8:38 am & pm

8:38am- The inside view. Ultrasound is beginning to show amazing detail. Jess can feel the kid kicking around.

I don’t really want to know if it’s going to be a boy or a girl. I want to be surprised as parents have been for eons. However I think my medically trained wife might have figured it out during this ultrasound visit.


It’s been two and a half months since I’ve been on skates, and even though this was just a Friday night skate ambling, I am going to be quite sore.

Cycling muscles are good things, but there is a whole other set of lateral stability & static effort contractors that are skate specific. I can feel every one of them right now. Jess was along for the skate. All the books we are reading say keep doing what you were doing before pregnancy.

A couple of new faces from the local Salt City Roller Derby Girls made this night quite fun, here is Nico Noir (her derby pseudonym) rolling through the sunset.

Sometimes what you see in this world is radically shaped by what direction the light is coming from, who you are around, what you get positive feedback from. Sometimes multiple lights cast multiple shadows.

It’s nice to be back on the skates. I like that light. A bike is fun, fast, but skates are flight & freedom.

whither blog?

But pain… seems to me an insufficient reason not to embrace life.

Being dead is quite painless. Pain, like time, is going to come on regardless.

Question is, what glorious moments can you win from life in addition to the pain?

-Lois McMaster Bujold

I am not so sure about glory while pursing one of the minor sports, but I am sure that you can find meaning, and certainly pain is quite easy to find. In bucketfulls actually.

I’ve been racing bikes a lot recently, and in the race I did tonight, all I saw for the entire race (& I made the decisive breakaway) was this-

Just a wheel driving in front of me- Literally, for the whole race, All I could manage was focusing on the gears & legs driving relentlessly onward.

It was tunnel vison, a long dark tunnel dripping with lactic acid…

It was all I could do to barely hang on to the insane pace of the 13 man breakaway, and do my turn when it was my turn to pull, That light at the end of the tunnel was a ragged, leg searing, ugly sprint. I was 4th or 5th, my memory of it is somewhat broken.

When I got home from racing, I was shaking with exhaustion, I had some dishes to do in the kitchen, and each plate felt heavy like a 45 lb plate in the gym.

I’ve thought a bit in the last few week of taking a break from blogging, or even shutting the blog down.

I’ve just been overwhelmed, work & training have built up into a toxic cocktail. I really try to post every 2 or 3 days, which has always been my mantra.

But I’ve only posted 4 times this month, I have lots of stuff half done… Bleah…

Usually I have a bit of a downturn in the spring, but this feels like a nosedive. By nature & nurtue, I’m a pretty energetic fellow, but right now I’m just so, so tired….

Brain Boudreau, whose freaky-strong legs are the ones in the above photo, has been bike racing too, and this past week is now back on the short track.

Either I need a break, or I need to get back on my skates, or.. I don’t know…..

2008 Salt Lake Century

So I arrive at the startling line of the Salt Lake Century with 5 minutes to the start, and the main mass of cyclists is already pouring like a sparkling, whirring waterfall onto the course.

Crudzilla..… Even though this is just a non-competitive ride, I feel fantastic, and want to ride smooth & fast with the strong folks in the very front group. I’m pretty much last right now

So as the main mass of cyclists is ambling along gently in the morning sun, chatting and in no great hurry. I pull out of the main stream, stick it in a big gear, and start ripping along, passing hundreds a minute, in pursuit of the front.

I like to ride/train with folks who are better than I am, as it pushes me to become better.

I’ve learned over the years that getting the tar beaten out of you “when it doesn’t count” is a very good thing, as it makes you a tougher for when it really matters.

Last year I had an amazing time at this event, riding in probably the 3rd big group on the road. I cracked like an egg about 60 miles in. I’m feeling far stronger this year, and I want to ride at the front & get cracked again, not in the flat pedal crowd who have no intention of riding the whole hundred miles.

I can tell from the first moment I start pushing hard, I am going to have a “no chain” kind of day.

I wonder for a few moments what people are thinking, as I rip by on the outside of the massive stream of cyclists at almost double their speed. But I am so intent on what I want, I leave a wide berth, & pay minimal heed.

