Thursday, February 26, 2009

I am the pack mule, hoo koo eee koo

On Thursday I finally found a pack combination that the Ergon BD1 simply cannot make disappear. Take that you haughty BD. Because of some time I needed to spend at the house after work I was forced to haul a dewalt driver with me. This little gem tips the scales at 5+ lbs alone, add in a craving for diabetes in a bottle (aka mountain dew) and other various necessities and you have a pretty heavy load. I must admit though that while the pack didn't make the load disappear like it usually does, it DID make the load comfortable. I know, I know, you're thinking to yourself, "rick is a total Ergon whore and sellout, you can't believe what he says!" and while technically the first part is true, the reality is that I'm an Ergon whore because the shit works so damn well.

the load

the mule

Also, I'd like to point out how much tougher I am than most of you wankers (two different links there) out there. The other day, for my morning commute, my "only off by ten degrees" weather station told me it was a balmy 22 degrees out. I figured, 'heck, that's practically shirt sleeve weather' so I put the balaclava away and rode with a cycling cap alone. My manliness compels you.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Family time

Last Friday the decision was made to take the whole day off and spend the morning getting some quality family time in. These days, more often than not, the construction of the new house dominates all leaving very little time to enjoy each others company. As much as we'd like to have a place to stay when we have to move out of our current place in May it seemed even more important to ensure that we'll still actually BE a family when that time comes, we can always sleep in a tent I guess. This has been a bumper year for snow (wouldn't you know it) and we've had no time to enjoy it so we decided to head out snowshoeing.

B-girl is getting big for her pack. Bonus workout for me.

If only she knew where that tongue has been...

Marcy's cross training

Little game we call "hide from the camera". I finally got her after about 10 pics.
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Monday, February 23, 2009

It's been a while...

...since I've gushed about my Ergon BD1 pack but it is high time to do so again. Over the past few months it has been on my back for every ride I've been able to squeeze in. In the summer I tend to ride packless (unless I'm commuting or doing a looooonnnnng mountain bike ride) so it's been nice to spend so much time with the pack this winter. I'll be honest, I take this pack for granted. For each ride, I load it up (without thinking about what I'm throwing in there) and head on my way barely giving it a thought. The other day I was riding with what was probably a 10 lb load and part way into my commute I realized I had quite a bit of shit on my back and it was barely noticeable. When you get to a steep hill you notice the weight but on flats, the weight disappears.

On my way back from working on the house Friday my hands were freezing so I decided to stop at a store on the way home to warm the digits and pick up a couple of frosty bevvies. I tossed them in the pack with willful disregard for my well being and rode merilly home. Try that with a camelback. I dare you!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

OK, maybe not

This morning's commute was supposed to include a little "bonus" time and miles (an extra fifteen minutes on top of a 30 minute commute! wowzer) but once out the door at 5:30 I could immediately tell that the body wasn't having it. I probably could have forced myself into the longer route and felt better eventually but it was cold, I was tired and I'm a whiny little bitch. Whatcha gonna do? Can't change who you are. Anyway, I figured that if I just headed straight in, I'd get to work earlier and that MIGHT mean that I could leave a bit earlier and I'd give the extension another try on the way home.

Thankfully, after many weeks of cancelled rides because of various factors (weather, appointments, house construction) this week is looking pretty good so far. I've already got two commutes in, I'll be doing a spin class tomorrow night at the local Y while Marcy and B do open swim AND Friday morning, we've scheduled some family time including some vigorous snowshoeing. Throw in some random ab workouts and home body resistance workouts and all of a sudden I don't feel like a total slack ass. I'm probably still slow as snot on a bike but at least I'm not wheezing like a fat kid in gym class at the moment.

One thing that I've realized about myself over the course of my life is that I only seem to be able to handle one obsession at a time. With a full family and work life I always feel like the raged ends of the day can only handle one focus. For years now that focus has been cycling. I'd eat, drink, sleep and breath cycling whenever time allowed. I figured it's grip on my psyche was indestructible but this winter has proven otherwise. Now, whenever I have some free time I find myself thinking about the next step on the house construction, does this sheathing contain formaldehyde? if I install this, what does it do to that? etc and very rarely find myself thinking about the upcoming race season or even this year's bike build (which will need to get crackin soon). I've also found myself passing up MANY bike rides on beautiful days in order to get a couple more hours of work done on the house. Sacrilege! Hopefully, when the place is done my brain will get back to where it belongs. I'm of course talking about taking sweaty pics of myself in nothing but bibs...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Just another typical V-day in RR land.

Step one: slip into leather harness.


Step two: yada, yada, yada

Step three: apply battlefield bandage.

Happy V-day folks.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What have I gotten myself into?

In case I wasn't stressed and overworked enough right now, somehow I found myself volunteering to put on a 45 minute presentation at a local green building show in April. Somebody must have done a midnight lobotomy on me recently because this just doesn't make sense. I guess that when it comes down to it, I'm a decent public speaker (I sound slightly more intelligent than George W.) but I hate public speaking and I don't have time to properly prepare. If this were a wedding that I was the best man at (did that a couple of times) I'd prep by getting properly drunk beforehand so that no matter what at least I'D think that I did a good job. I don't think the expo is going to have a bar. Drat. Of course, the real reason I volunteered is that I like to occasionally step out of my comfort zone to keep things interesting (funny, that's the same reason I've decided to race single speed in the expert class this year) and to push myself to new (sometimes lower) levels. If I don't wet my pants beforehand I should be ok.

