"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


My Superbowl Predictions

Brenda Warner cuts her hair again and hogs the camera the entire pregame. (At least we won't have to hear about Kurt bagging groceries for 12 hours.)

In a fit of senility, Cardinals fans try to board the Red Line after the game to head to Kitty O'Shea's.

Cardinals 21, Steelers 13.


Thursday Hate

Oh yeah? Well, I wouldn't want to fuck you either.


Hump Day

January 28: 183 pounds.

I have a real six-pack for the first time in my life.

36 Days.

"...and one thing led to another..."


Few people know this, but Blago was actually an extra in Dawn of the Dead:




Sunday Shot

Stopped in at New Wave Coffee for a delicious bowl of carrot and ginger soup and a double espresso this afternoon.

The place with packed. It's the return of Filter without the smoke or the greasy hashbrowns/hair.

And speaking of greasy hair, the espresso the barista pulled for me was stronger than Lou Ferrigno. About 2 minutes after I downed it I felt the caffeine pulsing through my teeth. If Clif could ever figure out how to pack that much jump-juice into one of their shots without making it taste like their current Double Espresso flavor...


January 25th: 185 pounds.

39 Days.

"Dude, you want to compare number-of-women-slept-with?!? I will carpet bomb you!"



Blago's Senate trial starts Monday. He's been in the news the last couple of days whining about the fact that he won't get a fair trial.


A) It's not a civil trial

B) It's not a criminal trial sooooo...

C) Shut the fuck up about it and wait until the above actually happens to complain about fairness.

You've been using your position as the defender of the state constitution as your own personal lemonade stand and now suddenly you've started reading the fine print?! "And if it means I have to sacrifice myself to a higher cause, for the people of Illinois and for the principle of due process and the right to call witnesses, then so be it," Blagojevich said.

And you're Jesus?

I think Jesus would've been smart enough to file his objections to the evidence by the deadline. You instead when for a jog and whined to the press tailing you.

You constantly cite the "will of the people" who elected you. Trust me. You don't want to the turn the decision over to the people. You won't fair much better with us.

When all of this is written in the books, after however long you drag it out, I hope the sentence you receive after your "fair" trial reflects the pain and suffering you have inflicted on everyone. Those forced to endure your pompous, self-inflated pronouncements and declarations - and hair - on the news every night, instead of being blessed by you just going the fuck away - need to be considered.


Thursday Hate

You, know...just because you're blind, doesn't mean you get to lollygag.


Hump Day

January 21: 186 lbs.

43 days.

"When it gets nasty, get down to biznezz!"


What's the definition of a good coach?

One who schedules your next rest week over Valentine's Day.


Lance. Don't look him directly in the eyes. (Credit to Kozak.)


From the Urban Dictionary
One who farts in a spartan manner. One who farts frequently and shows a cavalier attitude about it. A connoisseur of rectal wind.
Thanks, Newt. I'm having a recital.


A Simple Gift

Tis that moment, just past a night of despair
A newborn breeze - glowing, sweet and delicate
Gift us with assurance to look past the breaker
To shed fear and bias in the absence of light
Be not a hero, a shining knight, or savior
Simple words have always pushed to greater heights

Tis your words that will inspire
A struggle carried on our backs
Gift us with strength and fire
To overcome our tears, to

Happy Inauguration Day

This is a day of national consecration. And I am certain that on this day my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency, I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impels.

This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure, as it has endured, will revive and will prosper.

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunk to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; and the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone. More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.

And yet our distress comes from no failure of substance. We are stricken by no plague of locusts. Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered, because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful for. Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply.

Primarily, this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and have abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.

True, they have tried. But their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit, they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They only know the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.

Yes, the money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of that restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy, the moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days, my friends, will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves, to our fellow men.

Recognition of that falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be valued only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit; and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing. Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, and on unselfish performance; without them it cannot live.

Restoration calls, however, not for changes in ethics alone. This Nation is asking for action, and action now.

Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously. It can be accomplished in part by direct recruiting by the Government itself, treating the task as we would treat the emergency of a war, but at the same time, through this employment, accomplishing great -- greatly needed projects to stimulate and reorganize the use of our great natural resources.

