Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hell No, I Won't Blow

The snowblower is staying in the garage. I don't care how much of this snow shit we get (unless my wife tells me to blow out the driveway).

I'm working from home today, and there ain't much work to be done. I just finished 30 minutes on the rollers, and I think I'll do a chest workout after lunch. I'll be lifting legs with Franz tonight, so that makes 3 workouts in one day. I guess I have an excuse to finish off those Girl Scout Cookies.

Monday, March 30, 2009

TCR Advanced 3 - First Ride, Impressions, Pics, Etc.

I was hoping for a really nice day to take my new bike out for its maiden voyage, but since that didn't happen (and it looks like shitty weather is imminent for the remainder of the week) I decided to bundle up and take it out yesterday.

I'll start with pics, since that's all anyone cares about anyway.

Every tube on this bike is shaped or formed in some way.

Big, beefy bottom bracket

The press-fit bearings are a nice touch, allowing for a bigger BB area, and eliminating the external bearing cups.

Way better than an integrated seatmast

The only issue I have is the shitty bar/stem combo. As soon as I get my fit dialed I'll be ordering something cooler.

Overally first impressions: This bike rocks. Hardcore. All that "vertically compliant and laterally stiff" bullshit aside, this bike is the 2nd-stiffest thing I've ever had between my legs (get it, huh? huh? I'm talking about my Tiemeyer, pervo). I've never before experienced the sensation of every ounce of power going directly to the rear wheel, but it was there yesterday.

I didn't really know what to expect, having never ridden a carbon bike before. It doesn't soak up big bumps or chip & seal, but it does elimate the chatter on rough roads that I experienced with my other bikes.

The compact geometry seems to fit me well, too. I've never had such an easy time getting comfortable on a bike. I usually have to micro-adjust everything for weeks, but I was pleased with my position after only about 10 minutes of toying with it on the rollers.

The 105 components are about what I expected. Much better than SRAM, not quite as crisp as Dura-Ace, but still better than the circa-2005 Ultegra I'd used previously. If it turns out I do more riding on the road, I would likely upgrade the shifters and derailleurs to Ultegra SL.

The stock wheels went with my old bike, and I swapped in the Cane Creek Volos for a savings of over 400 grams, which should put the bike close to 17 pounds. No, it's not super-light, but I rather prefer it that way. It feels solid, which is what I was looking for.

Overall, I'm very impressed. Without a great deal of experience with different road bikes, I'm probably not the ideal person to provide product reviews, but I'm very particular about my equipment, and this bike did not disappoint. For the price, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find something as nice. The bike was 100% redesigned for 2009, and is a lot closer to the new Advanced SL than it is to the '08 TCR Advanced.

I'm not one to keep my displeasure quiet, so if I have future issues with this bike, you'll hear about it here.


It was a damn productive weekend. Friday, I skipped out of work early and met Luke at the shop to get my new bike all fitted up. We switched out the wheels and did some minor adjustments, and also got my Leader ready to sell.

Speaking of the Leader, I sent it on down the road on Saturday morning. A guy named Darren met me in the Western 'burbs and bought the bike. I didn't get quite as much as I wanted for it, but I'm glad to have it gone. Hopefully he'll use it more than I did.

That night, my sister and her boyfriend came over for dinner and drinks. I got a little more fucked up than I had planned on. Sunday morning came really early.

Max had his final baseball camp of the winter, and I can't believe how much he's progressed in just 3 weeks. He looks infinitely more confident when stepping up to the plate, and is actually swinging hard instead of just hoping to make contact. Also, he doesn't cry anymore when he gets tagged out. Always a plus.

I got out for an hour on my new bike yesterday. More on that later...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Brings A Tear To My Eye

We mounted a cyclocomputer on Max's bike, and he spent the whole afternoon doing speed runs down the driveway.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Best Idea Ever

OK, maybe not the best ever, but I sure appreciate not having to pick crayons up off the nasty restaurant floor.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hey Kids, Wanna Go Swimming At The Park?

Believe it or not, this used to be a park. Yikes.

I have family up in Fargo that have flood waters creeping through their sandbags right now, getting frigheningly close to their house. It's getting scary up there. I was going to go up today to help, but they said there's nothing to do now but wait and hope. Well, here's hoping...

In Case You're Living In A Hole...

The World Track Championships are going on this week. Although I haven't been able to see any of the streaming video, I'm getting excited just checking the (almost) live results.