I'll be making the presentation on our house construction and the theories/idea's I have about how to make a house environmentally friendly without jumping on the "green" bandwagon. In fact, I've decided to not use the "green" tag anytime during the presentation. Hey wait, none of you reading this probably care about this junk do you? I guess I'll stop now. If you do want to see more, you can pop on over to where shortly, I'll start to provide regular content about the design/construction and get this, I'm getting paid to provide content for that blog. That's right, I'll be getting paid for blogging. I'm not sure my employer realized just what he's getting...

Anyway, enough yammering, here are a few new pics:

A fresh rendering

curve of the roof
my brother being my brother. he's single ladies (shocking)

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Does thinking about riding count as riding?

I asked myself that very question this weekend and sadly came to the conclusion that no, it doesn't count. My one conciliation is that I'd much rather have something fun and healthy to think about, like cycling, when I'm busy. The typical American thinks about potato chips and football, I think about crank shafts, racing schedules and my weight. Oh well, my smug superiority will get me through me thinks.

Up until last week my winter racing plans involved the Snowman Adventure I mentioned last week, the Winter XC and a new to me race on a hockey arena in Augusta next month (more on that when I get more info). Unfortunately, I just found out that the Winter XC is officially off for this year which is both a bummer and a relief. I was looking forward to heading over and trying to improve on my third place result of last year but I also knew that with little riding under my belt (and none on snowmobile trails) that I would suffer mightily. At least now I can focus on the silly, short events that require must less fitness and mental energy.

On a good note, I conversed via e-mail with the Winter XC promoter and it turns out that he's putting together a new race for next winter that will surely one up the two day bike race I'm used to. For next year he plans a 20 mile snowshoe race on Saturday and a 50 mile mountain bike race (on snow covered trails) on Sunday with the overall winner having the lowest accumulated time. Talk about a swift kick to the junk. Given the amount of snow they typically get in that area of Quebec I would guess that the 20 mile snowshoe would easily take 4-5 hours and many more if the conditions are nasty. Follow that up with a 50 mile bike race on barely rideable snowmobile trails (last year's 30 miler took me 4:23!) and you've got yourself a heaping helping of suffering and one hell of a good time!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Holy Hell

For this morning's commute I had planned to extend it a bit so that I could pad my meager saddle time but when I got up this morning and went for a jog with the pooch the bank in town was saying -3 f. Yikes. Mountain bike rides in temps like that are fairly easy to deal with but on the road with higher speeds and more wind it can be a different story. To top it off, I forgot to get the coffee going before the run so I would be coffee-less as well. This should be fun.

Once out the door and on the road I knew that the extended ride wasn't happening. No mojo and the freeze your buttcheeks together cold made my 1/2 hour commute seem just fine thank you very much.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Answer

Finally, because the camera thingy gods and computer thingy gods and Marcy all got together and blessed me with their love and adoration, I can give the answer to last weeks' cringe inducing quiz. The substance in question was "drool" from one Mr. Pants.

Can't see it?
How 'bout now?

It seems that the Nerf football size tumor on the side of his head has kicked his salivary glands into overdrive so he's constantly drooling. Gross but usually not too big of a deal. This doozy had special magical properties though. It was thick, viscous and had a texture similar to glue rolled in sawdust. How appealing. If it wasn't for the fact that I was about to spend 8+ hours separated from the rest of the world's coffee makers I would have just chucked it and got another. Given the circumstances though, I was forced to close my eyes, cover my ears, yell "LA, LA, LA!" and flick it off so that I could pretend the whole thing never happened. Worked pretty well.

Several of you were close but nobody got right answer so I've decided to give each of you a fabulous concellation prize: a ziplock full of Chance's special sauce. Just send me your address and once I've procured enough I'll ship it on out. Be sure to have a hazmat suit and a vomit bucket ready.
Sorry, not quite yet

I was supposed to have the answer to last week's quiz in today's post but somehow, even though I'm 99.9% sure I copied the photo to my travel drive they don't seem to be there so you'll have to wait another day. Prozac might help.

This past Saturday, like all Saturday's these days, the plan was to work on the house from sun up to sun down leaving no time to ride. Thankfully, through some careful planning (and some luck) I was able to leave the Element (aka Construction Vehicle 1) at the property so that I could at least ride my bike to work on the house Saturday. It was a cool morning (maybe zero degrees Fahrenheit) but nice to shake the legs out a bit.

Here are the after pics. Scruffy facial hair and cold temps leave really leave their mark. (those are my safety glasses I'm wearing, no sense wearing my riding glasses there only to change into others!)

Yesterday, while in the outskirts of boston meeting up with some custom door guys I stumbled onto these beauties in a warehouse next door. I'd never heard of the Dutch Bicycle Company before but they have some pretty cool, and weird, shit over there. The bike geek in me took more pics of the bikes than what I was paid to go look at. Woops.