Monday, December 28, 2009

Road Trip

So I went on my first road trip in a few months, well...maybe its been more than a few months but I'm not counting. It was great to get out of dodge for a week, this is something I need to do more often. Only one more class in this endless degree program. I enjoy the feeling of opportunity and the perception of enhanced personal growth that school has given me but I am beginning to loathe the amount of work that it involves.
So we drove straight to South Carolina from Providence. This took 21.5 hours 8AM to 530AM. Really wasn't all that bad, but it was long. We had four people and a dog so we had to stop, we got stuck in this great big giant parking lot which is also known as Route 495 around Washington, DC, and we stopped for a sit down dinner in Virginia. Delaware continues to be my least favorite state - it is the home of big bank credit cards, tolls, and endless traffic jams to pay tolls. 95 goes through like ten miles of this state. Rhode Island should learn from the second smallest state and have tolls at the border to raise revenue instead of taxing the shit out of its residents. Most Rhode Islanders don't leave the state for anything anyways so I don't know why this scheme isn't an option for our lawmakers.
South Carolina with the family was great, I miss them and should visit far more often than twice a year. I must make it a priority to get down to the great prefabricated south more often, maybe even to do some running or even bike races. I went for a run on Christmas which served as my only outlet for exercise. Running in SC is sketchy - there are no sidewalks and the roads have no shoulders. People drive fast and I got the feeling they don't appreciate people running on the roads.
We drove up to Philadelphia (12 hours) on Saturday to meet up with my uncle and his girlfriend. This was a great time, I haven't seen my uncle in fifteen years and it was great to see him. Philadelphia is huge. I always thought it was similar in size to Boston, it is not - it is far larger, almost like a smaller sized New York. It did not seem nearly as busy as Boston though. It sort of has a vibe like Providence - much more grandiose and vibrant though. Somewhat of a worn industrial city with a colonial Americana heritage element mixed in. This completes my hanging out (code for drinking beer) in every big north-east coast city (except for Wilmington...mostly because it is in Delaware and isn't that big). See earlier comments about Delaware.
After walking around in the rain for a while we finally made it to the bar. For some reason, the beer in Philly seemed to be extra potent. This was not a good thing when you drink a lot of this. On this trip my {domestic accountability factor ©} is negligible, save for the absolutely horrible two day hangover I had on the way home. This hangover ranks in the top three of my life, and believe me - this list is very long. After the first of the year it is back to adulthood however I still have a few days off. Tomorrow I plan on going skiing, or to Boston. Depends on "who is around." I did not go skiing AT ALL last year - because last year was shitty. I hope 2010 is better. 2009 sucked. Boston = alone, skiing = others. Will go to art museum, shopping and library in Boston to cement image as total nerd. It might be cool to run the Blue Hill Skyline. I am waiting for the first of the year to ride again, and I'm not riding for hours and hours in the freezing cold - yet. Date is January 15 for scheduled rides. Riding in the cold requires an extra measure of motivation I'm still working on. Still on a running schedule for a little while.
Right now the dog is looking at me and whining slightly. Me thinks he wants something so its time to go.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Great Wait

December is the season of waiting. From Thanksgiving to Christmas everyone seems to be waiting for Christmas. Waiting, not starting anything, just making through each day. Today I have been waiting to leave to visit my family in South Carolina. We are driving. We were supposed to leave yesterday at 8AM. We did not for obvious reasons - although we tried to get out but the car rental place was closed (even though they said they were open on the phone).
So today comes and I'm ready to leave early. Wake up at 6AM, put that essential run in and then call my traveling companions to see what time we were leaving. Complications, complications, complications. Receive answer that we aren't leaving for a while. So I went to the gym and did an extra hard weight workout. I did sets of bench press with an easy weight immediately followed by a set of 6 pullups immediately followed by a set of knees/elbows followed by bench etc...
Get back home, shower and put everything that was packed into a bag yesterday back into a bag and call traveling companions again. Receive word that we are still tied up and will not leave for another little while.
OK. Fine. On Facebook, read a bit, watch TV, walk dog, chip ice off steps, throw darts, pace around, call some people, email some others, more Facebook, read entire NYTimes website, Wall Street Journal, comment to Providence Journal. BTW: The people that comment to this newspaper consistently are a bunch of total idiots. Not all of them, but a lot of them. Especially anyone that PUTS THEIR COMMENTS IN ALL CAPS. It is no wonder why the economy in this state is in such a state of decay.
So it gets to like 2PM. One thing I'm not good at is sitting around. I pretty much have to do something at all times. So the word comes out that we are going tomorrow morning. Wait all day to find out we are going tomorrow. This really isn't anyone's fault, it is just how it worked out. At least I was at home and not in the airport - where I would be drinking too much beer and most likely would have to attend rehab once I reached South Carolina.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Winter 2009