After a few quick miles, I can see the lead motorcycle, and the bunched front group. I smile with relief, sit up with no hands & take this picture.

And at that exact moment, hear a hubris laden, PSSSSSSSSSTTTTTT!!!

Yeah, a flat.

I swear quite loudly, slow down, & dismount to fix it as the group disappears down the road. I open my spare tube, and realized I have packed the wrong one, I need the long valve stem tube for my tall aero rims, and I’ve brought the flat kit with only a short valve tube.

So I’m screwed… CRAP!! I am embarrassingly angry with myself. I might be done & have to call jessica to come pick me up.

So I sit, for maybe 20 minutes, messing around with my patch kit. Watching 2,000+ people pedal past me. I bet quite a few noted me on the side of the road with smug satisfaction, and I deserve every bit of it.

I finally get the tube fixed, just as several good-hearted volunteers, like Dean, and several folks from Bingham’s Cyclery show up with a floor pump & tubes. Fully prepared for an idiot like me.

So back on the road again, and angry at myself, I try repeating and repeating what I wrote yesterday.

A hard-traveling man said to me
That you don’t have to finish first
But you must know how to finish.

So even if I ride this whole damm thing alone, with my nose in the wind every step of the way. I will finish this. Dammit.

I ride with anger for about 10 miles, but it slowly wears off, and I start opening my eyes to the wonderful morning, and the fact that I am still feeling great. Also, I’ve never been in this part of a big group ride, within that “flat pedal crowd” I snobbily derided earlier.

I pass groups of women whom I overhear discussing t-ball registration as they spin along, I see sets of calves with so many wrinkles, or so much cellulite, that there is no muscle visible. But dammit, their pedals are driving around and they are enjoying the day as much as I am.

It’s so hard, and so essential, for accomplished athletes to stop and appreciate the struggles of those for whom the 34 mile route option might be ten times as challenging and scary as the hundred mile ride.

Spinning the 53-17 along in the morning sun, I began to feel so grateful, so alive, so blessed that I can feel those sensations of the body working well.

How many sick people, stuck in hospitals or hospices, or in any of the man-made hellholes this world is full of, would give anything to be out here on the road, under the mountains, free as the whirr of gears.

I wish my father was here riding with me, I could talk with him about this, he gets this kind of stuff.

(and mom deserves mention too.. she is the reason I am driven to spin that big ring for miles & miles, if mom were here, we’d probably just hammer)

I slowly pass through various strata of riders, like geological layers of rock. Equipment changes & the speed of the groups I am passing through slowly changes.

There was a notable band/level of rider where there were lots of humorous jerseys.

Why are racer types so dang serious so much of the time? Would I smile more often if I wore a Super Grover or Curious George jersey? Hmmm maybe not, but I’d wear this.

But my reverie was broken by the WHIZZZZZZ of a 4 racers in a fast paceline bulleting by me on my left.

Aha! I hop in, and within a few seconds am back in the familiar push & lined out effort of pack dynamics. Spining the 17 becomes spinning the 15.

There are many layers of meaning in riding alone, just you & the wind, and also there is meaning in riding with others, and working together to simply fly.

The guys were named Ivan, Andrew, Rick & Mike. They also had been delayed by flat trouble and I would spend the next 70 miles working with them, driving across the miles.

Our intent little paceline starts to grow, reaching 15-20 at times, but over and over, it get back to just the essential 5.

It’s been such a reluctant spring, so as today’s temperatures started touching 90 everyone was in a great mood.

I’ve ridden all over the USA, but the Antelope Island causeway is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever turned a gear. I was much happier crossing it without the dehydration bonk I had at about this spot last year.

(insert the the smell-o-meter of rotting stuff in saltwater here)

With about 30 miles to go, we take a break, and I practically dive headfirst into this bowl of fruit at a rest station..

And oddly enough, the bowl of candy seemed repulsive, they looked as tasty as christmas ornaments.

I lose myself in the color of the western skies, the roll of the land, and how you can feel every inch of it on the bicycle, and suddenly, it’s almost over, at mile 98 I start to feel that crumbly hollowness, that I am at the end of my physical rope. Mission accomplished!

Here is Rick driving the pace. That man can drive a gear! It’s funny, he is good freinds with several other speedskaters.

