Rants on Cycling and on Life


so my TECHIE boss at work felt that he needed to replace his big bulky old iPOD with the new slimmer and trimmer iPOD with his name engraved on the back. he did not have a need for his old iPOD. the offer was made to sell it to me, I declined. had considered the iPOD but was not sure when I could use it. feared it would sit along side my video camera, my Palm Pilot, and various other techie toys that all seemed like good ideas at the time. some time passed and we were on our way to lunch and he said that he may be putting his iPOD on eBAY. immediately I asked what his low figure. he said 100 dollars. without hesitation I offered to take that low number of 100 bucks and save him the potential hassles of eBAY. the deal was made. there was some sweating.....some quoting of the law of "oral contracts" and the threat of a letter on thick textured paper with the return address of a high powered law firm. it did not come to that. we just had to wait to see if his brother was going to buy it for an earlier promise of 150.00. the younger brother, chris, opted out of the bidding war....the iPOD was mine...all I had to do was wait for the engraved device to be mailed from China.

now with the iPOD in hand I have some thinking to do....
sure it is 10GB of space, but what do I really want on this thing
clearly I do not want to have the settings on SHUFFLE and be forced to hit the forward button each time a new song starts that I do not want to hear.
So before loading this device up with every cd I own I am giving it some thought..."What do I really want to listen to?"
How many Reggae songs/albums will I really need?
So, I will try to go through this with some restraint!
1. Bob Marley; Between Lisa and myself we have several copies of Survival, Legend, the Box Set, and some lesser known albums....maybe I will have to hand pick some tunes
2. Steel Pulse; Earth Crisis should be enough
3. Bad Brains; I Against I! Well , maybe I can sneak in two albums (Rock for Light?) if I put one album in as Hardcore and another as Reggae, but I Against I is vital for any collection!
now, logic may reach for Burning Spear/Israel Vibration and other bands within my collection, most of which do not come to mind, I realize that I need to pull just some choice tracks from these CDs. no need to take up the space. no need to take up my time forwarding through

what are some must haves for listening pleasure?

1. DC Hardcore: Some Minor Threat, Rites of Spring, Beefeater, Dag Nasty, and well already have some music from a lesser know musician off TEENBEAT, Bells of. A friend of mine Lawrence and his crazed voice and his wild guitar.
2. 80's Dance? New Order? Dead or Alive? What do I want? Do I want to go obsucre or do I want to hang with the hits?
So many choices...
but I did already put my mix by THE JAM!
what else

ESL: The 18th Street Lounge:
a. Theivery Corporation
b. Nicola Conte
b. Thunderball

most of my listening pleasure is acutally a mix of Electronica and jazz/blues/samba

you know
Stan Getz and stuff on that line

what to do
what to do
these darn toys


Don't Just Take, Give
It is pretty simple, if all we do is take and we never replace, then there will be nothing left; ruins...just ruins; one big wasteland, just a massive landfill. The world is too small for us to strip away, move along, and strip away again. Hundreds of years ago farmers learned this and started to rotate the crops. There are some minor steps in the modern age that people are starting to implement such as recycling, but there needs to be more, that needs to become a given. In my day to day activities I find that it is more a matter to try and get people to maintain the basics, to try and have their impact to be as minor as possible, to have concepts of recycling become part of a mindless routine; a given. Sadly, this is not how people approach it; most people see it as a hassle. Does your work place recycle? I do not think mine does! It is something I want to get active on ASAP! We all create a great deal of trash/waste, much of which can be recycled, this is a minimum.

