Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Though Veterans Day Was A Couple of Weeks Ago.............

I did not come across this article until this afternoon.We should all take a moment out of our day this Thanksgiving to give thanks for those that have and are still serving our great nation. The injuries of war are not always physical and the ultimate sacrifice not always death.

War is a drug
by Charles D. Whittington, Jr
When soldiers enter the military from day one, they begin to train and are brain washed to fight and to handle situations in battle. We train and train for combat, and then when we actually go to war, it is reality and worse than what we have trained for. We suffer through different kinds of situations.

The Army never taught how to deal with our stress and addictions. War is a drug because when soldiers are in the Infantry, like me, they get used to everything, and fast. I got used to killing and after a while it became something I really had to do. Killing becomes a drug, and it is really addictive. I had a really hard time with this problem when I returned to the United States, because turning this addiction off was impossible. It is not like I have a switch I can just turn off. To this day, I still feel the addictions running through my blood and throughout my body, but now I know how to keep myself composed and keep order in myself, my mind. War does things to me that are so hard to explain to someone that does not go through everything that I went through. That’s part of the reason why I want to go back to war so badly, because of this addiction.

Over in Iraq and Afghanistan killing becomes a habit, away of life, a drug to me and to other soldiers like me who need to feel like we can survive off of it. It is something that I do not just want, but something I really need so I can feel like myself. Killing a man and looking into his eyes, I see his soul draining from his body; I am taking away his life for the harm he has caused me, my family, my country. Killing is a drug to me and has been ever since the first time I have killed someone. At first, it was weird and felt wrong, but by the time of the third and fourth killing it feels so natural. It feels like I could do this for the rest of my life and it makes me happy.

There are several addictions in war, but this one is mine. This is what I was trained to do and now I cannot get rid of it; it will be with me for the rest of my life and hurts me that I cannot go back to war and kill again, because I would love too. When I stick my blade through his stomach or his ribs or slice his throat’s a feeling that I cannot explain, but feels so good to me, and become addicted to seeing and acting out this act of hate, and violence against the rag heads that hurt our country. Terrorists will have nowhere to hide because there are hundreds of thousands of soldiers like me who feel like me and want their revenge as well.

C.J. Whittington served as an Infantry Squad Leader in Iraq fromOct2005 to June2007. Today C.J. is a combat wounded veteran who is currently a student majoring in General Studies at CCBC.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Would Like to Formally Apologise....

To the 4 or 5 of you that regularly come here to read whatever drivel is on my mind at any particular time. Frankly I, like most people, have been too busy these days and something has to suffer for it. So my blogging and cycling have taken a back seat to hunting and other things. Not that I haven't had numerous thoughts that were blog worthy its strictly a time thing.

Equally Yoked.....

Now this is term you may or may not be familiar with. I mostly here it used in the Christian community, in referring to marriage. The term comes from II Corinthians 6:14 "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" 
But all too often I see some Christians taking this statement too far to the extreme. Now I am in total agreement that in marriage it is important that both parties should be on the same spiritual page but in our daily lives I am far from convinced. Granted we must be careful in how we choose those that we will spend our time with or call our friends. And children, in their innocence, are often times not the best judges of character. We must also be firm in our beliefs as to not be misdirected or lead astray. But if you are a Christian, you need look no further than to Jesus himself to see the real value in engaging and inserting yourself into the lives of those that aren't equally yoked to you. I personally have friends from one end of spectrum to the other, both believers and non-believers, and I count myself fortunate to have them all in my life. I would also hope that being my friend would have an impact on them as well.
I feel sorry for those living in their elitist bubble never stepping outside to touch the lives of those they probably should be. Constantly appreciating each other for their theological prowess and taking little time to truly practice it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Busy!!!!

10 new puppies....enough said.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Of Bicycles and Robots........

What do these two things have in common you might ask. Nothing other than the fact that they have both been competing for my time the past few days.
  
Riding has been easy....
Robots, not so much. I am not sure if it is the weather, or a culmination of the miles ridden this year but I am feeling really good these days. Still don't have any races on tap for thsi year, and of course scheduling conflicts are eliminating any chances of me doing a sure to be fun event this Friday evening. I am hoping that next year will be better for me so far as being able to do more events. Our schedule should ease up a bit once my wife finishes up her degree in the spring.

