Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Day 6.181 Watch TV?

Tuesday night.

I am done.

Three rides, 0530, 1500 & 1730.

I need some rest if I am going to repeat it again tomorrow.

On which I plan.

My weight is down and my power is up.

If it takes three a day to continue that trend, then…

By God that is what is going to happen.

I suppose this is another test of the emergency heart-beat system. I figure that if the new regulated rate can take what I dish out…

That is good news.

Meaning, that this will continue until further notice.

The 72 push-ups we did yesterday probably helps too.

I have no scientific explanation on which to speculate. This is all trial and error, hit or miss. I only get one shot at it. Today. Right fucking now.

I will push the limits and experience how far outside the comfort zone I am able to go.

What else am I gonna do?

Watch TV?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Day 6.180 Better Late than Never

Maybe it is simply that I am a slow learner.

How could it have taken me more than six decades to understand such an important fundamental concept?

I should have known this since, oh, maybe the Kennedy administration.

We were toting weighted backpacks this afternoon, part of Junior's training, and between my morning and evening spin sessions - part of my training - when I was blindsided by a nano-second of clarity. The proverbial lighting bolt between the eyes.  KA-POW!

I was happy.

The sun was shining, the skies a gradient of blue and bluer, birds were chirping away and every dog on our route was napping on the porch in their charge. My nephew was keeping a steady pace and all I had to do was walk.

Momentarily, I tried to remember what I should have been pissed off about, concerned over, anxious about or afraid of.

There were none to be found anywhere in the files of my internal storage. I searched them all.

And it's not that I don't give a shit, I do, I think it must be that the trauma, the deep questions regarding the three years of tests, diagnosis (at the end), procedures, ER visits, sale of house, loss of job, virtual bankruptcy and medication adaptation, is all done.

I can't change anything. It is, as we say, in the books. (I do, however, still long for my former GF.)

There is nothing that I cannot deal with in the present moment. And I am choosing to deal with whatever comes down this path with awareness, compassion and joy.

The equation must look like this: A+C+J = H.

Where H stands for Happiness.

Are you serious?

I took me 60 years to figure that out?

Truly, it is better late, than never.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Day 6.179 The Rest of the Story

I don't need a day off.

I don't want a day off.

The thought of taking a day off makes me feel like a loser.

Taking a day off is weak.

I will HTFU.


I need a day off.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Day 6.178 Weird

Kinda weird?

All my dreams are way weird. Not kinda, sorta or maybe.

Way beyond weird.

After my meeting with the sleep experts Wednesday, I am now firmly in, as is my style, 'prove them wrong' mode.

Despite the medication induced trends of the last eight months, and the physical changes that brought them into reality, I steadfastly refuse to admit that I have depression, insomnia or sleep disorders of any magnitude.

And since I refuse to further tax my poor system with additional pharmaceuticals, this is going to be another process with which we must endure and adapt.

And we will.

Last night might have been a REM milestone. Allow me to explain.

I am entering a building out of the hot summer sun and into an air conditioned building that I recognize as my former office. I walk past the front desk where the receptionist looks at me like I might be an escaped criminal. I am naked with the exception of a pair of faded and torn Levis.

I get to my office and there is a football on my chair. I pick it up and play solo catch as I try to remember what it is that I do. I look for Bob, he will surely suggest that I get my lazy, iconoclastic ass back to work.

Down a dreary and cold concrete hallway I look into the many small rooms. I see Robert DeNiro talking to Lauren Bacall. We exchange glances and he gives me a Sicilian eyebrow of recognition and she just smiles. Instantly I feel 1000% better.

Down the hall Meg Ryan is wagging a finger near the chest of Nick Nolte. I think that this cold be good but need to find my answers, so I take my football on a slant towards the endzone.

In the third room Kiefer Sutherland is consoling Marisa Tomei. Although I know not of what the consolation is regarding, I sense that its importance is of immediate national security. I get the message loud and clear: NO NOT FUMBLE.

At the end of the hall I remember my job. I turn and begin to retrace my steps back to where I was before. The comfort, security and meaning of my job.

But the football is gone and I am riding my bike in Hawaii.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Day 6.177 Doh!

Secretly, behind closed doors, and with extreme prejudice, they laugh.

At us.

PT and WC are rolling hysterically in their graves.

We fell for another one.

If it weren't so pathetic, if it wasn't for the loss of innocent lives and the pending dummy-down back-lash, I might chortle as well.

The GOP should be covertly funneling neatly bound wads of dough with the caricature of Obama's predecessors to an off-shore account in his name.

They have gamed us again, preying on our uncanny ability to be fooled again and again.

in a sub-plot worthy of 24, this is what really happened:

The masters of neocon capitalism won another round. The good-old boys are richer than ever, having created another layer of defense between the hapless 'free & brave' Americans, the former denizens of the middle class and their booty.

With a sleight of hand motion passing before our very weary eyes, in a room of smoke and mirrors, the deceit and subterfuge happened again.

They wanted another distraction. Don't look here lemmings, (war, corruption, scandal, oil, energy and environmental atrocities), look here non-voting but valuable spending multitudes, (legal pot, same-sex marriage, affordable (?) health care, shiny gadgets and an iPhone in every pocket) and be happy. Go to Wal-Mart and dance your fat ass up and down those skinny isles. Spend less- live more. OMG!

What a major victory!! Hurray for us!!!! A victory for Justice!!!! Raise the rainbow flag and lower the union jack, whoopee!

You think that Exxon-Mobil, Monsanto, AT&T, Koch Industries and Dick Cheney really care that you can now puff while holding hands in public and not get tossed into the big house with thousands of other dangerous enemy combatants of similar MO?

