We make holes in teeth!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Hair Twirling

Not really a whole lot going on here today. It's Friday and the week is ending. I laid out my last bunch of riding days and yesterday just added to that tally. 35 miles in the hills with an 18.6 average. Really firing up a good pace these days. I started to lose it a bit at the end but I attribute that to the 4th balls-out workout in 5 days. Today I rest. Woke up at 192 today. The defragmentation is working so far. My eating habits were fucked after vacation, plain and simple.
The weekend is my trying to find 4-5 hours to ride in between 3 different social events. Life. Saturday should be cool but there will be beer, and that's not what I need if I want to hit 189 before the Stewart race. Beer.

Steve said, "i made you laugh? i'm glad i was able to contribute to your experiment. still-too-lazy-to-log-on-steve." I was reading my PMs and something you said to Mike (from the team) about the photographer made me laugh.

After the race Chris commented that, "I'm pretty sure I rode as hard at times on Thursday as I did during the race. You put in good rides both days, Norm." Both days were really good rides for me, no doubt. Plus yesterday and that's like 3 rides close to race effort in 8 days. Ride hard, make it count. I'm hoping to really sharpen my game for these last 2 races.

Cycle 18

Wearing a dark green shirt and brown pants. I have not worn this shirt since I Blimped Out. Shaved yesterday.

Victim: New Providence, woman, married, not fat, 30-39, regular, white. Orange-ish bag, Blackberry, long blonde hair, attractive, probably as tall as me. Wearing a beige suit, lightly striped. Nothing gaudy like the previous pretty blonde girl who I sat with. Her fingernails are glossy, no color. No superfluous jewelry. She twirls her hair unconsciously. How is it that both attractive blonde girls have done this? Her music is absurdly loud. She hammers away at her Blackberry the whole time, much like me. I can only assume she is assessing me, something like, "Why does this guy keep glancing at me and then typing? Is he taking notes? God it's so gross. I wish he would ask me out. I better twirl my hair."

Assessment: Tough one. I'd go with Good but her music was too loud. If I were trying to read it would have been bothersome. But she was very space respectful and she didn't have absurd perfume and no cell phone. Music not that bothersome so I'll say Good.

Cycle 17

After work Wednesday, nothing of note to encourage or discourage someone to sit next to me. Still wearing a red shirt and black pants.

Victim: Male, white, 40-49, not fat, not regular, not married, Chatham. Could be 30-39 but I'm going with my first guess. Very tall, goofy looking. Wall Street Journal. Blackberry - who doesn't have one these days? Too big to be sitting next to me. His name could be Charles. He was often beat up in grade school until he got tall. He cannot dance. His favorite color is blue. He is wearing a suit with no tie. Reads the paper and violates my space. Ass.

Assessment: Bad. Was almost good but he's too big. Sit with someone smaller, man. Then the constant space violation with your lame newspaper sealed the deal. Really you had so much going for you but you flushed it all down the drain with a few dumb decisions.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Blow Up Dolls

Let's just kick it off with our new team mascot

Here's my race recap. This is taken entirely from the various posts I made in our team forum. So the team guys will have already read this. Anyway, to recap, I think I have mental problems...

My time last year was 1:53:50. This year it was about 1:39:50. That's a 14 minute improvement. My goal this year was to be under 1:40, shooting for 33 minute laps. My laps were 33+, 33-, and 34-. I wanted to start out slow and steady, not blowing on the first 3 climbs - I did exactly that, and after that 3rd climb on the first lap the only person to permanently pass me was Kirt, at the start of the 3rd lap.

In short, I knew this course wasn't great for me. I had a few goals and I hit them. I paced myself very well, managed to reel back in a ton of riders. Never pushed past the breaking point. And yet, I still feel like that race where it all comes together just hasn't come yet. When I was done my legs hurt. Squatting down to get some carrots in the fridge Monday morning while I was packing my lunch, my legs let me know just how unhappy they were. I feel like I raced at my limit, right where I should have been. I had a strategy, stuck to it, and beat last year's time by 14 minutes. And yet, I dunno, I still felt lethargic out there. I don't know if my warm-up isn't right, my pre-race meal, my race nutrition of choice, or what.

Oh and another thing. I joked about one of the experts pacing me through the race. Well just into the second lap, Marc Lewis passed me and we went back and forth the rest of the day. Marc used to work at Planet Bike and used to race expert-level on the Specialized team. NORBA denied his expert application so he was in sport class. Literally for the last 9-10 miles, we paced each other around the course, and at the end we sprinted out the fire road to the finish. He bailed at the end and I took the spot ahead of him, but I'm pretty sure he backed off the gas and let me have it, though we were hammering at a pretty good clip. Regardless, his pressing me at the end is why I managed to keep it under that 1:40 time.