I know, its been a while.
Anyway, I've been keeping myself busy - really busy. This is a good thing for me because I am my own worst enemy if I am not busy.
Well, I'm almost done with grad school. Just one more class. Last semester was insane. I wrote over 85 pages for this class, which is a lot for me. This is not to mention the amount of time I spent researching and conducting action research for these projects. I'm actually excited for some of the projects that I'm going to be working on in the spring - mostly database and e-learning stuff.
On the training front its been all running. I finally got to the point where I can eat a gigantic Chipotle burrito and then run 5 miles 2 hours later(like I just did) without totally dying. This is one of the measures I am defining my success in my winter training program since the eighteen minute 5k is not coming anytime soon. I'm working on eating better but its so hard for me to do this and I categorically refuse to be anal about what I eat. Cycling is on hold until I get some more time. Running is far less time intensive. It is also a lot easier on the wallet since I'm paying for school out of my own pocket. Since I'm not all set financially, school is a huge expense for me, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Most of my runs are between 3.5 (short late weekday run) to 11 miles. I want to push that long run up to about 13-15 miles in a few weeks but I'm a bit apprehensive about piling on miles right away as running injuries are a real problem. There is a 10K in Newport tomorrow which I may do or if I don't I'll do the long 13 mile run instead. Apart from running I've been lifting a bit - which I enjoy. For me, lifting and doing long runs do not mix. Maybe its my diet, maybe stress, maybe lack of rest, poor form or a combination of all of those. I've also been doing this crossfit stuff. Crossfit is about the best full body workout I've ever done.
I do miss riding though, I've got to get on the bike for a few times each week...soon.
Road trip to South Carolina next week - 4 of us. Stopping in Philadelphia, DC, Charlottesville then the long haul to Greenville for Christmas. Plan on doing a run in DC and some hiking in Charlottesville.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Thoughts on Training

Well its almost October and its been a while since that I have updated the blog. Cycling has been put on hold for the remainder of the year, save maybe a cross race later on in the season. I am not retired, just taking some time off of structured training for a while. Foremost amongst my reasons revolves around the fact that I have very little time to sit on the bike and secondary is still this burnout bug that I still am dealing with. Burnout is something you can put off, and put off, and put off but you can never escape it. Like death, taxes, and hangovers, it always will catch up with you. I think I've been putting burnout off for a couple of years. The thing about burnout is this - when you are in a burnout phase all one can do is train to maintain fitness. Workouts/rides become work, they become stale and over time nothing could rejuvenate myself to be excited about riding for more than three days at a time. This is the part of burnout that is so difficult to manage, having a string of good workouts clustered in a short period followed by another short period where I became bored and uninterested in riding. This makes for inconsistent training, and thus mediocre results. Mentally this leaves a schizophrenic training paradigm where I was reflecting and excited about the few good workouts, believing that burnout was over and then falling back into the unmotivated trap once again only to repeat the cycle. All the while I was internally giving myself a hard time because I know I can train properly and get results. Racing is a blast but not meeting my expectations is not acceptable.

So in an effort to cope with this I've put cycling on hold and I started running. Don't get me wrong, I would rather be racing and cycling a lot I just can't get to it right year is going to be my year. Running is far less time intensive than cycling. I bet that I can control my weight and improve as a runner on nearly four hours of running a week opposed to seven hours to achieve the same goals cycling. I know that I need to ride four days a week for at least seven hours minimum to maintain (and not build) any cycling form. Ten to twelve hours is what I need to race somewhat competitively (which is like 10th place for me) in gently rolling road races and fifteen plus hours a week is what I would have to do if I ever decided to go for broke and try to upgrade another category. I know I have to ride a lot to improve. There is no substitute. Furthermore, I know that each ride has to have a focus and that I am 100% committed to that focus every day that I ride. That is 100% committed...not 75%, not 90% but totally focused on training. Four hours of running a week for me is about 30 miles a week, give or take (probably take). This is my goal from now until the end of February. Along with this is my goal to lift weights 3 times per week. The hour run mark has been broken as of last Thursday, up next is a ten mile run. My first 5K was last weekend which was really a lot of fun.
Yeah, I was just looking at my last post about being sick, I'm not kidding, I was sick. I was sick for five days (100F+ fever for three, 99F for two) and had a cough for two weeks after. This is it for tonight, more news forthcoming...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

H1N1? & far too detailed post about TV.

