Friday, November 07, 2014

Lets get dirty...

Dirty Dirty Dirty was last nights ThNR theme.  We did the FFX West Loop as the rain on and off all day had made the regular WF trails un-rideable. 

A bit of a late start at just before 7PM put us back in the WF Lot at 8:52.  Also a few minor navigation issues.  Sigh.  I'm not an expert in Old Town Fairfax.  Quick stop at Auld Shebeen for an Irish Car Bomb for me and W.  KL opted for a refill of her water bottle.  Sigh.  :P

Then a harrowing ride up along 123 to 50 and back to the CCT.  Wet and muddy we were done. 

PLB's briefly before Kilroys.  And home.

I slept like crap from crazy dreams of robotic boogiemen and AI attacks by my phone.  I could maybe blame the drinks but I only really had whiskey and beer.  And  a tiny bit of coffee liquor in the ICB.  I think I just needed more water honestly. 

Woke up with TIRED legs and opted against riding in today.  I shall run instead I guess tonight.  Maybe try and do 3.5 or so. 

Getting a good long ride in this weekend is the big goal.

Next week's menu:  Snow on thursday?!?!?!?WTFBBQ?!?!?!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Back on the Route Again...

Wayyyyyy back in early August I had a small mis-hap while commuting to work.  I was crossing a road and made a too sharp turn while going too slow.   Fell over in a majestic swan dive to the left.  Impacting near perfectly on top of my left shoulder leaving me with a broken collarbone and shoulder blade.  


I spent 7 weeks off the bike in total nearly.  Some of the best summer riding weather I've ever seen in the DC area wasted.  Sure I walked a bit but not enough.  And running hurt also due to strain on the collarbone.  Finally back on the bike in late September in time for the annual MORE camping trip.

Big Bear was a blast and I wasn't even doing a lot of the hard stuff.  And I gimped myself by pulling my back while setting up camp on Friday.  Still a great time. 

October I threw down and started pushing to get back into shape.  As in September I had committed to joining Bikenetic's CX Team at the lowest level of only 3 races.  A good thing as I'm still not yet in shape, as of right now.

But today was a major step forward.  Due to other commitments, weather and other stuff I've been putting off/avoiding getting back on the Bianchi and commuting to work. 

Today I just did it.  Well after much agonizing and some worrying with a side of minor panic.  And it was fine.  Great weather.  Sure traffic was a bit more as I was running a tad late.  And zoom in a went.  No mishaps. No rude drivers.  Legs feeling a bit spun out from last nights ride but thats okay.  And a nice ride home to come. 

What was a shocking to me was the level of panic/fear I was having towards the ride.  I've done tons of mixed riding and road and mtb since getting back on the bike, yet my 7.5 mile commute had me way wound up.  I stopped, took a few breathes and re-assured myself everything would be fine.

Way more people out at 8:00 than my more typical 7-7:15 commutes.   Probably a dozen or more bikers.  Though maybe it's the weather.  We shall see on Friday when I commute again.  Maybe next week I'll get back to 3x commutes....hahahaha. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Deep Thoughts on my Mentor.

Pete Beers on his blog posted a great entry on his thoughts of his early mentor in cycle repair and asked everyone to post up a response.  Mine was my dad I have to say. 

My dad went to work for the airline a week before I was born in the summer of 74.  For years before that after being in Vietnam my dad had been a construction worker, but with his new family coming he wanted a better life for us and after getting his GED he finally got a job with a real future.

My dad dropped out of high school in the 50's at 15 to help support his family and due to having un-diagnosed learning disabilities, reading and comprehension were never easy for him at the time.  He worked with horses, cars and later construction before being drafted into Vietnam in the mid 60's.  He spent 3 years in the service and did 2 years in Nam.  Mainly driving tanks and bulldozers as party of  Engineering battalions or such.  Pops first day in country set the tone for his time.  The base they were at had a fire set by the VC that they were using to attack the compound. Pops jumps on a dozer and goes out and pushes out the fire using the blade as cover, while taking fire.  Earns a silver star eventually for doing something stupid and heroic. 

Came back from Nam and then spent time doing mechanical and construction jobs before meeting my mom then he went fully into construction as Northern VA was having it's 2nd big boom in the late 60's/early 70's.  Entire neighborhoods in NVA have roads he cut and neighborhoods where he dug basements for houses.  People I know live in some of the houses.  Weird. 

Eventual I came along and he went to work for the airline.  Worked there for 37.5 years till he retired about 2 years ago.  Nearly un-heard of in this day and age.  I've been with my company now for 8.5 years and that's also unusual in the tech industry, thats one of those things I got from my dad was the desire to stick it through.  I see myself sort of as a classic "company man".