Look, I dislike the GOP as much as the next guy, but they orchestrated a masterful play here.

They picked our pockets once again. It was brilliant.

We have been played. Wait, where's my wallet?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Day 6.176 The Shadow Never Sleeps

I am on the freeway heading to my appointment at the UW Medical Center.

I am on my Honda Shadow VT600. We are traveling at 55 miles per hour. The engine is running hotter than normal, I am hearing strange noises and consider, with a measure of paranoia, that they may be emulating from somewhere inside those 35.57 cubic inches I am sitting upon.

Not good.

I get to UW Med I find a free parking space that is 50/50 for getting a parking violation. Since I have no windshield wipers, I wonder where, should they decide to enforce the letter of the law, they will affix the citation. At the very least the time I will spend with the cardiology departments sleep abnormality clinic will give the motor a chance to cool.

The meeting is boring as hell. After an eight page questionnaire, the MD, a pleasant and trim man of about 40 with curly black hair matching in color his shirt and slacks, asks me some questions. His preface announced that he has read my file and would like to detail and isolate some specific areas as to how I spend each night, roughly from the time I go horizontal till the time I return to verticality.

OK, says I, shoot.

How do you sleep? Not very well, thank you.
Do you snore? I don't know, I don't think so. No one has ever accused me of it.
Do you sleep alone? Yes.
Do you exercise? Yes.
Do you drake alcohol? Yes.
Do you take drugs? Only the two prescribed by your colleagues down the hall.
What are they? (I thought you read my file) Warafrin and Amiodarone.
Nothing else? No.
Do you smoke? No.
Do you use marijuana? No, but I am thinking about testing. I used to be pretty adept at falling asleep while stoned.
When was this? In the 70s man.
How is your diet? I have been a vegetarian for twenty years. I recently began to eat fish again, salmon and tuna.
Does your family have a history of insomnia? I don't think so.
Do you get up at night for any reason? Yes. To pee.
Do you have trouble returning to sleep? No, this is a reprieve and the most relaxing time of the night.

OK, he says. We would like to do a sleep apnea test. Is that OK with you?

Yeah sure.

In the meantime please get more exercise, eat mostly veggies and cut back on alcohol consumption.

I resist a sarcastic remark, nod in approval and stand to say good bye. He seems pleased that our session was so productive.

I am walking back towards my bike wondering if there will be a ticket waiting, or worse, if it will even start.

No ticket and I see that the starter switch is stuck.

At least we got that fixed.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Day 6.175 A Box of Rats

I try to be safe when I ride my bike.

Commuting isn't racing.

There are rules. The rules are in place to protect the innocent.

And the stupid, inattentive and those under the influence.

I see this every day. The sheer volume raises the potential of disaster exponentially. I used to call this the rat-in-the shoe-box-theory.

One rat in the box is a pet. Two create issues, depending on the their gender. Three is a nightmare and any number more than three is total chaos with the odds of the immanent onset of war above 99%.

My rat-in-a-shoe-box theory was used to (sometimes) great effect when we were discussing (arguing) overpopulation and its causes and effects.

Now we are seeing the over populace spilling out and onto the streets.

Where we innocently ride our bikes, sharing the road (and cheese) with all the other rats in this non-race.

In order to do this successfully we, as unarmed, under protected, totally exposed and fragile homo-sapiens, must:


We are out-numbered and outgunned. They have the advantage in every area.

But one.

We can be more aware. We can stay focused longer. We can take evasive maneuvers quicker. We can anticipate. We can defer. We can get the heck out of harm's way before it arrives. We must be smarter.

As much as I try to champion the combined assets of fitness and focus into our training, let me add one more: The better your ability to see 'the now' quicker and how it could catastrophically Rube Goldberg into your wheelhouse at the blink of an eye, and the better your physical ability (confidence) to take immediate evasive action, the better your chances.

Of getting out of the shoe box unscathed.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Day 6.174 Long & Strange

This is, after all, a journal of this long and strange trip. To date it has been long (in human years) and strange (by any measurement).

Yesterday in the attempt to describe the value of a workout log to Junior, I mentioned the fact that the data we record on a daily basis can be used to our benefit down the line.

Down the line?


Next week?

More like next year.

We are going to be doing this next year?

The same thing - just more of it. And faster, and longer, and better.

Oh, OK, I'll write it down.

We have logged a week's worth so far. A timed mile (7:40) and yesterday's cyclecross (19:40). In between we have been doing strength and conditioning work. It has been fun.

What hasn't been fun is my post workout reaction to the week's double-sessions. Last night was the worst yet. Serious chest pain, dizziness. I felt so bad that I had no desire to watch the final two episodes of Season 7. I trust Tony will somehow redeem himself and Kim will donate DNA to save Jack -  so I went to bed with an hour of summer daylight left to burn.

And laid there monitoring the cardio imbalance for several hours. A constant reminder of our fragile connection to the world and the rapidity with which we come and go.

This trip seems to be getting stranger.

Last night I wondered how much longer.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Day 6.173 Attitude Check complete

My two long rides over the weekend were designed as benchmark tests. I needed to know where I was, and I don't reference geography. GPS will tell me where I am, but only my internal navigator can tell me who I am.

How am I responding to stress?
How is my core strength?
How is my leg strength?
How am I processing fuel?
How is my endurance?
How is my skeletal geometry?

 And by far the most important…
…how is my attitude.?

I second-guessed my motivation on Saturday. We had just reeled off a rollicking 90 minute indoor set, heavy on standing climbs. I was already gassed and ready for a nap. I had also announced the ride and when no-one else stepped-up, I was left with an option. Go or no go.

