"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


Work and Play

If you haven't been to the Irish-American Heritage Center in Chicago's Jefferson Park neighborhood, you really should make the trip.

Truth be told, it's nothing special. Just a single floor in a larger school building on Wilson, just east of the expressway. But, leave it to the Irish. Any other ethnic heritage building would have maybe a library, an office, a performance space and some classrooms. There are all of these at the Irish Heritage Center, but also a bar.

A nice warm space, with a fireplace and always a small folk band at the front. It just a place to come and enjoy some fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage, and a few pints. With a very laid back atmosphere and no smoking, not to mentioned a gin-blossomed gray-haired gent dancing a tipsy jig just outside in the hallway, come to Heritage Center to lay the stress of your of you week down with a smooth drag on the imperial pint glass and the comforting twang of a mandolin.

The first week of my new job wrapped up without incident. Nothing much to tell except A) that place is HUGE...and B) I am really going to enjoy working there. It's a lot of structure yes, but with the structure comes consistency with which to have more wiggle room in the rest of my life. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE is gone by 4:50, half of them earlier. There are two full cafeterias, and with the bridge connecting the two plazas of the campus in Northbrook, it's rumored that you can walk over a mile within the facility without touching a door or retracing any of your steps. Everyone is very conservative (except for Erik and me, ha) but in a harmless sort of way. I was immediately labeled the "weird guy" on my first day with my team, as I showed up in my usually outfit of thrifties. So moving forward will be black pants and blue shirt. Separation of work and play, and working for an insurance company, is as far as I sell out, however.

Anyways, walking the halls and hitting the cafeteria everyday has me feeling like I'm back at University, hitting the student union for coffee, books, and lunch.

Today we watched the Illinois State Cyclocross Championships at Montrose Park and had a blast. It sure does look like fun, but I need a season to just watch before I attempt this discipline. For the uninitiated, Cyclocross is basically a combination of road and mountain biking, unsually on a closed-circuit course, with modified road bike, and involves, riding, as well as tricky dismounts and carrying the bike up hills and over barriers. It's brutally tough, but looks like a helluva time.

I did a two hour trainer session straight through today without getting off for a break or even getting bored. The key, as my teammate Newt says, is to overload your senses so something is always distracting your from the ever-increasing numbness of your taint. The best is having a bike race DVD. Keep it sports for sure. Have a football game on, maybe, as you don't need to follow a plot, because you will also have music on. I mixed up a great playlist, without too much forethought through iTunes, and it really kept the variety up, and I cruised through a tough workout of spinning intervals, grinders, and long endurance intervals.

1. Acidosis - Micronauts
Start spinning slowly in a very low gear, increasing your cadence as the beat comes on strong, more spin through the end. This 8 minute techno piece is a great warm up.
2. Over and Over (Techno-Animal Mix) - Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Shift to the big ring, and five minutes of endurance pace on the crazy remix of this New York favorite of mine.
3. Purple Rain - Prince
Shift to maybe the 17 cog, slow your cadence and start grind it. Focus on form and each part of your spin. Up and down, back and forth. The sweat should be really comin now. Every couple minutes, with the section touchpoints in the music, shift up and really visualize a good climb up a scenic mountain, the sun beating down on, the valley dropping below you and all of the pack behind you. At the end of that searing, heart-melting guitar solo and long come-down you should be flush, have a good amount of pain, but not to much, in your legs, and be inspired to tackle the next 90 minutes of endurance.

Proceeding, alternate high and low gears, grind and spin, give yourself enough recovery time, but don't stop yourself from getting caught up in a great tune and just letting it all out. Constantly visualize yourself in breakaways, chasing down attacks, climbing, climbing, climbing, and winning the sprint. You only have to make it to the end.

4. Praise you - Fat Boy Slim
5. Surrender - Cheap Trick
6. Let's Get High - Benjamin Diamond
7. Tiger Woods - Dan Bern
8. Let Forever Be - The Chemical Brothers
9. Easy - The Commodores
10. I Just Need Myself - Ocean Colour Scene
11. Cherry Cola - The Eagles of Death Metal
12. Lips Like Sugar (Way Out West Remix) - Echo and the Bunnymen
13. Standing On My Own Again - Graham Coxen (of Blur)
14. Reason is Treason - Kasabian
15. My Vanity - Kiss n Ride (my old band)
16. Climbatize - The Prodigy
17. When the Kingdom Comes - Primal Scream
18. Keep the Dream Alive - Oasis
19. Fuck You, Pay Me - A.R.E. Weapons
20. La Femme d'Argent - Air
21. Black History Month - Death From Above 1979
22. Go Let It Out - Oasis
23. Heart of the City - Nick Lowe
24. Asbestos Lead Asbestos - Meat Beat Manifesto
25. Sweet Lover Hangover - Love & Rockets
26. Soon - My Bloody Valentine (Warm down this great Irish band - the last track from this particular album, a dancable mellow beat)

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