Hand in hand with that we must frankly recognize the overbalance of population in our industrial centers and, by engaging on a national scale in a redistribution, endeavor to provide a better use of the land for those best fitted for the land.

Yes, the task can be helped by definite efforts to raise the values of agricultural products, and with this the power to purchase the output of our cities. It can be helped by preventing realistically the tragedy of the growing loss through foreclosure of our small homes and our farms. It can be helped by insistence that the Federal, the State, and the local governments act forthwith on the demand that their cost be drastically reduced. It can be helped by the unifying of relief activities which today are often scattered, uneconomical, unequal. It can be helped by national planning for and supervision of all forms of transportation and of communications and other utilities that have a definitely public character. There are many ways in which it can be helped, but it can never be helped by merely talking about it.

We must act. We must act quickly.

And finally, in our progress towards a resumption of work, we require two safeguards against a return of the evils of the old order. There must be a strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments. There must be an end to speculation with other people's money. And there must be provision for an adequate but sound currency.

These, my friends, are the lines of attack. I shall presently urge upon a new Congress in special session detailed measures for their fulfillment, and I shall seek the immediate assistance of the 48 States.

Through this program of action we address ourselves to putting our own national house in order and making income balance outgo. Our international trade relations, though vastly important, are in point of time, and necessity, secondary to the establishment of a sound national economy. I favor, as a practical policy, the putting of first things first. I shall spare no effort to restore world trade by international economic readjustment; but the emergency at home cannot wait on that accomplishment.

The basic thought that guides these specific means of national recovery is not nationally -- narrowly nationalistic. It is the insistence, as a first consideration, upon the interdependence of the various elements in and parts of the United States of America -- a recognition of the old and permanently important manifestation of the American spirit of the pioneer. It is the way to recovery. It is the immediate way. It is the strongest assurance that recovery will endure.

In the field of world policy, I would dedicate this Nation to the policy of the good neighbor: the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others; the neighbor who respects his obligations and respects the sanctity of his agreements in and with a world of neighbors.

If I read the temper of our people correctly, we now realize, as we have never realized before, our interdependence on each other; that we can not merely take, but we must give as well; that if we are to go forward, we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline, because without such discipline no progress can be made, no leadership becomes effective.

We are, I know, ready and willing to submit our lives and our property to such discipline, because it makes possible a leadership which aims at the larger good. This, I propose to offer, pledging that the larger purposes will bind upon us, bind upon us all as a sacred obligation with a unity of duty hitherto evoked only in times of armed strife.

With this pledge taken, I assume unhesitatingly the leadership of this great army of our people dedicated to a disciplined attack upon our common problems.

Action in this image, action to this end is feasible under the form of government which we have inherited from our ancestors. Our Constitution is so simple, so practical that it is possible always to meet extraordinary needs by changes in emphasis and arrangement without loss of essential form. That is why our constitutional system has proved itself the most superbly enduring political mechanism the modern world has ever seen.

It has met every stress of vast expansion of territory, of foreign wars, of bitter internal strife, of world relations. And it is to be hoped that the normal balance of executive and legislative authority may be wholly equal, wholly adequate to meet the unprecedented task before us. But it may be that an unprecedented demand and need for undelayed action may call for temporary departure from that normal balance of public procedure.

I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world may require. These measures, or such other measures as the Congress may build out of its experience and wisdom, I shall seek, within my constitutional authority, to bring to speedy adoption.

But, in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these two courses, in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis -- broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.

For the trust reposed in me, I will return the courage and the devotion that befit the time. I can do no less.

We face the arduous days that lie before us in the warm courage of national unity; with the clear consciousness of seeking old and precious moral values; with the clean satisfaction that comes from the stern performance of duty by old and young alike. We aim at the assurance of a rounded, a permanent national life.

We do not distrust the -- the future of essential democracy. The people of the United States have not failed. In their need they have registered a mandate that they want direct, vigorous action. They have asked for discipline and direction under leadership. They have made me the present instrument of their wishes. In the spirit of the gift I take it.