I went. But with some trepidation.

For the first hour I was still considering a turn-around. No shame in that. But the issue wasn't in that failure, it was the failure of another kind. The inability to test the status, to chart some metric with which I could use as motivation. I have worked too hard since October to reset to zero today.

So on (and on) I peddled. My neck hurt from the backpack. My left knee was twitching, my lower back was sore and with wind in my face the general store where I had indented to fill water bottles, was closed.

This was the turning point. How is my attitude?

You think I will quit over a measly 12 ounces of water? Because I am tired? Because my poor back hurts or because of a relentless head wind?


And I heard a soft whispering voice tell me no-one will ever know. Just you and me.
You can blame it on the store going out of business with the owners not having the courtesy to inform you. Shit happens, things change. And we respond.Simple. Keep moving.

I had forgotten about the series of hills immediately after the store, but by this time me and that voice had come to an agreement.

We had come for answers. We brought no GPS, that didn't natter. We carried no map, no pump and no foul weather gear.

The best questions are answered as a result of the worst conditions.

Attitude check complete. Carry on.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Day 6.172 Bikers

I like long days.

Today was the longest of the year.

Happy first day of summer.

Happy Father's Day.

We rode 100.

I like long days.

Especially when we get to the camp site.

See you in the morning.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Day 6.171 Hang Ten

"We can't control the waves, but…
…we can become better surfers."

Dan Millman

"I have had many troubles in my life…
most of them never happened."

Mark Twain

Both of these juicy quotes, found in Dan Millman's TED presentation, I borrowed for effect. They each sum an important component with which we tap dance around on a daily basis.

Especially in our training. Ask the question now - why do we train?

To get better?
To get stronger?
To get faster?
To go longer?
To enhance our QOL?
To control our BMI?

Doesn't it follow that we should respect the time and effort we have made to merely show up and wring every last ounce of value from what we do?

That is the mental half. The body half is easy. We know we need to work, to move, to compete. We all WANT to get better, but many of us have yet to understand the power in the unity of mind and body in training. If you REALLY want to improve, this is a crucial moment. This NOW. The HERE. In order to reach your goals, obtain your potential and achieve your desired results, one must, pardon the cliche, put it all together.

We can't control the waves as we can't control the wind, or rain, of the placement of hills, or the way others respond to the same stimuli or circumstance. But we can control our readiness, the way we prepare and the manner in which we deal with change, challenge and adversity. I think this is what Dan was speaking of.

The same way that Mr. Twain suggests that most, if not all, of our failures are located inside the wig holder. We make this negative shit up. We set ourselves up for defeat before we even take the field. We create mental problems where there are none. The reality is this, we can handle the present moment. There is no time in now. Not one past failure, embarrassment or regret. Nothing in the future to paralyze, intimidate of scare.

With effort and with focus and with a lot of practice, we can get to this apex, the top of the hill, our true potential of magnificence and power.

Dan knows it, Mark knew it and you know it.

So do it. Hang ten.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Day 6.170 Green Glass

The therapy helps.

This is that.

As many of you know, when I run it serves several purposes.

One: The obvious one. I am a triathlete and we finish every race with one.
Two: The creative imperative is served as mind is trained along with body.
Three: My community janitorial responsibility.

While one and two are glaringly obvious, three is a touch odd, it runs amok, you might say. As explanation please allow the executive summary to advise.

When I run I pick up trash and carry it to the next receptacle, can, barrel or bin. There it is disposed of properly providing a small service to my current community. Yesterday I was passed my a friend (driving a SUV so big I had to bail to the ditch because this course has a shoulderless stretch that isn't wide enough for the two of us). She saw me and we made eye-contact at thirty-six miles an hour. Her thirty-five and my one. I know that she also saw the Starbucks venti cup (filled - with no room for cream - full of cigarette butts, bottle caps and crushed potato chip bags). I assume (until we next meet and I inquire) that she thinks I might be the most pretentious and pompous prick on the planet. Jogging with a giant cup of coffee? As douchy as it gets.

I laughed out loud and continued my run. BUT, and here is the therapy part, as I was on my way, en route to a PR, a legitimate climb up one rung, I passed a green beer bottle hiding in some shaggy laurel. I hit the brakes, elapsed time running and flashing in my mind, when I made the decision that this run was important enough to justify a, "I'll come back later and pick it up." defense.


The day, as they say, got away (the responsibility equivalent of the rain in Spain).  It got away until I entered deep REM after our second workout of the day, a wonderful dinner of roasted corn and Chinese noodles, two Session IPAs and two gut-wrenching episodes of 24 (Jack is dying).

I can't relate the entire dream sequence, maybe later, but here is the gist: I am leading a group of people through a crowded outdoor food court. The smells are intense and I am in my usual role of attempting to manufacture consent. I am selling something with the product one I totally believe in. We are here because we share a common belief and I have the ways and means to advance it to the next level. I am carrying a brief case. As we pass an open room there is a meeting taking place, I recognize one of the attendees and he smiles seeing me. I dip my head into the room and, much like Norm in Cheers, everyone salutes in four-part harmony. I get the slight sensation that my clients will be impressed by my notoriety.

Then I am running in Moab. Fearlessly and joyously in a part mountaineering and part parkour escape at full speed. For once, however, I am not being chased, I am chasing. I see things flash by as I run fast as a sure-footed mountain goat. I see a bike, my old Softride, Panama Red, I see hand tools, a rake, a broom and a shovel, I see beautiful women, tanned and trim, I see an aboriginal squatting by a fire glaring at me with red eyes, knowingly and compassionately.

