Saturday, December 11, 2010

Vail

Kristin and I got invited to go to Vail with Ted and Julie. We had an absolute blast, but I wish I had spent more time on my skis before venturing out West. Ted was so excited prior to our arrival that I thought he was going to piss himself. He may have...I didn't really ask for details. The source of this excitement was the fact that Blue Sky Basin would be opening up for the first time this year on the day we were arriving. With over 8 feet of snow in November, this meant lots of fresh powder to ski.

Remember how I just took up skiing less than a year ago? Yeah.

Having never skied in powder before, I assumed it would be similar to other skiing, just more...powdery. Not so much. Shit's hard! On our way to the "back bowls" was a moderately steep, ungroomed run. The top was super crusty, with really light powder underneath. The first time I tried to turn, only one ski went where it was supposed to, while the other went the opposite direction. I did the splits, went head-first into the snow, and lost both my skis. Long story short, it took me 40 minutes to navigate my way down that hill. Shameful. By the time we got to the "fresh powder", it wasn't quite so fresh anymore.

Halfway down, I somehow found myself at the top of a cliff, which sucked. At that time, Ted came flying by and declared, "Oh, Taylor, I was hoping you wouldn't be in here." Oops. It took me a bit to figure out how to get around it, but I finally made my way to the bottom. Ted had completed 3 runs in that time. *Sigh* I suck. It should be noted that Ted is some sort of skiing superstar, which highlighted by suckage.

Fortunately (for the sake of my pride), Kristin also sucked at skiing. She just picked up skiing last year as well, and she was having major confidence issues and just wasn't having fun. That was a major bummer, since the main point of this trip was to celebrate her birthday. On our 3rd day there, she finally decided to switch back to snowboarding and had a much better time.

I found there are a lot of similarities between skiing and mountain biking. The most obvious being that you need to fully commit to your line/jump/trick in order to be successful. I spent far too much time skiing tentatively, but I started to figure it out as the trip went on. I'm about as good at skiing now as I ever was at snowboarding, and I'm hoping that I'll keep getting better with more experience. And bigger balls.

Kristin after our first day of skiing. That shit's tiring!
Great view! The mountains are pretty, too.
The switch to 'boarding went much better
The crew
My cousin, Erica, and her boyfriend live in Denver and came to see us for the day.
The best part of the day: beers apr├Ęs ski!
If I ever get invited back again (hint-hint), I think I would do a few things differently. I would get skis designed for big mountain skiing, and I would get a lot more time in on my skis prior to leaving. Hopefully my progress will continue throughout the winter.

This was one of the coolest trips I've been on, and was a fantastic experience. Also, my helmet had speakers in it, and my playlist for the trip was perfect. At least I get the important things right!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Perot '92? On A Brand New Car? Really?

Saw this on my way to work today. Dude must have a stash from like 20 years ago.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Cleanin' Out My Closet...er, Sack.

This is the bag I brought to the track every week for 3 years. Yesterday, I emptied it out.

It was actually a pretty somber experience. Lots of memories in there. Numbers from Fixed Gear Classic, workout notes, goals, and various assorted tools (so that's where my pitch angle level went!)

I really illustrated how much I loved racing. No regrets, but I will miss it.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Hey, I've Got A Dog. My Next Workout Program?

By Popular Demand, The P90X Update

Here's the short version: I quit.

Here's the longer version:

I finished the first month and actually had pretty good results. Then I got sick and didn't work out for a week, then life got in the way and I kind of lost interest.

After the first week, I realized that I needed to modify some of the workouts to better fit my goals. This included modifying the chest workout to include heavy bench press instead of doing 800 different variation of push-ups.

The cardio-based workouts (Kenpo, plyometrics) were actually a great workout and quite a bit of fun.

Consistently working out 6 days a week is also a great recipe for results.

The bottom line, however, is that I just didn't really care for the majority of the workouts. They were all very repetitive (doing cycles of the same 4 exercises for an hour, the 2-hour yoga video, etc...) and I didn't enjoy them.

The principles are sound. Mix up the workouts, throw in plenty of cardio, eat right, and stay consistent. For someone who wants a "no-brainer", the program is perfect. I just feel like I know my body well enough to design a program for myself that I enjoy doing and gives me the results I want.

The problem there is that I've been a lazy sack of shit lately. Work and family life have been super busy and I've had a hard time keeping up with the "extras" in life. Hopefully things will be calming down here shortly and I can start lifting and xc skiing. And maybe even blogging.

Friday, November 12, 2010

So Long, Old Friend

The ergo is going to live with jonnycerious. This is a very bittersweet moment for me.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Monday Night Ride

I finally got myself motivated to hit up the Monday Night MTB Ride last night. It was a relatively small turn-out with Franz, Ben, Bauerly, and myself. Fortunately (for me) we kept the pace manageable and and I was able to just enjoy a nice ride through the woods.