About the Robot......
There is nothing more  powerful than the imagination of a young child, and as they grow so goes the aforementioned. Their thought process, though young, hasn't the boundaries of experience and to them anything is possible. I believe that this is what sets the truly innovative apart form the rest of the herd. Somehow they are able to detract their minds from these experiences allowing their minds to perceive things differently than the rest. And far be it from me or any other adult to squash said imaginations. So when my 7 year old son came home the other day and told me that his project for this Friday was for him to come up with an invention, and make a poster describing it, I say that will be easy. But of course nothing is how it seams, and  he not only wants to make the poster, but he also wants a functioning robot. So as his excitement exudes during his description of said robot to me, how could I possibly say no.
Now I don't know how things operate in your home but for whatever reason my family has become spoiled. Not so much in the monetary or  possession sense, my last name is not Rockefeller, but in the knowledge that they can count on me to come through for them in a pinch and even at times ,when I might fall short, they know that I have given 200% effort for their cause. So a functioning robot, form stuff we have just lying around the house, in 1/12 evenings........"Sure son, we can do that." Son's response "COOL!!!"
So during this whole tirade of excitement, my mind is racing through a plethora of ideas, often times being derailed by another thought or idea fired off by my son as to what he wants his robot to do. Fortunately for me his ideas aren't written in stone and he is quite content for some of his functional ideas to be put on hold as this is only a prototype project. I wonder if he really understood what that word  prototype meant when I threw it out at him. Just in case, I explained to him that time constraints would probably only allow for a moving robot with blinking lights. Blinking lights was something he had not thought of and all other ideas went by the wayside. Which was good for me as I really don't have time for functioning arms and hands. I was also able to convince him to use the Halloween costume I had made him a couple of years ago as the body for the robot, which was easily done.
video 
So the project got completed on time, and do to time constraints I was unable to have it do everything I wanted it to but the boy seems to be happy so all is good.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Riding Against The Clock....

Or at least that is how it felt. This time of year all rides seam to go that way. Shorter days mean less time for riding in the evening. 50 mile rides slowly dwindle to 20. Every day it seams to get darker sooner than the last,  and the shadows stretch farther. Quite the opposite of spring when it seams to take forever for the sun to decide to hang around and play for a while, though will admit the cooler temperatures and the smell in the air are rather attractive, in their own right. I guess it is just another part of the love affair we all have with cycling.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

So maybe I was exageratting.......

A little in my last post about my cycling abilities............Or maybe not and this is just a ruse to get that link in.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Shoulda.....woulda....coulda.....

The way I am feeling these days I should have raced this past weekend. Not that I feel I would have done any better that the next guy that has not raced all season. But I think I could have held my own only for a little while. If nothing else I would have been able to see some friends I have not seen in a long time. Oh well life is too short to ponder on what could have been. I did however put in some pretty hard miles in the saddle the past couple of weeks, and have had some good quality time with the family so it all is good.



Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thougth I would share this.........

I get email updates form Ransomed Heart Ministries every day and this one really spoke to me.....

True strength does not come out of bravado. Until we are broken, our life will be self-centered, self-reliant; our strength will be our own. So long as you think you are really something in and of yourself, what will you need God for? I don't trust a man who hasn't suffered; I don't let a man get close to me who hasn't faced his wound. Think of the posers you know-are they the kind of man you would call at 2:00 A.M., when life is collapsing around you? Not me. I don't want cliches; I want deep, soulful truth, and that only comes when a man has walked the road I've been talking about. As Frederick Buechner says,

To do for yourself the best that you have it in you to do-to grit your teeth and clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest and worst-is, by that very act, to be unable to let something be done for you and in you that is more wonderful still. The trouble with steeling yourself against the harshness of reality is that the same steel that secures your life against being destroyed secures your life also against being opened up and transformed. (The Sacred Journey)

Only when we enter our wound will we discover our true glory. As Robert Bly says, "Where a man's wound is, that is where his genius will be." There are two reasons for this. First, the wound was given in the place of your true strength, as an effort to take you out. Until you go there you are still posing, offering something more shallow and insubstantial. And therefore, second, it is out of your brokenness that you discover what you have to offer the community. The false self is never wholly false. Those gifts we've been using are often quite true about us, but we've used them to hide behind. We thought that the power of our life was in the golden bat, but the power is in us. When we begin to offer not merely our gifts but our true selves, that is when we become powerful.

(Wild at Heart , 137-38)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

In A Rut.......

Both on the cycling and blogging fronts. My actual riding is ok but my ambition is low. I've been riding well and on a regular basis but have been having trouble finding the motivation to do it and lately I have even been balking at doing longer rides. It is almost as if I am on autopilot right now when it comes to cycling. This however is normal for me this time of year so I will just plod along until everything starts to click again. I'm not sure if it is the coming change in the season, the long miles ridden to this point of the impending hunting season that brings this on.

Even though my motivation to ride is low, my eagerness to ride unridden roads has not. I love the unbeaten path, and over the years I have learned to enjoy broken pavement and the occasional gravel road. "No Winter Maintenance" was the battle cry of a couple good cycling friends of mine and we were always up for the challenge. One has since move away and the other spends all of his time MTB now as he has been soured by the road racing scene. I did one such ride last evening much to the shagrin of my fellow cyclists.

The Road Less Traveled........

For the second day in a row we have chosen to do rides that include the least familiar roads that we can find. Each of us on the rides the past 2 nights have actually been on roads that we have never been on before. And that is saying allot as we have been riding around here forever and have 10,000's of miles logged. Needless to say it makes riding a little more interesting and had made my slump more tolerable.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Riding Allot........

