’t bother me. Not in the slightest. ‘Cause I don’t swim enough to have reason for it to bother me. Plus, the whole “bothered” thing interferes with the whole “Wow, what a great swim” feeling.

And y’know what? it doesn’t bother me. ‘Cause one day, perhaps years from now, I’ll be smooth like that.

1500 yards. 35 minutes.

6 Miles

6 miles on the rail-trail again last night. I took it somewhat easy; still in “recovery” mode after donating blood on Saturday. Took the Forerunner this time to make sure that the folks who built the trail put in the mile markers right. Turns out, they’re pretty darn close. Close enough that I trust them over the Forerunner. (Stupid technology) The final verdict? 6.2 in 54 minutes. 8:45 average pace. I liked it. Not shabby for a lazy afternoon run.

No particular insight for today. But whadda ya want for nothing? Rubber biscuit? Want insight? Head over to jeff.

Oh, and Jeff? The Felt you’re looking at is well received in Bicycling’s annual buyer’s guide. So get on with it, already.

Actually, that brings up something that surprised me – I read through the bike porn for 2006 yesterday evening. Nothing really jumped up and grabbed me. Bicycling kind of summed it up for me – we’re living in a golden age of bikes right now. For just slightly north of a grand, you can get a ride that’ll do for about anything. For over $500, you can get a bike that’ll do for about everything less than Cat III racing. But there was nothing that really made me want to ditch the wife and kids and run down to the store with credit card in hand. I am seriously considering a mountain bike again, though. But I may build it piece by piece.

Winter Bil-lympics

No, not really. Mostly a photo-journey.

Gave blood Saturday. No guilt trip here. OK, a small one – since this is a light race season in most of the country, why not save up to three lives? Plus, it’s a calorie suck. I’d be more energetic about it, but the phlebotomist completely missed my vein this time. Had to dig about. Yuck. Plus, this may be it for me giving blood – they’re testing for an infection passed along by ticks now. And I cannot count the number of ticks I’ve pulled off of me.

OK, so Sunday – family swim, and I con the wife into driving the kiddos home while I run home (Isn’t it too cold? Naw, sweetie – I’ve got your love to keep me warm.) So here goes:


Continue reading Winter Bil-lympics

Meme ‘o’ riffic

From Deene:

1. Do you have good hand-eye coordination? Depends. 
2. Have you ever held a gun? Yes. For both work and leisure.
3. What do you think of toy guns? Kind of up-in-the-air about them. On one hand, they’re cool. On the other hand, we live in New England now, and they’re kind of socially unacceptable. On the third hand, I’ve got two boys, and have found, that, even without any actual toy guns in the house, there’s a lot of stuff that can stand in for guns. Actually, even without the house, there’s a lot of stuff that could be guns. Like fingers.
4. When is the last time you asked for forgiveness? Yesterday? Man. I dunno. Sorry.
5. Your favorite Aerosmith song: Walk this way, but the Run DMC version

Really Interesting Tandem

I really liked this tandem, which puts the stroker (is that the right word?) up in front, and has the controls in the back seat. From Velorution, where I’m sure I’d spend tons of cash if I lived in London.

From the review:

The most distinctive feature of the Ronald Tandem is the fact that person steering the tandem sits on the back seat and the ‘passenger’ is in the front seat. … Although I have not tested it I assume that when one substitutes the front seat with a carrier box, one would have a very manoeuvrable and convenient shopping bicycle.

UPDATE (From Fixedgear)

Terminology: On a conventional tandem the person who sits in front and steers/shifts/brakes is called the captain the the rear seat is occupied by the stoker. This bike has the captain i the rear and the stoker up front. So does the Bilenky Viewpoint, where the stoker is in front and recumbent and the captain is in the rear and upright. Oh yeah, if you have a triple (three seat bike) the person who occupies the middle seat is called the midshipman. Seriously.

Winter? What winter?

50 degrees and sunny today. Wasn’t there something white and cold last weekend?

Dunno why, but I was going stir crazy this afternoon at the office. So, I split a little early (I’ll be in early tomorrow).

MAN, what a day! Thought about stopping on Jamestown to run out to the lighthouse, but, being somewhat on a schedule, I hit the Kingstown Rail-Trail again. I’m really digging that path. Still not sure quite why. But I’m not going to fight it, since I’m really, really getting back into running. So whatever keeps me turning over the feet I’m going to keep doing.

Parked, put the Forerunner on top of the car to sync with the satellites, and fiddled around getting dressed, etc. Grabed the Nano, fired up the stopwatch, and started jogging. 52 seconds to Mile 0.

The trail was pretty much snow-free today. Blew by the Mile 1 marker and forgot to mark the lap. About a quarter mile past, a couple of boys were getting on bikes and riding the way I was heading. So, of course, I chased.

Man, the legs were good today. One of those days where you can run faster and faster, and not hurt, not run short of breath. Where it’s possible to just keep running. Hit the mile 2 marker in 16:32 – not so bad; 8:15’s… Since I had a little time, I decided to go 6 miles instead of four or five. The kids were still riding away; I kicked it up and kept running. 7:45 for mile 3. Fired up U2’s “Vertigo.” Kept hitting the back button as the song finished – when there’s a groove, there’s a groove.

Holy Crap! I said. I can’t remember the last time I did a mile under 8 minutes. WoW!

Turned around, kind of determined to just cruise back to the car. I’d just busted out the quickest 3 miles I’ve done in months, and was happy. At the 4 mile marker, lap time was 8:18. Nice and relaxing somehow. Even though I was going faster than I thought I could sustain prior to starting the run.

Mile 5: 8:04, even though I was making a concerted effort to hold back a bit. Last mile, I said “OK, why not?” Last mile, I went ahead and blew it out. 7:52.

Pshew. What a run.

Did a little pilates themed stretching, and headed home. 6.2 miles, 50 minutes. Not bad at all…

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