4 Hours in the Saddle = Sore Butt

Up early and out the door this morning into 43 degrees and a fine mist. An old friend and I drove down south to ride the Minnesota Ironman, a 62 (or 100) mile supported ride. I needed the training time and this was a great way to get a good ride in while having some good company and plenty of food every 30 miles or so.

The first couple hours were fine, though it was really, really windy and never got over 50 degrees. We averaged probably 18 mph for the first couple hours, which is pretty good for us slow suburban boys. The route wasn’t hilly and we had the roads blocked off for us. With some wind at our back and the rain slacking off, the day wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. So we were pretty pleased as we pulled into the rest stop at mile 42. We ended up making it in about 4 hours, but that includes a couple stops and a very slow last 12 miles as my partner was suffering a bit.

There were a lot of people who obviously started the day without really understanding what they were getting themselves into. Lot’s of Wal-mart bikes, too many day trippers on mountain bikes with fat tires, and a surprising number of kids. But the rain and the wind must have really bothered people and it brought into sharp focus the importance of the right clothes. I was dressed perfectly: Craft base layer, jersey, arm warmers, wind vest and a wind and water resistance jacket. I was wearing some leg warmers (not the Flashdance kind) and some thermal socks. I could have rode all day. But I saw a lot of people wearing jeans, or worse, grey sweat pants. Flimsy, see through rain ponchos. Moon boots. Oh, man, I can only image how bad those folks will feel after slugging it out for 5 hours on their bikes.

I need to do this every weekend now until July 15th or so. And I need to get my time down, too. But, at the same time, I need to work on climbing. So, in the weekday workouts, I’ll focus on 12-15 minute climbing intervals (or simulated climbing workouts) and try to get some long, slow rides in during the weekends. Overall, I’m feeling really good. I had a couple weeks off and I think it helped me recuperate and rebuild and now I can feel my “form” (as the racers call it) coming in.

I’m very pleased, but now it’s time to really focus on losing those last 10 pounds. But, first, I’ll have some Treatza Pizza to celebrate a good day of riding.

Wow! Another Billy Joel Accident!

“Singer Billy Joel was involved in his third car accident in two years Sunday when he slammed into a house on a wet road on Long Island. No one was seriously injured…There was no evidence that alcohol or drugs were involved and Joel was not suspected of any crime, said Nassau County police Officer Joan Eames.” Nothing newsworthy, other than to laugh at the drunk.

Close to the Racers in Georgia

I’d love to be down in Georgia right now, watch the Tour De Georgia as it rolls through the state. Becase the sport isn’t as popular here as it is in Europe, there’s an opportunity to get very close to the worlds best racers, as this picture of Mario Cippolini shows. For cycling geeks like me, it would be the equivalent of seeing a Tiger Woods / Phil Mickelson shootout on a public course with no crowds or TV.

What’s Up With Ullrich?

Is it just me, or does Jan look a little too hefty here? You’d think, with his excellent July in 2003, that he would be more motivated to be in shape at this point in the year. He’s got about 9 weeks or so to drop 10-15 pounds and get himself up to speed.

Weird or Porn?

You decide. I thought I had seen everything….But, it’s clear, especially now that the internet is getting kind of popular, that you can find something to please everyone. Dirty John, this one is for you.

Getting Ready for My Trip to France

I’ve been meaning to get up to speed on my french, but there have been too many diversions (the slow, spiraling fall of the national prestige, Nipplegate, IRS suits knocking at my door). So, thanks to the Internet, I’ve learned what I need to know:

I understand your language perfectly.
Je parle français comme une vache espagnole.

Stupid uncultured lout.
Stupide beauf inculte.

Where can I find the dissidents?
Où se trouvent les dissidents ?  

It’s nothing compared to our shopping centers.
Ça ne vaut rien à côté de nos grandes surfaces.

I’m a personal friend of the Ambassador.
Je suis ami[e] intime de l’Ambassadeur.

I know I’m naked, could you just tell me how to get back to the hotel?
Je le sais bien que je suis à poil; je veux simplement savoir comment rentrer à l’hôtel.

Don’t you speak English?
Vous parlez pas anglais ?

It’s better in the States.
C’est mieux aux Etats-Unis.

Weird or Porn

Guy makes himself a light-emitting Tron suit for a convention. But, really, isn’t this taking your love of Tron just a little too far?

The biggest deficiency was that none of them attempted to capture the green tint of the characters’ outfits in the computer world. Yes, I know that was added in the digital animation process, but, still, a white costume just doesn’t look right. Many of them also used black for the circuit patterns, one more step away from the costumes the viewer saw in the movie.

I decided I could do better, at least to my own way of thinking. This is not a slam on those who have gone before by any means, just an observation that I could resolve what I saw as deficiencies.”

This is what might happen to you if a) you’re a geek b) with a special talent for stitchery and c) a predilection for groundbreaking sci-fi, (not the dumb stuff, though). But, mostly, d) a trip planned for a convention where you really want to strut your stuff. Literally.

(I might have to make this a special category for this…. )

(Bonus: He lives in Fairmont, MN!)

Stripper Blogger Profiled “Offline”; Audience Not Titillated

Everything that’s great about your favorite blogger/dancer (her writer’s “voice” [seriously]) get’s stripped away (pun intended) when someone else does the writing. Diablo Cody, Minneapolis’ favorite stripper/blogger/media critic is written up in this week’s CityPages and it’s really kind of a dissapointment. A disclaimer: I read her site for the writing, not the neccid pictures, of which there are few (psst… update the pics, Diablo).

A couple complaints: First, the title: “Pussy Galore”? That’s all the geniuses could come up with for a title? Second, like a lot of english majors, I get more interested in the po-mo “stripper is the watcher/critic, the audience is the author/text” switch, rather than the standard “Stripper isn’t dumb” storyline (does that make me a literary voyeur?). More of her observations on her audience, less of her observations on wedding cakes. Third, every stripper (or welder, or line cook, or customer service rep) has their own story and their own dreams their working toward, so why another story about someone in the sex biz? (1). Lastly, everything you have to explain is ruined when in the explanation. If CityPages thinks Diablo Cody is interesting, they should have sent her to the bridal fair without the mouth-breathing Real Journalist and let her write the damn story. The essence of the profile was “here’s a stripper who writes” so why not just let her tell us what she saw, in her own voice, at the bridal show? Show (or publish), don’t tell.

Small World Story #1: My father in law used to be sort-of business partners with a guy who ran a dance club in what is now the Choice.

Small World Story #2: Back in the dot-com glory days, I used to work directly across the street from Choice and up 4 stories. My office looked down, but not too judgementally, at the front door where I could see the folks duck in and the bouncers keep the bums out. I could also see the roof of the 1 story club. On hot summer days, the “workers” would go to the roof and cool down in a pool, sending all of us sweaty web-geeks into a bit of a tizzy. Combine that with our “full fridge” policy and we’d lose a lot of productivity when the mercury went over 80 degrees. No wonder we couldn’t turn a profit.

(1) Obviously, sex sells, even when the story is ostensibly not about the sex. It’s just edgy enough to feel a little dirty without actually being too dirty. What’s revealing is that the author “Rod” Smith makes no mention of going to see her at work. Writing about the intellectual in the sex business is still writing about the sex business, no matter how detached you try to make your observations, so he might as well have gone right up to the front row and put his dollars down with the rest of ’em. Boy, I would have loved to hear him pitch his editor about doing this story, though.