Racing? Well, not so much. I did do on MTB race this year which is more than I did the past 2 years so that is an improvement...I guess. My original plan was to do some racing this year, as I have been unable to due to the Affib, and was really looking forward to it. But the reality of it is I have been just enjoying being on the bike and spending time with the family. Not that racing does not entice me anymore, its just not what I am driven to do right now.
Riding this year has been a blast though. To be able to go out and ride hard and not have to worry about having any issues is grand, and a place I did not know I would ever get to.

My Legs Hurt.......
And I am not sure as to why. I am guessing that I am starting to get a little dehydrated, which I am notoriously famous for. Up until lately I have been doing a pretty good job of staying hydrated but seam to have fallen off of the hydration bandwagon. Not completely off, but like a cowboy being drug behind his horse just barely holding onto the reigns.
Though the signs point toward dehydration I have noticed that the ache in my legs goes away as my HR reaches 160 and up. The higher my HR the better my legs feel....weird. I will have to tale to my E.P. at my next visit and ask him what he thinks.

Beer and Bikes........
So Andy and I were out for a ride today and I was verifying my high heart rate no leg pain theory and this car goes by us with the driver yelling something at us. Andy and I look at teach other, shrug our shoulder and continue on. a few minutes later we hear a car speeding up behind us. In a nervous voice Andy says "Thatss not them again is it?". I no sooner say "I don't know." and thwack...I'm hit with a beer bottle/can, pretty full I would guess as it felt heavy as it hit me. I look at Andy and he is wiping beer from the side of his face and not realizing I had been hit. Unfortunately as a cyclist you have no recourse unless you can somehow get the license number or on the odd occasion the driver happens to stop somewhere up the road. Neither of which happened. Oh well, nobody got hurt too badly so I will just take Solis in that.....That and Carma.

Friday, July 30, 2010

One Year Aniversary

So as I write this is is one year to the day that I had my Ablation for Affib/Flutter. How thankful and fortunate I am to have had doctors that were so skilled and in tune with my needs as a patient. I know that there will always be a chance that someday I could experience problems or possibly need another procedure but then again maybe not. Whatever the case I feel better than I have in many many years and am enjoying every second of NSR.

Riding For Charity.......
So I spent this past weekend riding my bike in a charity event. I participated in the MS 150 Keystone Country Ride. And for any of you that have done one of these rides you know that there is great opportunity to either ride for enjoyment or at race pace. I chose the latter of the 2 riding with some good friends of mine. After 150 miles of attacks, long pulls and all out TT  efforts, I realized that I am still not back to 100% and also if sub 150 lb guys were required to wear 30 pound packs on their backs I would start back to racing yesterday.

The ride was allot of fun and I was able to reconnect with a bunch of old friends and made some new ones as well.
Team Elaine



Tool.........
According to the Urban Dictionary a Tool is One who lacks the mental capacity to know he is being used. A fool. A cretin. Characterized by low intelligence and/or self-esteem. Unfortunately I had the displeasure of encountering one this weekend. I am also amazed at these rides that people actually treat it as if tit is a race "Hundred Mile Heroes" so to speak. They cant stand it when people pass them and are a menace to the less experienced rider. I saw said tool cause no less than two accidents this weekend and he and his crew also attempted to crash me out as well. Now normally I would let this go but this guy not only represents a well known team he is also the owner of a well known shop.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Breakthrough.....

No. Not an epiphany nor some great eye opening enlightenment. Just a visit from a bad heart rhythm. Now it is unclear as to weather or not this was afib or some other arrhythmia. All I know is, it is not what I was expecting to happen. It did thankfully not last too long, about an hour. I had read of a method of stopping an attack so I actually started it before I got hold of my EP. He actually said that I had done the right thing and to take a larger dosage.
Now I would have expected this to happen on Saturday during or after the race. Or maybe even the next day. But this many days after, while sleeping is a real oddity for me. I have not felt 100% since Tuesday evening, when i did actually notice a blip in my rhythm, kind of like when you get an itch and you go to scratch, it but before you get the chance it goes away. Also if this was the time before my ablation I would expect it as well, as this is normally the time of year I would experience the most trouble with it.
So I don't know. Was it just a fluke? Did I deplete my electrolytes too much on Saturday and the following couple of days of riding? Am I going to start having trouble again? I don't know and I don't think anybody can 100% sure say. All I can do is put it behind me and keep doing what I have been doing and see what happens.
We will see.........

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sketchy decents, lots of single track, mud

And stream crossing with water almost up to your chest. Now that's the way to put on a Mountain Bike Race......

So after many years of conflicting events, work and who knows what else, I finally had the opportunity to participate in the "Dash For Cash Mountain Bike Race". All I can say is if you have never done this one you are really missing out. Doug Crytzer is race promoter and as an avid mountain biker and adventure racer he knows what it takes to layout a challenging and fun course.
Everybody had a really good time and I got to talk to a bunch of people that I have not seen in a couple of years as I have not been racing due to my former heart problems.

