Friday, September 28, 2007

September Book Reviews

Since I have decided to take most of this month off the bike, there isn't much to report on that front. So, here is a review of the books I read this month.

1) Black Hawk Down (Mark Bowden)

Basic Content: A team of Army Rangers and Delta Force members get pinned down in a Mogadishu neighborhood while attempting to rescue the crews of two Black Hawk helicopters which were shot down while providing support for an earlier mission.

The book was fantastic in my opinion. At times I found it hard to put the book down. The book illustrates the bravery of the soldiers and their resilience to overcome some monumental fuck ups. This book even further convinces me that military personnel are at times puppets for the agendas of politicians. Two of the Delta Force members were issued Congressional Medals of Honor for their roles in the battle. Yup, as you may have guessed, they died in the battle.

Grade: B+

2) The Second Horseman (Kyle Mills)

Basic Content: One of the world's best thieves is broken out of prison by a government contractor in order to steal money to be used to purchase nuclear weapons from a group of Uzbeks in order to keep them out of terrorist hands.

I could have guessed the story line after reading the two sentences on the back of the cover. Thief, blah blah, hot ex NSA chick, blah blah, nukes, blah blah. Totally predictable and totally boring. This one got left in my hotel room when I was done - ON PURPOSE.

Grade: D

3) Racing Tactics for Cyclists (Thomas Prehn)

Basic Content: Strategies for all types of road racing events.

I found this to be a very good guide on racing tactics. Some of the advice are on subjects that I have never given much thought. For instance, the section where it describes the right way to help a teammate back to the peleton after a problem. I found the section on riding in echelons interesting, but doubt that I will get to experience that much in my ventures. The section on improving cornering was good too. Overall, a great reference guide for all road racers.

Grade: B

4) The Road (Cormac McCarthy)

Basic Content: A father and his young son drift through a post apocalyptic world several years after the event which you can only assume was some type of nuclear destruction.

This book was a recommendation of one of my favorite book critics, Fendergal. I found the author's writing style and word choice a bit strange at times. Having said that, I can't remember a book that actually made me feel so much despair. I am not sure that I would have felt like I did if I didn't have a child. I was able to empathize with the father character and his will to do ANYTHING to ensure that his son survived for another day. The other depressing thing about the book is that I am not so sure such an event isn't possible the way the world is shaping up. Folks looking for a book with a happy ending can skip past this one on the shelves.

Grade: A

Monday, September 24, 2007


I am off to Munich tomorrow for my meeting. Since it is Oktoberfest, I would like to have a few beers served by a hot blond beer maid with huge breasts. We will see what I can find.

Off season weight training will begin in October. Is there anything more boring than lifting weights? I keep it interesting while at Gold's by making as much noise as possible and flexing in the mirror after every set.

I am going to buy a set of tubulars for racing next year at some point. I have narrowed it down to a few choices, but these are leading the pack so far.

Have a good week.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Here is what I am up to:

1) Work travel is exhausting. This week I was to be gone M,T and W in SoCal. I got a call from a sales guy that needed my help so I agreed to fly from SoCal to Minneapolis for 3 meetings. Now I won't get home until late on Friday night.

2) Yesterday it was determined that I would have to attend a meeting next week in Germany. So yesterday I booked travel for this coming Tuesday to Munich. I am flying over Tuesday, arriving Wednesday morning, having a meeting and dinner on Wednesday, and then flying back to Texas on Th morning. With the wife extremely pregnant, I just can't be gone two full weeks in a row, so this crazy schedule is what has to happen.

3) I was going to ride in an organized "Tour" this Saturday morning with some guys from work. It would have been fun - 65 or so miles at a nice leisurely pace. That is not going to happen now because of the work travel and home responsibilities. But mostly because I want to hang out with The Bug as much as I can this weekend.

4) My off season is not off to a great start. I am eating too much, drinking way too much booze, and not exercising enough. That shit has to change this week.

5) On a positive note, after a marathon weed eating session last weekend my eyesore hill is showing potential. I need to get it in shape as soon as I can make some time.

Have a good Wednesday.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Saturday in September

I got up today and had some yummy coffee. Then I had to take our male Boxer, Ender, to the vet for the 3rd time in 4 weeks for an eye issue. We have now been referred to a pet eye specialist that should be able to figure out what is going on. Poor puppy. :(

I got out on the bike for a short ride today. I chose to ride the Retro Rocket because my other bike is still in a few pieces from the trip to MI. I will put it back together tomorrow.