My dad got the moving but and working for the airlines had us move a few times (85, 87, 88 and 91 - 88 was a town move, not a real change of location). (  It was good for me, got me out of where I grew up and really expanded my awareness of the country and how area's were VERY different.  I grew up on Furnace Mountain north of Leesburg, VA till we moved in 85.  From there we hit Phoenix, and Orlanda with a return to Northern VA in between.   We also looked at moving at other times at Raleigh-Durham area, San Diego, and a few other places.  Thats another thing I guess I got from my dad.  The desire to see other places.  Since then I've lived in Providence RI, Tallahassee FL, San Fran Area, and now I'm back in DC.  Future places I might live include Charlotte SC, Asheville, NC and maybe Portland in the PacNW. 

As a kid I watched my dad work on stuff all the time.  He built his own log splitters, wagons for around the house yard stuff, solar water heating setup (in the 80's), and tons of stuff around the house including a huge deck and my tree house of awesomeness.    I watched relentlessly.  Then I grew bold and started using tools myself.  At first I was quite limited.  I favored using a hammer to drive my dads tools into the ground behind the house.  BOY did he love that, especially when he hit them with the mower. 

That led to my first tool set for christmas when i was 6 or 7.  Painted fire engine red.  My own tools.   I played with bolts, screws, etc.  I was shown lefty loosey, righty tighty.  And off I went to his own misery.  My favorite target....the push lawn mower.  :)  It was at my working height when sitting on the garage floor.  Or out back where it was stored.  My first bike also came around that time.  Damn blue banana seated monstrosity.  I hated the seat.  It was scary and I never felt in control.  I did take the stupid flag off the back though.  It wasn't till a year or more later I found my first BMX in the trash that the biking bug caught for me.  With my dad we reabilitated that junker with new tubes, tires, and grease in the hubs and off I went.  First just riding up and down my driveway and front lawn, eventually after riding a mile around my house loop I was cleared to ride ot the general store a mile or so away at 8 and change.  Freedom.

Mechanical work continued, helping dad with log splitters, chainsaws, trucks and going to work and watching him work on ground equipment.  Tinkering on my bike (my first speedometer).  Making up fake weapons for my tree house out of spare parts/pipe/etc.    My dad was always a hard working guy, often cutting firewood in the fall to sell during the fall winter, working OT for extra money to help the family have the things he never had.  I always understood it took hard work to get ahead. 

I started getting payed to feed/manage a neighbors dogs at 7.  At 11 I got my first tax paying job as a paperboy and did that till I was 14 and change when I went to work as a buffet stocker on the weekend at Bob's Big Boy.  Then I was a dishwasher and eventually a buffet cook, and started training as a regular line cook by when I left at 17.  All my money in the teens went to my computer hobby.  Bikes fell by the wayside by 15 as only transportation.  By 17 when all my friends drove the dropped away completely for surfing and roller blading and computers. 

For my dad at least at home it's always been more about getting it done, than necessarily doing it "right" when we first started working on my camero in my late teens this became one of our bigger fighting points.  When we started on the 2nd camero which was a full restoration from parts (not 1 single part was assembled, the car was in basket case condition).  We began to really butt heads, he wanted to take short cuts where I wanted to make everything perfect.   Natural part of the teen versus parent world.  But it was eventually finished and a hell of a car to drive.  He drove it for several years before selling it at a tidy profit to get into his current toy.  A 78 Nova drag car.  Currently on it's 3rd engine evolution, now running in the low 8's easily.  It's a beast.  And he loves it even when he blows up the motor as he did a few weeks ago.  I always enjoy going out to the track to work and tinker and watch it race.  He doesn't drive it anymore, mostly.  My brother drove for a while but they were a bit more into it and butted heads way more. 

These days when I visit my folks, my dad and I putter around in the 2nd garage with the Nova for a bit in the mornings, typically working on projects till lunch then I hang out with my mom in the afternoons, usually going shopping and stuff.  I was always closer to my mom in many ways (Yah I consider myself a Momma's Boy, and my brother would agree), but my understanding of life and how to deal with stuff always came from my dad I think.  In the way to work through, work hard, and then play hard when free. 

Pete mentions that he stayed clean and grease free.   I think thats anathema.  You can't be clean in my family and have done real work.  I look at a bike and I can find grease on fingers or smudge on my face.  My hands and arms have scars from working on computer cases.  I have a scar on my right hand from when my best friend in 7th grade got mad that I let his rear wheel spin while holding up his bike, he threw a  crescent wrench at me!  It's probably the prefectionism of europe/italy versus the rough/tumble/git-r-done way of america I suppose.   :P   Till then I'll wear either tee-shirts I don't care about or dark color workshirts when working on stuff.  My dad still has a supply of old work shirts he uses from the airlines for when doing dirty work. 