My TV and I are getting much more closely acquainted as I have alternated between the couch and my bed proper for the past day and a half. I've still got a 101F fever which I've had since yesterday morning. Honestly, I don't feel like doing anything (this includes moving more than one foot at a time) - I've got the worst sore throat I've had in years, slight nausea, I'm totally congested and I can tell this disease is now getting into my larynx. Last night I went to bed at 830PM and awoke at 0900. There was no dinner involved. I got a call earlier and I answered the phone but could not speak. I guess getting this on the long weekend isn't all that bad b/c going to work like this would suck. Last week I got digital cable because they were running a deal - only costs 10$/month x-tra and I get Showtime for 5$/mo. I have watched 4 channels on digital cable today: G4, Nat Geo, the extra history channel and the military channel. Occasionally I'll watch something else like sports. This on-demand stuff is new to me, so far today I've watched the latest Rambo movie and Rescue Dawn. I actually enjoyed Rambo, Rescue Dawn was good but a bit long. Right now, Lockup Raw is on.
Why is there so much stupid UFO shit on? Come on, this stuff is ridiculous! Anything with Nostradamus = a stupid program. 9/11 conspiracy stuff = really totally stupid & kind of offensive actually. There is actually a two hour program dedicated to 9/11 conspiracy nonsense.
Anyway, in two weeks I'm running the CVS downtown 5K. This will be my first running race - ever. Cycling is just too time intensive right now with my internship and my job. My last run was on Wednesday, I'll probably have a week off of running because I can tell I'll be sick for a few more days.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lamest Summer Ever

2009 has played host to what is quite possibly the lamest summer ever experienced by this author. Several factors have contributed in making '09 lame.
Factor 1: Economic recession/depression. Economic Depression related issues get my number one vote for why this summer has been so lame. Many good, talented people are sadly out of work or working at jobs which have no prospect of offering much in the future. Those with jobs frequently have anxiety about losing them. On a personal note the great recession has impeded any attempts to go away.
Factor 2: Weather. It rains too much. While rain has great rejuvenating qualities to it and psychologically it has a soothing effect it has rained far too much for comfort this summer.
Factor 3: Cycling burnout. Just not into training at this point. Racing yes. Training no. Taking some time off the bike. Going to the gym, running the track and treadmill in place of cycling. Running 20 EZ miles a week without awful muscle soreness. Is 40 miles/week a possibility? And another thing - how quickly one forgets what kinds of freaks of nature inhabit gyms? Example: While benching 315 lbs is admirable, using really bad/heinous form without a spotter is just plain stupid. What is the point? Another really common practice one will witness at the gym is the fact that just about nobody does legs or lower back. Personally, this is a benefit because those pieces of equipment are always open.
Factor 4: Summer job. Far more stressful than it has to be. Details are not needed because they will be offensive.
Will 2009 turn around? Time will tell. I will repost later on with other factors relating to the lameness of 2009.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wow. Its July.

July is almost half over. How did this happen? Despite all the complaints, I have enjoyed this weather we have been having. Cool and rainy is fine with me. I'm not really a fan of tons of bright sunshine and hot weather. Anyway, my training miles have been on the thin side lately. I did Attleboro last Sat. which was my first race in about a month. It was great to see some folks I haven't seen in a while up there. It was fast and fun and sort of re-ignited my love of bike racing. I love racing, although training can be a drag sometimes. Hopefully I get to make a return to Ninigret on Wednesday. This is possible now because I bought a car. I was without one for about a month, which wasn't really all that bad but it really wasn't that cool either. Believe it or not it actually became more difficult for me to get rides in although my commute miles went way up. Apart from cycling I've been playing golf once a week and doing a bit of running - about ten miles per week. I feel as if the running I have been doing has helped me considerably on the bike. I'm psyched to do some triathalon days this summer: maybe swimming at the beach, a solid training ride, and a decent run.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Self Absorbed Post About Cycling

So I got the second 4 hour plus ride done in a week. Jerimoth Hill and its environs. I'm psyched for this as I've almost gotten 200 miles in this week. I hope to near 250 by the end of tomorrow. Prior to this block of training I've managed only about 150 miles max per week. This year actually 150 miles would have been an epic week. My motivation is coming back big time, I'm getting more focused and excited to ride and race. Not having a car is helping me get the training in I need. Just got the hot water heater fixed which is cool because not having hot water kind of sucks. I went to the Y to take a shower but my membership expired when I changed my bank card and they told me that it would cost nearly 100 bucks to reactivate it. So I had to ride over to my brother's and take a shower. I did the cold shower thing for the past couple days but it really sucks and I wanted a hot shower after riding. The benefit to this is that I got an extra half hour of riding in. Everyone wins in this situation.
My plans to go up to Wells tomorrow have gotten complicated. I still might ride if I get up early enough but I'm not sure if I want to put in a 50 mile ride before the race itself and then another 10 miles to sit in the sun and wait for the train to Providence. Especially since I just got invited to a BBQ which I did not plan for. I've ridden up, raced and ridden back before but it was kinda awful - almost 140 miles and almost 8 hours. Honestly though, it was one of my best races at Wells Ave. If I can't get up there I'm doing a 4 hour ride to the flat lands of eastern MA. I changed my position and this has made my knees feel better but there still is some pain so I don't want to really push it on the hills. My knees hurt like hell all week.
Car news is forthcoming. Soon enough Mr. H will be flossing around the East Side in a phat whip.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday of Memorial Day

