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Thursday, December 4, 2008

It starts with me.

To receive a discount on Lance Armstrong Foundation gear, use the discount code GIVE2008.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

2009 LIVESTRONG Challenge Seattle

I am once again participating in LIVESTRONG Challenge which is taking place in Seattle this year. People from all over will gather June 21 to participate in either a 5K run/walk or one of several different bike rides, a 10-, 45-, 70-, or 100-mile ride all to raise money and awareness for the fight against cancer. The LAF strives to inspire and empower those who have been affected by the disease and hopes to make cancer a national priority. And with Lance’s comeback to professional cycling, perhaps we can take the issue to the global stage as well. The money the LAF generates is used to help close the gap between what we know and what we do in the cancer fight by providing everyone with better access to early screening and care, funding research related to survivorship, and working to improve the quality of life for cancer survivors.

Three out of four families in the United States will be faced with caring for a family member with cancer. One of those families in the Nelsons. I've been following the blog of Elden Nelson (a.k.a. The Fat Cyclist) for a while now at Fat Cyclist.com. The humor and raw honesty of Fatty has inspired me to join in what can only be described as a monumental challenge - have the most participants and raise the most money of any team participating this year. I have decided to ride my bike 100 miles in the upcoming LIVESTRONG Challenge. My goal is to raise over $1,000 for the LAF and finish the ride in less than 7 hours. With the support of friends and family like you, I know I can succeed in accomplishing both goals.

I ask that you please take some time and visit my fundraising website. Of course, I would appreciate any donation that you’re able to make and I would hope, in the spirit of the season, you would consider any donation on my behalf the perfect Christmas present for me. As the LAF is a registered 501(c)(3), your contribution is tax deductible. Please feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions about the Challenge or my goals, and feel free to sign up for yourself. It should be a wonderful weekend.

I cannot thank you enough for your time and consideration. Your generosity is welcomed by many more than you may know. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the progress I make in my training and fundraising, and hope to hear from you soon.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Sunday, June 29, 2008

We did it!

We got up this morning and were out the door at 5:45 a.m. to head to the Portland LIVESTRONG Challenge. We loaded two strollers for the girls, just in case they got scrappy in the wide double. I put my bike on the rack and we were off.

We brought breakfast and a DVD for the hour's drive north for the girls and they seemed to enjoy both. The entrance to Nike World Headquarters was backed up when we got there but we had plenty of time to get set. I got the wide stroller set for the girls and put my bike together while Lindsay got the essentials together. Once we had the girls situated, I got into my riding gear and got adjusted for the ride.

I saw the girls and our friends and their daughter at the staging area. It was already heating up and only got hotter as the day went on. Our oldest had to go see Daddy before we set out on the ride and had tears going. A combination of an early morning and a little anxiety, I think, but sweet none the less. We parted ways and I was off.

My legs felt great but I really hurt. I figured I might as well go fairly hard to get off the bike sooner and finished the 40-mile course in 2:13 with two water stops. The 40-mile route is pretty flat so it wasn't a huge problem to get into a good rhythm and roll. I called my wife with 5 miles to go to let her know I was coming in fast but she didn't get the message until I was already back to the soccer field where the post-event party was being held.

The girls did the 5K. Momma had to walk a few times and settle some sisterly squabbles over space in the stroller but they made pretty good time. They walked/ran with our friends for a bit of the way.

We all played and ate at the party. I took some time to get a shower and stop by the medical tent for an ice pack while we waited for Lance to come give his speech.

The Cyclists Combating Cancer team took the jersey competition and it was awesome. Our event raised over $1,000,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. I hope the other events do even better and, as Lance said, I hope we see a day where we stop doing this because we beat cancer.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Last ride before the Challenge

I rode a group ride on Monday and forgot to post. We took it easy as many of the group completed the Watermelon Rides the day before. It was a simple 25-mile loop and a good shake out. I felt really good, but between swim lessons with the girls and my little mishap, it will be the last time I'm in the saddle until tomorrow. I'm going to try the 40-mile loop tomorrow but it will all depend on my ability to adjust everything to ride relatively pain free.

My wife is wonderful. She took the girls with her the last couple of days to let me rest and ice in the hopes I could get myself ready to ride. Here's to hoping the extra pain and agony was worth it.