Here's some of the highlights so far.
  • The British Team Sprint team got smoked by France in the finals, proving how much they need Chris Hoy. Plus, what's up with their skinsuits? I've seen tighter necklines on strippers.
  • Despite having 2 riders in the keirin finals, GB once again failed to secure a medal. Max Levy from Germany was the winner. I have a feeling GB is training right through the World Champs on a long ramp-up for the 2012 Olympics. Either that, or they've lost their edge.
  • 18-year-old Taylor Phinney became the first Male US World Track Champion in 13 years, breaking his own American Record on the way. I'm not gonna lie, I was skeptical of this kid when he first came on the scene. It just seemed like there was too much hype for him to ever live up to. I think yesterday he exceeded any expecations anyone ever had for him. He's legit. And has an awesome name.
  • My boy Cavendish got lapped in the scratch race and finished 7th. He's still got the Madison to try to redeem himself.
  • Simona Krupeckaite set a world record in the 500m TT with a 33.296. As a comparison, that's faster than the first 500m of any team sprint I've ever been a part of. And she's a chick. And she didn't use aerobars. Craziness.
  • Just now, the (reigning World Champion) GB Team Pursuit team failed to qualify for the gold medal race.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ouch! Too Much Hotness!

I am SO not worthy of this bike.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


The last week has been nuts for me. I had Friday off for my Great Aunt's funeral. It was the least sad funeral I've ever been to. Nevermind that she'd been ready to die for several weeks, the preacher was awful. He was the type that uses what should be a celebration of someone's life to further his own fire & brimstone philosophy and tell us how horrible we are. Fun. My uncle was also in rare form. Inexplicably, he had cut a picture of a pig out of a magazine and was trying to tape it on peoples' backs. Who does that?

Since Kristin had to work on Saturday, it was just Addi and me. We went back to my grandma's house, thinking that the rest of the crew would be shortly behind us. After hanging out with my grandpa's caretaker for half an hour (awkward!), we left and went to Pizza Hut, where we saw my favorite ambiguously gay townie.

We spent all day Saturday hanging out at my grandma's farm, which was awesome. I miss living in the country at times. The weather was perfect - almost 70 degrees out and sunny.

We got home late Saturday night, and during the drive I realized that my radio shuts off for a few seconds when I turn on my high beams in the Exploder. FAIL.

After baseball camp on Sunday, Kristin left for some hair thing at the MOA, so the kids and I just kicked it.

Yesterday I had to put the finishing touches on a project at work, so I think I can finally relax a bit.

Let's see, what else is new...

I ordered my new bike!

It will be arriving this week...just in time for shitty weather.

My current bike is on Craigslist, and it makes me remember why I prefer to use E-Bay. Sure, boxing and shipping a bike is a pain in the ass, but it's not nearly as annoying as entertaining lowball offers from half-wits who think Craigslist is the bargain bin.

My knee has been bugging me ever since the ride last Tuesday. I think I just rode too long for my first outdoor ride of the year. I'll back it off a bit and start at an hour at a time, then gradually ramp it up. I dunno...I dealt with this crap 3 years ago and it damn near ruined my riding season.

I'm planning to do a couple crits and/or shorter road races this year. Should be...um...interesting.

My ergo workouts started out really poorly this year, but they've improved rapidly and my power/weight ratio is actually a bit better than at this time last year. I'm tellin' ya, changing my diet has done wonders.

So far my workouts have been really sporadic, but I plan to get more serious soon. Like, now.

That's all I got.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tri Bike For Sale

SRAM Rival build kit, aluminum frame, full carbon aero fork, Profile T2+ aerobars. The bike has roughly 50 miles on it and is in like-new condition. Hit me up if you're interested.

More Baseball Camp

This is a hell of a good time for the kids. The Tech High School baseball team helps out with the camp, so the 5-6 year olds get lots of good instruction and get to learn from the "cool kids".

There's a huge disparity in skills at this age. There's one kid who is probably better than some of the high schoolers, and then there are a few who still don't know which hand their glove goes on. Max is somewhere in the middle, but I'm amazed at how far he's come in just a couple weeks.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Broken Phone Charger

I've been zapped by it thrice, but refuse to buy a new one.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Much Better

OMG, I Can't Believe It's In!

Installation went smooth, but removing the DRM from all my iTunes songs so I can put them on a USB drive is proving to be a pain in the ass.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Last night I dragged my fat ass out onto the road for my first group ride in almost 2 years. They haven't gotten any easier, and I got my ass handed to me.

There was a good group of 11 riders, which is always fun. We started out heading North into the wind, and I could tell within 25 minutes of riding that my great idea to build a road bike that mimicked my track sprinting position was not going to go well. I was way too far over the bottom bracket and my knees and quads were screaming at me (more on that at the end of this post).

I got a flat about an hour into the ride and ended up with a group of 4 trying to chase back onto the rest of the pack. Matt and Slick (who was on a freakin' Poprad) popped me off the back on a couple of the climbs, but I didn't do nearly as poorly and I imagined I would. Hopefully everyone else was hurting, too. I, unfortunately, had to endure the shame of being the first one to crack. Even Franz dropped me once, and he's got 17.4% body fat. Sad.

We ended up unkowingly taking a different route than the rest of the group and were still trying to catch them, so we did about 2 hours of tempo riding. Not my tempo, mind you. The tempo of skinny Cat 1/2 roadies. Ouch.

I'm pretty sure I offended Doc. To be fair, I was only repeating some vulgar phrases that someone else had said, but I forgot he's such a square. Oops. Anyway, after that, I let a gap open up and he had to close it. I'm kind of a dick.