I finally got lucky and rode away from a rain shower today. I was riding about and it started to rain. Thunder was heard and a few streaks of lightning lit up the sky. The big drops of rain were just beginning to fall so I decided to turn around and attempt to go towards the blue sky in the distance - like at red zone intensity. In the past every attempt at this operation has failed, except for today. Yesterday was Stafford Springs. Millwork One had a strong field out for this race - we had six guys in the 1/2/3 and five guys in the 35+. How about some 30+ races folks? On a personal note, I have decided to boycott all 35+ races for the next three years. I wish I was in it though because one of our guys bridged up to a strong break with three to go and overtook the riders in the break, which destroyed the break when one of the riders attempted to stay on Alain's wheel and he couldn't. Matt Kressy got fourth in a strong finish while Murat came through with a 7th place. The 1/2/3 race was characterized by a blistering first few laps which resulted in the stronger guys forming a series of splits which subsequently lapped the field with 17 to go. Millworks had three guys out in the break which was great. Honestly, I just wanted to finish the race so I guess my low expectation was met, although I'm starting to feel stronger and more confident. I'm going to put in some solid training over the next few weeks as my schedule lightens a bit, hopefully getting five solid days per week in. Three of these days should feature LT+ intervals while at least two should be longer rides at a reasonable pace. One of the days of LT+ needs to have sprints, not that they will ever help my sprint as I'm probably the shittiest sprinter around but they might help. This might be the last summer where I can really focus on stuff like this so I have to dedicate myself to it now. Tomorrow its a long ride - maybe to the Blue Hill to do some repeats. We will see...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lazy Sack of Shit - Stream of Consciousness Post

I feel like a lazy ass. Today it was raining in the AM and I did not want to ride in it so I decided to pack up the dog and go somewhere different than the usual spots for a walk. So I went to this place in North Providence - yeah it was fine. Leah said my car sounded funny last night but I was ignorant and dismissive and just let it go. On the way back up the hill to my house the stupid car stops dead. It started making a shitload of noise on Douglas on the way to my house. I thought I could get it home. I failed. Cost $60 to get towed like one mile. Not liking this but at least it didn't crap out on me somewhere else further away and cost me a lot of money. Anyway I totally had plans to ride today but I ended up just riding around town in between searching for vehicles on the internet and periodically checking Facebook - like something going to happen in the two minutes from when I checked it last. Anyone ever keep going to the kitchen cabinets in search of food when there isn't any? Same effect. Instead of riding, I went and hung out w/ Leah on Thayer for a while, went to the Brown Bookstore and stopped in at City Sports. BTW: The Brown Bookstore smelled like shit in there, some nauseating stench was coming from there and it wasn't from the dirty hippies around there. Anyway I'm going carless for a while - because I can. I've just got myself to worry about these days so there is no reason to have a car around if I don't want one. I'm eventually going to get one but I'm not in a hurry. My old red Bianchi is going to be my car for a while.
Tomorrow is the first day in my LAST sit down class at PC. Nobody rides bikes at PC - at all, ever. Everyone thinks I'm crazy and they don't understand. It is a very traditional type of school which could benefit from a cycling team. I was full time last semester so I guess I could have started one (and raced collegiate at that!) but I didn't because I was too caught up with other stuff. Wouldn't a Millworks 1/PC cycling team partnership be some cool shit? Speaking of PC, today would have been a great day to waste on a hangover but I felt good (because I didn't go out last night and thus did not drink anything) and thus have nothing to blame my lack of motivation to ride on, except myself - because I'm essentially a lazy sack of shit. I actually felt truly good today mentally for the first time in a few months - mostly due to not having a massive amount of shit to type up and prepare for the week. I do have to admit the stress of what I was doing last semester was getting to me a bit.
Its time to break the sack of shit open and listen to old school rap music (Wu Tang, Geto Boyz, old Outkast...) while watching internet highlights from the Giro on the trainer.

OK. I just followed through on the trainer ride. It felt OK. Didn't get 2 x20 but did get a 7, 10 then a 5 minute interval in...fucking display driver failed on the computer so I watched the Celtics instead. Right now I am going to look through the cabinets (again) and somehow magically appetizing food should appear. So - Stafford next weekend? I figure I can ride to Wells and then take the train back. That should be good for like 80+ miles, miles which I sorely need. Psyched for it. I can't do Ninigret until this class is over anyway. There is a fast RI ride on Tuesdays from Providence I guess anyway which can substitute for Wompatuck.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Can the Celtics Pull it off?

