We make holes in teeth!

Friday, May 23, 2008


I think I'm hitting a sweet spot with the biking now. To recap my last 6 days on the ride again. Last Saturday I did my 38 mile loop in less than 2 hours, shattering my previous record. The next day I rode the loop in reverse, in the rain, and still crushed the old record though I was 3:30 off Saturday's ride. Tuesday I did 24 one-minute intervals. Wednesday I did 8 4-minute intervals.

I worked from home yesterday and went out for a ride just before 3:00. I did my long swamp loop, 24.5 miles. My previous record was a 19.2 average on this particular loop. Yesterday I posted a 20.5. I don't know how to explain it really. I weigh 194 pounds. My volume is way down. The only thing I can think of is that after 2 solid years of riding 4-5 days a week I have just become a faster rider. Also, the quality of my workouts is way, way up. I don't waste a minute on the bike. Aside from rocking a new record yesterday that was my 5th solid workout in 6 days and 1 hour and 12 minutes of brutally solid riding.

Another thing to consider is that my body just performs better at 190-195 pounds. When it comes down to it, 5-10 pounds only shaves seconds off your time when climbing and on the flats extra weight isn't a major deal. But when I drop down to the 180-185 range I really have to cut carbs. It may be the reality that I'm shorting my muscles the proper fuel it needs to recover and perform properly when I get that "light". I've had some people say they actually perform worse at lighter weights. Something else to consider.

Cycle 4

Victim: Penn station, same orange shirt as this morning. Woman, married, average build, non-regular going to Morris Plains, my age, white, fairly attractive. Much much perfume. On the phone with her husband giving him directions on how to make chicken nuggets and hot dogs for their kid(s). While on phone was typing away on Blackberry. After the first call she got back on the phone for another then started reading InTouch magazine. Her name is Stacey, as per the message she left someone. Finally the iPod came out while she read the magazine.

Assessment: The phone talkers are never good. Add in the high perfume and the fact that I had to listen to hot dog directions and you're not starting off well. Her jacket and bag spilled over a few times onto me - more points off there but not bad. Kept her voice down so at least not obnoxious. In all I'd call her an average Victim.

Cycle 5

Friday morning. A full week of scruff today. Light blue shirt. Also should note that the lot was empty as many people are getting a jump on the weekend so the train is less crowded. Many empty seats still. I expect an empty seat until Summit at least.

Victim: None today. Not enough people on the train.

Assessment: I like the double-wide all to myself. It allows me to pass gas and not disturb people.

Experiment Summary

It would make some sense to give a summary on the week but I still need Friday's post-work data. So I will try and summarize Monday morning instead.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Train Update

Oh fun! I can do the experiment on the ride home too! So going home I'm on the 4:50 Dover Express out of Penn Station. The pertinent details first.

Nobody sat here. Curious, because this will skew the results. In the morning it will never be nobody. I'll collect the data and see how it shakes out.

Cycle 3: Today I'm wearing an orange shirt. I think I'm also going to record the station. It will always be 1 of 4: Berkeley Heights, Murray Hill, New Providence, or Summit, though that will be skewed with Penn Station being the start point for half of these. I'm sitting more in the middle today so the victim could come from behind.

Victim: New Providence, woman, 40-45, married, medium build, non-regular, white, average looks, lots of perfume. Coffee in right hand which is the side I'm on which makes me a hair nervous. Now she's putting her coat up on top and perched her coffee on her purse on the seat. The people who magically believe their coffee won't spill irk me. Points off for that. She's eating a pear which I have to respect. So add points back for being healthy. Eventually an iPod comes out.

Assessment: Another generally good experience from the average looking, middle aged, white woman set. Totally space respectful and no phone jabbering. Points off for coffee handling and perfume but not too much.

Comments: Walter piped in with, "I like the idea of your daily experiment, gives something else to look forward to each day," to which my wife commented later that evening, "Walter needs to get a hobby." Then too-lazy-to-log-in Steve added, "i am so glad that i no longer contend with the public transportation psyche." Usually I could care less but this makes it interesting for me. Otherwise I leave all the head game assessment for the other people.

The Biking

Did the second day of Ross intervals today, the 8x4:2 variety for 32 minutes of work. I felt very strong considering this was my 4th hard workout in 5 days. This is how my week is generally supposed to go, with 4 solid workouts in. 4 or 5 day span. Build it up baby, build it up.

I think next week I'm going to drop the recovery to 1 minute and go with 8x4:1. This is basically my creeping up on the month of June, which I hope to do at least 3 races in. I'm also considering a May 31st race down in south Jersey the day before the Lewis Morris race. It makes little to no sense to race back-to-back days but then how awesome is that for my training? I can't think of a better way to stack tough workouts.


