Monday, June 29, 2009

Bastrop to Buescher (riding the park road)

I had been threatening to go ride the park road that runs between Bastrop State Park and Buescher State Park for about a month now. After running through all the usual excuses (it's too late in the day, it's too hot, I'm too hungover) I finally decided to "just do it".

I left the house on Saturday morning around 11 which for me is about as early as it gets, but it wasn't early enough. The temperature was already well into the upper 90's and I still had a 45 minute drive to Smithville. It was 100 by the time I got there. Both parks, with the exception of the swimming pool at Bastrop, were completely deserted.

I'll embed the video footage I shot below. The park road is great for novice to intermediate level cyclist since it is low traffic and contains just enough hills to keep things interesting without wearing you out. I only saw 4 other cyclist that afternoon and all 4 were mountain bikers. I guess the roadies have enough sense not to be out in the heat. I completely drained my 70oz camelback around mile #8 so I'm really thankful the road is only 11 miles long. If you go "out and back" and circle around both parks you can extend the ride to 25 miles or so.

Some parts of the video are a bit jiggly since I'm holding the camera in my hand as I ride.



Cycling Park Road 1-C (www.youtube.com/mx4789) - if you have a youtube account please log in and rate/comment/subscribe on youtube as well.

Friday, June 26, 2009

You're not gonna use these are you??


Cost of getting chipped tooth filled: $426.00
Freaking out at collection of bizarre implements
in waiting room: priceless


When I mentioned the bit about "what if dentists had pliers & drills as part of their logos" in Monday's blog, I had no idea how true that could actually be... I snapped these cell phone pics on Wednesday while waiting to get my tooth filled/fixed. I couldn't stop laughing the whole time I was there. I can't imagine how many kids must sit in this waiting room in sheer terror.



You got to admit it though, this guy has a wicked sense of humor
.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I know math isn't supposed to be fun, but...

There's one of those "Kumon Learning Centers" in the office park where I work and quite frankly I've always found their sign to be a little disturbing. I mean, if you are going to have a smiley face as part of your logo then shouldn't it actually be "smiling"?



What if the local dentist office had a drill and pair of pliers as part of their logo? Or if the doctor down the street had a big giant syringe out front? How attractive would that be? Maybe it's just me but the little face on this sign just doesn't strike me as good advertising. Instead the message it seems to convey is "Come to our center and we'll destroy your self esteem twice a week."

Some Days You Just Suck.

Yesterday I hit the wall at around 30 miles. I simply ran out of gas and could not physically turn the pedals over another time. It was hot, but no where near the 100 degree days I'm used to. I don't know why, but I just didn't have the legs for it. 30 miles is my usual weekday after work ride and sometimes I sprint the whole thing. So to be bonkin' on a Saturday or Sunday at the 30 mile mark, well, basically sucks.

My whole week had been like that..
Monday: hot & windy so I bailed out early (plus the prior weekend had been pretty productive so I wasn't too bummed about it).
Tuesday: grocery shopping.
Wednesday: hot & windy, flatted on 7th lap and chipped a tooth while eating fig newtons on lap 8. Still finished out the night with 30 strong miles.
Thursday: hot & windy, grunted out the standard laps.
Friday: BBQ with family.
Saturday: hot & really windy, barely finished 15 miles before I had to deal with umm, some "digestive issues". Sooo glad they got porta-johns at the Veloway.
Sunday: hot & windy and pretty much bonked after a miserable tedious ride. When I finally stopped to gasp for air and fellow biker as me how it was going. "Sucks" I replied. "Well," he said, "a crappy day on the bike is better than no day on the bike." I have to agree with that.

Now I'm off to go get my bike (drum roll please) so I can go out and do it all again this week.

video
(..then who would make the sandwiches?)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Big Yellow Death Trap

I ran by the house yesterday to pick up my bike and related crap so I could ride after work (which turned into a BIG GIANT SUCK-FEST, but that's another blog) and I ended up sitting behind a school bus in traffic. I couldn't help but notice that in all these years school bus design has changed very little. The biggest mystery to me is why don't school buses in Texas have air conditioning? The bus was idling there at the red light, some of the windows were up, some were down, and the little fan mounted above the visor was pointed at the driver, spinning like crazy.