After the ride I cut my grass in the front and got stung by some big giant wasp from hell. It hurt like a bitch and still does. My retribution is that I squashed his ass as he was inflicting his pain on me. Bastard.

I am going to do some yard work tomorrow. I just may take another ride. Who knows.

Off season stubble already.

The Rocket anxiously waiting.

The National Beer of Texas, but nobody drinks it.

One weird looking donkey.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Season Ending

Travel over the next few weeks has basically decided for me that it is time to end this racing season. I had planned on doing my last race on October, 4th. I am gone Monday through Friday next week and will most likely be gone the first part of the following week. That is just not conducive to training and staying fit. Oh well, it was a good first season.

Upgrade to Cat. 4 complete.

We were informed that The Bug bit another kid at daycare a few days ago. We told him he couldn't bite and of course he just looked at us like he couldn't understand what we were saying. I suppose he probably couldn't since he is only 20 months old.

Later when it was just me and Bug, I asked him again why he bit the kid. He told me that the other kid owed him money. I have never been so proud. Before I know it he will be running a crew.

Yes. I am joking :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Week in Review

Last week began with me taking two days off the bike. Monday and Tuesday I was off the bike with chest and head congestion. The Bug dragged something home from daycare on Friday. Those of you with kids know that there is no way around it - when your young child has something, you are certain to get it due to all of the close slobbery contact. Wednesday I rode the trainer for an hour and felt a bit better. Thursday I went out to the Thursday Crit and sat in for about 8 laps before having enough and pulling off the track. Friday I spent traveling to MI for the Priority Health Classic Crit.

I got to my hotel around 1pm and called Brian. We decided to go look at the course and have some lunch. The crit was on a 1km loop in the center of "Old" Grand Rapids. Two of the streets were completely brick, including the start/finish stretch. Some of the older brick was rough. I have a new respect for the pros who race on cobbles. I was in the second row at the start of a combined Cat 4/5 race. I would guess there were 40-50 riders in total. I didn't get a great start because I missed my pedal the first time. Once I got rolling I was about mid pack. The second time onto the back stretch of brick I heard a wreck right behind me. I heard someone hit the bricks hard, then slide, and then hit the metal barrier fence that surrounded the course. It had to hurt! I started to move up over the next few laps. The race continued for a bit and then there was a crash in front of me that took out about 5 riders. I was able to squeeze by and keep going. After a few more laps I was at "the pinnacle." I don't know if you all experience this in crits, but there is a point mid race when I feel absolutely awful. It is at that point in a race when the decision is made to either go or quit. I pushed through it and as expected over the next 5 laps I felt better and better. I found myself pretty tense at times and my right shoulder was killing me. I forced myself to relax and felt much better. Over the last 5 laps I moved up a bit more, but had trouble keeping passed riders behind me. On the last lap I had it matted on the last half of the course. I was able to get around a few more riders to finish 16th or 17th (estimated by Brian). They only listed the top 15. Over the last 150 meters I had blurry vision from the vibration of bricks and the exertion. I hit my season high max HR on that last 1/2 lap. I would have liked to finish better, but for a week with little training and riding doped up on decongestant and nasal spray, it was as good as I could do.

Brian was a great host and his wife and family are awesome. The dude has an awesome river front spread and a fantastic house. It was also great to meet Danielle and Bonnie and their husbands. Hopefully I will get to meet more of you soon.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day

Here is what today is about:

"Labor Day is a United States federal holiday that takes place on the first Monday in September. The holiday began in 1882, originating from a desire by the Central Labor Union to create a day off for the "working man". It is still celebrated mainly as a day of rest and marks the symbolic end of summer for many. Labor Day became a federal holiday by Act of Congress in 1894."

I'd like to thank Wikipedia for the information above. So all of you hard working people out there kick your feet up and relax :)

Not much has happened with me this weekend. I feel a bit fatigued and have decided to take today off the bike to rest. Good thing, because it is wet and rainy this morning in Texas.

On another note, I got a very disturbing piece of information late last week. At daycare they have costumes that the kids dress up in for fun. Guess what Bug's favorite costume in the world is? SNOW WHITE! I was going to wait until he is 13 to make him watch First Blood, but I may have to move that up about 11 years:) Of course I am joking, but SNOW WHITE??