Big weekend coming up with Memorial Day. Not sure what shakes out but I hope it doesn't rain. I may give that ride out to PA a shot again. I also want to get a Lewis Morris preride in, maybe with Kirt. I'm sure we'll be doing some family stuff with Nat's brother too as it's his last weekend here. All in all they're lame vacationers. All they do it sit at Nat's parents or go shopping at Century 21 or go out for dinner. Last night I took the train to Morris Plains and we had dinner at Tiffany's, an entirely mediocre meal.


Terren asked, "I know you've briefly summarized it for me once or twice, but I guess I never really got it - what will you be doing for your new job?"

Release Management. This may be a bit tough for you to buy into but here goes. Basically the new group is responsible for (sometimes) building and implementing releases across the company. At this point with the various mergers this is like 5 companies that cover at least 3 countries, if not more. In the US we have major operations going on in at least 3 cities. In all, there are hundreds if not thousands of projects that get delivered every year. With the industry being what it is, there needs to be a rigorous release framework to facilitate the build and implementation of the various projects as well as source code control of this stuff.

My role in this is to help with the development of automation as well as bringing the NY side into this umbrella of management. Down the road there will be bigger development projects but the company is still in a sort of "finding it's way" mode with all of this. Much of the NY side isn't using this methodology so part of what I'll also be doing is selling the notion to this side.

Damn, my train is in NY. Ask more questions so I can get into more detail. This was a 2 minute answer.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Social Experiment Day 1

I have no idea how long this will last. I am notorious for starting things and not following through. But it seems like a neat idea on (virtual) paper. So let's have at it. Here's the setup. If you didn't read yesterday's entry this might not make much sense.

Today I took a 2 seater, north side of the train, about 1/3 of the way down the car so whoever sits next to me will likely be coming at me. I'm not going to always sit in the same car or anything. I put my bag on my lap so as to not discourage someone from sitting here. I'm wearing khaki pants, a black shirt, and a jacket. I have 1.5 days of scruff. Haircut is currently very short. Today is Tuesday.

I'm not going to make eye contact. Instead I will either look out the window or look at the Blackberry.

Berkeley Heights: no takers, too many empty seats.

Wow, shocker, Murray Hill we already have a taker! A white woman, probably 40-45, medium slight build, average looks, wedding ring, single day ticket purchase (ie, non-monthly ticket), reading a book called Lord of Scandal, black messenger bag, khaki colored corduroy pants, comfortable walking shoes, no Blackberry. She kinda reminds me of Vinny's mom but smaller. She doesn't have a monthly but this routine seems normal to her. I'm guessing semi-regular commuter.

Very surprising. I was under the impression that nobody would grab the seat until Summit. So I'm going to tally this as such:

  • Man/woman
  • Married
  • Age (sub 30, 30-39, 40-49, 50+)
  • Fat or not fat
  • Regular or not (monthly/weekly pass)
  • Ethnicity

Comments: by the time we get to the tunnel to NY I will throw out an assessment of this seat cohabitant. Today, I can say this woman is about as good as it gets. She just sat and read and that was it. No makeup, perfume, phone calls, nothing. Score one for average looking middle aged married white women from Murray Hill!

The Bike

I skipped yesterday and was back in the Dungeon today for 3 sets of 8x1:30 which means 8 reps of 1 minute on, 30 seconds off. So that's 8 minutes of blisteringly difficult work in a span of 11 minutes and 30 seconds.

Tomorrow the plan is 1 set of 8x4:2 or maybe even 8x4:1 if I'm feeling up for it. The progression basically goes as such:

  1. 4x2 for 32 on, 14 off
  2. 4x1 for 32 on, 7 off
  3. 5x2 for 40 on, 14 off
  4. 5x1 for 40 on, 7 off

Jeez, 40 on and 7 off seems diabolically painful in theory.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

The Train Guy

I said last week I was going to blog my train ride to work one day. I forgot today but what just happened at the Summit station makes me want to write this. Basically here's the setup. Every day we hit the Summit station with a fairly full train but not packed. The 2 seaters have 1-2 people and the 3 seaters have 2 people.

I always take the 3 seater and sit next to the window. When I get on there are still totally empty 3 seaters and my approach is that the 2 seaters always get full and the 3 seaters sometimes get full. So you have a better chance of being comfortable in the 3 seater. You are absolutely guaranteed to be with someone in a 2 seater.