When I was in Jr. High we lived less than 2 miles from the school which meant the school district wasn't obligated to provide transportation but did so anyway. However, it was the barest definition of "transportation" legally available. Since we did live so close to the school (although in a small town 2 miles can mean a lot of woods, creeks and very pedestrian un-friendly roads) we were on the "2nd run" on the bus schedule. This meant that the bus picked up a load of kids, drove them all home and then came back to the school for another load. It also meant you got home almost an hour after all the other kids did.

Our bus was a total POS - complete with holes in the floor and non-functioning windshield wipers. I guess the school's logic was to put the crappiest buses on the shortest runs so if they broke down the kids could just get off and walk. During one thunderstorm our bus driver (who was also the science teacher and track coach) made one of the boys squeeze between him and the side window, and I'm not joking, stick his arm out the window and manually work the windshield wiper so he could see. Air conditioning? Non-existent. Heater? Only when the bus got up to top speed (around 50 mph) the heat from the exhaust, and much of the fumes, would blow up through the holes in the floorboard. Seats next to holes were primo real estate in the winter.

One time, and why I have no idea, I reached under one of the bus seats and found a plastic baggie full of a white, powdery substance hidden under the seat. Yep, I know what you are thinking and trust me I was thinking the same thing: Score! I walked around school for several hours convinced that the mafia was going to show up any minute and demand their "stuff" back. Finally I did what all good seventh grade, TV police detectives do, I cut open the baggie, dipped my finger in it and tasted some of it. What I was expecting "it" to taste like, and how I'd recognize "it" anyway never actually crossed my mind (nor did what I'd actually do with it either). Turned out to be laundry detergent, bleah. Mom pretty much had a spaz-attack when I told her what had happened. Note to self: Add this to the list of "stuff we don't tell mom about".

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday - June 12th 2009

Weigh in at 157.4 pounds

Breakfast:
1 cup of coffee
1/2 cup of oatmeal

Midmorning:
Another cup of coffee
1 slice whole wheat toast w/ cream cheese

Lunch:
16oz gatorade
Turkey & cheese sandwich (w/ lettuce, tomatoes & avacado)

Early Afternoon:
16oz gatorade
1 table spoon peanut butter

Mid Afternoon:
1 cup of coffee

-- Cycling: none. Day 2 off. --

Supper:
Crackers & cheese & ham
2 slices of pizza (left over from Austin Pizza Garden last week & frozen)
4 bottles of beer (12oz Carona - yeah and I still lost 3 pounds this week)



Austin Pizza Garden

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thursday - June 11th, 2009

Weigh in at 158.6 pounds

Breakfast:
1 cup of coffee
1 egg (transmogrified in microwave) on whole wheat toast

Midmorning:
Another cup o' joe
1 plum (organic)
1 table spoon of peanut butter

Lunch:
Salad (organic: romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, red bell pepper & 1/2 avacado w/ ranch dressing)

Early Afternoon:
Coffee
1 banana + 1 table spoon of peanut butter (god i love that stuff)

Mid Afternoon:
1 kiwi fruit/thingy
16oz of gatorade

-- Cycling: 30 miles (1 1/2 hours) at 'balls out' near-race pace effort --
2 fig newtons

Supper: (at
Cypress Grill restaurant)
Salad (w/ grilled chicken breast, mixed greens, pico de gallo, cheese & chipotle ranch dressing - muy bueno!)
3 glasses of white wine (Cypress chardonnay)


video

Marshall Ford Swing Band - Cypress Grill * Austin, Texas

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wednesday - June 10th, 2009

Wednesday - June 10th, 2009
Weigh in at 158.8 pounds (WTF?? How did I gain a pound?!?)