Vital stats:
25.62 mi - 16.1 avg - 1:35:05 rolling time

Thursday, June 26, 2008


In a cruel twist of fate, I have an injury and was told by my doctor unless I really wanted to hurt and possibly do permanent damage, 100 miles on the bike on Sunday is out of the question. In fact, he recommended not getting on the bike at all until I heal as the pressure of the seat will not help the healing process. I'm on ice, Advil and rest today until I feel good enough to walk around comfortably. If I can move around comfortably, I may try to give the shorter rides a go on Sunday or walk with the girls. Lame!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

It's allergy season

I rode last Saturday and Sunday and rode again Friday. I have come to one very simple conclusion: Allergies stink! I rode 18.5 Saturday, came home and my eyes swelled shut. I rode 68.5 miles on Sunday with a bunch of climbing and felt okay afterward but had some itchy eyes and a plugged nose. I rode 42 miles on Friday and came back covered in hives. I could see the pollen coming off the wheat and grass fields in the valley.

I'm excited for the event this weekend but we had a little shirt snafu. It seems my month-early order had a problem. My spam filter caught the notification of the problem and all of a sudden we're talking about how to upgrade shipping and changing sizes that are backordered. I think we're squared away now, but I'll be more comfortable once the shirts are in hand.

In other news, I reached a fundraising milestone yesterday when my donation total reached $500. I'm halfway to my goal but I'm afraid with less than a week to go, I won't reach my goal by ride day. I will continue to fundraise in the hopes I can reach it after, however.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Frank discussions about cancer?

The Seattle Times ran an article today about the talks terminal cancer patients have, or rather don't have, with their doctors. It seems patients actually benefit by being fully educated about their situation and the knowledge allows them to make critical decisions about their care. The patients who have "the talk" with their doctor are less likely to be on a respirator, be resuscitated, or die in a hospital. Further, their loved ones did better, too. Apparently, knowledge IS power.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Klein is out of commission

So I built up my blue Klein Aura XV myself. Turns out, that may have not been the greatest plan on a couple of counts. I popped in an outboard bearing bottom bracket and crank I got on the cheap used, but did not face the bottom bracket shell. Basically the procedure cleans the paint off and makes sure the part of the frame that interfaces with the bottom bracket bearing cups is perfectly flat, preventing sloppy wobble when you pedal. The wobble can apparently cause nasty noises and destruction to occur at the bottom bracket. Two thousand of my miles on the crank and bottom bracket caused an intermittent creak to become a royal scream. I walked into the shop today to talk about a fresh problem to have the mechanic show me the crank stop at exactly the same place, going only once around on its own. That's friction, folks, and that's bad. Really bad.

Tomorrow, I pick up the bike with a new (to me) Ultegra crankset and bearing cups. That should free up one problem but it leaves me with another: a broken rim. One of the spokes on my rear wheel is pulling through the rim. I'm actually really lucky it didn't give on a ride because my frame probably would have been completely hosed. It's almost indistinguishable but once you see it, you notice the cracks in the metal. After having the front wheel trued a couple of weeks ago, we decided to cash in the warranty toward an entire replacement set. We already knew the front wheel wasn't long for this world (after a certain rolling under the car tire incident) so it just made sense. Someday, I'll get the fancy upgrade wheels but I'm sticking with the basics for now.

I'm just counting the hours until I get to run screaming from the school building and ride (almost) whenever I'd like. It's coming soon...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Hat Day

My friend and colleague went through her second round of chemotherapy late last week. She and her husband made the decision to shave her head over the weekend and the phone tree got started. At school, as a show of solidarity with her, over 40 of our teachers and staff wore hats. She requested a picture, but not everybody could make it.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Just a quick shopping trip

My training took a huge hit this week. I got sick. Very, very sick. I came down with a fever on Wednesday, in the middle of the day. I fought through the rest of my classes and after school time with students before coming home and sleeping until my wife had to go to work. Trying to take care of the girls while I was shaking was not really that enjoyable.

When I woke up in the morning, I was at 102. I usually run around 97.8 so this was a pretty significant spike for me. I got sub plans in and then slept all day Thursday. My wife took the girls out of the house for most of the morning and even took them to work at a care center in the athletic club down the street (for her first day, no less) so I could sleep and try to recover to deliver my finals. She really deserves a medal because her first day didn't go very well.

My fever finally broke sometime during the night Thursday, but I still didn't feel like eating much. In fact, my appetite didn't come back until today. I finally felt good enough to ride today, a week after my last ride.