I get back to wherever I was going, and see the POTUS sitting with my Dad. She says, 'Where have you been?"

All I can say is, "I lost a day."

And I see the green glass still littering the garden of Eden.

The therapy helps.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Day 6.169 Golf

The US Open is in Seattle. In Tacoma actually. A place they call Chambers Bay. In case you don't have a clue as to what I am talking about, it is golf. I don't talk abut golf a lot here. There is a reason for that. I will explain.

I am not a golf fan. I have never watched a round on TV and never seen a major event live. I quit playing sometime between 1980 and 1985 when I took up endurance sports and quickly found that there was little time for anything else. I have yet to hear of someone playing 18 and then riding 56.

The reason I quit was simple. I got so bad it was more agony than it was worth. First my long game, never a strong point to begin with, went south. South in a hurry. So I stowed all woods and started to tee off with my 3 iron. It got to be somewhat a joke as my regular foursome would always ask what I was going to use regardless of distance to flag. "I think I'll play this one right down the middle and set up my second shot for a bird." I would say in total jest, playing the Rodney Dangerfield card.

Soon the 3 iron failed me as completely as the driver.

So I began using my 5 iron. I became pretty accurate with that stick, regularly putting it between the stakes at 130-160. I hit with as much oomph as I could manage, but 150 of 400 or more often left me using it again after a short walk.

Then catastrophe struck. I lost control of my 5 iron. To the 8 we went, thereby further increasing the odds that I would certainly be using it again in the fairway, and then again before clubbing down to a wedge to hopefully get close enough to putt for the remote chance at a double bogey. I started leaving the bag in the car and carrying just my trusty 8 and not-so-trustworthy putter.

No way to have fun. Especially since the guys were all big hitters and starting to sense some type of hand-eye dysfunction, or worse, in the guy who used to be a fairly decent hacker.

So I quit. Went cold turkey on pasture pool. Haven't gone back since. For historical record I did the same thing with baseball many years ago. I guess hitting a ball with some type of stick just wasn't my shtick. Robin Williams summed it up nicely.

And I feel fine. And look, I appreciate the complexity of the game, its demands, its strategy and the steely zen-ness of the best players. What they do under the close-up scrutiny of live TV and a huge audience is impressive.

Are they athletes? Sure, why not? They aren't required to run or throw. They don't tackle and they don't catch. But there is pressure, challenge and a rigid set of rules.

I might be jealous. They make a ton of dough and the chicks seems to dig it.

But I am still not a fan.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Day 6.168 Get it?

It is that time of year. Graduation.

This morning we completed nine weeks of high-intensity indoor training. It felt like a graduation. Completion, a rite of passage, movement, growth, another notch on our gun barrels, more rungs on more ladders. Like a good commencement speech, it was inspiring.

It also felt like accomplishment. It also felt like success. I feel SUPER about what we have done and the time we spent doing it. We could have made other choices, we could have stayed in bed.

But we made a commitment to ourselves and to our training partners while sending a powerful signal to the others in our community and to our family and friends.

We chose go. We choose do. We came and we did. We conquered lethargy. We beat the tar out of fear. We rose above all those limiters that keep us chained to the mundane.

We won. We cooperated and we endured.

And we are ready for more. The foundation has been successfully built. Let us rock forward into the light.


Lastly, I would like to offer an observation. Someone dear to me is suffering. He is overwhelmed by the largess of his responsibilities. There are massive money issues, a failed relationship and job uncertainties. He is depressed and frightened.

We spoke last night and as much as I tried to encourage him to 'hang in there and trust the process - because it will get better,' the message was not at the inspirational level I wanted. So I thought about it late into the night. Here is what I came up with: Bob Dylan was right.

The many here among us who feel that life is but a joke, are right.

It is. Nothing is worth losing yourself over. We have to rise above all this man-made crap and get the joke. It is a good one. Fucking hilarious. This life. Nothing matters but you growing into your awareness and laughing at this cosmic paradox.

Lighten up dude.

It is that time of year. Get it?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Day 6.167 The Model

The Model.

A state by state video/GPS/web site where the intrepid indoor rider may view, on demand, rides, races, hillclimbs, classic routes from each of our beautiful 50 states. Including Alaska, Hawaii and the USVI. I will get to Samoa if the project sees positive cash flow in the first six months (smiley face emoji here).

I have been pondering the ways and means of this ambitious pedaling project for some time now. After this morning's virtual route search, starting in Richmond, VA, home of the World Road Cycling Championships, and ending atop Mt. Mitchell in Burnsville, NC, those two would take the list to 30 of the federal republic's 50, plus the federal district known simply as DC.

30 of 50. 60%. Not a bad start.

I will be adding the famous Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah NP in Virginia next month. With the additional footage from Richmond and the trek to Mt. Mitchell (a five hour drive) the total will stand at 31.

I have also been planning a loop of Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska and Eastern Oregon. That would skyrocket the total to 35, and take us to a respectable 70% by the end of summer. Again, not bad.

Of course there would be a global, International tab as well. I have been sitting on what I consider to be, excellent video excerpts from France, the UK, Germany, Lanzarote, Spain, Australia, Canada and Mexico.

We could make this happen. I need a sponsor. I need a web designer.

I will do the rest.

There is your model.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Day 6.166 WRONG (again)


Looks like we are back to picking the lesser of two evils (lesser of two weevils if you are a Patrick O'Brian fan).

Yup. Do these names cause the hair on your back to sound like fingernails on the chalkboard?

Bush & Clinton.

