Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Long time gone

Well, if anyone is left checking this blog, I'm back!

It's been a crazy couple of weeks. I've been interviewing for a new job, as it's no secret that I was ready to move on.

Last week I was offered, and accepted the job. I'll be a regional consultant for GM service departments. The craziness comes in that fact that I'll be based out of Chicago, IL.

I've changed jobs plenty of times, but never relocated for a job. I'm excited about moving to Chicago, but there's a lot of complication along the way. First and foremost is the fact that the job requires too much travel for me to be able to keep my dog Nero. I love Nero dearly, but I guess I've known all along that I'm not the kind of pet owner that is going to spend ungodly amounts of money on procedures for a pet, or prevent myself from taking a great professional opportunity. I guess some people can't understand that, and so they have not qualms about making me feel like I'm an absolutely horrid person for abandoning my dog.

I certainly did not adopt Nero 2 years ago with the intention of ever giving him up. But I learned in that time that I'm really not the ideal pet owner, either. As much as I know Nero and I have formed a bond, I really think he'd be better off with someone who's more devoted to his needs. Of course, he could also be in a much worse situation as well. Which is why I'm trying to be very careful about where I place him, even if it's only a foster situation until a new permanent home can be found.

It's killing me thinking that I may have to leave him with a rescue agency and not a real family, but time is running out. It seems some people think I'm heartless for giving up my pet, and believe me, right now, I wish I was.

Friday, March 09, 2007

It's you or me, turkey, and it feels like Thanksgiving

Earlier this week I felt a "sick" day coming on, so I decided to go all legit and take Friday off. I'm headed to Chicago this weekend, so it seemed like it would be a good idea anyway to have an extra day to get stuff done.

Holy Moly did I pick the right day to take off. The high temp today was 46 degrees and mostly sunny. And with the threat of rain in the morning tomorrow, today might be the only day I can get a ride in.

I started with a quick stop at the shop for supplies. Man, that place is like a black hole. I just get sucked in there. Even if I'm not spending money, it's just a giant time suck standing around talking bikes and... well, bikes.. So with great effort I tore myself away, and got underway.

The route was the same as last weekend. Only this time I rode the whole thing. Including the metro park path, and mileage from the shop, the total on the day was 42 miles. Time was around 2:50. It's not a particularly hilly route (see elevation profile at the link above) but I managed to keep up a pace close to 16mph, so the legs got a good workout. I also did some one-leg drills on the moderate rises in the park. There's nothing like one-leg drills to really get you to focus on a good spin. My problem is with my seat set high for road riding, it gets a might bit uncomfy if you know what I'm sayin'....

While back in the woods on the Indian Springs Metropark path, I happened upon a couple turkeys just hangin' out playin' in the mud or something. I wasn't too concerned until I got closer.. man, these things were HUGE. One good freakout and they could take me down no problem. So I kinda slowed down and thought about what type of menacing noise I ought to make to get them to take off. Just then they hopped
on off the trail on their own. That's right! They saw what was comin' if they tried to get a piece of THIS.

I had hopped to vary the route a bit for the return trip, but I hadn't really studied the map too well, so I stuck to the same route home. I was trying not to get the heart rate up too high, stay aerobic and burn fat no sugar, but at the same time I wanted to keep the pace swift. It helps that it is mostly downhill on the way home.

So I was quickly back home, enjoying a juicy 1/3 pound of cow and some awesome garlic mashed potatoes. Mmmmmmmmm recovery.. :D Hopefully the rain wraps up early and I'll be able to get out early tomorrow before the long 5 hour drive to Chicago to celebrate the opening of Thomas' new studio!!


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Punxsutawny Phil, that Rat Bastard!