I rode up the the factory stores north of us. It was about 42 miles round trip on a very pleasant day. The allergens are out and my allergies were acting up the whole day. Sneezing on a bike is a bit sketchy. I bought some new socks and a shirt, stuffed them in my jersey pocket and rolled on home. It felt good, but I will need to have the bike worked on this week. I'm having problems with the left crank and pedal.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

C/D Ride - Oh, yeah

So we decided to send me on my merry way to the Sunday morning club ride. It was advertised as a C/D ride, which is the most difficult ride the club does, as near as I can recall.

We rolled south then traversed the hills, with repeated climbs and descents. I suffered like a dog on every climb, trying to keep up with the fast group. I have a bit of heft helping me catch them on the descents. I bailed to get water from a teacher friend whose house is on the route and never caught back on. I caught another club member and rode back in to town with him. I basically had cramps from the top of the last hill all the way home.

I have a lot of work to do before the Challenge at the end of the month.

60.11 mi - 16.3 avg - 3:41:12 rolling time
HRM - 4:02:52 total time (w/ rests) - 3075 cal - 35% fat - Max 219 BPM - Avg 145 BPM

C/D Ride - Oh, yeah

So we decided to send me on my merry way to the Sunday morning club ride. It was advertised as a C/D ride, which is the most difficult ride the club does, as near as I can recall.

We rolled south then traversed the hills, with repeated climbs and descents. I suffered like a dog on every climb, trying to keep up with the fast group. I have a bit of heft helping me catch them on the descents. I bailed to get water from a teacher friend whose house is on the route and never caught back on. I caught another club member and rode back in to town with him. I basically had cramps from the top of the last hill all the way home.

I have a lot of work to do before the Challenge at the end of the month.

60.11 mi - 16.3 avg - 3:41:12 rolling time
HRM - 4:02:52 total time (w/ rests) - 3075 cal - 35% fat - Max 219 BPM - Avg 145 BPM

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Pure insanity

The last two weeks have been Crazy. Yes, that's Crazy with a capital C. The last three weeks of class before finals week is nuts anyway, but throw a load of family and other obligations in the middle and things have to give. I've been riding to work except two days which required large loads of stuff for back-to-back-to-back meetings and appointments.

I did no riding over Memorial Day weekend. The weather was lousy and my entire family save my grandma who is in nursing care was at my parents' place. We had a great time with the sibs and significant others. The second meeting of the cousins was a barrel of fun, too. We barbecued and generally ate enough to feed a small country, which definitely doesn't help the training any.

My colleague with breast cancer just started chemotherapy. She's fighting through and still coming to work, but you can see how much of a toll it's taking on her already. She's got a great support network and we've got her back if she needs us at work.

I did manage to drum up a few donations in the last couple of weeks - thanks everybody, you all rock. I think I'll be eligible to ride with the $250 minimum but I'd really appreciate a few more of you out there to help a few more folks with cancer. Drop by the fundraising site anytime (linked at right :-) ).

Monday, May 19, 2008

Out of the mouths of babes

Today I rode the now fixed gear to work. I had IM soccer after school (one more day!) and came home right away.

The girls were on fire. Big daughter had no nap and was still (miraculously) going strong. Little daughter was moving and shaking. She should be crawling any day - or so the phrase has been for the last I don't know how long. I grabbed a snack and played with big daughter before getting ready for the Monday group ride.

I told big daughter I was going for a bike ride and she immediately asked to go, too. I told her I was sorry but this was a Dadda only bike ride and we would ride together on Thursday. She repeated her request and I had to restate our deal for Thursday. After I got dressed and went to say goodbye to the girls, I walked into the kitchen and said, "All right." Big daughter looked up from her playing long enough to say, "Bye", and that's all there was. I admit I was a bit afraid of a meltdown on departure.

The ride today was a fairly flat 28 miles, giving me 30 miles with the trip to and from the gathering place. I felt lousy after all the riding yesterday but I got going pretty quickly today. It was so different riding the geared bike after spending so much time on the fixed gear yesterday. I'm not used to riding fixed, yet, but I already feel a difference in my pedal stroke. We started pretty fast and one guy and I kept the pace high all the way back into town. He headed home at the city limits and I had a few miles home by myself.

I pulled in a little before 8:00 and big daughter was still up and reading stories. I walked into her room and asked her how dinner was. Instead of replying, she said, "How was your ride, Daddy?" I love that kid. I can't wait to get her pedaling on her own soon.

