Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Everything I needed to know about parenting...

For the few not in the know, the internet sites and gossip magazines are true, and in the immortal words of the ever so poetic Matthew McConaughey "we made a baby". Neither of us is well versed in this whole kid thing, but when things are the darkest, sometimes you're given light.

Cue Aunt Becky to the rescue. Becky, my Mom's sister, is a legendary mother herself with parenting skills that rivaled those of my own Mothers. I'm sure her motherly senses were abuzz knowing that Jill and I have no clue, and she stepped up with what will undoubtedly be our "go to book" when this kid arrives.

Below I've pasted some of the most helpful images from the book, which has already shown me that some of my instinctive moves are in fact not correct. So gaze below and hopefully you can learn to be a better parent as well....

And for anyone that needs the whole book, you can find it here on Amazon...
Link to the book...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Table Talk

In a random event that took about 2 hours from inception to acceptance, I'm headed to Vegas for a quick weekend with a bunch of the Solarc family (past and present). It started as Blake wanting a weekend in Vegas before the birth of their 2nd child and Weber agreeing to go. I signed on almost instantaneously and things starting gathering steam from there. We're up to 6 now with Duke Mattoon, Mike Scharf and Jeff Hardcastle all booking flights. Its a geographically diverse group: 3 from Tulsa, 2 from London and 1 from Colorado.

In perfect timing for the Vegas trip, Jill & I had signed on to play in a Texas Hold 'Em tournament to benefit a school. Sarah plays in a monthly game and several of the regulars from the monthly game throw a once a year fund raiser for the school, so the three of us put up our $40 donations to get a seat.

25 people sat down as the cards were dealt. Jill & Sarah were on a table together, but I was on a table with no one else I knew, which was either an advantage or a disadvantage but I haven't figured out which one yet. The cards were played, the blinds increased and people started busting out. Sarah was the first of our crew to get bounced.

The three tables went to 2 and then to 1, with Jill & I being 2 of the 9 remaining for the final table. I made a couple nice moves, but then got caught being trapped when I thought I was trapping and busted out in 7th place. Jill's impressive run continued as she picked through the field and ultimately ended in 4th.

We walked away with gift certificates to Chili's and Outback, two of our typical haunts. I think Jill threw her hand as to procure the Outback GC instead of trying to get in the top 3, which were luxury box tickets to the Avalanche and Nuggets. Not too shabby for someone who had to play a couple hands the night before so she could refresh her memory of the rules and game play.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Nothing very important here, but I know how Jill LOVES seeing charts and graphs on this blog so I thought I'd throw up last nights 2x20s effort. Basically two 20 minute intervals at as hard of a pace as you can sustain for the whole time. I actually felt pretty good pounding these out and was pleased with how well I had done on my pacing. You can see at the end of each interval I was able to give it a bit more gas.

I've isolated just the 2 intervals with the 10 minute easier pedaling between them in the picture above. Average HR over the first interval was 172 and 174 for the 2nd, with both intervals using the same gear, same resistance and keeping the cadence at 100 rpm. Surprisingly the 173bmp rate didn't really destroy me to hold for 20 minutes, so maybe I should have been going a bit harder. Nah, its just January I'll save that stuff for March or April.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A 3 county tour, a 3 county tour.

And nearly a 3 hour tour as well. We sit squarely on the edge of Boulder, Weld and Larimer counties which means that on a good day in the saddle I can be found in all 3 at some point. Today was 40ish degrees, which is a freaking heat wave these days, so I was determined to get in some actual outdoors riding time. Talk of going to Pueblo, CO with The Punisher and a huge group from MTBR.com fell through this morning after much debate, which left me to my own devices.

I bundled up with a couple of layers, skull cap under the helmet, ear cover, winter gloves and most importantly my new neoprene booties to help try and keep my toes warm.

Grabbed Nancy the Niner and headed out east of town for some solitude in the form of dirt roads. I didn't really have any agenda or plan when I took off, but as usual while riding solo, my mind was working as I crunched numbers in my head about distance, time, pace and direction. I finally decided that my goal would be to get in 2+ hours, which at my typical average singlespeed pace in the 13-14mph range, would put me at 27-28 miles. Well that was too close to 30 miles to not round up, so I did.

Going east was doubly hard as it was into the wind, which really sucks with one gear, and away from the sun. Thankfully Jill advised me to grab a windbreaker as I was set to leave, otherwise I would have been frozen and back a whole lot earlier. I wasn't a mile from the house when I pulled over to put the windbreaker on, as I was already quite chilly.