It was probably one of my favorite rides so far this year. The weather was perfect and the trail was in the best shape I've ever seen it.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Me Make Beer

Now that I'm retired, I figure I have both the time and desire to brew and drink lots of beer.

I've always been intrigued with the beer brewing process, but never had the time or expertise to pull it off myself. I've had some pretty shitty homebrews, and I didn't want to be the guy that makes his friends drink his shitty beer. My sister's boyfriend started homebrewing, as did one of my coworkers, and their beer was delicious. I got inspired.

A couple of wonderful folks gave me money for my birthday to put towards some brewing equipment. I bought everything I needed, but still had no idea what I was doing. Fortunately, my co-worker let me tag along while he brewed a batch so I could learn the ropes. It seemed pretty simple.

I was originally planning to wait until this weekend to brew my first batch, but I got impatient last night and decided it was time. The sooner I start, the sooner I'm drinking, right? Right.

The first thing I did was kill all my yeast by accidentally dumping it into boiling water. Fuck.

Fortunately, I read somewhere that one should always have a spare packet of yeast on-hand. Finally, following instructions pays off!

I boiled my wort and was super anal about monitoring the time and temperature to be sure I did everything right. It was actually kind of stressful, because clearly I am a big lame-o.
I then cooled the wort using my new wort chiller. Sweet, huh? Yes, that copper coil thing is one of the sweetest brewing accessories on the market.

So, now it's (hopefully) fermenting in my basement. I'm not really used to hobbies where I have to wait 4 weeks to see results, so this is a new experience for me.

The best thing about brewing is that all of the equipment I needed cost as much as one set of pedals for my track bike.

I was planning to set up a keg system so I wouldn't have to deal with bottles, but thought that may be getting a bit ahead of myself. Maybe we should see how this first batch turns out first.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

So I'm Old Now

[note: pics at the bottom if you don't care what I have to say]

To start out, you should know that my wife has never once, in her life, surprised me. I've always known what she's getting me for birthdays, Christmas, and anniversaries. In short, she is not very sneaky. She's also not very good on the computer.

So, imagine my shock when she was able to pull off a surprise 30th birthday party for me! Using EVites, nonetheless!

In the back of my mind, I guess I knew it was a possiblity, but there were no signs that it was going to happen. We went out to dinner with Franz and Julie and then were going to head to the martini bar. When we left the house, I thought, "I wonder if she's getting me out of here so people can come over and surprise me when we get home." But then I looked around and thought, "Our house is a fucking mess, Kristin would never let anyone come over here with it looking like this."

We went to eat at White Horse and had a seat right by the window. About halfway through dinner, my friend Luke walked by outside. I thought it was a bit odd to see him there, but we called him in off the street and determined that he was in town to see his girlfriend.

I still had no clue.

We finished eating and made our way to the martini bar, where I was surprised by about 30 of my friends and family. I almost had a pregnant! My immediate reaction was to turn to Kristin, Franz, and Julie, and yell, 'You suck!" Classy.

We then proceeded to have a fabulous night. It was so much fun to hang out and consume girly drinks with everyone. I felt like shit in the morning, but it was totally worth it!

I had a couple Key Lime martinis, some smart-ass (*cough-Jeremy-cough*) ordered me a Flirtini, and I also had something called a Curious Cucumber. We also had lots of delicious food, which I was too full to eat.

Pics with no commentary:






Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Think I May Have Just Made A Mature Decision...

As I've mentioned before, I've been forever lusting after a Jeep Wrangler. I even found the awesomest awesome ever. I almost had a pregnant when I beheld it!
I've also been having visions of driving one of those new 4-door pickups.
Think of all the amazing thing I could (but wouldn't) do! The offroading, the towing, the hauling. Ya know, man stuff. *Sigh*

Since my 30th birthday is coming up in less than a week (holy shit!), my wife evidently lost her mind decided to surprise me by giving me the go-ahead to get a new vehicle. I'd been dreaming of this day, but sadly became quite depressed once reality sunk in. I'm a cheap bastard, and I can't believe how expensive vehicles are. Plus, I love the idea of not having a car payment.

Even though a Jeep had been one of my dream cars, I had to eliminate it from contention because it's completely impractical and makes absolutely no sense as a daily driver. Also, fuckers are expensive.

I started looking at trucks and came to a similar conclusion. I've got 2 kids, which necessitates a crew cab ($$$$$), I can't stand cloth upholstery so it's gotta have leather ($$$$$), and I also wanted less than 50,000 miles ($$$$$). I really like the Nissan Titans, and they are actually rather reasonably priced, but I just couldn't do it.