Don't forget to drop a donation in the bucket for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. I'm working on the shirt design and I will include names of friends and family of donors on the back.

Monday's ride stats:
29.69 mi - 32.3 max - 17.9 avg - 1:39:27 rolling time

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Time flies when you're having fun

I rode to work four of five days the last week. The weather helped and I pulled out the single speed to celebrate. It doesn't have fender mounts so I leave it hanging up for most of the winter.

Jana and I hit the local evening family ride for the first time this season on Thursday. We cranked through the 12 miles in about 45 minutes. Not too bad for my being a little out of shape and the weather being a lot hot.

Yesterday was spent busting my hump around the house to welcome spring. I did some repairs on the sprinklers and the gazebo cover. I put up the cover and the shade tarp (thanks, Gramps!) so our outdoor living room was ready to enjoy with the nice spring weather. The girls love being outside so that was a bit of an essential thing to do. I put together the micro-drip sprinkler system in the garden. I needed a few things to complete those tasks so I rode to Lowe's, the long way, of course, to pick up the needed supplies. It wasn't a terribly long ride, but I did get in about 7 or 8 miles in spite of all the work around the house.

Today I rode 33 miles as the trailer for the Iris Festival Half Marathon. It was fun seeing and making friends. I found it to be a challenging ride since I flipped my rear wheel so it was a fixed-gear. I have muscles angry with me right now I'm not sure I knew I had. Even though it was not a huge number of miles, being on the bike for three and a half hours was a good test for putting in some serious distance.

The intramural soccer program draws to a close this Wednesday and I am looking forward to having my afternoons back. My students are getting the warm-weather fidgets and the end-of-the-year uh-ohs. I really need to help some of them after school or they won't make it.

This week I talked with my wife and we decided to pay forward some of my mad money for the month. I've mentioned the Fat Cyclist before and his wife was recently diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Their family is going to have some real needs in the immediate future so we contributed a little to the WIN Susan Nelson Fund. Read a little of his blog. If the spirit moves you, I encourage you to do the same.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's Bike to Work Week

In all the hubbub leading to LIVESTRONG Day, it escaped me that it's the League of American Bicyclists' annual Bike to Work Week this week. I was a bad commuter today, but I had to drop off my front wheel from my favorite bike for a little work and go to my barber.

The wheel is out of true and is giving me a little feedback on rides along with nicking the sensor causing quiet clicking from the front fork on rides. I'm hoping the guys at the local shop can work their magic and get me rolling again because if they can't, it'll be another one in the books for expensive stupid mistakes. You see, like almost every wheelset I have ever had, this one had at least one wheel munched by my own stupidity.

Let's begin with my first geared bike, an old Trek 820 mountain bike. I bought it cheap from a friend in high school who was run over by a van and couldn't ride for quite a while. It served me well though an STP and many, many miles around the Willamette Valley. I rode that thing all over until I finally got a job in college and could afford a new, better-fitting mountain bike. After a training ride for the STP, I park my bike along a curb in the church parking lot, only to have the support van driver back over it, folding the rear wheel. Probably should have pulled it into the grass.

My second mountain bike, a Barracuda A2B, was a fun ride. It was small and agile, handled trails well and served as my first commuter. Problem with it was it stunk to ride it for long distances. It was just a bit small along the top tube for any kind of distance on the road. I used it to go back and forth to my old high school to borrow my parents' car for my part time job in college. (Thanks for loaning me the car!) I upgraded that bike as often as I could, putting v-brakes on it in one upgrade. I touched the brakes on the wet track at the school and folded the rear wheel like a cheap tent. Tacos are great for dinner, bad for bike wheels. I had to carry the bike the rest of the way to pick up the car and all the back to my dorm that day. My next paycheck went to a new upgrade - double-wall rims.

My first road bike, a '98 Klein Stage, was a used purchase shortly after I got married. (Thanks, honey!) I bought it used and rode it all over, rejuvenating my joy in the long distance ride. It carried me through the first LIVESTRONG Ride in 2005, almost took me through the first LIVESTRONG Challenge in 2006 save for a broken screw two days before the ride and is now a converted single speed. One trip to the in-laws' house, I put the front wheel in a fork mount on the car rack. Apparently, I didn't tighten the quick release well enough and their are no lawyer tabs on the old Yakima fork mounts. Somewhere between Salem and Portland, my front wheel left the rack. I had to buy a new front wheel in Olympia so I could ride. I started to have a bit of trouble with the rear wheel staying true after a couple of years. In 2005, I got a new Bontrager wheelset to replace the rear wheel and match it to the front.