We are so fucked up. This isn't even about foreign policy, tax cuts, health care or immigration.

IT IS ABOUT MONEY. Equity is money and power is money.

Why in the sane world would our current fearless leader agree to allow one of the slimiest corporations on this planet drill for oil in the last pristine (and I use this word in all its irony) remote and isolated locations?

For the same reason that the same company has been spending millions of dollars to ensure that solar power stays embryonic? The same way that FOMOCO and GM keep those bastard electric cars off the road as long as possible? The auto industry is in bed with big oil? Oh my. Scandalous.

Could it truly be that this lobby is pulling the strings on puppet politicians? News at eleven.

And we are supposed to vote for one?


How screwed up is that?

Just what we need - the brother of a former President and the son of a former President - all hog tied to the oil industry. Thousands of courageous men and women have given their lives in the line of duty, grossly accepted as collateral damage by a government that has no pride in anything but the bottom line.


The next time some hypocritical devout and hyper-pius Christian tries to convince me that capitalism is good and America is the land of the free, I just might puke. You may turn the other cheek but I am ready to kick some ass.

We are being held hostage by corporate profits. It is sick and it is sinful. Innocent people die like spawning salmon as we sing and salute the demigod we have created.

The insidious part is that when I choose to opt out of the process - that is exactly what they want me to do. My vote has more value to one party, one candidate and one agenda, when I refuse to use it for general principles.

How can anyone with half a conscious participate in an election so rigged, so fixed and so manipulated?

Because I choose not to play this pathetic part, I cannot comment or complain, right? Is that how the patriotic propaganda preys?


I need to go for a ride.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Day 6.165 Makes Me Sad

Maybe the correct image is mature happiness. Or enlightened humor.  I dunno.

I contemplated the chasm between why we (the subconscious we - and more me than you) choose unhappiness and its seven dwarfish cousins, anger, doubt, despair, disappointment, fear and disillusionment, rather than happiness.

One of my favorite lines from one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite albums by one of my favorite bands, warns us about the importance of being honest, in: "But the heat came round and busted me for smilin' on a cloudy day."

Silliness is one thing and stoniness another. One should not aspire to become the village idiot, and trust me, there is no bliss in ignorance.

So why then do we opt for frowns when they could just as easily be grins?

I witness this social phenomenon often. I see it in 12 your old Little Leaguers when their team loses as well as adults when the situation doesn't perfectly match their expectation(s).

Rendered to its essential, I think I have a clue.

Because it is easier to be angry than joyous?

One can pick a plethora of reasons to be unsatisfied. I can name you ten without even thinking  (something I am accused of regularly). How about these juicy little ingredients in this recipe for gloom:

    * Gas over $3/gal again.
    * Shell can pollute but grannies can't complain.
    * Decent beer is over $10/six.
    * My laptop is about to die.
    * War again (as always).
    * The Bushes and Clintons again.
    * My woeful state of physical readiness.
    * The alarming increase of vehicular traffic round here.
    * Huskies lose their best palymaker for the season.
    * Jerry died in 1995.

Much like the doctors tell me on a regular basis, with all this (and that is only ten) I SHOULD be depressed.

But I am not.

Conversely I am quite happy. And why not? I have today. Fuck all that negative shit, or the political hypocrisy over which I have no control (don't say it).

The sun is shining and warm, two terrific rides are already in the books, I am heading out to the park to sit in the sun, read, recover and prepare for a twilight run. I have a spin class at 0530 tomorrow morning where twenty people will, under my command, ride themselves into better condition. Me and my nephew are going to visit the Nation's Capitol in 31 days. Both my credit cards have a zero balance.

I might be the happiest idiot on the planet.

Which, of course, makes me sad.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Day 6.164 A blank sheet

How wonderful to have a forum specifically dedicated to my opinions.

Seriously, the NYT, LAT, USA Today, WAPO and hundreds of others, pay handsomely for words on a topic known as op-ed.

Opinion editorials.

Sometimes they are damn good. Thought provoking and interesting. Most of the time, in fact.

Not too surprisingly, however, sometimes the topic du jour is on a subject I care as much about as, say, how bananas get to market.

The only way I would be interested in that would be if the by-line carried the moniker K. Kong.

To have the world as my oyster is a huge responsibility. I have vowed to harvest some sort of rhetorical shellfish on a daily basis. Sometimes we dredge the sea-beds and come up with a net full of bottom feeders, but every once in a great while, we land a keeper.

I have them both mounted and they proudly hang behind my oak desk. Sandwiched tastefully between my All Metro League award certification from 1972.

They remind me, as all good fisherman (and shortstops)  know, that patience is a virtue. You have to hang in there and trust the cosmos, or Poseidon, or Ahab or The Old Man or Cal Ripken Jr. If you keep at anything long enough, something of value will emerge. You might get good or you might get lucky. Maybe even both.

Am I right?

There is a crusty old adage that reminds us that even a broken clock is right twice a day. That one is so altruistic that it even applies in the modern digital world - a place where flashing 12:00 yells bingo both at noon and midnight.

So imagine my disappointment this beautiful afternoon, with all my chores accomplished, a high-quality ninety minute spin session in the books and nothing to do but study another couple of 24 episodes ( I am in season seven, absolutely loving the Jack, Tony, Chloe and Bill outside the government work), and I have……

…nothing to say.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Day 6.163 Takes Guts

It takes guts. That's right, like riding a unicycle in front of the pro peloton.

You must preform your due diligence. You need to research and master the Google tool. You need to measure and manage. It takes courage.

