Saturday, July 28, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
But, as the great philosopher Stephen R. Covey said, let's put first things first. My parents want to celebrate their 50th anniversary by going on a cruise to Alaska with all their progeny - 5 children and 9 grandchildren. Here's what I'm looking forward to:
Family - My parents and siblings all live in Southern California, so I get to see most of my family only a few times a year. Our family is odd in that we all get along with each other and like each other. I don't know of a single serious dispute any of us have had with each other as adults. My older brother did some awful things to me when we were kids, but now that we're all grown up, we get along.
Food - I have never been on a cruise before, but I hear that you can walk around any time of day or night, plop yourself down in a restaurant, and order food. There are even a few nicer restaurants that serve fancy food. Then again, how fancy can cruise food be?
Celebrating the Diversity of the Inuit Culture - I'm hoping to see totem poles and a lumberjack competition.
Nature - I'm not sure a cruise is the best way to celebrate nature. It's kind of like appreciating the Mona Lisa by looking at a postcard. Still, I hear there are gorgeous mountains and glaciers and whales and bald eagles and that kind of thing. Maybe we can get out on a couple of treks.
Relaxing - I hope we can drop the boys off at Kid's Korner and read and eat and drink and get in some quality hanging out time.
Whitepass Mountain - One excursion lets you ride a train from sea level up to the top of a mountain at 4,000 feet and then ride bikes down the mountain. So I'm going to skip the train part and ride a rental bike up to the top of the mountain and, hopefully, back down. It's kind of like training.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
A bunch of my riding buddies are doing the race. Here's what each person is riding for:
Elden - The Fat Cyclist has tried 11 times to break 9 hours, and the closest he's come to winning the coveted gold buckle is 9:13. This year, he hired a personal trainer, and despite the fact that his wife's cancer metastasized, he's whipped himself into the best shape of his life. Susan is a driving force behind his training, and Elden wants to break 9 hours for her. If it takes him longer than 9 hours to complete the race, I have it on good authority that Susan will divorce him. Elden is riding for his marriage.
Prediction: 9 hours, 2 minutes, but Susan will forgive him.
Dug - Dour Dug will try to complete Leadville on a single-speed bike for the first time, which reminds me of a conversation Dug and I had with some guy the day after the race in 1999, when we were looking at the times posted on a big board:
Dude: Brass balls. [Sniff]
Dug: Excuse me?
Dude: It takes brass balls to finish Leadville on a single-speed. And I finished 87th overall. On a single-speed. [Sniff]
Dug and I: [Silence]
Dude: Brass balls. [Sniff]
I think it would be a great accomplishment for Dug to just finish the race in under 12 hours on a single-speed, but he thinks he can finish in under 10 hours. That's crazy talk. I'd be surprised if Dug beats me at Leadville this year, and I won't finish under 11 hours.
Kenny - Kenny will also be riding a single-speed, but he's in a whole different level than Dug. Kenny actually has a good chance of winning the Men's Single Speed category. Despite his most recent accident, he'll most likely break 9 hours. On a single speed. [Sniff]
Prediction: 8:52; Third in Men's Single Speed
Brad - Brad and Kenny race single-speeds together, so in theory they should finish in around the same time. Brad beat Kenny in a race earlier this year, but Kenny's a little better at long distances, and Brad's coming off a mysterious knee injury, not to mention a long trip to Costa Rica. Still, I'm taking Brad in an upset.
Prediction: 8:52; Second in Men's Single Speed
Floyd - I really think Floyd has a good chance of beating Dave Wiens, who's won the race the last several years. Floyd looked a little chunky to me when we last rode together, but he's still young and strong. If Floyd can manage to keep his testosterone levels high, I think he's got a fighting chance.
Prediction: 7:22; Second overall
Chucky - Racer's kid brother finished 4th overall a couple years ago. I don't think he's in top form right so, so I think a Top 10 finish is the best he can do.
Prediction: 7:55; Tenth overall
Lance - Lance isn't really one of my biking buddies. In fact, I've never even met him, if you can believe that. But I have rooted for him and against him in the Tour de France, so I feel like I know him. There is a rumor that he will ride Leadville this year.
Ricky - Rick probably won't race this year because he has 4 boys between the ages of 8 and 4 (no twins) and a really important job. If he does race, he and I should finish around the same time, with me finishing ahead of him by a minute or two. That's how I see it playing out.
Rick S. - Rick is in good form and has an outside chance of breaking 9 hours.
Rocky - I don't know which I'd rather see -- Elden break 9 hours or Rocky finishing the ride. He's tried several times, and he's never made it. One year, he became so dehydrated that he had to be removed from the course and taken away in an ambulance. Another year, he crashed and broke his handlebars after riding 88 miles. Maybe this year.