The race itself was a blast
The race is set up in a time trial format, riders leaving in pairs in 60 sec. intervals. Which is pretty cool as it really eliminates any real congestion on the trails. There are three different categories. Beginner (5 miles), Sport (14.4 miles) and Expert (19.4 miles). I did the Sport as I haven' raced in a couple of years and I have not been on the MTB for quite some time so I figured my skills were going to be pretty rusty. I also had heard allot about this course beforehand and figured to do the 14.4 miles was going to be a pretty good challenge and I was not disappointing. Lots of great single track, sketchy descents and enough rocks, roots and logs to keep you busy and on your back. I started with a fellow teammate, Richy, without a warm-up. Neither of us were sure if this was a good idea but what the heck. I let Richy get in front and set the pace and just sat on his wheel. It has been several years since I have done any type of racing so I figured this would be a good way to start. Richy had done this race in the past, and has been mountain bike allot this year so I figured I would just follow his lines for as long as I could.
We were rolling along pretty good, passing some p[people that had started before us, and I cant remember how it happened but all of a sudden Richy was on my wheel. I was feeling much better than I though I would and just set a steady pace. My goal for the race was to try to keep my heart rate in the 165-175 range, as I still have not relined myself to this point.I looked at my HRM, 170bpm, Right where I wanted to be. So we kept rolling along. This first part of the course wasn't the most technical part of the course but it did have its share of rocks, roots and mud, and was pretty slimy. All of a sudden we come into this section with a bunch of rocks and I find my self on my back. As I got up Richy rode by. I got back on rode a short distance and back on my back. This happened one more time as I was approaching Richy's wheel and I never did get back on.
I decided at this point my technical skills were waning and that I should just set a good rhythm and forget about trying to catch Richy's wheel again. So I settled in and just kept pounding. We eventually came to the first Hair raising decent and I decided to just sit back and hang on. As I was descending I saw several riders walking their bikes. I even caught a glance of Richy again and probably would have caught him but as I approached one of the other riders there was not enough room for me to get by , got hung up , and had to dismount. I got past him and down the rest of the way to the first water crossing and saw Richy just getting out of the water. This was first and worst water crossing of the day. It had rained allot leading up to race day and water levels  were still rising. They had heavy cables stretched across the stream to hold onto so I grabbed hold of one and jumped in. Unfortunately I was on the downstream side of the cable and should have been on the upstream side. So when I got to the other side I had to maneuver myself and my bike under the cables before I could get out of the water.
Once out of the water, and started to remount my bike, I came to the realization that I probably should start thinking about a new pair of mountain bike shoes. The fast current had undone the Velcro Straps, so I had to take a moment to reattach everything. This happened a couple more times during some of the other water crossings as well. So back on the saddle and into my rhythm. As I started back my legs felt like anchors, this happened after every water crossing that we had to dismount for. It must have been due to the current and the colder temperatures of the water.



Old Friends..... 
So after the race and post race festivities, which included roasted pork, beef and all the fixings, with good live entertainment in the background. I headed towards home to catch up with some High School classmates. They had decided to have a picnic and hit a local watering hole later that evening. Unfortunately the turnout was small due to the weather and my time I had to spend at the bar was limited. It was however good to see everybody that was there and hopefully the next time more folks will show up.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Recalibration.........

Or at least I think that is what is going on with my heart these days. I have been off of the drugs now for a few weeks and I am feeling great. My heart rate seems to be a little out of whack though. The highest heart rate I have seen to this point is 174 before I shut it down. I had decided to incrementally increase my efforts over the next 2 months, but could not resist pushing it a little.
The other thing I have been noticing is that my heart does not respond to effort as it has in the past. I am not sure if this is due to my heart finding new pathways or if it will be a permanent issue. I have noticed though that I am able to sustain an effort at a rate that is right in line with my normal MHR so I am not complaining.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Old news...........

Blogging not so much. The biking has been going well considering I can only drive my heart rate up to around 140. Anything above that requires a 220 effort and even then I can barely hit 150. My hearts response to effort is slow as well so 140 feels more like 220 anyway. Thankfully this is all due to the beta blockers I am still taking. I tapered off of the anti-rhythmics last week and will do the same with these stupid things next week.
The good thing about this is that my heart beats normally now, the bad part is it wil be a while before I will be doing any racing. Even after I stop the final drugs it wil probably take a couple more weeks to finally rid my body of these evil drugs completely.

Monday, March 22, 2010

So.....How does an 80 mile ride

Turn into a Century. Was it the missed turn early in the ride (+2)? Was it the desire to go see the groundhog in Punxsutawny (+6). Or the desire not to retrace our previous steps (+4)? Of course then when you reach the point where you are going to have a over 90 miles  anyway, is it foolish not to just go for 100. Again I am not sure but what I am sure of is that everybody had a great time.
This past Saturday 8 riders form AG3r and IUP cycling 



Headed out for what would turn out to be an epic early season ride. Little did we know that we would be doing 100 miles at the onset or that our sense of humor would be needed later in the day. Our original plan was to do a modified Smicksburg loop to give us in the proximity of 80 miles. As fellow cyclist you know that to come up with a ride that will give you the exact mileage you are looking for is hard to do and even harder on the fly.




