Wednesday, May 28, 2008

US Open Tickets for Sale

Any golf fans out there? Anybody looking to take a day, or a few off, and head down to San Diego to watch a little white golf ball just get crushed? Well, I've got you an extent.

I'm auctioning off my tickets on eBay. If you're interested go check them out. If you bid enough times maybe I can earn some money to pay for a TT or track frame!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Going Compact

When I first started cycling seriously a few years ago I went with a compact crank. After riding standard cranks for the past two years I've decided to go back to a compact. Wish me luck...the low-key hillclimbs this winter could be really interesting in a 34/29 combo! More to follow once I get back on the bike and share some power data...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Santa Cruz Mtns Fire

There aren't too many roads up in the area of the fire, otherwise I'd be up there riding. However, even worse, there are no sources of water for fire hoses. Hopefully this fire will be snuffed out before too much damage and people are harmed.

This link seems to have the most up to date information:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Creamy Goodness - Protect Your Junk

A year ago or so I found a recipe for some home brewed chamois cream. Pretty easy to make and doesn't cost much. But I've got to say I don't have the initials in my name to pull off this marketing campaign.


Brought to you by Dave Zabriskie...and the phrase "Protect Your Junk" is even trademarked.

Techno Music (aka the MRI visit)

This is a stretch, but stick with me here as I explain something...

At a young age I was introduced to playing the piano. I didn't really have a choice as my mother was an organist and working towards her own degree in music theory. Now mind you, as a first grader it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, especially when older people are commenting to you about how when they were young they also played the piano and then they quit a few years later. And now when these older people look back they regret not sticking to playing.

I guess I listened to them enough to keep pounding on the ivory. Yeah, pounding! My teachers were never impressed with my skill to play music softly, because I was drawn to playing everything loud and hard. Call me a hardman of the piano. Needless to say, I stuck with lessons for eight years. Toward the beginning of high school I started focusing on basketball and less on music, but still enjoyed playing from time to time. Probably one of my favorite moments was at high school graduation where I busted out a Bach sonata to the surprise of all my classmates.

Around this time I was discovering electronic music. This was in the late 80's, early 90's and Kraftwerk had laid down the roots of this genre. I soon discovered Orbital, The Orb and Underworld. BTW, one of my favorite concerts was Orbital/Underworld tag team at the Fillmore in SF. Absolutely brilliant...stayed up all night and fell asleep at my desk at work at 3pm the next day. Woke up with sore calves from jumping up and down to the music.

I thought I could put my piano background to use. I dabbled a little bit with hooking up my old synth to my Apple Mac II and trying out the
MIDI stuff. It didn't work out too well because my synth was mono-phonic; it could only play one sound at a time. So much for trying to layer a bass line, percussion and a melody all on top of each other. And I realized that the cost to do this would have been tremendous between all the gear I'd need. So back to the drawing board...

I ended up being introduced to DJ'ing by some friends who were into the rave scene in LA. I spent a few months finishing up school over in Oxford and fell head over heals into the club scene, particularly around the music. I ended up coming home with almost 30 pounds of vinyl in my backpack. I got hooked up with some people here in the Bay Area in the mid to late-90's and did some DJ'ing. Mostly small stuff, but fun nonetheless. On a side note I still have my technics and bust them out from time to time for my trips them out that I'm able to
match beats.

So what does this have to do with my MRI visit? A lot to me if you look at it from a musical perspective. There are times where I can let my mind wander and allow my ears to travel down a sonic journey. Whether this be on a beach, amid the redwoods or while listening to a mix tape, it's a fascinating little journey in my head.

While the MRI was pounding away taking pictures of the bulging disc I let it happen. I let the pulsating hits of the machine wash through my ears and I found myself focusing on the secondary sounds the machine was producing. When you think of the MRI and the sounds it makes, it's usually the "click, click, click" that is common. When I'm lying there I hear that too, but after about twenty seconds my ears start picking up the smaller, more faint sounds of the machine. It's like I can hear all the inner-workings of the MRI; gears clicking, things rotating, stuff like that. It's like my own little techno mixtape in my head.

Yeah, so it's a far reach to pull these two things together. But for me, I actually like the MRI as I know it will be a twenty minute mix of minimalistic techno at its finest.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

No Way for Pah-noo-che

Ha, no scoop on the results here, just an empty feeling that I have since I won't be racing with my teammates today. I was really looking forward to this race from several different perspectives.