I had upgraded the Stage a little, of course, and pulled its parts for the new-to-me Klein Aura XV. I got a the frame last Christmas off eBay along with a new crank. I built the bike up, rebuilding the bearings and filling in parts I didn't have. I love the ride, probably in part because I built it myself. On occasion I ride across the ferry and through the west hills to my parents' house and meet the girls over there for a little grandparent time. One time, I showered up over there and was going to toss the bike on the rack for the trip home. Learning from the previous lesson, I put the front wheel in the car. Only it didn't make it into the car before I got caught up getting the girls into their car seats. As the car rolled down the hill the front wheel got the business end of the car's rear wheel. Fortunately, it was only a small section caught under the wheel, but I think I'll be fighting with it to keep it true for the rest of its life.

Here's to hoping we can get a true front wheel tomorrow.

50% Off LIVESTRONG Challenge Registration Today

Go to the LIVESTRONG Challenge website and use the discount code LSDAY08.

Remember to join the Celtic Connection!

Monday, May 12, 2008

LIVESTRONG Day is tomorrow!

The weekend was devoted to Mom(s) so riding didn't happen.

Friday after school, I rented a tiller to get our little garden plot ready and spent a couple of hours getting everything ground up.

Saturday was spent adding soil to our garden, carting and spreading 2 yards of bark, and framing the now raised garden bed to keep our two-legged and four-legged cohabitants out. Graciously, Grandpa and Grandma provided assistance in the process and allowed me to work pretty solid all day while Mom got to go to a bridal shower and work out.

Sunday morning, we hosted breakfast for my two favorite Moms in the whole world and had my sister join us. She's getting married in August and has loads to do, so she, my wife and my mom went to get them registered and discuss plans, leaving Grandpa and I with the squirts. They got back late so I wasn't able to pull the quick afternoon ride.

With no long ride over the weekend, I made a commitment to hit the local Monday group ride after school and refereeing soccer. This meant little time with the girls this evening, but I've got to get some miles in. The Challenge is less than two months aways.

The ride was a quick, 28-mile loop in the opposite direction I normally go. I grabbed on to the two fast guys and hung on the whole way. I'm nowhere near as fit as I was last summer, but I hung in. It felt good to go fast.

In honor of LIVESTRONG Day tomorrow, I wore my Challenge jersey and carried my newly arrived bright pink FatCyclist.com water bottle from TwinSix. If you haven't heard, Susan, Fatty's wife, has taken a turn for the worst. The eloquence Fatty has in sharing his family's trials through cancer treatment is a must read. I certainly can't do his writing justice. It's time to find a way to eliminate cancer so no family has to go through what the Nelson family is experience.

Cyclometer stats: 29.77 mi -33.5 max - 18.9 avg - 1:34:24 rolling time

Friday, May 9, 2008

Another week in the books

The last five days have been hectic.

Monday was a no-ride day because I was running (yes, literally) from my classroom to the gym for intramural soccer then to my alma mater for a meeting. Unfortunately, sometimes a car is faster.

Tuesday was a track meet after school and it was long. Sprinters can be so slow sometimes. We had ten heats of the short sprints and they all took their sweet time between heats getting their blocks set.

Wednesday and Thursday afternoons were occupied with more IM soccer. It's great to get kids involved in activities when they wouldn't normally connect with the greater school community. I was really missing our third ref those two days.

Friday brought a beautiful day and the sudden inspiration to rent a tiller and get the garden ready for planting. My shoulders and hands are still vibrating.

I rode to work Tuesday through Friday. My wife and the girls surprised me on Thursday at the soccer games so I went home with them after the game. I was happy I chose to ride when the car parked in the space next to mine was stolen during school and a car parked a little further down the row was broken into this week.

I've got my first two donations for this year's Challenge and I'm hoping to bring in donations and team members on LIVESTRONG Day.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Quick out and back

With two little girls, ages 2 and almost 1, time is at a premium and it was never more evident than today. My wife took our youngest to church while big girl and I played at home. We played on the slide. We played with the dog. We played in little sister's room. We played in the garage. And we missed lunch. Mom was not pleased.