Prediction: 11:35; 2 bags of IV saline
Me - I was just hoping to break 12 hours this year, but I've gotten into decent racing shape. I slow but steady, like plowhorse.
Prediction: 11:45; 482nd overall
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
The man should not have ran after the incident but.....Living on the route these riders take, I can attest to the fact that a majority of the particpants are disrespectful and arrogant. They block the lanes of travel that drivers of motorized vehicles pay taxes on for the privledge of driving on them. As far as I am concerned these riders should be required to license their bikes and purchase tags for them on a yearly basis. After all, they are traveling from one major city to another in a different state on public roads. Think of the revenue aspect and get it done.
Though it's terrible this guy was a coward and left the scene, I cannot stand this event. The last two years it has fallen on Warped tour and it has made the short ride to the amphitheater nearly 2 hours longer than it is supposed to be. The bicyclists don't give a crap about the people in vehicles. I've seen them ride 10 wide all the way out to the center of the highway and when you creep around them they yell at you. It's stupid. For some reason law flies out the window with events like this. Complete lack of respect for the rules of the road.
What about all the people who planned to attend days in the park and had to be delayed for 60 minutes or more just to cross the bridge. How about the people who have to work and must spend 5 times the amount of time on the road. These people do not care if they disrupt your life, remember they disrupt your life because they do not care about you.........
Possibly the guy left because a crowd of riders bent on vigilanty justice was very intiminating. Sorry people but there is usually two sides to every story.
Typical Cowlitz county posters; look at how fat people are in this county, maybe if some of you got out of your big SUV's and pickup trucks that you drive around empty and got on a bike your health and attitudes would be better. Read your driver's ed rules of the road, bicyclists are entitled to use public roads just like you. Furthermore they are taxpayers: they own cars, houses, have incomes, etc. I'm not making excuses for those that litter or are rude however.
Hey you bunch of ignorant boneheads who do you think does the most damage to, and causes the most wear and tear to the roads you love so much-- Your giant gas guzzling trucks and suv's OR a bicycle? Maybe taxes should be assessed by the size and weight of the automobile-- as well as the driver.
This is an open letter to all of you car drivers that buzzed us bike riders during the STP. To all of the motorists that yelled at, harrassed, threw things at, and came dangerously close to those of us participating in this event. You think you're tough hiding in your big two ton metal box? You better hope that I don't catch up to you at the next stop sign or signal. You think I'm kidding? Just try me!!!
I welcome you trying something at the next stop light..its why I CCW..to take care of threats....
I've seen cars AND cyclists in the wrong. It's a small minority of each side giving them each a bad name. But, this is not a driver vs cyclist issue. It's a basic lack of tolerance and understanding for others. This lack of tolerance is growing in our country and this is a prime example. Everyone is too worried about their own rights being violated and you don't care about anyone else. This is why our country is so screwed up. Everyone, on both sides, should develop some tolerance and patience for others. If you aren't willing to do that, then YOU are what's wrong with this country. Don't condemn others, this accomplishes nothing. Take some action for the good of our community and country! It's up to each one of us!
Monday, July 16, 2007
- An extra bike tube
- Money and a credit card
- Energy bars and some Clif Shot Bloks (the "Clif" folks are poor spelers)
- A handkerchief for wiping off sweat
- Two water bottles
Friday, July 13, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Here's what I love about my iPod:
This summer I've listened to David Copperfield, a WWII thriller by Scott Turow, a collection of great French and Russian short stories, and I'm part of the way through The Brothers Karamazov, which used to be my favorite novel before David Copperfield -- all while riding my bike. Books and cycling are my peanut butter and chocolate, and iPod is my Reese's.
Bonus use: When my mind is churning at night, I play 1776 by David McCullough, which distracts me, mesmerizes me, and puts me asleep. I've listened to the first few chapters more than a dozen times, and all I remember is that some of the soldiers in George Washington's outfit don't have shoes.
Playlists and downloads are my pride and joy et cetera.
My dentist made fun of me for watching a movie on my iPod. "What is that, a 2-inch screen? And I thought a 13-inch television was too small!" I told the dental dimwit that if you hold the 13-inch television a few inches from your face, it's huge. Then I let him watch a few seconds of The Godfather, Part II. "Hey, that doesn't look half bad!" Then all of a sudden he's making plans to buy his kids iPods for their trip to Hawaii. I didn't even tell him about the accessories you can buy to play your iPod on a larger screen. Television shows are especially good to watch. May I recommend The Wire?