You already know (because I just conducted a poll using this group as demographic, so I know that you know) that there are three elements, all contributing fairly equally, to your health and fitness.

ONE: One must eat well.
TWO: One must engage in some form of exercise.
THREE: One must manage one's stress.

Simple as one, two, three, right?

Well, kind of. But as good a start as these three represent, there is, as usual, more. For the sake of this post we will conveniently skip the role that genetics plays. Save that juicy one for later.

More means nuance, detail and awareness.

Let's look at number one. You might ask, as have millions of others, what that means. The cheapest meal that satisfies my basic needs costs three bucks, is available on (almost) every street in America and is glorified by a billion dollar advertising campaign to hook you early and keep you late. Or take organics. You have undoubtedly noticed that they are expensive. Meat, once the bastion of the bourgeois, also beefed-up behind a market campaign twice the size of the GNP of Texas, is, in the words of conscientious abstainers, murder.  I happen to agree.

So what the heck does eating well look like? Is it a diet? Must we spend five hours a day foraging in search of fresh, local and organic? What about dairy? Fish? Are we getting enough nutrients from our food in a world farmed with pesticides, poisons and mega profits for big agra?

Short answer is no.

There has to be a compromise.

And I think I have discovered one.

Fad diets.

That's right. The secret is the latest fad. Do it.  Follow whatever ridiculous diet ranks highest on the NY Times best-seller list. And then follow what naturally comes after.

Start with grapefruit (and nothing but the fruit). Then do vegan. Then gluten free. Then free range organic. Then paleo. Then high-protein, low-carb. Try fasting. Quit grains. Quit drinking hops and smoking weeds. Limit your masturbation to once a week.

Whatever diet you choose, whatever path you seek, however obnoxious and shallow the premise and the promise….


Nobody said it was going to be a garden of rodents.

It takes guts. Show some.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Day 6.162 Wicked

Since (re) taking over the Wednesday night (1845) spin sessions at the Club, it is becoming apparent that the time between sets (AKA recovery) needs to be addressed. It used to be routine. A hard set in the morning, the day to recover, and another in the evening.

Not anymore.

After the last two morning sets, and to be truthful, we just finished an eight week block of Super Eights (all out 30 second efforts followed by 90 seconds of recovery X10), so heightened muscular fatigue might be expected, but not absolute exhaustion and inability to preform acts any greater than eating, sleeping and keeping the blog streak alive.

My way of dealing with the evening class has been the old standby: Make it hard and make it challenging. That way I won't  fall asleep on the wheel.

Loud, obnoxious music helps too.

Wishing I had another hour to recover yesterday afternoon, I mashed up a protocol that I felt would serve the purpose well. I called it 1 + 1.

10 minute warm-up
Seated @ 15 for one minute
Add a gear every minute until 19, five minutes total
Rest and Recover @ 7/120 for one minute
Stand for one minute at gear 20.
Rest and recover @ 7/120 for one minute.

Repeat seven times.

I didn't think it would kick my ass quite as completely as it did.

But I felt mysteriously refreshed afterwards and even chipper this morning. Two cups of French Press and I was off for my 5K.

Tonight we are back in the PB for a 2z20 set..

We all know that rest & recovery are crucial for training and racing success.

They are unexacting sciences. How much, how long and when are challenges that every multi-sport athlete faces.

Everything we do is with the hope that extended endurance will result.

My nap today, therefore, should get me ready for tonight. And tonight ready for tomorrow.

And tomorrow for race day.

Pic is of the 1 + 1 hill repeat profile. Go ahead, try it at home!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Day 6.161 Why Not?

As our joyful participation in this world of sorrow stumbles onward, we find ourselves attempting the impossible challenge of figuring it all out.

I mean, yo world, WTF?

You will remember the immortal plight of Simon Wagstaff, a fearless pioneer of time and space  who searched the entire known (at the time) galaxy in search of an adequate answer to a single question.

The question was this: "Why are we put on Earth only to face suffering and eventual death?"

Good one, eh?

Simon, after light years in search, finally discovers the planet  the supreme being calls home. He has to pass a series of tests in order to have an audience with the Grand Poobah, a giant cockroach.

After passing the tests, he is ushered into the royal roach motel (just past the pearly gates) and instructed that he will be granted one question. Just one. "Hi there, how 'ya doing? Would, under the rules, constitute the one. 

As I have already supplied you with advanced itel on his query, we shall cut to the ultimate metaphysical inquiry's answer without any unnecessary quantum mechanics or astrophysics.

But first, please allow me to suggest that all this worldly strife, struggle and shit-storm of suffering, in my non-rochian view, is the spice. It provides challenge, color and a sublime backdrop for our quest of self-realization. I mean, really, anybody can sing on a sunny day. What happens to your tune when the clouds roll in and the Gortex comes out?

So bring it. Gimme your best shot. Let 'er rip. T it up. Let's rumble.

"Why not?"

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Day 6.160 Randomness or....

A few random notes on this spectacular Tuesday morning.

It is my least favorite time. A thing they call the election cycle. It flat out disgusts me. And I am not the type of person who is disgusted easily. I have a fairly large capacity for slime, but the 'strategic misrepresentation'  slung about by both sides of the aisle tests even those tolerance boundaries.

As much as I try to shut it out, one must live in a sensory deprivation cave in order to escape the outright falsehoods that are now accepted as political standard operating procedures. Here is the sad part: We buy it.

Today we present our annual lifetime achievement award. It is the antithesis of the Nobel Peace Prize. (Drum roll) This year's award goes to former VP Dick Cheney, (cymbal crash) who takes home the Noble War Prize. Congratulations sir, couldn't go to a finer dick.