After missing the first turn on the ride due to the fact that the ride leader stopped to lose his knee warmers, we continued on a different route. Nobody seamed to mind as the weather was perfect, the company great, the scenery fabulous and nobody but myself new were we were headed. After some great rolling hills and a nice long section through the valley, we finally ascended to 119 outside of Punxsutawney.













Somebody had a great desire to see Phil and we all needed to refuel, so off we went.







Once we topped off our tanks we headed out the backside of Punxy twoards North Point and along Mahoning Creek.Little did we know that our sens of humor and hip waders would be soon be called upon. We were little more than 5 miles from smicksburg when we encountered this sign.









Undaunted by a meer warning we continued on only to find that our road ride had would soon become a cyclocross ride. So we pressed on through the muck and debris until we came to this.




Had I known what was going to happen next I would have had my camera ready. Actually a video would have been better. Steve tried to ride through the water and was doing well until he headed toward eh edge and ended up in water up to his handlebars.He then attempted to get off his bike and got stuck in his pedal. Words do not do this entire situation justice. That's Steve in th background trying to get unclipped.












So after wading through the water we carried on through smicksburg and back to Indiana.












Not a whole lot happened on the way home. Some good conversation and a final stop for fluids about 9 miles from town. This was also some of the riders first century and at lest ones first + 50 ride.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Finally......

Got to spend some quality time with my bike. Steve , Sean and I headed out Saturday afternoon for a 40 miler. The air was a little cool but the sun and sheer pleasure of being out after such a harsh winter made it more than tolerable.
The day started out in the morning with a 1 hour spin class. Then my son and I spent some quality time sledding, then it was time to hit the road. We headed out to do the Eastern Shore loop, which is fairly hilly, as many rides around here are. I was concerned about road conditions though as many of the roads on this loop are questionable and I was also worried about ice that may be on the roads as many of the roads don't get much sun. Much to my surprise the roads weren't that bad and mostly dry.

Sundays Soiree......

Steve, Hanna and I headed out Sunday afternoon for what would be Steve and I's 2nd 40 mile day of the weekend. A bit more leisurly thatn teh previouse day. Not that Saturday was a hammerfest. But 2 long days back to back early in the season makes for some tired legs. The MC loop is probably one of teh flattest 40 mile ride you will do around here. Not that its a table top but there are allot of long flat rolling sections adn some good payback for the climbs that you have to do.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ready!!!!!!!!!

GET ON YOU BIKES AND RIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! At least that is the plan for this weekend. The sun has finally found its way through the clouds and it is supposed to be at least in the 40's and sunny all weekend. Hopefully will get out with the "Disenchanted One".
  
I really need.......
An outlet these days. I am pretty sure it is the meds I am taking, at least I hope it is. Nightmares and anger have been eating me alive lately. It is pretty much driving me nuts and quite frankly, I could do without either.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Torqued.......

So I was working on the "Disenchanted Ones" bike the other evening. He was having what he thought was a problem with his new-used ceramic bottom bracket. So he brought it over for me to swap out for an FSA. Of course the FSA would not work with his SRAM Cranks (STUPID). So I put the ceramic back in and tightened it up. Now, like all new 2 piece cranks they have a torque to which they want you to tighten the crank. The problem I have found though is that, when the crank is new this may work, but take it on and off a couple of times and you can through those numbers out the window. After tightening the bolt I noticed that the crank had a little play in it side to side and I am pretty sure that this is what he was noticing when he was riding. So I tightened it to the point wrere the play was gone, the cranks turned smoothly, and I called it good. I told him to keep an eye on it but I am pretty sure it will be ok.

Speaking of torque..............

I have often wondered about carbon handlebar manufacturers. They almost never publish torque specs for their bars but instead rely on the torque settings recommend for the stem clamping surface. I suppose that they have manufactured their bars to withstand a torque much higher than the manufacturer recommends, but in the end does that relinquish them of any responsibility if you do damage the bars?

That reminds me of a story..........

So a very good friend purchased a bike. The shop built it up and torqued everything to spec. For whatever reason, many months later, he goes to another shop for a "Professional fitting". Now those of you in the bike business please take no offense. Having somebody that is knowledgeable in bike fitting, set you up on your bike initially is a great idea. I cant tell you how many times I have seen somebody sell a bike to a person just because it was on the floor, and they could move product that day. Right or wrong that happens., usually to people buying comfort bikes or novice riders. But even Andy Pruitt will tell you, "Most standardized fit systems will get you within 2cm of this fictional "perfect Fit". At the Boulder Center, we can get a little closer. But over time your body will lead you to make adjustments that will bring you within this "Fit Window" of a centimeter on either side of your virtual "Perfect" measurement." In other words if you have a fitting done and after a few good rides you are not comfortable, you probably need to make a change. So many people get fitted, think that is how they are supposed to be, and no matter if they are comfortable or not, continue to ride that way.
Anyway they recommended that he, a guy that spends 95% of his time on the tops of his bars, should get a narrower set. So he complies and they offer to give him a credit for his old bar. (Good for them),. Except they later tell him that whomever had built this bike had over-torqued the stem clamping bolts and that the bars were ruined. So he went back to the original shop and explained to them what he had been told and that he wanted a new set of bars, which the shop was happy to do for him but not without explanation and calling out the other shop. First of all to tighten something to a point to which ti will not move under force you must first engage it, IE. deform it without damaging the structural integrity of the materials. If you don't it can break loose and spin or just plain break.anyway the shop sent the bars back to the manufacturer. Come to find out, there were some bars that were produced that had arrived a little under the diameter spec, which these particular bars did, and that there was no structural damage done.
Now it was pretty obvious from the start what was going on here. The other shop was trying to gain a customer, not through good customer service, but through misleading a potential customer. In the end the truth was found out but unfortunately many customers are lured away from a shop that truly has their best interest in mind for a shop that is only out to make a quick buck. This happens in all aspects of business so beware.
If I remember, I will someday tell the part of the story where the other shop tried to tell the same customer that his front wheel was on backwards.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Blogging......................