Can the Celtics pull it off? 5:55 left. Down by 9.
Can I pull off a solid cycling season? I think so. I feel as if I'm down a month and a half. Things should get much more chill in my direction over the next few weeks when I finish with school for good. One more class - data and technology with should be right up my quasi OCD alley. Handed in my final portfolio today which was a huge relief. Its kind of silly that you need a Masters Degree to basically suspend teenagers from school as a vice principal but I guess it keeps people out of the profession that don't really want to be there. Back to riding, getting quality rides in about 3 to 5 times per week. All inner city trips of mine that don't involve carrying tons of stuff are on the bike - which I think helps fitness somewhat. Trying to hit Ninigret & Wells as much as possible but I've got to take a raincheck on tomorrow. I hope to rock some sick intervals tomorrow instead. No Sunappee for me but I'm up for Stafford Memorial Day weekend.
2:08 left: Celtics 83, Magic 85.
Hope is sill alive

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Another boring post about cycling

I'm on day 3 of a four day block of sunburnt, dehydrating and tiring hard rides. I'm getting real cranky although I'm starting to feel OK on the bike. I like this feeling - I think it means I'm making progress in the fitness department. Hit Wells today and did 40 more laps around an industrial park in Newton. During the race I was thinking about how many times in my life I've done this loop? I couldn't tell if I've ridden 1,000 Wells Ave loops or less, its only 25 races? Who holds the record for maximum number of times around Wells Ave? What about Ninigret? Wompatuck? All contenders should all get trophies, attaboys and pats on the back - just like little league.
I think we should make a statute for the person who has the record number of times around Blackstone Blvd. I'm liking something like a modernized statue of Atlas holding a bike on his shoulders instead of the world. Painted gold. Bright gold. Or maybe Atlas should be riding the bike still holding the earth? It should be placed at the southern end by the "parking lot" so all can see as they enter the Providence's shrine to cycling. Any candidates....I've done a lot out there but there's folks out there who have been up and down our east side oasis many, many more times. With so many RISD folks around here we could probably pull this off - I think I'll email a professor and give him an idea for a project. Does RISD even have "professors" or are their instructors called something else just to be called something else because the coolest thing in the world is to "appear to" be unique and original?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Stolen Bike Alert

Someone stole my 1997 Specialized Stumpjumper between 11:30PM Saturday 4/18 and 10:00 AM Sunday 4/19. This bike is a dark blue "ghettoized" single speed conversion. The decals on the bike are yellow. It has a really old chain and no derailleurs. It has a 7 speed freewheel in the rear and a triple up front with only the middle chain ring usable. The seatpost is FROZEN and thus has no seat post binder bolt. Bike has 26x1.95 knobby tires. There is another bolt frozen in the right rear dropouts where a metal rack used to sit.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sat. 4/11/2009

Despite the fact that it is officially "spring" this date probably was the lowest my core body temp has ever been. I rode in the rain and then hung out for a few hours at Ninigret. I really hope that I don't get sick out of this. It was fucking cold outside, windy and pouring rain. I could not get warm after my pathetic attempt at racing - I sat in the car and blasted the heat. Took off shoes and put feet next to heater. Still cold. A little relief in the car but not enough. On the way home heat all the way up and I was still cold. I took a shower at home and it made me feel better - but it took quite a while. How the hell did the AM forecast of showers ending by 11AM turn into 39F and Hvy. rain all day? It was fun anyway though. Wells tomorrow morning for me and then its time to reevaluate my training ethic and program. I've got to get out and ride more often.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I had to write about it

At least I got a bit of a tan today. Tonight I'm not really into blogging about the life vortex which is my grad program. School is like a black hole where all of my creativity & vitality has gone to be crushed. While on the subject of being crushed, the Marblehead race was today. A few laps into a big group goes off the front - including the extra fast guys. Extra fast guys split away from that group and raced their own race. My slow ass stayed in the big group, where I was more than happy to be. I did not contest the sprint at this point, because it is totally stupid to do so. Some guys were sprinting though which was kinda foolish as the first 30+ spots were up the road. One guy even thought it was still cross season and used some of the back stretch front yards as a means to move up. This shit kinda sketched me out because my shoulder is still fucked up after crashing a few weeks ago. I can't lift it without pain past a certain point and it just annoys the hell out of me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Currently in a stress induced dream of vacation - taking it easy in a land without projects, papers, telephones, email, and cold weather. I have passed the threshold of productivity and now am on the downward slide towards burnout. Not a good place to be when I have to coordinate a major event and presentation on Friday.

Ditched the workout today - planned 2h. Since I came home exhausted and couldn't motivate at all - even the little tricks I've learned to use over the years to motivate didn't work. Looked at old race results, put on music I love, watched, and read biographies of athletes whom have more demanding lives than my own. I have a theory about this - I know that if I really don't want to ride there is always a good reason. No one person is an island and this most certainly includes me despite my desire for this to be the contrary. It is just so difficult to quantify stress and its effect on our lives. So this ends my public act of contrition for not training and thus wasting a perfectly good training day. Not to worry, there will plenty of days when its raining, windy and cold that I'll be out there. I did get a solid half hour tempo session in on Monday...maybe I just need to forget about midweek distance stuff and just focus on intensity threshold building stuff. Tomorrow I've penciled in 2x:20 threshold intervals. Friday has happy hour penciled in...actually I wrote that one in pen because its not changing.