First, quite a few of my teammates felt this course was suited to my strengths (no, I won't let you know what they all are...but they do include knowing the proper footwork for setting a well-executed pick'n'roll, conflict resolution, program management among other things). I went out there 12 days ago to scout out the course with a couple of teammates and they were right. A good mix of rollers leading up to the first climb, and then a series of climbs over the next 6~7 miles that weren't too steep, but enough to shed people. My kind of climbing...and that doesn't even address the hardman wind that will come into play down there. Now it just needs to have some rain mixed in for a true classic, but that won't happen today. Damn hot, and hydration will be key.

Second, I was hoping to get myself off of the equipment failure stump. Twice in the last three races I've done my efforts have been undone by some weird, yet common to most, problems. The first was the rolled rear tubular at the Ronde crit. That was most disappointing because I had second locked up with 2 laps to go in our 2-man breakaway and then the rear tub rolls coming out of the hairpin. That result would have given me enough points to upgrade to the 3's. The last incident was the flat tire I got while descending on the first lap of Wente RR coming down Flynn. It's one thing to say that tubulars are more 'supple' in their ride (which I totally agree to 100%), but when you realize that the suppleness you're experiencing while going 35+mph is due to a slow leak, then it absolutely sucks. The higher powers of the bicycle gods know that I've put in my fair share of equipment sacrifices.

Third, our team was going to have a strong showing of riders in the M35+ 4/5 category. Nothing more fun than riding with 8 other teammates and executing our strategy. None of it for me today. Half the fun of the racing is all the stratergery (thank you President Bush for making this a word that others can use...) that occurs between the team via email beforehand. Whether we can execute is another thing, but just taking about who's going to do what and when just gets my juices flowing.

In the downtime, my list of honey-do's has been filled up with things needed for getting ready for the new baby girl. Put a new coat of pink paint in the girls room...check. Get down baby stuff from the progress. Secure three weeks of vacation when the baby arrives...check (man, I'm about to use the family medical leave act to its fullest...thank you to the state of California). Amazing what things in life you have time to focus on when you're not racing and the back is on the mend.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

For my NBA playoff friends

Get a beverage and read this column. A pretty funny fictitious story that could almost be true.

Gooseman, Charlie, this is for you guys.

Chill Mom, aka "Sit your ass down"

I haven't been watching the NBA playoffs much this year due to a number of reasons, but when I opened today's SJ Mercury newspaper and flipped through the sports section I had to laugh. Apparently during last night's Celtics/Cavaliers game LeBron James' mom decided to pipe up and make herself 'noticed'.

Now let me just give you what I think is wise advice around moms and their kids playing basketball. Heck, this might even be applicable to all sports. Here we go:
  1. Cheer for the team, not your kid - I laid down this golden rule with my mom very clearly when I was in high school. I told her, "You can cheer as loud as you want, just don't say my name." Harsh? Maybe. But what self-respecting teenager wants to hear the voice of their mother coming from the stands? It certainly wasn't me.
  2. You make yourself a target - This really applies to road games. I never wanted my mom to be identified as the mother of the best player on the opposing team when we played on the road. I was taking enough abuse from the fans being the best opposing player on the court and receiving their heckles. Last thing I wanted was to have my mom stand out and in essence say, "Hey, I'm the woman that brought that child into the world...yup, that's my son who's putting a triple double on your teams' ass." Moms don't need to be the point of any opposing gym's wrath.
  3. Same applies to fathers - I'm one now, with #3 on the way in July. Don't think you're not untouchable with these same words of are.
  4. Dress correct - Don't show up to games wearing a T-shirt with your child's face, number, name or any sort of likeness to the game. That's like wearing a bullseye at road games.
  5. Stay an arm's length away - I'll leave you with a perfect example of what you should not do. Don't act like LeBron's mom, or else your son might just say some choice words for you. Look for the lady with the white T-shirt that Kevin Garnett has to hold back on the baseline.

If you missed what LeBron said to his mom it went something like this, "Sit your ass down".

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Doctor, Doctor

I was chatting with a friend of mine this morning and come to find out she just started working on her M.A. in Organization Development. Ahh, that brings back some memories...