So I spent some time today catching up on a few of the blogs I normally read, and some that I don't.Most are cycling related but not all. Some are commentary. Anyway I was reading Steevos blog and it appears he , as well as others, have fallen into the same predicament many of us fall into this time of year. Plenty of time and nothing to write about. Now of course there is always cometary and you could spend a good amount of your time researching and writing about upcoming or ongoing cycling events in other countries. Or you could get your political self on and comment on the idiots in DC. I however would rather stick to writing about personal events and the occasional rant on something that may or may not be controversial. So rather than bore you you with snow shoveling I will leave it at that.

This ought to be a good read............
So a good friend of mine has decided to enter teh blogosphere (I know he looks like Ferb). Mike and I have been friends and riding bikes together for quite some time now adn I am pretty sure that he is one of those people that will be a part of my life until life ends. I have been witness to many of his exploits which ar humerous in themselves, but for the ones that I dont, his anecdotal take on them are quite entertaining.
One of my earliest memories of Mike was at a local mountain bike race. I really cant remember if I raced that day but I remember hanging around at the finish line waiting for people to come in. i was talking to Tom when I heard a scream. As I turn around I pay witness to a guy on a green mountain bike flying over his handlebars and landing square on his back in the middle of a road.  Come to find out, this is standard operating proceedure for him. Anyway I am sure that he will have much to entertain you with so enjoy.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Two great early season races today.........

And I missed both of them. Steve and Brian both headed to "Why Not Cross" in Carlisle and Jason,Martin and Arin headed to Snot-Cycle in Virginia. My choice would have been to do "Why Not Cross" as it is close to Brian's house and would have given the opportunity to spend some time just hanging out before and after. But it wasn't in the cards this weekend, so I traveled 10 minutes to spin class. Brian and Steve had respectable finishes and I have not heard about the others yet.

Finally somebody is starting to pay attention...........
It appears that the folks in L.A. are going to conduct a study on ways to protect cyclists. This is another great step toward cyclist rights, and will hopefully help to set presidents for bicycle advocacy. There has been heightened awareness to the problems cyclist on the road face lately due to some real unfortunate injuries and fatalities  caused by  drivers. It only takes a quick search on the internet to make you realize how many times this happens each year. It by no means with make me think twice about heading out, but it would be nice if it wre safer. Fortunately what happened to me on my last ride is far from the norm in our are, but I have ridden in other parts of the state that weren't so cycling friendly. Unless  of course your enjoy mountain bikling then this is the place to go.

Your approach to solving the problem looks great...............
But could you please just duplicate the half assed way we did it. This is the response we got at work the other day for the improved solution to a problem presented by one of our customers. They don't seam to want to spend the extra time or money it will take to do the job the right way. What the heck, the consumer is only paying $3000.00 for the item and they will never see in side of it anyway so who cares....right? Who cares if it looks about as professional as repairing a crack in $3000.00 bike frame with a piece of 1/4 inch steel.
Maybe this is a bit preemptive as they may not realize yet why we chose to do it the way we did. Why should you even consider that the heat source might totaly negate your solution. Let alone the rest of the cluster you left hanging there.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How about this weather????????????????



Well there is not much good to say about it for sure. Too cold to ride outside and not enough snow around here to Cross Country ski. So I am confined to indoor cycling amusement, which really is not that bad. Spin class is fun and weight lifting is what I did before cycling so it is all good. There is a cross race this weekend that a couple of team mates are doing but I am unable to attend. This hopefully wont be the norm for this season as my family has been encouraging me to get back to it. So long as work schedules don't get in the way or at least having somebody to keep an eye on my youngest fan while I participate, it should work out.

Finally some news to support..............
What I have been doing my entire life. Doctors have found that "Untidy beds may keep us healthy". I agree that there is nothing like crawling into a made bed but I just don't have the time or whatever it takes to do it on a daily basis. Now I have an excuse not to.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ended up riding alone today...........