let me try and finish this thought

as a dog owner who hikes in the woods and as a cyclist that prefers to mountain bike I find that it is my duty not just to take, but also to give back.
the impact of the user is clear. in my short life I have seen the trails decline. mountain biking has grown to be more popular, what was single track in now double track, and what was double track in now tracked out. the foot trials are wider, fallen trees have cause people to make trail options around the obstacles. the only problem is that different people created different paths, so now there are more trails. soon the surrounding woods of Rock Creek Park will be large clay dirt mounds, stripped of all fertile soil, absent of any form of vegetation. so, what are we to do. well, the easiest thing is to STAY ON THE TRAIL! Do not bisect the trail, do not go wide around obstacles, do not walk the edge of the path to go around a puddle, simply STAY ON THE TRAIL. Now, it is absurd for me to say, keep your dog on a leash, cause I am not going to attempt that myself, but witness your pet's impact. Perhaps we need to compensate for that. Replanted INDIGENOUS plants. Replace missing soil maybe a good idea. Often while walking these trails I day dream about spearheading a project where the trail users volunteer a weekend to rebuild the trail. To give back to what gives so much to us. It is usually the same set of ideas....having soil delivered via dump truck to a number of trail heads and moving the soil about and planting some plants, everyone's working together. But, this is just a daydream, so until then I do some ROGUE TRAIL MAINTENANCE! Without tools I have created sets of stairs, anti erosion barriers, and the classic Nature Nazi trail blockade! (that is where I through branches and debrie over a section of trail that should not be used for whatever reason, usually because it is an unnecessary short cut)

back to work
more on this later

for some people all we can ask is that when they pull over to finish their 40ozer and their bag of chips that their place their waste in a trash can, rather than tossing it into the woods
the contractor who is too lazy to go to the dump takes his trash to a dumpster rather than the gulley in the woods
the yearly Christmas tree people who in the night dump their tree and wreath in the woods
all we ask is that these people and people like them choose common sense
I have seen these folks in the act, they look and act guilty, they know it is wrong
yet they persist

a few people clean up
many people use the trails
and an even greater number abuse the trails

here in the urban environment we need to take care what little "green space" we have
the longer we let it decline
the greater the likelihood of it being lost all together

it is wonderful that Rock Creek Park is in its natural state
but its current state is decline

no one would have imagined that the world population would grow like this
the city was not planned with such growth in mind
the natural state of our parks is more determined by the lazy state of park service

[by no means am I perfect....but I do try to keep my trash under control, we recycle, we clean up the park and alley around our house, we dispose of trash properly (batteries, toxins, paint to the right collection agencies)
but with two young boys we have diapers, juice boxes, and all sorts of consumer goods....we are not Amish....heck, we are not even minimalists...but we try to do our part on the basic level]

other than my rogue trail maintenance...
I also try to do some trial maintenance days with MORE
and have been trying to organize some trail days on the local ROCK CREEK trails

Back from the airport...
this morning I drove Lisa, Dean, and Grant to the airport, they are off to Florida. I will be joining them in 5 days. The drive to Washington National (I still have a hard time calling it Reagan Airport) was painless, but after drop off I rolled directly into morning rush hour traffic. The long queues to each exit and each merger were maddening, people cutting into line without waiting, the usual obnoxious bullshit. As a none car commuter I just do not get it, how do they do this to themselves each day? All the full size trucks and 24 foot long SUVs, what is the point. Each vehicle with only the driver's seat filled, why do they do this to themselves. Can they do the math? Certainly the same drivers see the same cars at the same time each morning. I imagine that each am there are a variety of drivers going about their way letting their minds wander, glancing over at the blonde in the convertible Mercedes filling in the fantasy of who she is, where she is going, and what sort of reward she would offer if she were in need of road side assistance and they delivered. Seeing her one day, looking for her the next, only to see her again a week later, then building the fantasy further. Now she has a psuedo history, a created identity, a voice, an accent, and a personality. The blank time has been filled in by filling in the blank. The math seems simple, two people in each car would take the number of cars on the road in half. That is half the cars waiting in the queue at each on or off ramp, each bridge across the potomac, each toll booth on Route 66....figure it out....

Sadly, if there were more car pooling and less cars on the road, it would only reward more people who drive alone to get to work quicker.

more on this in a bit
I am not awake yet
headed out to walk the dogs
then off for a quick prework ride
feeling lazy
maybe the brisk morning air and my third cup of coffee will shake me out of the morning funk

back in a bit.


Rain Rain Go Away....
Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate the rain as much as the next person. But, this rain is a reminder of the mountain bike race/ride season we all had last year. Races were canceled, rides off road were not an option, and motivation was down.
Sure, there were some experiences that were valuable when I did endure the cold wet rain.
Like the 12 Hours of Lodi Farm when I raced with Rob and Eric from the City Bikes team....
It was cold and wet, but once it was over we reflected back on a good time shared by all.

here is how it all went last year
there is talk of doing it again this year
but after being on the winning sport team two years in a row
I think for this course I best race Expert, especially seeing how our sport squads compared to the winning experts
it is a rolling course, no real climbs
not a bad course for the clydesdale

I know that the facts are out...
and that eric told his tale
but here is a jumbled race report from Joel
my riding is as rusty as my race report
there is some correlation there
one thing is for sure...I don't know how to be short winded

12 Hours of Lodi Farms 2003: Rain or Shine

Having read Eric's race report I now feel compelled to put my story
forward and this morning's commute in the rain makes the memories
seem fresher and more real...

