Jack White Doesn’t Suck, Lorretta Lynn is Back

I’ve never been a huge believer in Jack White and the White Stripes. I always thought there was too much schtick, despite the talent. But wow, that Jack White is an amazing producer. Listen to what he’s done with Lorretta Lynn on Van Lear Rose. He’s taken a cue from from Rick Rubin, plugged her in, and saved one of America’s lost treasures. Her singing and writing are put front and center, pretty (“Miss Being Mrs. Tonight”) and honest and proud (“The Story of my Life”) and yes, happy. She’s not drowning under the weight of lazy Nashville studio cheese played by wired studio sleazes, bored waiting for Glen Campell to come back with the eight ball. The band is great, rough, ragged and ready to put the pedal in pedal steel, whoever they are. It’s scary at times, (“Mad Mrs Leroy Brown”) like the blues and old country are supposed to be because of the real energy and the wild side tha’s underneath all the best rock and roll when you strip away the studio crap. It’s a straight rush of pure, pure talent, right up from the holler and you’re right there. All thanks Jack White. Remind yourself how it should be done and welcome Lorretta Lynn back. But, she never really went away, did she.

Where’s My Grey Flannel Suit?

Interesting realization today, driving home from work after 11 hours, trying to get through traffic, late again: I might be stuck in the 50’s. With some new responsibilities at work, it’s getting tougher to get everything done in a 9 hour day and I’ll be working later than I used to (while still working earlier, stretching the day on both ends). She’s trying to be patient with it, but it always seems like we’ve got mismatched expectations for “work” side of the “work/life” balance and I’m the one that needs to recalibrate the scale. I guess, in my Ward Cleaver mode, I always had it figured that working hard meant sometimes working late and working hard was desirable but it’s clear, after a couple years, that’s not the case. So, I’ll never get a “pass” from Andrea for working late. In her mind, working late does not equal working hard and working late is always working too much. It makes sense to me now, finally, that I’ll always have to explain my hours, always have to come home with my hat in my hand, never get the pipe-and-slippers treatment, always be ready to apologize. I’ll get used to it.

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.