Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring break in the C Squared


I'm on a brief visit to the refinery capital of the US, Corpus Christi. No its not exactly "Guy Gone Wild", but I'm an old guy who struggles to stay up past the 10pm news these days.

In an effort to not be bored senseless while on my visit, I grabbed my trusty and rusty Canon S40 point and shoot to grab some pics of my trip around the area.

So for Day 1, this is what I got for ya...

Could be worse than a hotel on the beach I guess...

This is the rental. Its got some getty up, but its a freakin' station wagon.

This is the key. Strange.

As Jill says "There is always room for ice cream!"...even if it means you put it in your front yard. Again, strange.

The intersection of "Weber" and "BREWton". All signs point to trouble ahead.

We'll see what interesting things I stumble across in Day 2 of the C^2.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Annual Ski with the Squires Day

The Baron & Kade made their annual spring break trip out from Carnegie, OK to CO for some turns in the powder. Sarah & I headed up for our first of two days with them. I've been meaning to take my camera all year to snap some pics from the slopes. Well I finally did take the camera, grabbed some shots on a pretty tricky day to shoot the action.

Here is Kade landing his jump

The Baron gets nice air

Kade's friend Hunter hits the jump on his 2nd run ever

Which one acts like the 9-year old?

Kade powering down the slopes under the blue sky

Kade follows Sarah down a run

A pretty casual ski day just taking it easy, hanging out and having fun. We're headed up again tomorrow for some more spring skiing. Not sure that I'll lug the camera along tomorrow, it makes my Camelbak bounce around quite a bit due to the weight and I can't be giving any advantages to Barry, Sarah or the rest of the gang when I'm out there to ski them so hard they can't walk the next day right?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

65 Degrees & Sunny = Skip out of work time

I'm a weather report freak, check it a couple times a day much to my wife's chagrin, so last night the wheels started turning about how and where I was going to get the wheels dirty on Tuesday. Its supposed to be a rest week for me, but after taking off last night I couldn't resist the temptation. I decided my first foray back on to dirt in recent times would be the Dirty Bismark course, but with the addition of the newly opened to bikes Dowdy Draw trail. So I guess it was the Dirty DowMark course today.

Not technical in nature at all, heck the ride starts at a Target store, but its a mix of paved roads, gravel roads, doubletrack and some sorely missed singletrack. The big loop starts with a paved road climb in the bike lane on McCaslin Blvd for a mile or so before turning off onto the Coalton Trail, which is loose, rocky doubletrack. As soon you make the right turn onto the gravel, you see the climb that is approaching. Its not an overly long climb, but it does get to be a 10 - 12 degree pitch which makes you feel it a bit. I stayed in the middle ring, head down and fighting the wind and before I knew it I had crested the top.

I motored on in workman-like fashion to the High Plains trail, just keeping as aero as possible as I fought the stiff winds coming from the west. The High Plains is real singletrack, lots of baby head rocks and stuff, so it went by quickly. Before I knew it I was crossing Highway 93 and headed to Dowdy Draw for the first time. This trail starts with doubletrack climb, but quickly turns into a fun singletrack descent with a great view of the majestic Flat Irons.

I made my way back to the highway, and crossed without incident and continued on my way down the Marshall Mesa trail. In the direction I rode it today, its a ripping fast descent and strangely enough I had clear trail almost the entire day. Temps were dropping, but after the climbing in the early part of the loop it still felt great in shorts and a jersey.

I stopped long enough to snap a picture of the snaking trail, then hit the end of the fun stuff. Back on tarmac for a mile or so, before hitting a dirt road that is strangely fast despite being slightly uphill. Not long after that I was back at Target with all the busy shoppers.

A good ride on a great day. Just for kicks (OK who am I kidding, I'm a data junkie) I compared my climb time on the Coalton climb from the last time I rode this trail in November. Total time dropped 1:21 on an 11 minute climb, which I deemed significant. My overall ascent speed jumped from 7.7mph to 8.6mph even though I did more climbing overall. The loop in total was just at 18 miles with about 1500 feet of climbing, or so says the trusty GPS.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The results are in...

and its a healthy baby boy!

Here are a couple of pics of our baby. It was a really incredible experience, and really got Jill and I excited. And as someone who pretty much thought every ultrasound ever looked like something between a peanut and a seahorse, I know these won't mean much to anyone else but this kid is beautiful....

Here is a profile shot of the baby boy looking up.

And check out the set of legs on this guy!

The yet unnamed baby boy was quite active during the ultrasound, often moving arms/legs around as we just watched in amazement. Everything looks great, and the measurements lined up exactly with the July 20th due date. So even though I was dead wrong about the baby's sex, I'm thrilled. Now how old until they start riding a bike or playing catch?

Today is the big day

Today Jill & I (hopefully) get the big news on the baby, boy or girl. We're scheduled for the ultrasound this afternoon, which is a very exciting end to a somewhat turbulent week. Assuming Thor (the joking name I've suggested for the kid after the big Norwegian sprinter) cooperates, we'll be able to start making decisions about colors, names and start our spending spree.

Its been an interesting journey so far, seems to be a slow build up of momentum but I find myself quickly becoming more excited as we turn the corner on the half way point.

So what do you have your money on? I say girl, Jill says boy. The random sampling I've taken is leaning towards boy, but I still say girl and seriously how often am I wrong? :)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Hey there March, you're looking good...

So 24 hours into March, and we've already had the best day of the year. 75 degrees, sunny and an all around glorious day to be outside. Couple today with the fact the best day of the year, daylight savings time, and things are looking up.

After a hectic week of being in 3 time zones in a 5 day period, it was nice to have a sunny day to enjoy on the Front Range. Jill & I took a nice leisurely ride around the neighborhoods, and then I headed out on my own. I did a loop down to Boulder, up to Lyons and back home.

There were brief periods of high winds, which made going south and west tough, but heading north and east was fast, fast, fast. I found myself making the right turn on Highway 36 climbing north out of Boulder and powering up the rolling hills in the big ring. I was having a great day on the pedals, passing lots and avoiding being dropped per the usual.

I didn't have much objective for the ride, just wanted to get in 1.5 - 2 hours. I ended up getting in 2:45 counting the cruising time with Jill and setting some personal bests on power output. I did a couple of big pull sprints, with the first having me throw down 1250w (up from 1020 I did a couple weeks back) and holding 1,000 or more for over 10 seconds. Felt good to have a productive output, and move out of the "Untrained" category on watts per kilogram for sprinting.

Ended up getting about 45 miles in, with a big 30mph big ring burnin' session for the 10 miles down Highway 66 between Lyons and Longmont. I was stomping it, easily catching the group of 6 that had a 1/2 mile gap on me.

And for some visualization, here is my Mean Normalized Power graph showing today (solid line) versus my previous work (dotted line).