Everything Eric said was true...
The whole event was scripted as some sort of strange dark comedy... There was rain and cold on top of the 12 hour relay race format. If it had been a documentary film the viewer would have doubted it on
many levels. The setting of the prepared and the unprepared stacked
side by side, full on support crews with sponsor tents and full time
mechanics verses guys sleeping in their trucks with their bike
propped up against the outside of the truck getting drenched by the
rain. The lack of preperation and cohesion of our team had us bumping
into each other like the Keystone Cops from the silent film era. The
dialog surrounding our camp was something like a script from "Bill
and Ted's Most excellent Adventure." The equipment and the supplies
were also a mess...lodging for Eric and Robbie camped in high tech
gortex tents surrounded by shoes and mud drenched lycra tights and
shirts...I opted for sleeping in the back of my truck where the scent
of Starter Fluid whisking me off to for food, Little
Debbies and Red Bull were balanced out by Hammer Gel and
Gatorade...mid lap I was popping Now and Laters to maintain that
sugar buzz. The bikes were each suffering independently a different
set of symptoms, both before, during and after each lap. It is never
good to leave for the start of a lap with the bike not running "its
sunday best." Across the board things were so humorous and absurd
that it should have been filmed...but that would have taken
organization (or would have altered our behavor so that we appeared
more prepared, there is some law of anthropology that states that
observation alters the behavior of those being watched ((marc may
know the name of this theory)) ...much much more organization than we
would have ever been able to pull off.)

It was never mentioned that I had to beg and plead for these guys to
let me be part of their team. Asking them to downgrade from duo to
three man sport and then for me to use me 33% of the deciding process
to over ride their decission to ride back to back laps (2 laps each
before baton exchange) throughout the race.
Eric also forgot to mention that he said he had claimed that he was
going to get to the race site before dark to find a good spot, when
he showed up at the Fredricksberg WAWA in the cashier line behind me
at 10PM.

The hysterics began when we arrived.
The drive was painless...
Rain was present. The sky was dark. The temperature was unseasonabley
cold. The race was set to take place.
Camping was tight....we were lucky to pin our cars in a small spot
with just enough room for the tents and a place to stand and change
out of wet gear.

The start of the race was nothing shy of comical. Robbie's bike was
less tunned than mine which is not good. At 8 minutes to midnight
his numbers were still not on his bike nor had he suited up....the
fact that his wheels were rubbing the brakes was something that would
need both light, the absence of rain, and a trueing stand to tend to.
The start itself is hard to describe, lets just say that Robbie had
to run to catch up to the back of the pack, grabbing his bike and
stepping into the queue. Forcing him to make neverending passes (I
would assume, as I was resting in my truck not along side him on this
lap) as he pushed his way to a 58-59 minute first lap. The race was
on its way. Eric was set to take the second lap, and I was the third.
Eric put in a fast lap just over an hour and I was fearing that I was
mismatched, but I knew that even a fast team needs its slowest rider.
But how much slower I was not sure, I feared that I was going to let
these guys down. Their exterior was all mellow, they claimed that my
times were not as important as my efforts, intentions, and my right
to have a good time. I worked as hard as I could on my first lap,
fighting against Chain Suck, dim lights, and many other technicals
some mud related others related to lack of preparation. When I
finished my lap I asked the vounteer at the tent for my race a mumble and a blur I was told that I had finished in an
hour 30, "good lap" he said..I walked away bewildered..."good lap?"
an hour thirty? how could I be that much slower on such a short
course...I knew I could do better...(later I was to discover that my
lap time was an hour three; 63 minutes. But I was still inspired to
do better next time, assess and repair the chain suck issue and go
out ready to contend with other such problems.