I prepped the bike to while soccer balls were holding big girl's attention and ran to get changed before Mom got home. As soon as Mom and little sis got home, I left. The highwheeler ride left from an elementary school about 3 miles from home today at 1:30. It was a simple straight shot to Silverton and back, out one road, in on the next road north. I tried to make short work of it as Mom wanted to go run then go to a class at the gym.

I rolled into the driveway, tagged Mom and off she went. The girls and I had snack and played until Mom came home. Little one was running snotty and warm while big one is just running snotty, so it may be a little interesting this week.

I will say, for not getting near enough ride time, today's ride felt great. I won't be riding tomorrow due to the insane schedule that will have me hopping all over town. It's probably good to have a forced rest day.

Cyclometer stats: 30.93 mi - 30.7 Max - 16.9 avg - 1:49:20 rolling time

Never ride with a wet chamois...

I left the house a little late yesterday and watched the thunderheads rolling east. My target was to go north then east to Mt. Angel and Scotts Mills to put in some hill work. As I got to the end of my usual road out of town, the drops started. I threw on my vest and knee warmers and kept on going, thinking to myself I may have to adjust the plan a little. I turned onto the east-running road and the sporadic drops became a little stronger until I rolled right under the cell. I got soaked at about mile 18 into a 51-mile ride.

I adjusted my route, watching the cells above and veered south and east until I got to the old familiar territory east of our old house and knew I could get some hills. I hit one more cell rolling toward the county jail and found nothing but dry pavement back in the neighborhood. It was a good, clear-the-head ride.

As soon as I got into the driveway, I turned on the faucet and washed off the grit accumulated from the country roads, figuring I'm already soaked, why not? I pulled off my shoes to reveal the classic road grit line on the socks, scrubbed the bike and went in for a warm shower. As the warm water trickled down my back I couldn't help but wonder what that burning sensation on the hindquarters was. Needless to say I figured it out. Yeah, next time there is a chance of rain, I'm putting on the fenders.

HR Monitor of questionable accuracy: 3:16:55 - 2541 Cal - 35% Fat - Max 216 - Avg 150 -2:39:34 In Zone

Cyclometer stats: 51.46 mi - 37.8 max - 16.9 avg - 3:02:36 rolling time

Friday, May 2, 2008

Good news and sad news

I rode to work twice this week and carpooled with my wife the other three days. She subbed in the building and it was fun to go to work with her every morning - even if we're so busy during the day we don't see each other.

The week seemed long and I was happy to go two wheels today. After school, some of my colleagues met up at a local brewpub for a little happy hour social hour. The brewpub is a few miles from school so I ended up riding about 13 miles today, all in khakis and an aloha shirt.

One of the teachers at my school has a daughter in-law who had surgery to remove an operable portion of a brain tumor and do some work in her skull to allow the removal of a shunt for cerebrospinal fluid. She came out of anesthesia fine and completed a complex math problem to demonstrate to her husband her cognitive abilities are still intact. The road is long for her family and every victory, no matter how small, brings hope.

I read several blogs and news feeds every morning over a bowl of Special K Red Berries and milk. I dropped the spoon and read. And read. And read. I'll let you read for yourself. I've read the Fat Cyclist blog for a few months now and his post last night really got me. Based on the comments, it got quite a few others as well.

Cancer is such a cruel and indiscriminate attacker. I truly hope the work of all of us can help put an end to cancer's killer reign.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


LIVESTRONG Day is May 13, 2008. That's two weeks away. I'm putting out the call: Please take the time to donate to your favorite cancer charity (or mine - wink, wink) with time or money. Cancer affects all of us, either directly or indirectly, and needs to be dealt with as a national priority.

These are the folks I rode for last year. The list keeps growing and it's time to end that trend.

A break in the weather

In an odd twist, our weeks have been rainy and the weekends have been reasonable. I rode three wet days to work since the last post and intended to get a couple good rides in last weekend.

Instead, I spent most of the day Saturday schlepping garbage to the dump from my aunt's house with my dad, grandpa, brother and brother's girlfriend. My sister and her fiance arrived in the afternoon to help finish the job. We got the outside of the house cleaned up but there is still a considerable amount of work inside the house. She has moved out already and I'm pretty sure the house will be torn down in the end. When I got home a little after four, I quick mowed the lawn in anticipation of rain that night.