We also today (I warned you about the randomness) invite all fanatical Seahawk followers (12 Angry Fans) to pay close attention to the first offensive play of the 2015 season, Friday, August 14 @ 1900 PST versus the Denver Broncos. For nothing other than irony we have it at 10-1 that #24 SHOULD get the ball on a crash dive left.

Lastly on today's random report is this little nugget dug from somewhere deep in the Internet mines. 

"Don't worry about what you don't know,
worry about what you don't do."

I don't really know how all this will work out in the end. What I do know is that I must continue down the mind, body, spirit path and have faith that it will lead to something of value.

Like our knowing that the doing is the knowing. We all know we got to DO this.

Ya know?

Random pic: The Flying Js, Jack (left) & Junior proudly stand behind a random '63 split-window Vette.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Day 6.159 It Came from Nashville

I need to get this one done early.

Because if this five star Northwest day finishes like it began (our traditional 0530 spin session) I will be Q'ed like so many slabs of sizzling sirloin by noon. Plus we have another session at 1800.

Here is the latest from RCVman labs:

All data indices another rung has been reached on the recovery ladder. Yesterday's four hour ride on Trixie (a fixed gear vixen if ever there was) and following thirty minute run, left me in a state I haven't witnessed for ten years or so. Way, way back in the days when Ironman training was the norm and utter physical exhaustion a daily occurrence.

In response I have upped my protein intake, doubling the dosage to over 80 grams, made hydration a hourly ritual and have returned to the guilty pleasures of the afternoon nap. The only cardio-pulmonary side effect, besides the self-induced trauma, has been a minor sporadic muscle spasm directly under my sternum.

I take all this as good news. Meaning I take all this as great news. Meaning that I might actually be ready to start SERIOUS training.

I am tired, fatigued and a touch sore in the lower back from yesterday's effort, but I am damn pleased with it. Like we discussed this morning; Soreness is earned, congratulations.

There were many highlights on my long sunny ride yesterday. I took a route that I have previously ignored, passing a thousand times. And found a monster climb. Long climbs are hell on a fixie, almost as evil as the forthcoming devilish descents. I stopped at a lake that bears the name of the road, and considered a triathlon. I miss the days of going as hard as I could, as long as I could. A large part of my current, post-pacer, training is in building confidence back to pre-procedure levels.

We are getting there. Albeit slowly, but, inching towards improvement nonetheless.

One other highlight. The main goal of riding in a fixed gear is the attention necessary to stay uptight. There is no coasting. It is a Zen thing. You cannot stop turning the pedals without slowing or stopping. If you have a "shimano moment" and try to coast, you are toast. As in ass over tea kettles. So you focus and flow.

I was grinding up a well known post-bridge grade avoiding sharp pebbles, jettisoned auto parts and caterpillars, when I spotted it. I rode past, thinking at six mph, that the road-kill junk sure looked like a miniature guitar. Shaking my head at my own oddness, I turned a U on the major thoroughfare, and circled almost dead on the spot where it was somehow crooning my name (in C major).

I would really like to know the story of how this guitar bottle opener from Nashville, Tennessee got all the way to Jefferson County, Washington. I think even Tom Robbins would like that story.

Tonight after our 2x20 set I plan on finding whether or not it still works.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Day 6.158 *****

Season Six is over. My DVD replay anyway.

Short summary is that Jack saved the day.

It was a wild ride, everybody from re-writers to stunt-men taking extreme, dangerous chances.

Because they had to.

That is what heroes do.

There are some that say this incredible drama weakened with age.

I am here to object.

They get deeper. Partly because we have developed such a bond with the cast, their idiosyncrasies, their flaws and their human tendencies. True, they all perform heroic deeds in one maximum overdrive hundred mile an hour kevlar coated pressure cooker of one day, but, to me anyway, heroic because they must overcome so much resistance to do what is right - NOT the right thing.

They fuck up quite a bit, disobey direct Presidential orders, work covert ops, hack into top-secret, classified files, shoot a hoard of hostiles and, well don't get me started on Jack's methods of extracting information form bad guys, Jack (indirectly) kills his brother (a real bad guy) AND his father (a REAL and guy), in the line of duty.

But all that is OK because we win in the end. Everybody but Jack. America is safe. The Russians, Chinese and Radical Islamists are all vanquished. For now. Innocent Americas can go to the amusement park and ride the ferris wheel without fear.

In a blatantly Hitchkockian evading, Jack has confronted the SecDef and said his good-byes to Audrey, his daughter, who is lying on life support systems, a Type III catatonic, after being captured by the Chinese trying to find Jack and tortured without mercy.

Jack softly closes the door after the tear-jerking farewell and walks to the edge of the SecDef's estate (I am thinking Santa Barbara) high on a cliff. He still carries the suppressed Beretta 92FS in his right hand. We hear and see the crash of waves a hundred feet below. The constant thematic and familiar hand-held camera closes in on Jack and we sit and wonder as the score builds its crescendo, what he is thinking as…

The screen fades to black and the timer rolls to 05:59:59.


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Day 6.157 Guitar Jane

Great set this morning.

We uncorked the following magical elixir, allowed it to breathe and then took our sweet Texas time in ninety New York minutes. Whatever state that took us to.

10 minute warm up.
8/110 for .30 seated
9/110 for .30   "
10/110 for .30 "
11/110 for .30 "

Three minutes standing in gear 18 (of 24)
One minute seated in same gear (no touch)

Ninety seconds of recovery @ 7/120

We did this protocol ten times.

It was of high value. It was a challenging blend of speed, power and endurance. The brief recovery time was at high cadence.