These days most bike repairs I do on my own except for my hydro disc brakes and replacing spokes on wheels.  When i can get  a full set of wheel tools I will go back to doing that.  The hydro is just too small for me to work on :P. 

Friday, May 02, 2014

I could have...

I could have ridden my bike home from Kilroy's after the TNR faster than I drove home.  Hell I woulda been home in 45 mins.  E$@%#@ VDOT had 3 of 4 lanes leading up to the Nutley Ave exist closed.  It forced 7 lanes of merging, into 1.  2 Hours to go from the 495N offramp to get to Nutley almost.  ARGH didn't get home till 12:20.  SOfa King Tired today now. 

The TNR ride was solid, we did the ICBMF Ride (Irish Car Bombs Mid Fairfax) ride.  We made a solid pace out there in about 45 mins, then once we hit the CCT we cranked HARD on the return ride back to Wakefield.  7 people made it a good group size. 

Irish Car Bombs are wayyyyy to easy to drink.  it's like adult yoo-hoo. 

No MTB Camp alas this year, stuck in training.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Trail Ouch and Ride Ahhh.

Trailwork yesterday has left me feeling like a burrito that has been riding all day in a bike messangers bag in New York.  We built a BIG ass semi burmed new turn.  By digging 3 massive dirt pits.  My teammate on the dig and I dug the biggest and deepest we got 5 feet deep in most of it.  I offered to bury some people in it, but alas was turned down.  There is also a nice half mile of new trail leading up to it.  At some point we will be forced to close the old trail section on the railroad property but not yet.  With 17 people out we got a TON done.  It's always surprising to see what big groups can do.

Looks like I'll be leading/co-leading a work day on May 10 at Wakefield.  Wakka Wakka Wakka as fozzy bear would say.

Riding my ass off the last 2 weeks.  7 hours ish of cycling the last 3 weeks.  Plus technically 4 hours of trailwork yesterday.  I'm a beast.  Slowly building fitness back but speed at least on the commute hasn't come but legs are TIRED.  Gonna try and get in a run tonight before it rains.  Tomorrow maybe a rest day or maybe Wednesday.  Not sure.  I'll be at 28/29 hours for the month not counting trail work as of tonight (33 with) which will  mean I flat out did as much time doing stuff in april as I did in the ENTIRE 1st quarter of 15+8+12 or very nearly. 

Just found out I'm getting screwed out of Spring Man Camp by a training class that just got moved to Tue-Fri instead of Mon-Thurs.  Fuck.  Fuckity Fuck.

Maybe I'll try Kill Bill on Saturday. hahahaha or at least the 1st third. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

To Shjed or not to Shjed.

Solid weekend in the books.   Friday was a well needed rest day.  Saturday we did a Shed Epic 24/25 miles of  the Fred-neck Waterless Shed.  For having gotten a bit of rain overnight it was REALLY dry.  We did a bunch of trails including Dave's, Huggy, Lawn Mower, EF, Trail of Tears, No-Longer-Knucklebuster, Hairway to Steven, and at Sallamander I bailed for the road ride back to Hamburg lot.  Got a pretty good sunburn on that.  Ugh. 

We cleaned up and hit Tex Mex place in Frederick then picked up b33r and rolled on down to S'leesburg for a few hours of socialization at the Bakers Dozen.  Almost was sad to not be riding it while watching people go roundy round. 

Spent Sunday catching up on some house stuff then helping a friend fix her house after some windows were installed.  I also helped her dispose of my old TV I had given her for her bedroom some years ago when I got my LCD.  The TV was from July 1990 according to the manufacturer sticker. I did have it repaired once while I was living in Tallahassee in 2001 or 2002 I think but other than that it still mostly  worked.  But it was a big huge power sucking monstrosity.  Weighted maybe 75lbs or more.  Was a big 24 or 26 inch.  My arms and shoulders are SORE. 

Riding into work today was rough.  With sore shoulders and legs I didn't spin out or run on yesterday it was a battle at first plus a solid headwind from the west SUCKED.  After today's commute and maybe a short run tonight, I will have my most active month since December and I will be on pace to hit my best month of last Sept at 31 hours. 

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

That late in the season push.

Last week marked the start of the late in the spring season push.  Due to March's entire suck-ass-ed-ness (I'm ordering studded tires this spring/summer for next year), I'm just now starting to up my fitness push.