The time went fast between laps. Just enough time to clean up the
bike, eat some bbq fritos, a few bites of a cold burrito, rehydrate,
and get out of wet muddy clothing and climb into the truck and get
into the sleeping bag. With Red Bull pumping my heart it is tough to
get to sleep, but after forcing my eyelids closed sleep did come, but
just as the dreams of dry trails and sunshine began there was a
knock on the truck window, it was time to wake up and prep for my
next lap. No time to steal an extra second of shut eye, such efforts
tend to backfire.

Having known my issues with my bicycle from the lap before I was
ready to approach the second lap anticipating Chain Suck, I figured I
would have to push the big ring and force myself around the course
and deal with the muscular burn. This BIG RING ATTACK seemed to be
working fine, but it had me working the brakes. This is a winding
twisting course, pushing up and down roller coaster trails between
tight trees and over roots and logs, brakes are a big part of the
acceleration/decelleration system. I was grooving pretty well and
not minding the big ring one bit, but it was not far into the second
lap when my handlebar and helmet mounting lights were growing dim.
The light in front of me was no longer a bright white cloud, but
nothing more than two dim copper penny circles barely alerting me of
obstacles in front of me. This was maiking my loss of braking power
more aggravating (and dangerous) pads were shot....worn to be
paper thin...I could hear the metal brackets that hold the pads
making contact to my fingernails on the chaulk board I
chringed everytime I had to brake. This all on top of racing around
the course in the rain and the cold, trying to pass all racers in
front of me, and doing my best to maintain speed with out slipping
and slidding off the trail into a deep ravine or creek along side of
the trial.

This lap finally came to a close, the course ending with an
inviggorating stream crossing, which depth was growing deeper and
deeper by the minute. The baton was passed to Robbie and back to camp
to repeat the bicycle cleaning/repairing process and the refueling
and resting process of my body. When I got back to camp I gave Eric
the standard 30 minutes into the racers lap before I shook his rain
covered tent. He stirred and moaned and started getting ready. He got
out of his tent a short time later and informed me about how he and
robbie had considered packing it in. We talked about the course and
the conditions and watched as racers dropped out around us. RVS were
slugging through the deep mud, tents were being packed in their bags,
bikes were being mounted on top of their cars. Teams were falling
apart. Morale was low. The night of rain and cold had been too much
for many of the seemed that the DNF list would be long
for this event. The drop out rate shocked me. The course was wet and
muddy, but still very ridable. Eric got suited up in his last set of
dry gear and assured me that he was going to do his next lap as a
double. This notion was exciting to me. That meant twice the rest. I
could actually get some sleep.

Eric met up with Robbie at the START/FINISH Line, the scrunchie that
was the race baton was passed and he was off to take the course
twice. In the meantime I struggled to get my bike cleaned and tunned.
I replaced all four brake pads and lubed my chain and examined it
closely for stiff links. Time passed I snacked on a variety of junk
food, Little Debbie Snack Cakes, more BBQ Fritos, and whatever else I
could get my stomach to agree with. My belly was all "gooed out" the
thought of Hammer Gel evoke the gagging response. Time passed and
before I knew it nearly an hour had passed. My bike was ready to go
and it was time for me to take that extended nap that Eric's back to
back lap would provide. Before I climbed into my rusty old truck I
gave this double lap some more thought. With all the things that
could go wrong with lights, bicycle, and body I decided it would make
most sense to suit up and wait for eric at the start/finish line. If
he wants to head back out...then I will walk back and climb in my
truck and take that long nap that I was promised and that I greatly
needed. When Eric finally finished this lap there I was, suited up
and ready to ride. Eric was relieved. His bike and body were showing
the wear of a rough lap. the long night or racers and rain had taken
its toll on the course. The couse was no longer the 100% ridable
course it once was. I took the baton, mounted the bike, and started
off...only to be retracted by the volunteers at the check in saying
that I needed a race number (mine was soggy and had fallen off mid
lap during the night) With a fresh number and a well tunned bike I
headed off for my last lap of the day. The morning light changed
everything. There were sights that had not been seen in the night,
hidden creeks and parrell trails. All sorts of wildlife had shown up
to witness the spectacle. My bike and body were both relived that
this was the end of the race. My last lap. The idea of a warm shower
and some dry clothes and the comfort of home were not far away. My
tired muscles fought to put in a competitive lap. My lights were no
longer an issue and the fresh brake pads had me in control. The chain
suck problem seemed to be cured. This could be my fastest lap of the
race...well..if the trail were not covered with 6 inces deep of
dinosaur shit. The rain was still coming down. On some parts of the
trail the center of the rail had a stream rolling steadily through.
This was the fast track. There were no real options for chosing a
line. This choice was made for you. It was mandatory that the rider
take the stream route. The mud on the sides was getting deep and was
definitely slow. THis lap was not going to be my fastest lap. It was
going to be my last lap in this race and that was enough to celebrate.