I've hit Wells the past couple of weekends - been a lot of fun. I like racing there and have felt pretty good at times during the race. This thing has been pretty fast - the first ten laps or so last Sunday were extra fast. I did get taken out in the first corner the weekend before last but it wasn't that bad - I jumped back in after a few laps off and some bike adjustments. Adjustments which included putting my saddle back on the rails. Still kinda sore from this though - esp. my right shoulder.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Early AM

Unless I wake up 5AM I'm not getting any riding in for the next three days. Totally booked solid. This means four days of not riding Tues until Sat. I'm not exactly happy about this but there is nothing I can do about it. I could ride on Friday but a friend of mine is coming into town and I don't get to see them much. Its just four days so I don't know what I'm complaining about (as if anyone really cares anyway) but I was on track to make some serious progress, at least so I thought. Well, recovery does have some benefits I guess. I just got a project dropped on me, yeah its due Friday. Yeah, not enough time to do this right. I fucking hate not doing things right - its always a bad impression. I'm going to have to "invent" time which sucks to do because the invention of time is really the dereliction of things which normally are important.
*****It looks like its going to snow on Sunday - yes the first Ninigret pick up race. This forecast blows. It sucks. Doesn't make me happy. This should not make anyone in the bike racing community happy and in fact all aspiring bike racers should immediately frown and feel glum when reading the current forecast. Right now I'm lighting a candle and dedicating it to the weather gods so that the precip. will hold off until the PM. Right now its 70% of snow/sleet. Right now, this sucks.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Where Fun Comes To Die

Grad School is a means to an end. It is purely about obtaining a degree. This degree is simply a work permit which hopefully enables a person to get into a higher paying career which carries a greater workload. Said career should also carry more stress and responsibility. Career may be or may not be more stable than current career. I am just about sick of it right now so I'm writing a blog post about some things that annoy me. Just some things about grad school from my experience.
1. It is boring. Very boring. The boredom of the work you will be doing cannot be understated.
2. Unless you come from very privileged circumstances you will be broke. I mean broke too. Being bored and broke both suck.
3. Everyone is competitive. Just competitive for the sake of being competitive. There is no rhyme nor reason to this phenomenon nor is there any reward for succeeding in one of these competitions.
4. Competition occurs in many forums. Grades are an obvious point of contention. Another forum is where you went to undergrad or other jobs/careers you have held in the past which were somehow "better" and more distinguished than what you are doing now. The prior career phenomenon is widespread. Making sure that all of the people in your program understand that you are an expert in managing multiple responsibilities is another place for competition.
5. The only acceptable responses to the question "how are you?" is "busy," "crazy-busy," "ugh," "tired," or some other similar response. Even if you manage your time well and perhaps are not that "busy" you cannot let on. This is a rule which cannot be broken as your peers will then resent you and seek to sabotage. Your outward facade of self-sacrifice should not be taken to the extreme of dressing in sackcloth and ashes waiting for the library to open on Sunday morning. No, you must be more suave with this one to make sure that all understand how much you have sacrificed to be part of the program. A caution about this, always let others feel as if they have sacrificed much more than you. Everyone's own personal case is more onerous than your own. See #4.
6. Social life takes a hit. Its not just the time, time can be managed, its the stress of always having something due. Believe me, there is always something due. I've found I've been by myself a lot since starting this. Starts to get old after a while.
7. Grad School is where fun comes to die.
8. One must be extra humble at all times. This gets old quick but transgressions of this can be very unpleasant and not worth it.
9. I am one class short of being full time which means that I cannot race collegiate.
10. Get used to hearing how to do things better. Lots of fault finding sessions about our current institutions.
11. Grad school is joyless. Joyless.
12. Getting criticized gets old. So does the term feedback. WTF: criticism is criticism.
I'm about done now. There will be more on this topic next Sunday when I cannot write any more stuff for school.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My 100th post

I rode this on Saturday with Dave - last minute but sometimes its the best way. It was cold but bearable. This AM I was looking at the profile on Google Earth and thinking to myself that this ride would be "oh..not that hilly - it looks a lot like western RI." How wrong I was.

This is the course for the Quabbin RR this year which is going to be one hell of a hard race. I'm not sure if its going to be a climbers race as there are so many downhills to catch them - I use them because I'll never be a climber. The climbss are too long to be pure power climbs though and there's a three to five mile up and down but mostly up effort to the finish. There are no mountains on this course - just lots of hills. Its all hills actually, up or down which means you spend nearly all of your time riding ascending.
So this took us about four hours.