Over fifteen years ago I was finishing up my undergrad education in the same topic at some place that resembles a farm in the Bay Area. This recent conversation got me thinking, which usually is a good thing but at times it hurts. This morning it happens to be some random thoughts on a topic I actually thought I had put to rest a few years ago after finishing my MBA.

As much as I like academia, this could be suicide in a fun way. I teach college freshmen already as a guest lecturer at SCU, so I'm already doing my part in giving back to the Facebook-enabled youth of today (among other things). So what might this suicide entail? Me going back to get a Ph.D. in org development/studies.

I thought I was done with papers, exams and the general stress related to the pursuit of a degree. But somehow this idea intrigues me. Who knows where it will lead.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Jerk Me - The Hunt for Beef Jerky

It hit me like a train. I'm sitting down typing up my job performance review at the home office while snacking on some carrots. Those were quickly gone as the mind-numbing'ness of doing these reviews causes me to burn calories at a horrific rate (ha, yeah right!). Anyways, next up in the cupboard was some beef jerky. I've always loved this stuff...don't know why.

Well maybe I do know why. But first some background. Growing up with vegetarian parents you'd think beef jerky would be one of the last things you'd see lying around our house. But for some reason when Dad would pile the family in to the RV for trips to the Oregon coast, low and behold, there was always a bag of beef jerky in the vehicle. I never really asked what the stuff was, just trusted that if it was good enough for my dad then it was good enough for me. And the fact that it tasted better than any other fake vegetarian meat I had tried probably sealed the deal.

Anyways, as I'm stuffing my face with jerky and thinking to myself, "Hmm, this won't bode well for my health..." I decide to actually check out the nutrition label. Twelve grams of protein, 1 gram of fat and only 90 calories per serving. After some quick math it hit me...this stuff is for real.

Time to go research me some tasty beef jerky options. My sister introduced me to a restaurant in Portland last year that made their own homemade jerky. Pretty tasty! I'm sure there are some local Bay Area places that do the same. If you've got a recommendation let me know.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Let the Nesting Begin

Baby number three is on the way, and it's finally hit us. Or at least it's finally hitting me; for the wife, she's been dealing with this way better than I would ever have dreamed. With two kids already running around the house we're the wikipedia definition for craziness, but in a good way. The new arrival, our second daugther, will be in early July.

This means plenty of little things do to around the house over the next month or two. First up, repainting the room for the girls. Who knew there were over thirty shades of pink at the Benjamin Moore paint shop. But then again, I always thought there was only one shade of white back in my uneducated days of bachelorhood. Man, the journey of expanding my color palate for interior designs just keeps on moving forward. Where's my feather boa scarf?

One positive about this experience is that we're done with having kids. No more holding on to old clothes, toys or any other stuff for the potential next child. I'm not a pack rat; on the spectrum of holding onto things for sentimental value, I'm more likely to chuck something into the recycling or garbage bins faster than Hillary Clinton can say that she's still going to win the Democratic nomination. If it doesn't serve a purpose for the here and now, then let's get rid of it and free up some room.

So back to the nesting. I'm pretty psyched for the new baby. I was impressed a few years ago on a business trip to Amsterdam with the ability of the parents there to put a kids seat on the front of their bikes. I might have to look into that myself. Imagine doing some intervals on the local Santa Cruz mountain hills with an extra twenty pounds on the bike! That would be one hell of a workout; one baby up front, and hauling the two others in a Burley trailer behind. I might have to invest in a triple crankset to make this a reality. Heck the more important thing would to make sure I've got enough lights and reflective material on the rig that cars could see me approaching from a mile away. Last thing I want to do is to put the kiddies in harms way. Don't need the family getting wiped out in one fell swoop by a motorist!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A not-so-welcome old friend

Is that a bulge in your back or are you just happy to see me?!? No, it's an actual bulgding disc that has decided to show up again. Man, I thought I had this back thing beat over the past couple of months, but I must have strained or at least irritated my previous L4/L5 injury a bit after the Cat's Hill race.

Go figure, that race probably irritates racers on numerous levels. So for me I'm off the bike for a few days (hopefully not longer than a week), back on the Celebrex and ice packs, getting back to doing my core strengthening exercises and trying to just get healthy. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the injury is not to the extent that it was last June when it initially happened and wiped me out for the rest of the road racing season.