The lap finally came to a close.
As I passed our camp and headed to the finishline I could see Robbie
hanging out and telling some tall tale of beers drank and love lost
(or something to that effect.) It was clear that they had done the
math. We were well in the lead in our class and there was no need to
rush out on this lap because we would not want to send out another
rider. Some ten minutes later robbie went to the start line and
started his lap. He assured us that he would wait and not come across
the line before noon.

Time passed.
Eric and I played the event back to each other. Talked of the race
and the course as we waited for Robbie to finish up this race. I took
my muddy gear and mud caked bike to the stream that now rushed like a
river and cleaned everything as best I could. We waited as they
talleyed the results. We had dominated the sport class, and were 45
seconds shy of the leading expert team. We could have easily put out
another rider and shaved a few minutes on exchanges. With all that
said I think that on a hill-less course like this I should enter the
expert class, that is unless there is a Clydesdale Class.

Red Bull before each
Candy Durning
and some flat coke during lap three
these things seemed to work on a short flat course
but after this race I realize I need to get some miles in
and go out and hit a few climbs


Monday is here...the weekend has passed
It was a great weekend, Saturday made my whole weekend, the surrounding night and days were great, yet, somehow I managed to have a full weekend in a day.
Friday Night? I can not recall....
Heading home from work I rode some urban dirt on the Karate Monkey and beat up my body. A few times I could not decide to roll down some drops of launch off them, so instead I did a feeble in between maneauver. Landing each time, but putting more shock into my shoulders and neck than I need.
Saturday am came up real early with Dean, maybe a bit before 6am, then went back to bed for an hour when Lisa and Grant got up. Hung with the kids while Lisa walked Roscoe and Brutus.....
Grant cried. I tried multiple positions, rocking, swaying, dancing, talking...Dean even helped. It took Lisa's return to set him straight again.
The clock was ticking, I grabbed my mat and rushed out the door to Yoga. I have been taking these Ashtanga Yoga classes for just over two months now. Really enjoying them. Was not sure what to do about the class with my stiff neck. Asked Gail, the instructor, what I should do...Gail felt that it could help or it could hurt, we just could not be sure. So I entered the class knowing I would be be able to attempt all positions and poses. Got into class, I was almost late, it was a full house. I found a spot right next to Rob and Vida. We chatted as we set up our mats. VIda told me that she and rob were available for dinner that night. I was shocked. Lisa had told me that we were going out on a date...just the weekend prior I was told by lisa that she wanted some one on one time, tired of everytime that we go out that I felt the need to make it a group event....I told Vida that she needed to talk with Lisa, I was not in a position to book a date for that evening.

Gome, joked with lisa about that night's plans. Talked with Rob and Vida and settled in on some plans. Firmed up with Charolotte for babysitting. Lisa packed up the kids and headed off to the Zoo where she was meeting up with Mary, Eric, and Conrad. This was perfect, I feared it was dangerous to do Yoga and go Mountainbiking on the same day. But lisa had given the green I went with it.

Dave rolled up with his Sport Single Speed on the Passat and we loaded up my lead sled, the Rocky Mountain BLizzard, and headed out to grab Marc and his Canyon Snail to head off to the local trails at Cabin John. The trails are close, not that crowded, and perfect for an early season ride. My stiff neck was limiting my ability to scan around on the trails, forced to focus on field of view right before me, but we were riding casually enough that it was not an issue. It was a good ride, we all broke a sweat, no one broke their neck and we all got back at the same time as our wives and children.
No real heat.
Then a little time to clean up and get organized for the evening.
Lisa and I were headed out on the town with Rob and Vida, with Grant at our side.
Charolotte babysat with her kid sister Bella.
They played with Dean and wore him out. Everyone had a great time. It was fun for them.
We look forward to it again in two weekends!

boring blog
but that is my life