Sunday was a moving day at my parents' house. My brother and I helped my dad and grandpa move a piano, washer and stove into storage. We got home in the afternoon and I spent some time troubleshooting the Klein. I think I've got some dry bearings in my bottom bracket as I cleaned and rebuilt the rear wheel and rear derailleur and tightened the headset and crankarms to kill a pop I'm getting about twice a revolution. I couldn't kill the pop and the bottom bracket is the only thing I didn't touch. It's a sealed cartridge bottom bracket so I'll probably have to just replace it.

Monday, the rain came in earnest and I was afraid the week would be lousy. I ended up with wet pants on the ride to school but by the end of the day, the sun was out. The wind was blowing mightily when I pushed up the hill and out of the neighborhood. I put in 26 miles and felt pretty good. The wind shifted all over the place and made things a bit interesting on the way back home but the route was pretty much traffic free. I'm feeling ready to put in some miles in the next few weeks and I'll need them.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

L-A-Z-Y Weekend

Last week was a very long short week. I was out of work Monday and Tuesday with sick girls and spent the next three days trying to catch up at work. My students are so far behind getting work done and turned in to me, I spent all three days after school tutoring kids until late so no riding happened. I'm going to pull the ride out for work despite the rain coming on Tuesday. It's a little sad, but I need to get rolling and if it happens three and half miles a day, so be it.

We got snow this weekend at our house. Not much riding outside for the big wimp. I've got to have a special mental state to tackle the biting snow on the bike and I just don't have it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

40 Not-So-Great Miles and Fountains of Vomit

Last Saturday, I rode east through the valley farmlands toward the foothills. There is a small town with fine German heritage and a newly spruced up abbey sitting atop a small hill overlooking the town and the rest of the valley. Feeling good after Friday's ride, I decided I would ride all the way there, up to the top and back, about 40 miles.

I felt fine for a while and suffered a little on the short but steep climb up to the abbey. The weather was hot - 80 degrees - so I kept tanking water and grabbed some of the limited variety of ready-made pocket food I can eat with my allergies to keep fluid and energy levels up. I was riding into a little headwind for a few miles going home when it hit. The BONK.

I could not keep the pedals going. It wasn't long before I started cramping and I still had about 14 miles home. I feel a bit lame, but it was not fun. The good news was I felt fine the next day.

The bad news is the girls, all three of them ended up puking this weekend. I think my youngest brought it home Friday. Momma and oldest were hit Saturday night and I spent the next two days trying to mop up the aftermath and am still trying to catch back up with the work I missed Monday and Tuesday. There is truly nothing more disgusting than a child who's just tall enough to get some distance with no concept of the vomit reflex wandering around. Thank goodness for laminate flooring.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Time to get going again...

I've been off.

I finally got to get outside and ride on the first really nice day since October. Now let me be absolutely clear: I love the crisp, clear winter day as much as anyone and I can get a fun ride in on those clear days, but 45 degrees makes for either a very short ride or very numb, well, everything. It hit 67 degrees and the sun was allowing all the high school spring sports to get a game in today so there was only one thing to do after a really long, really stressful week - pull down the Klein from it's winter hibernation and go crank out a few miles.

I've been very occasionally riding to work (3.4 miles daily) over the winter with only a sprinkling of real rides in the mix. I find I have a hard time committing to riding during the school year. Work becomes all consuming and I feel guilty taking off when I could be entertained by my girls. They're growing so fast it's hard to want to take off for another few hours when I'm already gone so much at work. I think I may have to change that if I'm going to be ready to ride at the end of June.

Today's ride was 25 miles winding out into the hop fields north of home with a stop at my friend and colleague's house on my way back home. The hop fields are dusted white and workers were stringing the lines for the hops to grow up. It should be a banner year for those growers with the worldwide hop shortage.

My friend, Jackie, just had a double mastectomy Tuesday morning. This is her second go fighting cancer. She looks great and was in good spirits and commented about the drains around her abdomen. We talked shop a bit and I relayed the exciting fight nobody got to see in my neighbor's classroom. She said she's been trying to be up and about and walked to the mailbox in her pajamas and slippers just because she felt up to it. She's got quite a road ahead but the doctors were feeling positive about the surgery. The test results and post-op are next week. Keep your fingers crossed and spare a thought or prayer for her.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It's On!

The LIVESTRONG Challenge Portland 2008 is on and I think I'm in. It's scheduled for June 29.

Join in the fun or donate.