Tge begubbubg if nt reak traububg kast seasib was ( <-- ok, this is what happens when you try to blog while watching TV.... )

Last season my training began in earnest when I joined the Tree Farmers on their weekend rides from Walled Lake to Kensington/ILRA. I've got many more miles on my legs this year, but I figured it was time to return to my roots. So I met Paula and Erin, the Gorgous Ladies Of Biking (or G.L.O.B.'s) at the CVS parking lot this morning at 8:30am EST (Erin'S Time) ;)

It was BUTT COLD at the start. Really, it was only about 25 degrees F but after a few rides in the 30's I must be spoiled! I don't know about you, but I don't see any early spring coming, unless you're getting the hell out of dodge. There's barely more than 1 day predicted to break into the 40's in the next 10 days. Punxsutawney Phil might find it easier to see his own damn shadow if he were to put down the crack pipe once in a while.

You can find the route here. We got underway at an easy pace. Just needed to warm ourselves up. And the G.L.O.B.'s had done a similar, nearly 4 hour ride yesterday, so I'm sure they had a couple kinks to work out. I was feeling pretty good, but I only did a pretty flat 1:45 ride yesterday. The first big climb came on Buno Rd. I love that climb. I think my legs were much stronger after this climb than last year, though I'm still not recovering they way I'd like, but I guess intervals will take care of that. The roads were a mess, pothole-wise, which made it impossible to enjoy the ride down.. :(

Kensington and ILRA went by without excitement. We all guessed the # of cars in the ILRA parking lot and the winner was..... someone else, cuz we all LOST! (I was the big loser at 2 cars) I guess I need to have more faith in my biking brothers!

At the end of the ILRA road we stopped for a quick snack and discussed the relative merits of Sport Beans vs. Cliff Blocs, and their vast superiority to Bonking! It's no secret that I have a biking and eating problem...

The ride back was a spectacular. We had the wind to our backs most of the way, and we rode my second favorite hill on this ride, up mount Trashmore. According to this is highest point in the ride. It's a long, sometimes grueling ride to the top, and a short but excitingly quick ride down the other side.

We were soon off the bike path and back onto the dirt (potholes) of South Hill rd. There is no truer representation of Hell on Earth than a muddy, potholed, dirt road in the middle of the winter. There is no rhythm (save for that bouncing in the saddle), no speed, and no joy...

The remainder of the ride home was delayed only when Erin got off her bike to kiss the pavement when we got back to W Maple Rd.

Back at the CVS parking lot we bid adieu to Erin who was off to get her Grandma drunk (at least I THINK that's what she said), and Paula and I capped the ride with a big fat sub!

So, come on Tree Farmers... It's that time again.. :D

PS. When I started this post Nero was at the right foot of the sofa. By the end of the post he was at the left foot, and I'm pretty sure it was his farts that propelled him there.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Mt Bike snowglobe

That was today's ride.

Big, fat, fluffy snowflakes fell today as I headed out from my house to Indian Springs Metro park. It was about 3pm and most of the snow and ice had melted. The roads were wet, but not too wet. However, the falling snow was accumulating a little bit, making it hard to discern puddle from pavement. I had to take some sidewalk before crossing Dixie into the neighborhoods. I promptly ran through about 15 feet of 5 inch deep not quite frozen puddle. Yuk. Well, I was dry. Luckily my feet didn't seem to get too wet, but I'm still afraid this will shorten the ride.

In an effort to get more miles this month before the trails are dry enough to ride, I'll be using to plan out longer rides from my front door. Today's ride was planned to take me to Indian Springs. I studied the streets and turns before leaving the house, and figured I'd wing it from there. Actually, this was a test run to see just how good I am at "winging" it. I love Robert's rides because I don't have to think too much while riding. I wasn't sure I could do the thinking and still enjoy the ride. But it was an awesome ride! There's a few bugs to ironed out in this route. A couple of the roads were too high traffic and narrow. But otherwise, it was a great time, and it looks like I'll be able to get plenty of miles from home this spring!