This is a my newest delight. I love the New Yorker podcast in which they have an author read a New Yorker short story and chat about it afterwards. Minette also turned me on to This American Life. In the most recent version, they highlighted a program called Radio Lab, which I'd never heard of. In this particular Radio Lab segment, they speculate on where morality is derived. The hosts describe an experiment in which a person listens to two scenarios. In the first scenario, five men are standing with their backs to an oncoming train; the person can save the five people by pulling a lever, which switches the train to a different track that has only one person on it (no, Mormons, it's not the lever switcher's only son). The second scenario is identical, only the person has to physically push a person off a ledge to save the five people. An overwhelming majority of people say Yes to the first scenario and No to the second. Then the scientists took pictures of the people's brains at the moment of decision, and learned that the two scenarios cause different parts of the brain to become active. Then they discuss the physical evidence that moral decisions are made by deciding between warring factions in the brain. It's interesting and entertaining. Check it out.
Got any suggestions for good podcasts?
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
"Pope Benedict XVI approved a document released Tuesday that says other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches and the Roman Catholic Church provides the only true path to salvation."
In all honesty, I don't believe that this is true. In fact, I think that Pope Benedict XVI is talking out of his ass. But I'm not 100% certain. There is a part of me (~0.0006%) that thinks Pope Benedict may be right about that. If I die, that teeny tiny part of me would see Saint Peter at the pearly gates and blurt out, "I thought so!" Oh, how my mind would whirr! What would I say to Peter? Should I act meek? Yes! I should definitely act meek. I figure once I get into Heaven, I can get a little snippy about the Crusades and the pre-paid indulgences and the creepy figurines, not to mention the ridiculous stories in the Old Testament, but the last thing I want to do is argue with the great Saint Peter. I mean, if the Catholic Church ends up being true and I see Pearly Gates atop white fluffy clouds after dying, it wouldn't be difficult to imagine the fiery flames of eternal malediction. If all goes well, I'll do a lot of time in Purgatory, repenting for riding my bike on Sunday and saving money in mutual funds, and then I'll go to Heaven. Here's my story: I was taken in by the Mormon church, and in leaving what I thought to be false, I threw the baby out with the bathwater. I couldn't replace my concept of God with anything tangible, but now I realize that I should have been baptized in the Roman Catholic Church. My bad. That's what I'll say. And I'll grovel. Oh please, oh please, oh please. I'm so sorry, so very, very sorry. Please, please, please forgive me. It's all so clear!
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
I can't get this accident out of my head. Why? Why did he zoom up to me and swerve at the last second? The left lane was wide open. Was he intentionally trying to be reckless? Was he angry? Drunk? Programming his iPhone? And why did he accelerate after losing control? Was he trying to swing the rear end around like in the movies? Was the gas pedal stuck?
Here's the closest thing I could find to the incident on YouTube. You may want to mute your computer so you don't have to listen to the irritating narrator:
I'm fascinated by wildly impulsive acts, no doubt because I am rarely impulsive. I'm also fascinated by people who do those wildly stupid acts, like the Jackass guys or the Bush administration. So what's the dumbest thing I've ever done in a car? Let's see . . . I've driven drunk in a hotel parking lot with a buddy on the roof of the car, and I hit the brakes so that he rolled down onto the hood. That's just good clean American fun. What else? . . . I drove 115 mph in a station wagon with 7 other teenagers in the car. But I wasn't drunk or reckless, unless you consider driving 115 mph reckless. But I wasn't taking turns at high speed or weaving through traffic. That's about it for cars.
But what's the single stupidest act I've ever committed?
The first time I went scuba diving was in Laguna Beach at night with choppy water and low visibility. That's stupid, but I'm kind of proud of doing it, so it doesn't count. I'm looking for something embarrassingly stupid, like crashing into a retaining wall for no reason. Here's a better one -- after reading C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity, I was inspired to have unprotected sex with my ex-girlfriend . . . Oh, speaking of religion, here's an even better one. While serving a mission, I once prayed aloud for something bad to happen to a Peruvian family that backed out of being baptized, causing my companion to laugh out loud and interrupt my prayer . . . Ding! Ding! I think we have a winner.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Riding to and from work
I continue to ride my bike to work, only with a twist or two. I usually work in the office four days a week. On two of those days, I ride in casually, and then I do "bursts" on the way home. Burst riding is just what it sounds like. After I warm up, I'll pick an open stretch, shift into the highest gear, and sprint as hard as I can for about 45 seconds. Then I'll back off. When I get closer to home, I'll ride hard up several hills, backing off only when I get dizzy. On the other two days, I'll take a longer route in one of the directions so that I get in a 2-hour ride with a long climb -- at least by Seattle standards -- at the end.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
So here are my most recent impressions of Utah:
The Salt Lake streets are wide and friendly.
The lawns are greener in Utah than in Seattle.
Provo is a ghost town on Sundays.
The purple mountains.
Interesting factoid: When I told my father that I'd been mountain biking in Fish Lake, he told me that my great grandfather, John Bringhurst, was the first person to ever swim across that lake. I'm telling you, Utah is in my blood.
The longer I'm away, the weirder the Mormon stuff seems.