I already have a decent SUV with a V8 and leather, and couldn't justify spending $25K on something only marginally better. And that's for trucks that are 3-4 years old! Don't even get me started on the new ones! I can't fathom why anyone would pay what new vehicles cost. No wonder the auto industry is in the shitter.

So, yeah, I blew my big chance to get a pimp new ride. But ya know what? I'm OK with that. With the money I'm saving, I can take care of a couple other things I've been dreaming of, like a zero-turn mower and a shed. I know, dream big, right?

This is pretty much the most practical thing I've ever done in my life. Aw, fuck, I am getting old!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I Belong To A Family Of Winners

Who knew?

Despite shitty weather, the mountain bike race was actually really fun. I won the Clydesdale division (go fatty!), Franz won the 45-49 division, and Max won the kids race!

My starting wave consisted of men 30-39 and Clydesdales. The race started with about half a mile of grass riding before we hit the trail. I got in with the front group of 5, and when I realized that none of them were big enough to be in the Clydesdale division, I decided I would just ride wheels and have some fun.

I was a little disappointed with the way some people raced. One guy who was in front of me was an awful bike handler, but refused to let anyone pass. Since the course was pretty slick and muddy, he went down in several of the hairpin turns. He would then spring to his feet and hold his bike sideways across the trail while he remounted in order to keep anyone from passing. The problem was, he had decent fitness and would drop the hammer every time the trail opened up, so it was really hard to get by him.

I finally got tired of trying and just decided to let him lead, since there was no one within visual distance behind us. The three riders in front of us were out of sight and figured knew they wouldn't be seen again. At this point we started catching a lot of the slower riders from the previous wave, who also didn't want to move over, and I finally found a chance to get around the dude.

OK, enough bitching.

After a few minutes I caught another rider from my wave and rode his wheel the final couple miles to the finish, where I was nearly outsprinted when I tried to take the inside line out of the woods and my rear tire lost traction.

Franz was the first finisher in his wave, and came in a couple minutes after me to win his age group.
He's like a real-life anatomy lesson.

Later in the day, I brought Max and Addi back for the kids race, which was about 1/4 mile on the grass trail. All the kids got T-shirts, medals, and swag from Shimano, which they thought was really cool.

Max won the race, and Addi rode pretty damn well for a 4-year-old. I'll post pics of them when I find my damn camera.

I honestly don't remember having this much FUN at a cycling even in several years. There were medals for every itty-bitty division, people on the microphone that kept the spectators engaged, a fantastic atmosphere, and fun stuff for family members to do. Even the Elite competitors seemed really laid-back and friendly.

I'm also quite enamored with the Clydesdale division.

Major props to Kris, Kyia, Ben, and the rest of the Mid MN Cycling Club for all the work they put in to make it a successful weekend.

I went to spectate at the cyclocross race on Sunday, and it looked like an awful lot of work. Those dudes are nuts. I did this race a couple years ago. Ouch.

Now I need to get my muddy-ass bike cleaned up for the Monday Night MTB Ride tonight...if my lights showed up yet (grrrrrrr).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

MTB Categorization

I've got a question for all you mountain bikers out there. Franz is trying to convince me to do the Single Track Escape mountain bike race on Saturday, but I'm not sure which category is appropriate.

Franz has registered for the sandbagger Citizen class, and I'm imagining a field full of women and children. I know traditionally, beginner mountain bike categories are not the same as Cat 4/5 races on the road.

The next level up, Sport, is 14 miles, and I'm not entirely convinced I can even ride that far without falling over dead.

Please advise.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Totally Never Drinking Again

Overall, I had a great weekend. Unfortunately, some heavy drinking on Saturday night really kicked my ass and made Sunday rather miserable.

I had a good ride at North Loop on Friday night. I brought Bandit with me, but I don't know if I'll bring him there again. There are too many squirrels and deer for him to chase. It gets annoying to call him back every 2 minutes. Plus, now that there are deer hunters out there, I'd rather he not get shot.

Anyway, I got in two laps, and I'm actually feeling a lot smoother on my bike. I determined that my biggest problem was that I would brake too late and end up trying to scrub off speed in the middle of the turn. This causes the bike to want to be upright, which caused me to go too wide on the turns and thus, suck. I'm getting a little better, but I've still got some work to do. I also need to work on focusing my vision further up the trail, instead of 5 feet in front of my wheel.