In this dedication -- In this dedication of a Nation, we humbly ask the blessing of God.

May He protect each and every one of us.

May He guide me in the days to come.


Bye now...(NSFW)

...I'll call you.


Indoor training is a curse and a blessing.

It sucks so incredibly hard, but believe it or not, there's actually quite a bit of benefit to it. Within the bigger picture, the stationary trainer is a very useful tool to use in the icy depths of winter, completing your rebound to the upcoming season.

Since mid-October, or later if you did Cyclocross (I am still in the ever-increasing minority), you should've been getting easy rides during the week with a fun, yet hard club/team ride on the weekend, and since December - nothing really out of the small chainring. Weight-lifting has also been taking up quite a bit of your time, and as of January 1st - at least if you're me - really getting strict on what you are eating. No more fried foods, no more alcohol. And no snacking. Eat a big, yet sensible breakfast to set yourself for a day of good eating decisions.

Don't let yourself go crazy however, setting yourself up for a binge. Allow yourself to enjoy the taboos and verboten on the occasional weekend. Last night Katy and I enjoyed three beers each and a couple massive plates of barbeque at The Smoke Daddy, complete with gooey white bread, sweet potato fries, mac n' cheese, and collard greens. It's meals like this that make me thank God I am a cyclist...for that morning, I'd already burned over 2000 calories on the stationary trainer with eight others in a teammate's garage.

We started at 7am, and since most of us have the same coach, three hours was the workout. Since it still is only January, no real intensity is prescribed. Yet, now is the time to begin really getting deep into the saddle, focusing on your form, and most importantly, being uninterrupted as you persevere through discomfort, building callouses, both physically and mentally. Finding the elusive, vaporous, almost mythical suplesse.

No stoplights, no ice patches, no flat tires. No impatient drivers, dropped bidons, or chasing dogs.

Only minute after minute after minute after interminable minute of riding in place.

Don't get off yet. You have another hour.

Teammates and friends with you to get you through it is what really makes it possible. By yourself, it's almost unbearable. The stories and jokes told take on lives of their own, become fodder for rides still weeks to come, and then move into legend, if funny enough. The Odwalla bar joke still has legs after more than a year.

After, we move upstairs from the garage or basement for a breakfast. If you are hosting, you better be a good delegater - you have up to 10 ravenous cyclists whose bodies are screaming for protein and carbs...NOW. Pancakes, eggs, bacon, juice, and lots of coffee - LOTS...of...coffee...are par for the morning. Sated, some linger, others head home for errands or naps.

These mornings are the first layer down of a cement that will harden into a bond, unbreakable come the sun and sweet-scented breezes of April.


Thanks, Alaska

It may not surprise you, if you already don't realize, that the bone-numbing, teeth-shattering cold you probably at this moment are steeling yourself to venture out into, came down to us from Alaska - the weather system responsible for those poor souls' previous 2 weeks of misery. It didn't get above -20 degrees in my normally temperate hometown of Anchorage. Fairbanks was lucky to see -40 below.

As extreme as this may seem however, it's fairly normal. At least once a year, a low-pressure zone plops itself down over the state and sits for a least a week. Freezing pipes, taking fingers, toes, noses, earlobes, forcing people to leave their cars running while they run into the grocery store. The city doesn't stop, though. The power plant and gas company needs to keep working so people can stay warm, restaurants continue to serve food so people can eat, and schools stay open so kids can learn.

I remember at least once a year we'd get a week where we would be forced to walk or wait for the bus to school in -25 degree temps. Every square inch of skin covered, our faces hidden beneath our fur-lined hoods. No conversation at all. Just icy breathing.

In fact, school was canceled exactly twice (three if you count the eruption of Mt. St. Augustine in 1986, due to ash)in the 12 years I went to public school up there. The first cancellation was called because the outside temperature was no more than -50. Later, in Jr. High, we received over three feet of snow overnight in March, on the heels of a mild winter. Almost all of the previous snowfall had melted and we felt we were well on our way to an early spring. That morning, a bus flipped over, classes were canceled, and we spent the day digging out cars on our street for $10 a pop.