OK, so back to my bike situation. I'm getting rid of the fucker. I still don't like the SRAM components and the fit doesn't work for rides of any appreciable length. Plus, the super-stiff frame beats the shit out of me.

I'm leaning toward a Giant TCR Advanced 3, but I'm open to other suggestions. I was originally going to buy the frame only, but I want to switch back to Shimano components, so I'll likely buy the complete bike.

Which brings me to my current bike. What do I do with it? I can't really sell it as-is, because who the hell wants a tri frame set up like a road bike? I could put aerobars on it and sell it as a tri bike, but the SRAM bar-end shifters are expensive, and I'm not sure I would get my money back out of it. I could keep it, but I doubt I'd ride it very much. Hmmm...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

So Much For That Whole Weight Loss Thing

Girl Scout Cookies are here!

Ironically, I hit my goal weight of 195 just this morning.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Weekend Shopping

Friday night I stopped by the bike shop to pick up tires...

...and gloves

I needed new gloves because my old ones looked like this:

White leather is not good for everyday use.

Sunday, I went to the home fitness place to get a dumbell rack, because I need to do something about this mess:

They had to order it, so it won't be in until Thursday, but I also bought some more flooring while I was there. It used to look like this:

I just had the pads on either side of the bench so I could drop my dumbells without putting a hole in the concrete floor, but it was a pain in the ass. Now it looks like this:

While I was there, I picked up this body fat monitor, which seems to actually work!

Then we went to Sportsman's Warehouse for their liquidation sale. I had a gift card that I needed to use before they closed for good. We bought a tube. I'm totally going to look like that lady when I ride it.

I'm Handy

After much searching, we were able to locate Max's missing Ben 10 watch. He was ecstatic. So much so, in fact, that me broke the damn thing within about 10 minutes of playing with it.

It seemed like one of the internal sensors wasn't working properly. Knowing that this damn plastic watch is worth more than my fake Rolex, I was determined to fix it.

I took it apart and found that there was a spring-loaded trigger mechanism that was not returning to it's orignal position, so I fixed it. That's right I fuckin' fixed something! WIN!

Max was happy. He only looks angry in this photo because "that's how superheroes look, Dad." I'm so out of touch!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Toy Hype

My son had this Ben 10 watch (I have no idea), which apparently was his favorite toy, despite never playing with it. Well, he's lost it and wants another one.

We stopped at a couple stores yesterday, but they were out of stock. I looked online to find out that these watches have become very rare and are now a collectors' item which sells for over $100 in most places.

Wha? It's a child's watch that allows you to fight aliens. Srsly?

We're going to look harder.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stereo Installation Fail

So it turns out the stereo is really easy to install...provided you order the correct wiring harness. Shit. Apparently I ordered one designed for a vehicle with a factory subwoofer, which mine does not have. It's always the little things.

On the bright side, I was able to get my speakers installed successfully and they sound awesome, even with the stock CD deck.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Today Is A Good MF'ing Day

I'm working from home today, which is always awesome. I sat around in my boxers and drank coffee for about an hour. Awesome. Then I went to the doctor and found out I do not have strep, which is also awesome!

I then went out to lunch with my family to celebrate my father-in-law's birthday. We bought him undies. Srsly. While we were there, I got a text message from T-Mobile that new software is available for my Blackberry which supposedly addresses all the issues I've been having with it, and also adds video capture and several other useful features. Awesome.

When I got home, these boxes were waiting for me.

What could they be?

Pimp! My new stereo equipment arrived several days sooner than I had expected. As an added bonus, the installation is going to be significantly easier than I had anticipated (remains to be seen, but the instructions look simple).

The bad news is that my current 5th-Gen iPod can connect to the new stereo and play music, but cannot be controlled by the head unit as the distributor had stated. Good news is that I get to start looking at new iPods!

I'm also feeling really good about my general health and fitness and I'm ready for Spring. There are so few days where I'm literally jumping around the house because I'm in such a good mood, and this is one of them. Awesome.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Vacation Days 5-8

Day 5 we went to the Mayan Ruins in Tulum. It was extraordinarily boring.

At least they had an ocean.

Then we got to go on a zip-line over the jungle (well, as close to a jungle as you can find in Mexico). We had to wear helmets.

Look how freakin' high up we are. If I fall, a helmet is not going to help.

We also went rappelling into this cave.

Back at the resort for dinner, we drank several of these, the official drink of La Riveria Maya.

Dinner at the steakhouse. Best food ever.

Day 6 we pretty much just hung out by the ocean.
And the pool.
And the ocean again. This made me think of Baywatch!

We also had this delicious steak for dinner. That's not blood, it's some type of sauce.

Day 7 we spent shopping in Playa del Carmen. "Why don't you like my stuff?"

We had dinner at a Japanese restarant. This guy was our chef.

Note the egg in the air.

Day 8 was our final day. We said good bye to the ocean...

And waited for the trolly to come take us to the lobby to check out. Sad.

This was by far the best vacation of my life. I wanna go back!