I've got to get my race bike together. I hope to have it ready for Ninigret, if not - at least for next week March 8. It has to be done by then. So right now, I'm super enthusiastic about riding and racing and having a great time this year.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

According to the Chinese Lunar Calendar

Tomorrow is the start of spring. This is verified by Wikipedia and the translation given. It is also known as a cross-quarter day which is halfway between the equinox and the solstice. The ancient Irish Pagans also celebrated this festival as Imbloc - where they attempted to predict the weather. Supposedly this tradition got transferred to St. Brigits day in the UK and Groundhog Day in the US. All of this info is summarized from Wikipedia and is enhanced by the fact that I've been sitting in class tonight and then upon my arrival home - failing to satisfactorily research the topic that I must research because I'm tired, I'm distracted, I don't want to, and I am unconsciously procrastinating. Believe me, ancient Pagan festivals on Wikipedia are much more interesting than the work I have to do.

At time I'll do things spontaneously - solely because I can.
I'm not dead set on doing this but I figure if we leave at 2AM we can get there by 5:30.

Cadence Cup Prosepct Park Series
online registration closes
2/27/2009 5:00:00 PM ET

Thats right - did you see the date - February. OK - its a long drive to possibly get dropped for I have not put in a ton of training - but I might finish it. It would be fun anyway.

**wouldn't it suck to get lost driving down to that.

***it would suck even more to get there and not find a parking spot.

Registration for Grants Tomb opens the 13th.

I'll admit it publicly - right now I've got nothing going on except for work, school and the hope for a good bike racing season. I'm fine with this right now also - right now I have to focus on my priorities and training/racing helps me keep my priorities in focus. If this was my life forever than this would totally suck but for a short time period being entirely innundated isn't that bad. This won't last forever and hopefully pays dividends when I'm done. Without a focus I get distracted and become unconsciously self-destructive. Once I get out of this current phase - which will be about the end of April I'll have more focus and clarity on what else life has to offer. The world outside of my current shell does not exist. Vacations - do not exist. Whats an airplane - they don't exist in my world right now. Cars are used to drive to bike races - ONLY. The TV is used to play Eurosport bike races while I listen to bad music on the Ipod.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Fooling 'self

I don't think I'll change my old ways. I end up riding on the crappiest days while I don't do anything on the nice ones. Yesterday it was 25F and I decided to do a longer ride. I knew I had a cold but went anyway - I wasn't sick just had a bit of a cough. Today it is like in the mid 40s and I feel like total shit - no voice, coughing crap up, chills and all that. Sometimes I can ride through these things with no consequences while other times I can't.

Saturday, January 31, 2009


Lots of ice out there today. I'm favoring very sparsely traveled roads or those with very wide shoulders. Riding in the middle of the road really pisses people off and I'm tired of getting into foolish road rage matches with crazy ass people. This stuff should go away tomorrow - which will be a full fender day in a group. I'll admit that I was uncomfortable with some of the road conditions. RT. 152 wasn't bad, Henderson bridge sidewalk was awful & unrideable, Pawtucket was awful - not just icy but wet as well, Woodward and Pine were OK but still somewhat hazardous. Lets hope is gets warm and rains - although since I'm in grad school half time I could use a crippling snowstorm and have some time to catch up and the stuff I got to do. I got some good DVDs to watch with my trainer - including Paris-Nice 2007.
This ride was the first time I played an audiobook. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. It is quite thought provoking. I got through Outliers by Gladwell on the trainer and in the house. I think audiobooks are something that I suggest everyone try at least once. Now I can at least be somewhat intellectually productive during my rides instead of thinking about nothing important - like food, racing, what I'm going to do, my bills, and assorted other stuff. Emphasis on somewhat in the preceding sentence.
For the record I did wake up at 6:20 AM with the intention of going to the Arc-en-Ciel ride. I did indeed motivate and get dressed for this ride before coughing up green/yellow shit. I'm not ill with fatigue/fever just having some chest symptoms so its EZ stuff until this goes away. So in lieu of this ride I did my own. In other riding related stuff I now own a wicked piece-of-shit mountain bike converted to a single speed. I love it - the simplicity, leaving it outside and not caring, and riding to everything around. Its good for a few miles - yeah its slow and heavy but it gets me to the store, to work, to Thayer St., downtown and a few points further.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Not the way to start the day

Andy Warhol said that everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.

Just to self promote - I put the Providence city council meetings up on public access - 11:30 Saturday mornings. I didn't put myself in the credits so I'll credit myself here. Either channel 13 or 14. I sneak my photography into the credits, which is the only way that I'll get anything of mine published. We've got a long ways to go w/ this project but its coming along.

Sore throat still around...someone at work had it last week but said that he beat it. No training today either - I got home late and was extra hungry. I'm going into a wrestling style cut weight approach to get my weight down to where it should be (175lbs) as opposed to where it is....yeah - way the hell over that. I've cut out beer to 1 day a week, cut down gorging myself with food, tried to exercise more etc... The weather just needs to get better. I really hope to get some good riding in this weekend - anything over an hour and half but I'm actually concerned the roads are not going to be conducive. If the roads suck around here I'm driving down to the Cape or to South County in hopes of better stuff out there.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Stimulus package #2 just passed round one in the House...the more difficult round is in the Senate next week. Lets hope they have a lot of money in there for bridges, roads, commuter rail and bikepaths. Not that the Republicans actually believe that building things actually creates jobs or anything...since they seem to oppose this provision of the package. Truth be told - I would rather have programs around that put people to work instead of doling out money to banks.