Still, it was a fantastic day. I got to see everyone from the team (except Steve!!!!!), plus a whole lot of other people from the site. These races are turning more and more into really fun events and even if I have the crappiest race, the before/after is really a lot of fun. Good stuff.

The BBQ after was good times. While I wish more people could have come by, my wife would have punched me if the whole team showed.

So I looked at last year's results for sport here. This is a PDF so don't click if you don't want it to open Adobe Acrobat.

Anyway, if I take my time and add 2:00 (like the results from '07) I get 1:41:50. Using last year's results that would put me in 6th place for a combined class. Given they split the class this year, and using last year's rider ages, that would put me in 4th place.

Regardless if I came in 4th (or by some miracle 3rd) this makes me feel better about yesterday's race now. I also had a faster race yesterday than Rave had in '07. Rave won the series (before the PayDirt points were applied).

Another moment I just remembered from after the race. Ben and Chris were with me at my car after the race, talking about how it went. I said, "I think today I finally felt those extra 10 pounds a little bit out there." Ben just half-smiled and shook his head knowingly. I think I should get a little more serious about dropping that damn vacation weight now...

More Bike Stuff

Wednesday morning. This heavy dose of biking is catching up to me right now. Consider the lineup:

Thursday: Race pace with 3 expert+ riders
Saturday: Hour preride, 18 miles, road
Sunday: Race
Tuesday: 26 minutes of short-burst intervals
Wednesday: 8x5:2 for a total of 40 minutes of high-end intervals.

That's 4 high-quality workouts in 7 days, for a total of 5:20 of solid, quality biking. Total hours for the week were about 7:00. The other 1:40 was the pre-ride on Saturday and the warm-up Sunday. Make every ride count.

So I'm tired. And I weight 194 this morning. I broke out the online food counter ( again Monday because it's time to do a little defragmentation on my eating habits. So I should see the 180s again before long. This is just something I need to do once in a while.

The recurring saddle sore on my left butt cheek is half back again today. I'm wearing a red shirt. Does this effect who sits next to me? I am sitting in the back of the train so it's more than likely the person who sits here will only have my balding head to assess me with.

Cycle 12

Monday morning. I have trashed my body this weekend, racing Lewis Morris yesterday then having some of the team over for some burgers and beers. Then I stayed up too late and didn't get enough sleep. So I'm tired and likely look like ass sitting here. Black pants and light blue shirt. I shaved Saturday. I am reading State of Fear by Michael Crichton (thanks FatCat). I can't get enough of this book.

Victim: Summit, which is the first time a victim has taken that long to get on. It's always been Murray Hill or New Providence before. White, male, by Summit the men don't care if there are 2 big guys in 1 seat. Tough to call age but I'll say 40-49. Not fat. Marrier, regular. Plays on the Blackberry reading email or perhaps blog entries about train experiments. Dressed in a suit and tie. The tie is orange, like my bike and jersey. He is reading Thirteen Moons.

Assessment: Quiet, space respectful, couldn't ask for anything more. Good cohabitant. The only issue was an occasional space violation from the puffy shirt sleeve which is always annoying.

Cycle 13

Post work Monday. I have added a new option to the list today.

Victim: Evacuate. A young boy sat with me. He was with his brother, father, and grandparents. I got up so he, his father and brother could all sit in the 2 seater. The grandmother insisted I take the seat the father was going to take but NFW was I going to let her stand.

Assessment: Standing in the vestibule is fine, especially when you're doing the right thing. The guy behind us was sitting on the outside, blocking anyone from sitting with him. If he wasn't such a dickhead he would have gotten up and let the 2 grandparents sit there. But 35 year old, healthy white men need to sit and make 70 year old men stand. What a dick. I hope he gets herpes from screwing his secretary.

Cycle 14

Tuesday morning. I'm normally on the left side but today I'm on the right. I am wearing brown pants and a yellow shirt. I wonder if color has anything to do with it. Not if you read THIS.

Victim: Woman, white, not fat, 50+, non-regular, married, New Providence. This woman has been riding the train since I've been commuting to the city since November 2004. She and her friend come in every day together. Same train, same stop. Completely unremarkable. I think I need to redefine "regular" because she is on the train every day yet has a ticket, not a monthly pass. I can't tell you how much more that would cost but it's a lot more every month. She's probably one of these assholes that tries to cheap out and pay only 1 way. In the end that costs the honest people like me more money. Dick. For FatCat, she has never been confused with a high school or college pole vaulter ever in her life. She has a Blackberry. She opens up Readers Digest. Wow, I haven't seen that in years.

I read a PM that Steve sent which made me actually LOL. The woman looked around confused. Actually I don't think it's Reader's Digest. But same general shape.