Jan - 15 Hours, 154M, 14 Activities
Feb - 8 Hours, 87M, 8 Activities
Mar - 12 Hours, 112M, 13 Activities
Apr - 7 Hours, 72M, 8 Activities, plus 1/15/1 for today's commute once it's logged.

Since starting on Strava last year I avg 23/265/19 and peaked in Sept with 31/420/21

April has to be a BIG month for me.  May brings Man Campage in NC with the fella's.  That's a season definer.

June is the NoVA epic, and my annual MTB trip.  To where?  I dunno.  NY?  VT?  Camp and Ride. 
20 Activities a month is pretty sustainable.  25 is my goal.  Though unless I continue 3x a week commuting ALL year my 250 goal is a bit of a stretch.  Especially now that I'm working 5 days a week instead of 6.

Big options this weekend, hoping for a shjed ride on Saturday.  Then either a 40 mile gravel ride with Pete on Sunday or epic cleanout at J's.

Monday, April 07, 2014

MORE mechanicals 2014 - A weekend rules.

The Weekend is coming.   In just 4  more days I will have 2 days off again.  Woke up at normal work time on Saturday but rolled back over and managed to sleep till 730 when the 3 beers from the night before demanded I really get up or burst like Grampa Simspon on the way back from the Duff theme park.

Errands and shit most of saturday.  It was actually a pretty busy day.  Finally replaced the old Motorola Droid with a new HTC One M8.  It's bad ass.  A tad large but otherwise I totally dig it.  Battery life rocks, sunday I played music, web surfer, facebook, mapped and took photo's while trail riding and at 10:30 (15+ hours) had 55% left.  Versus the old phone would have MAYBE been at 10% with similar usage.

New pads in the rear of the MTB made a huge difference, though the grabby/rub at first sucked some of my soul out on Sunday.

Went up to Gambrill on Sunday to do Punga's ride and had a great time the first half then one of the riders rear hub started failing and so I went back to the lot with him.  7 Miles total, we were lucky he could road ride back, just no real coasting or chain suck went horribly.  Went down and picked up some specialty Rye for a friend at an MD liquor store and then hit the 2 northern sections of CJ.  I didn't do the lollipop off of the Goya area but did everything else though I didn't ride back on trails due to running a bit late. 

Grilled up some steak, salmon and sausages to cap off a solid weekend.

Tomorrow it's back on the bike for commuting. 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Not Dead Yet

After innumerable viewings of Better of Dead this winter (nothing else to do, it was too snowy/rainy/cold) to generally ride my bike more than 1 day a week), I got back on the commute horse today.  Well back on the Volpe and rolled into work.

Holy Sheet.  I'm #@@$@ outa shape.  Or my legs aren't used to that!   My layering was also not optimal or being outa shape is making me VERY sweaty.  I was in tights, bib shorts,  long sleeve wooly and a jacket at 44'ish and I was sweaty as a pig when I got to work, next time I go wooly and sleeveless vest and 3/4 light pants.    The bigger question is boots versus shoes with toe covers.  I'm leaning towards the toe covers. 

In other news I'm tracking my b33r/drink intake for April to try and reduce a bit. Or set a reduction goal.  For now I'm at 2.  I really didn't mean to have the 2nd one last night!  Honest!  The Perennial Sump Coffee stout is great with nice coffee/chocolate balance.  Founders Nitro Oatmeal Stout is just smooth as hell. 

For the first time in 8.5 years almost I'm going to have a regular Sat-Sun weekend starting this weekend.  Road bike ride on Saturday morning and MTB on Sunday with Punga at Gambrill.  Hell yah! 

Now if only the rains would slow down. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Back in the Saddle. But someone isn't happy.

Just shy of 70 miles for the week as of last night and with today's commute I'll add another 15 on top of that and right now there is an option on Sunday to slap on another 40 or 50 miles with some Serious climbing. 

But in the WIN category I logged 3 commutes this week, making up partially for last weeks epic failure.   Hopefully another 3 next week and I'll feel....caught up.  Todays ride will mark #11 of day 17 so I'm a bit off pace.  Might do a REALLY short run tomorrow.  Or it might be an off day.

Did get into a discussion with someone about how I actually count my commute rides towards my total.  His point was is my ride in and ride out are generally 9 or more hours apart and it's really more of two rides, not just the one I log.  For now I'm leaving it as one ride. 

My posterior is displeased with this surge in riding this week after immatating a lump the last few weeks really.  Sure I've done some riding but things were slow.  I've joined the Strava PROVE IT challenge to get motivated. 