I want to buy stock in the company that produces the paper the Treasury uses to print the money. 830 billion is a lot of money.

On the social criticism front I had the discrete pleasure tonight to hear a grown man - probably in his early 30's had a conversation with a woman he was courting. He was in the supermarket on a cell phone. Yes, the phone was on the speaker setting. It was classic - I think I caught at least five usages of Mother F$%@#r, some choice racial epithets applying to mulitple ethnic groups, and a very interesting description about what they planned to do when they met.

On the health front the sore throat has arrived...will it progress? Head, chest, both or neither? Vitamins and sleep are prescribed. Unfortunately once the throat starts up it usually goes badly. Will this be different? Should I pray to the immune system gods? We will see...
Oh yeah...I suck at losing weight. New weight milestone hit tonight - believe me its not where I want to be. Some of it is okay but most of it needs to go - I think it will once I get into a more predictable riding routine.

Monday, January 26, 2009


As part of my civic duty as an American, I would like to recognize all of the individuals in the city of Providence who do not shovel the sidewalks in front of their properties.
  • A very special shout-out to absentee landlords.
  • Another special shout-out to the snowbound tenants and landlords whose properties/apartments are on Thayer St., Brook St. and Hope St. Thank you folks for not shoveling! I burn so many more calories breaking trail or by walking around your poorly maintained property. Thanks!!
So just a few pointers:
  1. If you are a student...maybe at Brown or RISD and it snows maybe you could go outside when you wake up at noon and do some plebian work (as if!) like shoveling the snow in front of your home - if you consider your domicile a home.
  2. If you live in an apartment complex and your children play outside...all year...all day/night maybe you can arrange a way for them to help out clear the snow from your residence's walks and driveways. Notice I stated apartment complex which may or not be section 8 as opposed to the projects which are city maintained and are the first places plowed out.
  3. If you operate a snowplow and think it is funny to make huge walls of snow on the sidewalk you need to get a life.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Well this weekend is now over. I was back in Lincoln Woods today - I did a one hour cross country ski. That was it. A crappy one hour icy MTB yesterday and a decent but short one hour ski today. Kinda pissed about this but I'm not doing anything tonight - I'll save the trainer for the week and probably next weekend. Besides, I just ate a steak with gross french fries leftover from our dinner at Greggs last night. I'm not running anymore because my knees feel as if they going to explode for the next two days after I go. Has anyone seen the forecast... shit - I'm really liking the low of 1F on Thursday. I hope it goes below zero, I don't know why but I just want it too. Someone's gonna try and ride on the coldest day of the year - just to do it. I know this already because it is something I would try to do. Someone indeed tried to ride in Lincoln Woods today - I saw a really messed up set of tracks in the woods. The tracks didn't get far - it must have been awful. Anyway I've got some ideas for winter training including riding the Lincoln Woods loop at night w/ lights and some nighttime bikepath stuff. Anyway I'm kinda psyched to do some cross country. Pretty psyched to race bikes too - right now its about all I've got going on apart from work. It feels great to get my motivation back. Being 15 lbs overweight doesn't hurt either - ok I'm about 10 over right now.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Trainer

I've been on the trainer this week. I will be on it in the foreseeable future as it is supposed to snow this weekend. Actually, riding it is very convenient and time is going to be really crunched for me until June so I'll probably get 2 rides during the week on it even during the good weather. Not really thrilled about this but that is what I'm going to have to do. So far I've watched Paris Nice 07 (stage 2), Amstel Gold '08 (Eurosport...Italian), Het Volk 2008, and Paris - Roubaix ('06). Tomorrow I'm watching Ghent Wevelgem (2 hours) if it is extra cold (<25F). I still might go in the cold anyway but I'll have to see what the weather is like. Riding in the freezing cold sucks - I don't mind upper 20s but a three hour ride in the teens sucks real bad. I put my hands on my hips the other day and noticed that something was there that wasn't there before...hmmm? I'm not kidding at all either. What could it be? Yes, it was an extra 15 lbs I am in the process of removing. Really, I could grab at this shit. My involuntary diet the other day has helped me with this process. Figure food poisoning is good for about five pounds of loss.
Anyway I did a great XC ski last week in the Blue Hills - it was great. Some fun downhills and little climbs. The Blue Hills is the best area I've been to around here for XC skiing - people don't screw up the tracks when you get far in. I'm going up there Sunday - so if you have some XC skis and want to go skiing let me know.
I'm about ready to get into some weekend rides...aerobically paced ones but group rides nonetheless.