At New Providence a guy takes the 2nd seat next to me. Probably about 6 feet tall, maybe 170-180 pounds. So you're talking almost 12 feet of humanity and a little over 350 pounds already occupying that 2 seater. This is generally a good thing because *for the most part* this means a smaller woman or nobody at all will sit with you. As an aside, could you possibly have any idea where this is going?

Another thing to mention is that you can influence who sits with you in that middle seat. Sometimes you'll see someone eying up all the seats and you can make slight eye contact, then grab your bag off the middle seat and put it on your lap. Often the person will take it as a queue that you welcome them and they'll sit down. I only employ this method if someone is seriously eying your empty seat and one other and there are plenty of people left standing. Otherwise I ignore them all and hope they pick someone else.

As another aside I really don't care who sits next to me so long as they're not big and fat or soaking wet from the rain. Also, women with a lot of perfume irk me. Other than that I really don't care. I don't prefer the pretty girls to sit down or anything. I'm sure that's what most of you are thinking, that you always hope the hotties sit next to you. Not at all. Just as often as not the cute girls yap on the goddamn phone or put on makeup the whole ride in. Another thing that irks me are people who fall asleep and lean on me. How about this? Take your big fat ham of a body and sleep in your fucking bed, not on my arm.

Anyway, the people are almost done filing in, and here come 2 small girls and Bigfoot. These are like the last 3 people. Well first girl has rolling luggage so she's off to the vestibule. I make no eye contact with the second girl because I'm indifferent now. More than likely we've got the wide-open seat because Bigfoot isn't going to sit between 360 pounds of men. he?

For real?

Well over 6 feet and probably 240 pounds? So this seat has to be tipping 600 pounds now with all 3 of us. Come on man, have some pride. If that's me, and I've been in this situation plenty of times, no way I'm asking to sit there. The ride to Penn Station is 35 minutes from Summit. You can't stand that long? This is why you broke your scale. If I'm late to catch the train and there are no open 3 seaters I won't ever ask to sit in the middle of 2 people. I don't mean rarely, I mean never. Even if there are 2 Olive Oil characters, no thanks, I'll stand.

So the guy isn't that bad to sit next to but he's hot, just radiating heat. I mean it's all of 7:30 in the morning. If I'm not out on my bike I don't want to be associated with the expression "radiating heat" at that time of day. Wish I would have gambled with the last girl and tried to get her to sit here. But no, figured I had a clean ride to NYC today. Oh well, no luck.

In all fairness this guy is totally space-respectful so it's not that bad. But you know how it goes. And today there's a 30 minute delay. And the jerkoff just passed gas. Good luck Monday morning.

You know what I might do? Take a 2 seater for 2 weeks straight and see what kind of person chooses to sit next to me. Seems like a good social experiment. I wonder if I should make note of my shirt color. Certainly I should normalize the experiment as best as I can. Terren, looking in your direction for suggestions.

Weekend Recap

I did not race this weekend. But I did decide to ride. I didn't race because Julia went to the doctor Friday and we found she had an ear infection on top of her cold. And Saturday that finally hit me, which is par for the course. But I said fuck it and rode anyway, a spin of my 38 mile loop which I knocked out in just under 2 hours, a personal best. So despite all of this hand wringing, and weight gain, here I am posting records on even 2 hour loops. I'm still not sure what to make of it all. I checked my riding log and since the week before Taiwan I have only 1 week of 5+ hours of riding.

Yesterday I did the same loop in reverse, and it started raining as I walked out the door. So 38 miles again, this time in the rain. I was 3.5 minutes slower but I attribute that to the rain. When I got finished my throat started to hurt more and my congestion was worse. It probably wasn't a great idea but Monday morning and I feel fine. Still lingering effects of a cold but not bad, though as I sit here on the train I'm feeling more and more tired by the minute. Quite frankly I was sick of not getting in quality saddle time on the weekends so I just decided to go at it in the rain.

I think I'm going back to 5 days on the bike. I'm just not getting the volume I need with 4. But then, I seem to be improving. Also, consider my ratio of time this weekend. By not racing, I spent 4 hours of life to ride 4 hours. If I had raced, I would have spent 9 hours of life to ride 2.5 hours. It's hard to argue that Tymor trip is worth it. That leaves me with no drop races for the rest of the year. I have a contention on Father's Day, the 3rd Sunday in June. I'm not going to cross that bridge right now. No sense over-thinking it.

That's all for Monday morning. Still plenty of comments to get to, including what I do in my new job. Oh, and the team jerseys came in. I'll leave you with this sexy picture of me to croon over all week:

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