So, in the end, it ain't all that bad for us here...but 15 below is still 15 below.

And Alaska can keep it.


Hump Day

January 14th: 187 lbs. And a new belt hole.

50 Days.

"In a world..."


Blagojevich "taint"? You can say that again! Served, motherfucker.


The opening auditions for American Idol are my favorite and the only thing I will watch of this show. I love the ones that come in and have no delusions about making the show, and just want to piss Simon off and make as big a scene as possible. They know they've won and that America will be talking about them at the coffee maker the next morning.


Whoever is did the latest Subway commercial deserves a big, fat contract renegotiated. The 1812 Overture spot with the buttons flying off and chairs breaking over the cannon shots is brilliant. When the BOSU ball popped I laughed so hard I popped my buttons. Don't tell me Whoppers and Big Mac are going to make me a fat, disgusting, slob. Show me.

No really, please show me. I can't find a link to this spot, anywhere.


Tuesday Shuffle

In a blatant theft of The A.V. Club's Random Rules in order to boost material and my hipster cred (until that Miley Cyrus track come up) I'll be posting a weekly list of three songs, in order, that pop up on my iPod in shuffle-mode. I may or may not offer any commentary.

Morrissey – Interesting Drug
Man, I am so glad I hooked up with the people I did in my post-college years. Growing up in Alaska, I barely ever listened to anything remotely resembling good music, and certainly nothing that would expand your mind in any way. Your family either had a float plane and/or at least one gun or you listened to Culture Club and The Smiths and got beat up and picked on by those people. I was truly the odd man out – my family never had the impetus to get me involved in all those manly Alaskan outdoor sports, save some fishing every so often. Yet I was never exposed to the other end of the spectrum either, because it usually came with trenchcoats and headbands and hung out in the AV room. Nor did I have the confidence to strike out on my own. But I did have a link – classical music performance, that gave me the curiosity to pick up the bass guitar – that would finally open me up to the vast world all that was good and interesting in pop-music once I started performing in aband upon dropping out of grad school.

One Love (Utah Saints Remix) – The Stone Roses
Probably the #1 influence of that first band I played in, the britpoppy Kiss n' Ride, with Kevin Flynn, now leading the eponymously named Avondale Ramblers.

I Can’t Understand It – Cheap Trick
You'll hear a lot of CT as I have Sex, America, Cheap Trick loaded onto my 5GB Nano. Nothing beats a warm summer night at the Fest in Milwaukee with these guys on stage and my 6th or 7th Leinie's in hand.


Monday Verses


Like a bad best friend with a pack of smokes
Leading me with him to take a few tokes
Tempting to ditch my good boy church friends
Whose eyes linger on through an envious lens.

Killing it all, a mother's good work
Gone to waste for a laugh in the park
That's his trick, for a smile in winter
Just pay the price of ruing the summer.


Hump Day 2: Beyond the Ennui

January 1st: 190 pounds (nine lighter than this time last year).

January 8th: 188 pounds.

The obsession begins. 56 Days.


I got a Venus razor. Took the maiden (so to speak) shave just now. Much better than the mug blades. No nicks, much faster, and very smooth.


There's a new coffee shop in the hood. I'm kind of excited about this one, after the disappointment of Heavenly.

Last May, that gelateria and coffee shop opened just up the street to great promise: organic gelato and ice cream, even vegan selections. Good espresso. Owned by an Olympic athlete and his family. A very friendly place to grab an after dinner or post-ride treat. Until they started not-being-open in the morning half the time I'd want a coffee heading to the train. And when they were open, the counter was manned by what seemed to be some sort of Teamster who'd only gotten job on union seniority. He would awkwardly come from around the counter to pour my coffee at the self-serve station, and then handle my cash and change with the dexterity of a four year-old running a lemonade stand. They've not been open since before Christmas. I haven't been back.

New Wave Coffee, just south of Logan on Milwaukee Ave, seems to have immediate staying power: a niche, the space to lounge, and the hours to accommodate. Yes, that's a Men At Work cover below. There are 80's LP covers framed throughout the entire store.