Breakfast
1 cup of coffee
1 5oz cup of yogurt (Organic Peach)

Midmorning:
Another cup of coffee
1 banana (finally killed off the last of the bunch)

Lunch:
Fiesta Salad (actually I just made that up.. it's really the rest of the spinach with some black beans and corn - topped off with salsa left over from last week's breakfast taco binge)

Early Afternoon:
Another cup of coffee
1 table spoon of peanut butter

Mid Afternoon:
1 small apple (where the hell is the rest of that banana nut bread/cake???)
1 piece of wheat bread w/ peanut butter

-- No biking today --

Supper:
Crackers & cheese
4oz grilled tuna steak
1 large scallop (grilled - was 2 but the other one fell apart)
1 cup of green peas (simmered in old skool aluminum pot on grill as fish cooked)
Finished off the rest of the wine & beer (about 2 glasses each)

Tuesday - June 9th, 2009

Weigh in at 157.8 pounds

Breakfast:
1 cup of coffee
1/2 cup oatmeal

Midmorning:
Another cup of coffee
1 rather mushy banana (I think the ones in the frige have "gone over to the dark side")
1/2 slice of banana nut bread

Lunch:
Salad (spinach, bell pepper & approx 3oz of grilled steak w/ organic ranch dressing)
1/2 baked sweet potato (olive oil & kosher salt)*

Early Afternoon:
Another cup of coffee
1 table spoon of peanut butter + the other half of the slice of banana nut bread

Mid Afternoon:
1 32oz bottle of Gatorade (melon flavored)
Another table spoon of peanut butter

-- Cycling: 30 miles (2 hours) at moderate/hard effort --
2 fig newtons while riding

Supper:
Crackers & cheese
2 glasses of wine (Beringer's cab sav, chilled, mixed with a little water)

5oz grilled lamb steak (not sure which part of the lamb it was though..)
1 cup mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, beans & what not)

1 bottle of beer (Shiner Bock 12 oz)


*groovy way to do sweet potatoes: split in half length-wise, drizzle with olive oil & sprinkle with kosher salt, wrap individual sections in foil, place on grill as soon as possible (while coals still getting hot or as soon as gas is on) and turn frequently. Potatoes are usually soft and ready by the time the meat is finally cooked.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Monday - June 8th 2009

Weigh in at 160.6 pounds

Breakfast:
1 cup of coffee (2 spoons of sugar & 2% milk)
1/2 cup oatmeal - plain w/ a little (okay a lot) of salt

Midmorning:
Another cup of coffee (actually 1/2 cup b/c it got cold and I poured the rest out)
1 banana

Lunch:
Salad (handful of spinach, chopped tomatoes, bell pepper, 5oz can of tuna & creamy basil dressing)

Early Afternoon:
1 cup of coffee
1 table spoon of peanut butter (organic peanuts/sea salt)

Mid Afternoon:
1 apple and another banana

-- Cycling: 30 miles (2 hours) at moderate/hard effort --

Supper:
Crackers & cheese (6 whole wheat crackers & colby-jack cheese slices w/ a little horseraddish thrown in for fun)
1 glass of wine (Llano Estacado's pino grigio)

1/2 grilled chicken breast + 1 handful of steamed broccoli florets
1 + 1/2 bottles of beer (12oz Carona)

Monday, June 8, 2009

On being "good" (or debauch no more..)

Organic or not? When and where possible I try to buy organic produce and related products. Sometimes the price difference is just too much and I'll go for the regular, genetically-modified, pesticide-laden version instead. One of my coworkers enjoys pointing out (and correctly so) that just because it is "organic" doesn't mean it is pesticide free, and I agree with him. After all, Arsenic is just as deadly as any man made poison, however, while that's nice it's not the only reason I go organic. I find that many organic products have less crap in them. I don't mean that in the way of fecal coliform but rather in unnecessary ingredients. Ever compare the labels of "regular" ketchup and organic ketchup? At least I can recognize the stuff they put in the organic ketchup - things like tomatoes, water, vinegar, sugar, salt. The organic peanut butter I buy has the following ingredients: organic peanuts, sea salt. That's it. Two things and I know what both of them are.

