"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


The List

1. The Ride. 90 miles. The strongest I think I've ever felt on a bike...it was the first time I was able to complete the Three Sisters route without getting dropped. It was a mix of experiences. Riding a new route with the team's strongest riders has always in the past meant I was hanging on the back by a thread, never able to attack, and getting shelled on the hills. The Three Sisters route continues on past the River Road turn off - where in the past I have always turned. Either because I was about to get dropped or by myself at that point. Or recently the ride was headed that way. The Three Sisters are apparently 3 hills out near Gurnee, I believe was where we were. First time I've been in the small ring on a team ride, ever. Except for the boat ramp but that's so short it doesn't count. We went into the Sisters with at least 5 or 6 riders than we came out with. I stayed, for the most part, within my limits and was never in danger of getting dropped. But it was hard. While I rarely attacked, I was definitely grabbing good wheels and riding smart and efficiently, and had the gas left to contest all the end sprints, right on the mix at the front with Cat 3 and 2 riders. Definitely a breakthrough ride for me. The structure of my new training program is obviously paying dividends immediately. I am in the best shape of my life right now, and I've never been riding stronger. I can't wait for the real intensity and the changes that will follow this spring.

2. The Nap. Got home, ate a bit. And immediately fell asleep on the couch. Heavy, dreamless sleep.

3. The Party. The woman I am dating, Katy, threw a get-together at her apartment later that evening. Saw lots of friends, and drank some good wine. A few xXx-ers showed up. I love getting together with those guys out of kit. Out of uniform, that is. It was fun to see Rudy from my band having a conversation with Kirby late in the evening. My two mutually exclusive words - late night music, and early morning bicycling - coming together in perfect sync. The friends I've met and come to know in both worlds mean everything to me. Right around 2am, the morning's ride finally caught and cornered me. I must have been drifting off on the couch when Katy said to me, smiling, "you can go to bed you know..." Not wanting to be a party-pooper, and more than somewhat punch-drunk, I replied, "really?" Katy thought this was hysterical and sent me off to sleep. I remember only hitting the pillow, and that is it. Blackness. More dreamless sleep.

4. Childhood memories. Do any of you remember Shakey's Pizza? Tami and I, on our lunch break today while Shrieking Violet mixed our demo in the studio got to talking about childhood pizza places. Every time we went out for pizza, it was Shakey's. I don't know what it was, and that by my standards today I bet it was pretty bad, but there was something about those super thin slices, the balloons they gave us there, the impossibly huge pitchers of root beer, and Moon Patrol around the corner at the video game wall. I ate my weight there every time and put pineapple on my pizza. I make no apologies.

5. The Game(s). Go Bears. And Rex?! Where the hell have you been? This team is going to tease us all season long, right up to the bitter end. And I don't mean to speak ill of the dead, but how many of you noticed that the rink on which Blackhawks skated on tonight, and was broadcast on Cable, had a Blackhawk's logo on it. Yes. A home game has finally been telecast in Chicago. As time expired on the 3-2 victory, you could hear the strains of "Detroit Sucks! Detroit Sucks!" spilling out of the rafters at The United Center, and the Hawks are on a 3-game winning streak. And congrats Illinois. It was great to see OSU get their annual dose of humility. I'm holding out for a Hawaii vs. Kansas National Championship game.

Post Script: While the screenwriters strike is keeping me from enjoying Stephen Colbert, I am still enjoying his ice cream. What's not to love about fudgy waffle-cone pieces in vanilla ice cream and loads of caramel. Thank you, Stephen...I'll watch your reruns forever if I can have 'em with this stuff.

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