The ride took me by PLRA. I didn't bother even checking out the trail as there were several inches of snow everywhere that wasn't plowed. I did, however, take a shortcut from the PLRA parking lot to Gale road that took me through some of that deep snow. That was a trip. Slogging through 5 inches of snow, in 42x17 with a semi-slick on the back. And I almost made it... ;)

The dirt portion of Gale road was in terrible shape. It was a veritable mine field of potholes. I finally turned back at this point as it was getting too tiring to try to avoid all the holes. I'd hoped to be out for 2 hours whether I made it to the metro park or not. I turned around and 50 minutes. I tried to stretch it out on the way back, but it's mostly downhill on the way home, so I only managed 1:45 by the time I got back home.

Tomorrow I meet Paula and Erin in Novi for a 4 hour ride out to Kensington and back. 300 miles here I come!!

PS and now a quick note about how Fire Fox kicks IE's ASS!!! After spending a significant amount of time composing this post, I accidentally cut power to my laptop. After rebooting and launching FF, the "restore previous session" option acutally returned me to the post page with my post INTACT!!


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Burrrrrrrrito run!

Man, it's about time I had some biking to blog about.

I finally got my sorry butt back out on the bike last night with the WRCS ride # 47 of 48. Robert had dubbed this the Burrito Ride, so our penultimate destination was Qdoba restaurant for some big fat burrito goodness.

Starting north of Royal Oak as is the Wednesday night norm, there was much speculation as to which Qdoba we would patronize that evening. Nancy played a little Mexican roulette and parked her car at the Royal Oak location and rode her bike to the start from there thinking that would put her at her car after eats rather than having to get back on the bike after the Qdoba cool off.

Nancy lost.

Leaving the senior center parking lot promptly at 6:50pm, Robert announced that our mealtime milieu would be either the Troy or B'ham locations. Doh!

There couldn't have been a better night for the Burrito Ride. I got in the car to leave for the ride feeling pretty crappy. Low blood sugar I'm sure. I had eaten well yesterday, just not enough. But let me take this opportunity again to say how much I LOVE Espresso Hammer Gel. A couple shots of this stuff before the ride, and I felt like I could've ridden forever. The one thing it couldn't do, however, was make my tummy feel full. Enter the Chicken Burrito.. :D I've never devoured a burrito so quickly. I was like a ravenous coyote.. but I digress...

The pace was a little more brisk than the previous rides I'd joined. It felt great. I guess the idea was to earn our calories, and to get a couple extra miles in before the stop. We hit all the regular spots, Berkly, Royal Oak, B'ham (where we ate, btw..) and I think even farther west. I don't really pay too close attention to where we are. That's the best part of these rides for me. I just turn my brain off (I know, not a big stretch from the rest of my day) and follow the wheel in front of me. This is why i think I would enjoy road riding (just to break up the mountain biking, of course.) Alas, only enough dough for one working bike (read: one wheelset) at a time right now, and I don't think my fat 2.35s would fit between a road frame's stays.

And the weather! What a perfect night for a ride. Sure, it will get more perfecter as it gets warmer, but after several rides with wind chills below 0 deg. Fahrenheit (I can't believe I spelled that right on the first try!!) it was nice to ride above the freezing mark. I left the jacket in the car, and was actually able to take my time getting ready outside my car. My toes stayed toasty all night, and I even started to feel a little flushed during the heart of the ride. Warming up after our stop was not an issue at all. For someone who used to be truly (again, spelled right the first time) challenged at dressing for the weather regardless of what I was doing, I'm really starting to get this winter riding gear thing down!

Last night I learned that the Monday night ride from American Cycle & Fitness in Royal Oak on Woodward goes on year round. Looks like I might have found myself a new weekly ride.

So that brings mile total mileage in February to a whopping 50 miles! That's a hair under my mileage for last february, but on the whole I'm still up 130 miles. March last year I did 240 miles. I'll make my goal for this year 300 miles. Look out, March, here I come!