I rambled east till I crossed under I-25 (FYI - I was on a closed service road not I-25), which served as a quick reminder that I was intending to stay away from the masses. So I started heading north, deciding to check out the hamlet of Mead. I'd seen the road signs for the last 3 years, and today was the day I'd investigate the draws of Mead. Well there weren't any really, so I just continued meandering generally north and now back to the west traveling on dirt roads as much as possible.

I was 1:45 in when I looked up the road and realized I was nearing Berthoud, quite a bit north of where I thought I was. About this time I started the push back towards the house. A couple of short, but steep climbs coupled with the 2 hours I had put in and I was getting pretty warm (as long as I wasn't headed east into the wind).

By the time I got back to Highway 66, I was pretty tired and showing the effects of a long day in the saddle (for this time of the year). My shoulders were hurting a bit from the miles of washboard roads on a rigid bike, my lower back was feeling strained from the 2.5+ hours and I was ready to be home. Thankfully I was still turning the pedals pretty well and home was west, giving me the wind at my back most of the time.

Arriving home I quickly got out of all the gear, as I was burning up. My Smartwool base layer was drenched, my vest was wet and it was evident that I hadn't been drinking enough water. The good news was that its January, and I had just put in a solid effort.

I put in 2:32 time wise, covering 34.2 miles with 1600+ feet of elevation change. A personal best in terms of distance and time on the Niner, and left me thinking about building to 50+ miles in the next month or two. While I initially had been thinking that my trainer time hadn't been working, as the ride continued I think it showed that it did. My speed remained very constant through the ride, with it only dipping a bit on the longest climb of the day.

Full MotionBased.com stats can be seen here...

Very glad I got out today. Time will tell where my fitness really is, but its January and I've got a lot of time to build on my current level. We've had a cold, snowy winter thus far and the fact that I have any fitness base at all right now is a tribute to my ability to spend a lot of time on the trainer.

So onto another week of work, and look for some bike updates coming soon. New developments such as a new frame to be built up, Nancy gets some new pedals and I'm finally going to get a real road shoe/pedal setup. Who'd have thunk it?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Experimenting on an unexpected powder day

After hitting up the ski train with the MarkWest folks last week, I had started to catch ski fever again. Sarah & I had agreed to go up Sunday to Winter Park, although a late night poker session had threatened all this. I woke up, read my email and saw Sarah basically said "your call" on if we were going up. After some groggy deliberation, I decided I needed to go.

I had just put the ski rack on the MDX, and it was to make its inaugural voyage to the high country. For some reason I was ahead of schedule and after calling and waking up Sarah, she was strangely ahead of schedule too. This turned out to be a blessing as the expected 1" of powder that had been forecast, magically turned into 7" overnight. Today would be a good day.

Traffic was heavy, per the usual on a powder day, but we were ahead of the masses and in no real hurry. We hit the parking lot right before 8:30, and we were on the lifts within 20 minutes. We did some runs on Mary Jane before we headed over to Vasquez Ridge to avoid the crowds and find some fresh pow.

The experiment I referred to in the title was that today for the first time, I would wear my Polar heart rate monitor to see how hard I was actually working while skiing. It didn't take long for me to realize that skiing gets the heart rate going a lot more than expected. The first run, Sleeper, was a non-groomed blue/black with good slope and lots of bumps. During a tough bump run, I saw HR numbers reach 180bpm which is a significant exertion for me. So maybe my legs being so tired after a tough day of skiing isn't such of a far stretch as I had previously thought. You can see my heart rate in the chart below, notice how it quickly recovers while on the lift which I attribute to lots of base miles on the bike.

Sarah got chilled and took a break, so I took the opportunity to pound out some runs on Vasquez Ridge. I skied nearly every run on the mountain, only missing two bump runs that dumped you out with a long, slow road that I wanted to avoid. I was doing a run in about 4 minutes with an 8 minute ride up the lift, just pounding out one after another.

Shortly after noon, we starting making our way across the mountain back towards the car. After seeing the lines on Mary Jane, we just opted to head to the car and beat the rush out of there. A day cut a bit short, but still pretty good totals.

35 miles
16,000 feet elevation drop
Avg speed around 11.7, top speed 45

Oh and the MDX? Still choice, and impressive motoring up the steep, twisty mountain roads packed with snow. I'll post up my 6 month impressions on my new silver chariot soon.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I think she is going to make it...

Molly is back to almost full strength and she is destroying toys like Sherman on his way to Atlanta.