I tried to ride the Expert section, but it was a nasty mud-pit so I bailed on that. I still got a bit dirty, though.
Saturday night, we went to a get-together with my wife's coworkers. It wasn't until I got home that I realized I was kinda really hammered. I could only remember having 4 drinks, but good 'ol Kristin reminded me that I'd had an additional 8 that I somehow forgot about. Whoops. Since Franz and I had a date (*snicker*) to go mountain biking in Monticello the next morning, I sent him a text explaining that I was fucked up and would not be ready to go at 8:30 AM.

Sunday morning, he texted me back, informing me that I needed to suck it up and he would be over to pick me up in 15 minutes. I somehow managed to drag my ass out of bed and get ready to go, and we made our way to Monti. Despite the cold temps, I was sweating like a pig for the first half hour. I guess that's one way to get booze out of my body! I didn't crash or anything, but I was a bit of a mess.

I've never ridden in Monticello and not gotten lost. This time was no different. We actually ended up finding the tar road and taking that back to the parking lot because we had no clue where we were or where we should be going. If anyone knows their way around that place and wants to guide me, lemme know.

We also saw the biggest fucking mushroom ever. So there's that.

We got home just in time to see the Vikings suck a fat dolphin cock, and I was completely worthless for the rest of the day. I took a nap in the afternoon and then went to bed at 10PM.

I was planning to do the Monday Night MTB Ride tonight, but my new lights haven't arrived yet, so I guess I'm out of luck.

Spinner Hub Caps. Hot.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Great Seats, Asshole


A couple weeks ago, a received a call from an excited Bodacious P, declaring that he had procured "upper level, but still really good seats" to the Vikings' final preseason game. Did I want to go? Hell yeah, I wanted to go!

After a stop at Tickles, which I totally didn't know was a gay bar, we headed to the game.

We received a call from another friend who was at the game and had seats on the lower level, right above the tunnel that the players run out of. I asked P why we didn't have lower lever seats. P declared, "Well, they're in the corner! I'd way rather be upper level than lower level in the corner." Lo and behold, when we found our seats, they were upper level and in the corner! And a mere 4 rows from the very tippy-top of the 'dome.

I made him buy me a $10 beer to make up for it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Like, Knee Tendons?

Mmmmmm.
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Friday, September 17, 2010

This Is Why...

...Cav fucking rocks.
Nothing says, "I'm waaaaaay faster than you" like bunny-hopping over the finish line. It's also possible that he's actually flying, though it seems unlikely.

More Stuff For Sale

I've got some more goodies for sale. There's a 'Contact Me' link over there --> on the right side of the blog. Hit me up if you're interested.

Cane Creek Volos track wheels. These were my training wheels for the last few years. They are light, stiff, and super-durable. Tufo tires mounted, both with 90% or more tread remaining. These are in great shape and are ready to ride. $175

Cane Creek Volos Road Wheels, Shimano freehum, Sapim Cx Ray spokes. Just in time for Cx season! They have a claimed weight of just over 1500 grams and are incredibly durable. I've had them for a couple years but they have less than 1000 miles on them. $250
Fi'zi:k Arione k:ium. Brand new. $90.
NiteRider Classic Plus lights. The battery is a bit weak, but should last over an hour with only one of the bulbs on. If you can use it for something, it's cheap. $20
Giro Advantage 2 helmet. Only used a handful of times. Like-new condition. $75
Boys 16" Giant Animator bike. $50
Kids Radio Flyer Grow & Go bike. $30.
Any questions, let me know!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

That's A Funny Place To Keep A Mouse

When I pulled into my parking spot at work this morning, I noticed some movement out of the corner of my eye.

Then I looked closer...

He gave me a look that said, "Where the hell am I?" then scurried through a crack near the hood hinges and down into the engine compartment, where I can only assume he's eating all the belts and wires.

Unintentional iCup

My dishwasher made this for me.

It looks suspiciously like...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

At Least They'll Look Nice In The Basement

For some reason, I always seem to buy cool shit at just the wrong time. It's a good thing I've got these bad-ass wheels now that it's the offseason!
Scurvy built me up some durable road wheels to better handle my sprinting. Plus, Chris King hubs are just plain cool.

I've actually had these wheels in my possession for about a month, but didn't put them on my bike until today for 3 reasons:

1. I'm lazy.
2. I haven't really ridden my road bike in the last month.
3. It takes me like 2 hours to swap out two tires and a cassette. No joke.

At this rate, I might actually ride on them by next June.

I Haz Shame

I just bought Crocs.

Fuck off, I've got my reasons.

But still, I own Crocs.  *hides face* Don't look at me!

Too Slow

It took over 10 minutes to pump 17 gallons of gas. Every time I come here, the pumps are ridiculously slow. How its that even possible?

Hell, I could siphon it by mouth faster than that! At first, I thought it was a one-time thing, but this is the 4th time.

I will not be back.

Cenex, you are making it very difficult to avoid going to BP stations.