The ride started so alone, so angry & full of that toxic/intoxicating cocktail of a competitive nature. Once I let that go, the ride finished with some new friends.

There is a lesson in this.

And here is another lesson, Dear Bro, I am as dumb as you are, just more creative about it..

For some reason, I put loads of sunblock on my legs & neck & face. But forgot my arms.

Dumb dumb dumb.

Slumping towards Cheeseburgers

I always seem to have this brief blogging slump in April or May. It must be that after the intensity of winter, I need to relax, rebuild, rethink, & recharge with things other than skating…

I’ve got so many posts & zen-10 interviews half-done, and a major series of posts on “training habits” I’ve been wanting to launch for about a year.

But I lack that extra bit of mustard necessary to finish & publish… Forgive me..

Also I’ve been riding a lot. The bicycle has sucked me in like that lovely corner diner in your hometown where you can get that perfect Cheeseburger & Milkshake.

Of course the great thing is that when you ride a lot, you can get away making more visits to that corner diner.

This image is shot while riding to work during yesterday’s “bike to work” day with a bunch of friends.

Tomorrow I ride the Salt Lake Century again, 100 miles, and it’s finally going to be HOT. One of my favorite posts I have ever written was about this ride last year.

I like it not just because of what I wrote, but that every member of my family, including my grandad, had something to say about it

This image is from that post, about 24 hours from when I click this “publish button” this is the school of fish I will be swimming in.

In the park across from my house, there are live bands playing all the time. On a lovely spring evening, these words were floating in the breeze

Una piedra en el camino
Me enseno que mi destino.
Era rodar y rodar.
(Rodar y rodar, rodar y rodar)

Tambien me dijo un arriero
Que no hay que llegar primero
Pero hay que saber llegar.

My friend Eric Krann was listening intently, misty eyed and with a glass of wine in his hand. I asked him to translate-

A stone on the road showed me that my destiny.
was to roll and to roll.
To roll and to roll, to roll and to roll.

A hard-traveling man said to me
That you don’t have to finish first
But you must know how to finish.

Vicente Fernandez - El Rey

Eric says that spanish speaking athletes will sometimes quote the end of this song to not only explain how a race went, but also to explain life.

A century ride attracts a wonderful blend of folks, from very serious riders to easygoing tourists.

No placings, no result list, just a bunch of rolling stones who know how to finish.

Coffee, Sky, & Prayer

I like this picture, the only thing truly in focus is the sky, and drops of high quality Puerto Rican coffee oils floating in the sky.

no matter what the cup says, this is not really a big glass of chocolate, but that is an intriguing possibility.

I’ve been quiet on the blog, deepest apologies….

I’ve been just about 20% sick, 20% overworked, 20% training-tired, 40% overwhelmed with housework, and pushed over the emotional edge by some recent entries on one of the best blogs I’ve ever read.

The Fat Cyclist has won several awards, inspired a lot of people, and his recent entry Dandelion Seeds is the only time in my life I have openly wept reading something online.

And it’s going get worse, be worse, and not get any better

It’s one of those situations where it would be so comforting to be able to say/write to someone “I’m praying for you“, because that is the exact sentiment needed; an appeal to the cruel wheels of time & fate.

But if you don’t believe in prayer, what do you say? to them, or to yourself if you were in their shoes?

What do you do when all you have is that reflection of oil & sky in coffee-multiplied alertness?

Hammer on stone

On a blustery, cold, foul day with snowflakes spinning through the air, dryland training begins-

A wise friend of mine left this quote on my blog, about 2 years ago-

When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it.

Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it - but all that had gone before.

-Jacob Riis

Now is the time to begin the hundred strokes.

Or in this case, this is Matt Shanahan doing the first of what will become thousands and thousands of skate position dryland jumps.

Note how his knee passes quite near his ankle, it makes each jump much harder and much more effective.

This is the time of year I think of the above quote the most, as it’s sometimes hard to see the value of the endless hammering, and the toll it takes on the body (has my ankle has received its hundred blows? it hurt quite a bit the next day).

Of course, these words apply to much more than just speedskating, as this image taken the next morning can attest to:

Life is effort….