There was nowhere to hide.

Sounding like a politician at a whistle stop, I again tried to impress upon the group the importance of staying focused. Of tending to the task and the myriad benefits of correct breathing and positive reinforcement. We discussed the holy trio of mind, body and spirit.


There was something special about this morning's work, something beyond the obvious sizzling grind of Sultans of Swing to Sweet Jane.

I think we made a quantum leap today. Several powerful elements coming together in steady-state perfect pitch. This is serious stuff. We are changing our part in the whole, and therefore changing the whole.

I hope I wasn't the only one to feel it.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Day 6.156 The Practice of the Sun

Because you have already figured it out.

What I do and why.

The what is easy. It's the why that makes it interesting.

Lurking beneath the day-glo, tie-dyed umbrella of my life are three basic categories. The usual earthy metaphysical suspects that provide so much serious fun and hilarious suffering.

Mind, body and spirit.

That is about it. The 10,000 things are all included. Some bleed over onto their neighbors yard and some are only useable when they mix with their opposite, but for the most part, these are them.

There has been about ten centuries of debate as to which is the most important. I have been thinking about it for a drop-in-a-bucket, blink-of-an-eye period of forty years. Maybe forty-one.

And I still have no clue.

I do know this: The sum is better than the parts.

This is called balance by the professionals.

A combination of the trio.

And that, dear friends, is why we train mind and body together. It is yin on the run with yang yelling encouragement (with a whisper).

When the mind is in harmony with the body as we ambulate through time and space, we add a third element. This is sometimes called satori, kensho or wu. In English we call it, simply, the Zone. When we become one with our doing. The balancing of magic. Not too acidic and not to alkaline. Sweet and sour at the same time. Sunrise and sunset.

When mind and body come together the spirit joins the party. Because it is so much fun. And nobody wants to miss out on too much fun.

This is why we practice. To get better at it.

That is what I do. And why I do it.

But you have already figured that out.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Day 6.155 Fool in a Helmet

Damn. I didn't think it could happen.

It did.

I ASSUMED that the lot I looked at, and was a day away from closing, was wall-to-wall dirt between the two houses. Turns out that it was just half. Only two of the four TINY lots.

I am the fool. But happy that I went on a last minute mission to get a solid answer. A clearer answer to a simple question I felt the owners were a touch evasive upon.

The square footage of all the lots was barely adequate to build and develop. Cutting that in half makes it impossible. Or ridiculously expensive. Same thing.

Out of the question.

So I am out.

Back to square one.

Nothing and nowhere.

At least I saved 17 large.

And have the good sense to wear a helmet.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Day 6.154 You Know How

You know how this happens.

We are not supposed to be doing this.

We are getting stronger.

Despite the science that says we cannot.

We are getting faster.

Despite the data that contradicts.

We are gaining endurance.

When that of many demographics is dwindling.

We are achieving.

We are mastering.

We are marching.

It takes a massive movement of air to keep us cool as we heat this room.

I can only speak for myself when I say we are moving towards the bright light of accomplishment.

I asked of the group this morning to consider how all these miraculous and magical events are talking place literally beneath our very noses.

You know how this happens.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Day 6.153 Breaking new ground

Nothing like a clean slate. The whiteboard of opportunity. Another chance at creativity and purpose. A project. Redemption.

This time one year ago I was without a place of my own for the first time in forty years. Over that twelve months I have lived in my brother's house, a 33 foot RV, a guest cottage on the beach and now back at my brother's.

I have (re) discovered several interesting personal tendencies during that process. Among the more important:

I like my own space.
I have some deeply ingrained habits.
Some of those habits are less than perfect.
I like being alone.
I like the freedom that comes with independence.
I like the freedom that comes with the 'lightness of load'.
The white picket fence, thirty-year mortgage, mow the lawn American dream is a nightmare.

The canvas of my life is about to get splattered with color and texture once again.

Effective immediately.

I am buying dirt. And a couple of cedar trees surrounded by brush. But most importantly I am buying the chance to do something real. For myself. Digging into the future one shovelful at a time.

I guess what I have learned about my soul is that I don't like needing the generosity of others to survive. By now I should be able to do that solo. And by that I mean personal responsibility NOT the charade of the independent self-made man.  I deeply appreciate the power of the group and the need for community, but I think it renders to the simple idea that I much prefer to give than to receive. Given the choice in a perfect world (whew!) I consider the valor more sincere in offering a friend in need a couch and a bowl of soup that to accept them. I have been in varying stages of 'need' for over a year and it is time to get back into the 'no-need' game.

So here we go. Later today I will own a tiny lot in a tiny community with the plan of building a tiny home. A two ounce shack to hang my ten gallon hat.

The mistakes I made in the past get a reprieve. All my failed 'art' lost in the maelstrom of the past year has been nothing but practice and preparation.

The slate is clean.

That is about to change.

Time to break ground.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Day 6.152 In celebration

Having finished off session number two, I hop over to catch the last few innings of Junior's playoff game. His team, The Tigers, are on a roll. As is my nephew. I am so happy for him. Confidence at age twelve is a hard-earned commodity.

We talked about it in class this morning. You can't always be the strongest or the fastest, but you can be the toughest.

These tiny moments of growth, be them in the gym or out on the field are gold. They are precious points on our personal timelines.

They demand celebration.

And then they need to be used as stepping stones for further successes and victories.

We lose often enough.

When we win or make advances towards continual growth, or watch and witness our teammates bask in that special sunshine, we should drop everything and have a sandwich and a beer in celebration.

The adult us. Not the twelve.