Ended up riding alone today. Was supposed to ride with Steve but he had made a trip to Pro Bikes in Pittsburgh and was not going to be back in time. So after changing the oil and washing the truck I headed out.
One thing I have noticed since my surgery is that I don't seem to get as cold as in the past. I assume it is due to the more efficient beating of my heart and makes me wonder how many times I may have been in  atrial flutter while riding.
I was unaware that I had this condition in addition to the Affib but I became more prominent during the weeks leading up to my surgery an I felt pretty normal except for the fact that my heart rate was around 150bmp for over a week straight.
Ended up doing a little over 30 miles today which took me around the Tanoma loop.

While I am on the subject..................
Of Tanoma, I had an interesting experience there to day. Now we spend allot of time riding this particular road over the years without much indecent. Considering the amount of time cyclists spend on this and other roads around here the couple of incidents that have been makes you feel pretty comfortable about riding there. A couple of dog vs bike accidents and the on evening Scooter had some guy chase him off the road with his pickup cornering him between the grill and a concrete building. I will never forget that night and fortunately there were about 8 of us there to witness the incident and quickly convinced the guy in the truck that he had made a huge mistake and that instead of getting out of the truck that he should probably stay put and the police were on their way.
I don't have a clue as to what sets people off in cars but it does happen. Most of the time is is a simple gesture indicating their IQ, other times it is a can or some projectile directed your way. And of course there is the occasional close shave or cut off.

So what happened today you might ask..........
It all started at the single lane bridge on the way from Tanoma, not nearly wide enough for 2 cars but just enough room for a car and bike to pass each other. So as I approach the middle of the bridge an  approaching car enters from the other end. Which I would have thought nothing of as she was moving slowly, except for the fact that she was edging her way towards my side of the road. Actually she left as little room as she could for me to get by and probably would have left less if the distance between us closed quickly. So as I slowed to a creep past her I glanced her way and she calls me a j@c%@$$. Now she is so close top me and the road is covered with anti skid material I actually placed my had on eh corner of the rear of her car as I exited the bridge.

So I continued on my way and never gave it another thought. That is until about 1/2 mile down the road I hear a car racing up behind me, but I did not bother to look as cars always do that. Next thing I know this crazy old woman comes up along side me and towards me cutting me off then slowing down to a crawl. As a moving target is harder to hit than a sitting one I continued to ride. So she moves over to the other side of the road into the berm and comes to a stop. As I ride by she comes right at me. I hit the brakes and she overshoots me then got back in front of me.
So I continued to ride behind her wondering what her malfunction was. Now according to a friend of mine Estrogen would be the cause and the fact that I am a man would be the effect but I don't really think that is what  was going on here.So she pulls off of the road again on the opposite side and I foolishly go past her. So she comes at me again and forces me off of the road again. At this point I think she had had enough as she went up the road and pulled off on my side, turned around and headed back in my direction at this point she either figured that she had better lay off as she must have figured I had taken her picture. Unfortunately this is the only photo that came out as I was trying not to die.
Unfortunately I did not get her license number, due to the wanting to live thing, and this photo isn't clear enough to read it. So if you know anyone that is a CSI maybe they could clean it up for me so I can complete the police report.

The Tour De France....
Is still a couple of mouths out and I am already tired of this guy. Hopefull Paul and Phil will get over him long before the race begins.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Had a great ride.................


This past Saturday. It was my maiden voyage on the road since before my ablation. So I have not been out for a real ride since July. What a blast.!!!! I knew that I was missing it but did not realize how much. I took the fixed gear as it has fenders, and heavier tires as to prevent getting a flat tire.
The roads around here this time of year are horrible and a heavy tire is highly recommended. A cyclocross bike would have been a good choice as well, but as I don’t have one of those in my arsenal at this point the fixie did fine.


I  love riding the fixed gear. It is by far one of the best ways to get into shape. There are no gears so you can’t fake it. When the going gets tough you have to work or walk, and we all know walking is not an option. This will however probably be the only time I rid this particular bike for a while. It ahs only been 5 months since my ablation and I really don’t want to red line myself yet. I will get back to it though as the season progresses. Oh and I only forgot I was on a fixed gear once as I drifted off eh road but I managed not to hi the eject button.


Was supposed to get out and ride............

With Steve yesterday but as luck would have it I could not make it. I was not so disappointed at first as the weather and roads did not look so good around noon but a little later in the day the sun came out and the roads started to dry out. We are going to keep an eye on eh weather though and get out as soon and as much as we can. I will be spinning this week though and start teaching a class this Friday.
Heck, I even put a new tire on to replace this one for the outing. that's right folks there are plenty of threads showing here.

This just in………….
Pretty women anger more easily.” Researchers found women who rated themselves as pretty displayed a war-like streak when fighting battles to get their own way.” Now why can’t I think for this kind of stuff? I can only imagine that Researcher = $$$$$$$$$$$. “In the study, the women who believed they were good looking were more likely to respond angrily in disputes than those who rated themselves as less attractive. Now this isn’t rocket science and I am pretty sure that any red-blooded American man, or woman for that matter could have told you this. Just put a couple of pretty women in a room for a while and see what happens. Not necessarily what happens over at doucheblogcyling, sorry Burt, but I think you get the picture.