The pre-innaugural Plan B - F Variant Ride went pretty well last night.  We headed out from Wakefield directly up the CCT towards Fairfax.  Our first stop was Hacienda El Paso, since L-Dog wasn't along I opted against the PJ Skadoo's stop option.  One person had a Margarita and turned in his Man Card.  The rest went with beer (3 of us total).  We then motored up to Vienna and tried to go to WF but were thwarted twice over, they were waiting for Pint Glasses to finish washing and last call from food was now 8 instead of 8:30.  Sad face.  So off to Vienna Inn for a beer and Chili Cheese Dogs.  We then rolled out for Lost Dog Cafe in Dunn Loring.  A minor glove loss issue slowed us briefly but we made our way south rapidly after riding the WOD East.  A final beer was consumed before the long ride back to WF (6.6 miles).  We ended up back at the cars a bit after 10:15 or so.  A damn good ride.  In nicer weather with an earlier start I could see a couple variant routes involving

PJ's/Lost Dog/Mad Fox/Sweetwater or Hooter's, PJ's, Westover/spacebar/etc.   Lots of possibilities. 

Friday, January 10, 2014


The title says it all.  For those not familiar with this specific internet meme go google Rage Man.  It's basically a comic thing alternate for screaming FUCK! FUCKITY FUCKING FUCKSOCKS!  Etc.

For example:
I feel that way every time I play guitar hero and occasionally in Rocksmith when I've advanced difficulty on a song a hair to fast.  Nothing like jumping from 50 to 80/90 percent difficulty and going from a few notes/etc to a full ripping chord-age and change ups.

Last night was one of those nights for Mountain Biking.  I got back to the lot post ride and was removing gear and realized.  Yes I am an idiot.  I had taken off my glasses at some point and put them in a pocket.   And then didn't zip up said @#$@ing pocket. 


I went and checked 2 easy places where I thought they might have fallen out.  No dice.  I may go back after work and re-check.    Back in the day they were Oakley Jawbones, now they are named Race Jackets.  Admittedly I did get them for about half price after trading in a non-usable christmas gift.  And they were about 4 years old.  But I had just put a new set of Ruby Red night riding lens in that I REALLY like right before Christmas.   FFFFFUUUU!!!!

Debating a pair of Smith Optics V2 or maybe some Tifosi.  I may also go out and look more tonight.  Ugh.

Hoping to get in a good ride on Sunday 40 or 50 miles.  Should be right about 50 degrees. 

Would have liked to ride in but my sidewalk was completely iced and the parking lots I've seen were a mixed bag.  Until I can justify/afford studded cx tires it just ain't gonna happen  in icy conditions.

Commute by bike to work Goal - 2x - Complete FAILURE.  Sub Zero Wins - Flawless Victory. 

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Uh 2014.

2013 was a good year for me activity wise.  I WAY surpassed my A180 goal by hitting 219 activities between biking, running, hiking, etc.  I'm really happy.  Hell I'm down to near where I can drop to size 32 pants.  34's are loose. 

So it's Goal Time 2014.  I'm setting a few goals including
1st  - Ride to Work at LEAST 2x per week.  I rode 41 times that I have logged from April thru Dec.  Ugh thats like 1x per week.
2nd - No Dead Weeks - IE no full weeks of doing Jack Shit unless I'm well and truly dead and there's 3 feet of snow. 
3rd - Activity Goal - 250 versus 180. 
4th - 25 Minute Commute to Work.  Probably have to wait till spring and full roadbike weather but this should be doable.  I've cracked 27 on the CX Bike.  And I think I can do better. 
5th - 8 Minute Mile on runs 5 miles or less.
6th - Half Marathon.  Fuck Me.
7th - Spartan Race or Tough Mudder again.  Fuck me 2x.

Got a few new video game addictions going also.  The main one is RockSmith 2014.  Lots of fun and challenge.  I'm REALLY getting challenged right now on the 1st song I'm trying to master of Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones.  It's fast as hell and my natural coordination is SHIT.  I'm putting an hour in on it at least most days.  Trying to rebuild calluses so I can play a bit more.  All the subgames in the game are fun.  Starts out about as hard as Guitar Hero/etc, but rapidly progresses to learning chords/etc. 

Also need some new picks, my thin one is WAY to easy to bend. 

The other game of doom?

Starbound.  It's addictive as hell.  It's in open Beta for $15 bucks you get beta access and download when it releases.  Really slick.  My roommate has probably put in 24+ hours in the last 5 days I estimate. 

Slop ride on deck for tonight as I expect the Wakefield trails to be too damn soft today, after no freeze last night and rain and funk on the way tonight.