But I've got to be honest with myself...these kinds of injuries are things that you don't want to push too fast. Bummer for me as I'm really looking forward to Panoche, Memorial Day and Pesky. Only time will tell with this healing process...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Green Porno

I don't remember where I first learned about this clip, but it cracked me up.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Cat's Hill Report

One of my teammates had the goal of just finishing this race, and I figured if it was good enough for him, it might as well be my goal as well. To be honest, I didn't do this race last year because it scared me. I wasn't scared of the hill, but rather the high-speed turns and poor pavement. Even this year when I signed up I was still nervous, but as this season has progressed and I've realized how I like more technical crit courses, my fears were lessened.

After riding around the course a few times last week my fears turned into excitement. I realized that this race would be fun, yet probably harder than anything I've done before. Reading the old race reports confirmed my excitement as my own adrenaline would increase with every read report. On to the race...or the race before the race.

Release the hounds, or should I say the racers from the staging area. Speeding down to the start line I was getting amped of what was about to come. Off goes the whistle and we all dash into the first corner. I probably stayed mid-pack for the first 8 laps. I was able to easily make up lost ground coming down the hill as most people were looking to recover while I was trying to make up spots given up on the climb.

Finally after the 9th time up the hill I decided to bomb down the hill and actually hammer a bit. I easily got to the front about 25 meters before the final turn. I took that turn at full speed (which would have been nice to have done on the previous 8 laps) and pulled riders across the start/finish line and through the turns before the base of the hill. I hit the hill, not completely spent from being on the front, but definitely tired. About two thirds of the pack passes me on the hill and it was then that I realized that my legs didn't have what it would take to hold my position on the hill.

But at this point I had a good feeling that I would finish the race and achieve my goal. I saw Matt up the road upon our final ascent on the hill and silently wished him good luck. I shut it down at the top of the hill and coasted on down to the finish. I was spent, physically and mentally.

This race takes it out of you, so much so that I barely remembered some things that transpired on the hill. Several teammates told me how I seemed to be caught behind riders falling off the pace which caused me to dodge left and right to miss the carnage. In retrospect I remember just a few of those, but only one specific incident is burned in my mind. Other than avoiding these riders I don't know what I might have done differently. Actually, if anything I probably should have really tried to string things out when I got to the front with 2 laps to go. I doubt that my finish would have been much different, but it would have been the one thing in retrospect that might have been fun to attempt. Count me in again for next year without the fear.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A little package of goodness

A little package arrived yesterday in the mail that reminded me of an old passion that hasn't been getting much attention since I got on the bike. Golf.

My US Open tickets for this year's event down at Torrey Pines in San Diego arrived and I'm pretty excited. Three years ago I traveled back to North Carolina to visit some family that had moved to the east from out here in the west, and it just happened to coincide with my first US Open ticket experience. That year the wife and I left the kids with the family and did a day trip out to Pinehurst to view the second round. Pretty cool day, even if you take away the fact that we drove through the hometown of country music star Randy Travis.

So this year I received the same huge ticket allotment. Four tickets for each day; this works out to be 28 tickets in total. Now it's time to hit up friends and family first, then others to sell these off. I'm going to head down to SD to view the Monday practice round. I don't want to deal with the crowds later in the week, especially the throngs of folks chasing Tiger around the course.

In retrospect, I haven't golfed at all this year, and only played 3 times last year. Small amount of course time when you consider I played 32 rounds in 2004. I worked hard enough to get my handicap down to a 5, but for all the practice I put in I was never able to get it any lower. I attribute my lack of abilities to keeping the tee ball in play. Sure, I can bomb it 300+ yards, but you can't score well if your ball ends up out of bounds or 2 fairways over to the right.

But these days I enjoy my limited golf outings much better. My expectations of shooting a low score are non-existent and I truly enjoy the little things during the round much more. Like taking pleasure of knocking an 8-iron on the green, getting up and down from the green-side sand trap. Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that since moving on from golf to cycling my health has dramatically improved. I was never "unhealthy", but when you consider I've lost 45 pounds over the past 3 years due to cycling, I think it was a positive change in passions. However, I do consider golf a sport...which is a post I'll explain in the future.