Thursday, September 18, 2008

I wasn’t sure about racing last night – it had been raining for about 2 days straight, there is a race planned for Saturday, and weeknights are tight to begin with – but after staying a little bit later at work and nailing a critical code fix, I decided to clear my head and open up my legs and lungs at Russian Jack Springs. The trail was as slick as could be and many more people ate it than had on last Saturday, though I dodged that bullet – this time. A test lap proved extremely helpful and I was intent on hammering down my form and commitment to atone for Saturday’s ride. On Saturday I was still hacking a bit from my cold of a week earlier, though I had felt completely recovered – you never really know until you try to run it in the red for an extended period. Maybe I had some jitters on Saturday as well. Who knows, but tonight I pushed it all into the past and dug in for an hour with the only goal being to know personally that I kept myself on the rivet the entire hour, numbers and standings be damned. It helped a great deal that 2 sections of the loop were on the paved path – however short these sections may have been, they yielded priceless moments of recovery. I sense that my results are better than last time, but I know I pushed much harder over the entire race and felt the cross bug burrow deeper under my skin. Crashing early, I slept the sleep of the dead and satisfied.

Some new flickr updates. Lots of pictures from the source. And a story in the paper.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pain Cave

Between the rain and moving into my new place over the last 3 weeks I have not been on my bike much at all. I’ve been on the treadmill at the gym around 30 minutes a day so my cardio is fine, though it just doesn’t substitute for time in the saddle. It is fitness, and it all counts in the end. It will snow soon and there is no room for any scheming and angling to find the perfect convergence of schedule, fitness, and weather. Cross season is underway and that is what my Trek is for, so off to the race on Saturday I went. If I suck wind, so be it. If I eat it, so be it. I know I will have a great time. I accomplished all 3.

This stage was at a rectangular shaped park in downtown Anchorage. The entire length of the park is a slow to gradual hill across the short side of the rectangle, and the course ran across the incline several times. Think about it for a moment – you are constantly riding sideways along a hill, endless leaning and offsetting your weight in wet grass to find a way to maintain a straight, balanced bike. Very challenging and slippery, though over the course of the race some safe ruts emerged that I threw my confidence into them. Even on the sideways descents you had to lock into an offset posture to compensate for the hill. Also, whereas in Wisconsin there were a variety of classes to fit into, here in AK there is men’s open, which is 50 minutes and a lap. I’m not sure if this is a function of a different set of regulations or because of the smaller field. I suspect the latter. No problem at all for me. You get to ride longer, everybody rides together, and you naturally settle into your classifications over time. I like being able to always find somebody to work with and never feel like I’m all alone in a segment. It also keeps it from being an all day event. I love the Madison cross scene, but we just don’t have the bodies up here for that large of an event. Apples and oranges – I love them both.

This also had the burliest run ups I’ve experienced. You ran up a sheer wall of dirt on one occasion. Each step dug into the topsoil making an indentation, only to immediately fill in moments later – a very hearty and resilient burm. The staircase run up was epic, and after examining the park layout it made perfect sense to use it. At a glance it seems silly, but cross is nothing if not creative and painful. “You know that 25-30 step staircase over there, carry your bike up that each lap.” It reminded me of the stairmaster, and that is always heart warming.

They erroneously placed me in the Masters category and I think I did more laps then they recorded, but I’m right where I expected to be – exhausted and smiling. More pictures are here, and some in my camera awaiting development. Winter is coming, but not without a fight.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


The cable will get set up in a few days, but the vinyl is spinning and the painting area is set up. Music, books, painting, and cross racing twice a week now. No complaints. Take the tour.

Friday, September 05, 2008

“The world today is such a wicked thing”

Much progress has been made and the place is looking much, much better. I’m fighting the tail end of a cold, so I’ll be taking a pass on the first cross race tomorrow. I might pedal over though to check out how they race up here. I get the impression there is a staggered start of all classes so you find everyone racing together with the divisions worked out later. That makes sense considering the smaller pool of racers while also adding to the mix and fun on the course. At least you can always find somebody to work with or a wheel to catch. I’m looking forward to that on the 13th.

Kitchen and dining room set up? Check.

Stereo pumping out beautiful analog music? Check. Hearing side 2 of the self titled Black Sabbath LP crackling out of my speakers while watching the vinyl spin around was amazing (I believe that side of the LP has no songs – the side is a song).

Now I just need to get the painting area ready and my essentials are all checked off. Time for the digital camera to get to work.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I closed on my townhouse Thursday at 4pm and it almost went flawlessly, though in the end there is nothing to complain about seriously. The seller is currently in the Virgin Islands and lives out of state, so overnight Fedexing of the documents became an issue. It appeared likely that I would still close on time though due to the weekend the documents would not arrive in time to be recorded on Friday, so I wouldn’t get keys till Tuesday. At 3:30 pm my agent worked her magic and all was worked out. The seller’s documents would be in Alaska on Friday morning and I would be able to get in there that night. Perfect.

I’m still not completely moved in, but all of my stuff from storage and most of my stuff from Becky’s apartment is there, albeit some of it is still in dense piles. We decided wisely to take a break from moving on Monday and get some wild blueberries on the mountain side. You could literally pick all day long if you have the stamina. We have enough for a pie and maybe a little more.

As of last night my kitchen is almost completely set up and I may actually begin crashing there tonight. I’m still in a bit of a haze about it all, fighting a mild cold, and cross season starts Saturday. Once this all gets sorted out there will be many pictures. Honest.

Oh, and the fireweed is at the top.