Cleaning house...........
In a sense anyway. Just finished copying all of my personal blog posts from AG3r to this one. Check them out if you like they are all older (2005-2006) but so what.

Like everybody else in the world.....
I have been doing the facebook thing. It amazes me how some people have so many friends. Some people have more friends than I think I personally know. Although I think when you get right down to it most are probably just acquaintances.  Friend is a word that people tend to just throw out there, but the meaning of the word has no real significance to them. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard somebody say “yah, they are a friend of mine”. Really?
Lets face it; we have many people come in and out of our lives over the years.  And just because you know somebody does not make them your friend. Now that may seam a little harsh but I believe it to be true. Friendship is something to be valued not used. Friendships can last a lifetime so you should choose your friends wisely, quality not quantity. And don’t confuse quality with stature or what that person may be able to do for you, because you will be left short when you really need a friend.
A friend will impact your life in a positive way. Now you may not realize this when you are young but as you grow you realize how the people you chose as friends when you were young probably had the greatest impact on your life. I came to this realization a few years ago when a childhood friend’s parent passed away. It was not only the friendship I had with this individual that impacted my life, but her entire family. They are all a part of who I am. And of course as we grow older we have the ability to be more dicerning about the friends we choose.
  • A friend won’t judge you. They will listen without prejudice and be honest in their response if needed or say nothing but be there to hear.
  • A friend will come to your aid, often times without you asking.
  • A friend will impact on your life, it is up to what type of impact that is. I could go on but I think you get the point.
So be the best friend you can be, somebody might be counting on it. 

Thinking about starting a second blog........
Just what I need. One more thing to do. Something else to cut into my day. But I am still considering it. I have come up with a couple of ideas as to what I will focus on but still not sure if I will follow through. It will be of a less personal nature for sure. Nor am I sure if I will link it to any of my other Internet stuff.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Call Me Crazy....

But I really do like the snow, even though it keeps me from doing much cycling. It makes everything look so nice and in the evening makes it seam much quieter. Of course you need to find some way to keep your sanity so some wort of outdoor activity is necessary. If it weren't for cross country skiing, sledding and spin classes I would probably go crazy. I know, its cold out, but you would be surprised how little clothing you actually need if you actually get your heart rate above your resting heart rate.

Moved To The............
Head of the class the other evening as spinning. The class was overbooked so the other instructor stepped down and I took his place. What a great workout you get teaching, of course as the instructor you push yourself a little harder, plus I tend to watch and see how badly the people are suffering. And if it does not appear that they are suffering like I am, I ramp it up a notch until I see them suffering as well. I really do enjoy teaching as it allows me to run the class in a way the benefits my particular, off season, training regiment.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Are You..........

Living in a bubble? It always amazes me how many people that I encounter are.This actually came to me last evening while playing video games with my son. We have discovered that when a part of the game becomes to hard, usually for me, or you are about to reach your demise you can simply put yourself in a bubble and just float around until the other player lets you out. this works out fine but there are challenges in the game that you don't get a chance to participate in or defeat. I see the same thing every day in life. Some probably don't even realize it even though it is so obvious to those they come in contact with every day.

The trouble with bubbles is that they kind of sneak up on you . Enveloping you little by little, day after day, week after week, year after year. The process can be so slow that you don't even know it is happening. And you may never know unless somebody points it out to you. Bubbles have no discretion either. They consume all types of people, both young and old rich or poor, robbing them of some of the greatest things in life.

I am quite sure ......
That there are those out there that have never been consumed by the bubble and kudos to them but I think it is highly unlikely. I  have found myself enveloped many times throughout the years but have always been able to realize my situation and break free. Either by my own will or with the help of others. Living the bubble free life can be quit exhilarating and to surround yourself with bubble free friends makes this all the better. I have had the good fortune to have an abundance of these types of people in my life forever and am continuously seeking them out. Lets face it you cant have enough of those type of people around keeping bubbles at bay.

So get out there......

And take some risks, measured ones if your skeptical, but take them. Burst that bubble and enjoy life!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

So I Promised.......

To do more blogging but quite frankly there isn't much going on folks. Eight of so straight days of snow and sub zero temperatures aren't that inviting for cycling. That coupled with conflicting schedules with my cycling time and other commitments it just aint happening. I  have been spinning and shoveling snow so I am not without exerciser or focus for that matter. True there are some that have been braving the outdoor elements on 2 wheels but not I. And to be perfectly honest I am ashamed of that, but again scheduling conflicts have been playing a big part in that as well. Spinning 2 or 3 days a week after work requires me to drive a car there on those days and getting my son on teh bus pretty much squashes any opportunity of the other days. ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!!!!!!

I would Argue.......

That it is harder to get back into shape than it is to get into shape originally unless, of course, round is your preferred shape. The only advantage you have in getting back into shape is that you already have muscle memory and the the mental fortitude it takes to do it. Unfortunately you have the memories of how easy it was to do certain things when your fitness was good, which really stinks. So all you can do is push on, which I will. Actually will start teaching spinning again in 2 weeks.