I'm not going to get into the whole thing about the nation's food supply and all that since it's been beaten to death by everyone else so far. I just wanted to say that I'll buy organic when and where I can for two reasons: it's the lesser of two evils and I don't need a degree in chemistry to read the ingredient list.

So anyway.. after a weekend of debauchery that did not involve anything organic, but instead saw the likes of Taco Bell*, pizza, pancakes, ribeyes, Shiner Bock and more than one glass of cabernet, I decided this upcoming week I'd be "good". "Good" means getting on the scale and actually looking down at the numbers. Good also means whole foods, no take out and actually cooking the things I eat, not just reheating them. Unless of course it's salad or something that would get all wilty in the oven. We'll see how it goes and I'm gonna post the daily totals/results so I'll have to be accountable. Wish me luck!

*(Me at drive thru: "Um I'd like 2 tostadas & 1 bean burrito please, oh, and what do you have that will mix with gin? Sierra Mist? Ok, give me a medium one of those too.")

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Butterflies Eat Poop

Butterflies Eat Poop (and other observations of a five year old)

I was gonna write a book full of witty things and such but faced a couple of major obstacles:

1. I'm not witty or even remotely funny
2. I don't know (or have) any five year olds

I'm pretty sure these things are what they refer to as "deal killers"... crap!


...and someone else has already beat me to the t-shirt idea.

Monday, June 1, 2009

I said whoa!

I replaced the brake pads on my truck last weekend. The auto shop wanted $400 to do a brake job and the "quickie" brake places only charge $99 (at least to get you in the door). I checked out the prices for parts online and the only way the $99 companies can make any money is to use absolutely the cheapest parts available and somehow I felt that brake pads made from cardboard and paper towels was probably not a good thing so I decided to do the job myself. After watching a couple of "how to" clips on youtube I went to the auto part's store and got Ford's "motorcraft brand" pads ($65 for the front and $55 for the rear.) I have some basic tools at the house, but generally every project costs more than normal because I usually end up having to buy at least "one of everything" (hammer, pliers, nails, screwdriver, beer) to accomplish the task.

Here's basically how things went:
Go to auto part store buy brake pads ($130) and c-clamp ($10)
Go back to store and buy a floor jack ($25)
Jack up truck, take wheel off
Spend 20 minutes trying to break loose a bolt and destroy the socket wrench
Decide I'm gonna need something big and beefy to remove bolt
Put tire back on, drive to store and buy heavy duty socket and breaker bar ($30)
Jack up truck and remove tire once again
Discover that 3/4 inch socket only strips out bolt
Go inside re-watch video and realize the bolt is an 18mm (that's metric - on an "American" car?? I blame the Canadians for this one)
Debate putting tire back on car and going back to store once again
End up watching another video and notice that they don't remove this bolt at all
Go outside remove the two correct bolts and replace brake pads in less than 20 minutes
Realize that this would make a nifty youtube video, grab camera and film other side




Brakes, Bikes & Beaches (Oh My!)


Dear Youtube & Yahoo.. thank you for offering to "remember my password" and/or "leave me logged in", but you see, the deal is I don't want you to do that. I keep unchecking the stupid little check box every time I log in and yet, somehow you just don't seem to get the message. I know you are not listening because every time I return to log in there is the little check in the box again.




Dear Flickr & Youtube.. please enable partial search matches. In the old days we called them "wildcard" searches and used an asterisk (*) to indicate our intentions. It would seem like you would have figured this out by now, what with all the kvetching from your users about it on your various blogs and what not

Okay, I'm glad we finally got that out of the way. Now I can move on to some more important things such as totally random crap..

I replaced the brake pads (front & back) on my truck (blog & vlog to follow).

I rode 650+ miles in May.

Did not get to schedule trip to Cayman Islands for June (or at all).

Going to Port Aransas (gulf coast) 1st weekend in August with Nancy.

Going to Port Aransas (gulf coast) 2nd weekend in August with my brother & his family.

Will probably go nuts and spend $$$ on a road bike (that I was originally going to go nuts and spend on the Cayman Island trip.)