I've also finally been convinced that there are white hipsters living in Logan Square. Before, you just had to take the word of the people you'd meet in Wicker Park or Bucktown. Nothing like coffee, an 80's theme, and a large, safe space to bring us out into the light.

I want at least one ride to start at this shop this spring. These people could use some spandex and male camel toes in their mornings.




Hump Day

Remember when this commercial ran back in 1999, as a life affirmation for thousands of goth co-opting, black-clad, latte-swilling, Jetta-driving Lincoln Park yuppies?

Yeah, it's still pretty cool.

Just this morning, as I was making my pot of french-press, my kettle started whistling as I used the grinder and they were in the same key.


Of Treadmills and Twinkies

The year is barely a week old and already there is so much to hate.

January is absolutely the worst month to work out at the gym for someone who has a consistent work plan and long-term dedication to getting something done in there.

All summer-long, my only exercise is bike-bike-bike and come November, it’s time to give my body something else to focus on. I head into the gym when it gets too cold to ride outside regularly and address all the muscles and movements that have been neglected for the last 6 months. For two whole months I can flail around the room as much as I want and not worry at all about bumping into any one or having to wait for so much as a medicine ball. The treadmills are empty, the weight-machines gather dust, and one elliptical is occupied by a very slow moving pregnant woman.

Until racing season begins my overall regimen progresses methodically over a pyramid – from a light, stability- and muscle-recruitment focused work as I lay a base for the very heavy weights in the force production phase, then finally to plyometrics and speed drills to work the fast twitch for sprinting. None of the latter is possible without the earlier ground work. So for November and December, it’s fairly easy, low-stress stuff: fun core exercises, balance drills, full-body movements. It progresses up to crazy, Cirque-de-Soleil acts with me contorting on the stability ball in a “W”-shape as the red resistance bands are doubled up around my neck while I pulse my arms and legs rhythmically to Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl.”

Good times.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world is bathing in ham glaze, eating Christmas cookies dipped in cheese fondue, washing it down with Scotch and eggnog, all the while ignoring the fact that suddenly very soon they are going to have to face reality – like Wile E. Coyote opening the door to see a freight train bearing down on him.

I’m no teetotaler myself, mind you. I did my fair share of cocktailing and indulgence over the past 5 weeks. Yet, always in the back of mind was the little reminder that it would be so much easier when it was all over to get down to business if I skipped that fourth cookie and third Manhattan. I kept at it in the gym and kept a goal in sight.

All they can do is hold up a little white sign that reads only, “Help” and bang. InstaFattie.

So on January 5th my little safe haven at work – the office gym – became a mad house filled with desperate people trying to undue the damage while I needed to start getting down to said business. Because getting down to business in January is really about getting down to biznez in March so I can start winning races on the bike come April. These people flail away without any sense of direction, and I am in the gym to work (hard - and efficiently - I have less than an hour) as part of a plan that starts in November and ends in March as my plane takes off to California with my bike in the cargo hold.

“Do I need this machine? Yes, I do. I have a minute fifteen between each set and I have four to go. You’ll have to wait.”

Well-timed rest in between sets is integral to getting results and I’m not about to get off the leg press so you can randomly select a weight and push it with bad form an indeterminate amount of times while you give more concentration to the soap opera that’s on the flat screen over the mirrored wall. I know that makes me a monumental asshole, but maybe you should’ve come in here with some planning and forethought.

Assholes get things done.

Oh well, most of these people won’t make it ten workouts and will be gone by February. And to those of you, who stay, welcome to the club.


Bonus Hate:

Who wipes their boogers on the wall in the men’s room?!? There’re paper towels and toilet paper everywhere and you can’t be bothered to dispose of your nose-rocks properly? And you’re an adult! A kid I can maybe understand – the bathroom stalls at summer camp were littered with little green mines all over the walls – but there are rules you learn while growing up, not to mention a sense of common courtesy.

Maybe that’s it. The one I saw this morning was particularly large and bloody. A fine specimen, I have to admit.

I guess he just wanted to share?