Assessment: I am now going to classify this into 3 types. Good, Bad, and Indifferent. I think those are self-explanatory though I considered just Good and Not Good and decided that in order for me to be a good and fair arbiter of seat mates it would be unfair to classify someone who was passable as Not Good. It would be more accurate to say Good and !Good, but I think the nuance would be missed by most. I could use Good and Other but fuck it I've gone on long enough. Today's contestant was Good.

Cycle 15

Victim: Nobody.

Assessment: Good.

Cycle 16

Victim: Murray Hill, woman, not married, not fat, 19-29, non-regular. Blonde hair, just past shoulder length. While she is thin she does have solid calves, suggesting she was possibly an athlete at some point. Attractive yet hammish in that "I don't know how to be elegant so I come off a little gaudy" way that so many mid-20s women do. Wearing a long black (rain) coat and has a red umbrella. Wears a ring on her right hand, middle finger. Has a black hair clip/band. Big silver bracelet on her left wrist as well as a red banded watch. Breaks out a dark red mini iPod. Has a green purse and another bag. Obviously she likes colors but the black jacket suggests confusion at some level about that. Wears a perfume that reminds me of TD (Tackle Dummy - she played rugby) from back in college. I don't like it. Her name could be Shelly or Sandy. Her iPod is playing Boyz II Men. WTF? Her head routinely drops down and picks up as she struggles to stay awake.

Assessment: Perfume bad. Jacket arm rubbed my arm which is annoying. Just closed her eyes and listened to the music which is fine. But the perfume was too strong which makes her Indifferent. Not bad, as such. Just not good.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

A little Ketchup

So here's a little bit of stuff from last week I never got around to posting.

Back to working from home on Thursdays for now, which is really nice because it splits up the week solidly. As mundane as it sounds the trip into the city is mentally taxing. So getting to sleep in and being able to work from 6:30 until 3:30 allows me to go ride my bike in the dirt, which is what I did yesterday afternoon.

Bill, Chris, Chuck, and I met up at Lewis Morris for a little more pre-riding action. For those of you scoring at home that would be 2 experts, a semipro, and 1 fat old sport rider. I thought I was struggling a bit at times yesterday but when all was said and done we did 3 laps that just crushed last year's race time. If I can keep that pace for Sunday I'll be wildly happy. We turned 1 lap that was in the 30 minute realm which is crazy fast for me, 2:30 faster than my previous best. Riding with these guys helps me push myself. But I need to be careful on the start of this race as it's so easy to blow. I may try a slightly different approach Sunday. We'll see.

Ran the tubeless for the first time yesterday and right now I don't feel that confident with them as they lost all their air overnight and the sealant was still coming out wet. That could be bad but they did hold up yesterday for the ride. I'm going to need to cut the sweep of the bars at some point to put me in a more aggressive position with my weight further forward to get more bite on the front tire as I'm washing out more in the front than I'd like to. I'm also going to go 1x9 in July since I never change gears in the front.

I'm thinking of another 2 lap pre-ride tomorrow, 1 slow and 1 fast, to get the legs opened up for Sunday. I don't respond well to racing after a light day. I may also stick to the road for an hour. I suppose there's still a 2% chance I go down to Gloucester for the Summer Sizzler race but highly unlikely. We have a birthday party at 11:00 tomorrow which I'm lukewarm about. Then I think my parents are coming over to hang in the afternoon.

Cycle 10

Lots of scruff today so I may be seen as slovenly. But perhaps my boyish good looks and sleek physique counter that. Or maybe some the Miami Vice look works. I am dressed like this today:

Victim: New Providence, white, woman, not fat, married, non-regular, 40-49. Bright red/pink fingernail polish. Short dirty blonde hair. Opened laptop, 84 new messages in her inbox. Strong perfume, glasses. Possibly used to be very attractive at one point in her life but time has done its thing. She is wearing a shawl that brushes against my arm. Her name could be Carol. She seems to have a low-level Gaudy addiction. The shawl, the fingernail polish, dangly light lime-green earrings, extra rings, the donkey she brought on the train.

Oh shit, her name is Judy Ice. She is VP and National Sales Manager of McGraw Hill Higher Education. This was the footer of an email she was sending. I would publish her email but that's not a nice thing to do for the Spam Bots out there. Besides I'm sure you can find it if you want to interview her. The name Judy Ice fits with the gaudy look, I think. It sounds like a stage name to me. Her real name is Judimentary Icenlingerdooble.

Assessment: I appear to be the king of the middle-aged woman from New Providence and Murray Hill. Despite the shawl-rub and the stronger than average perfume, she was a solid co-rider. Space respectful and not obnoxious. We had another 20 minute NJ Transit delay today and the cohabitation was fine.

Comment: Terren says, "Norm, your train experiment reminds me of my commuting days, driving down to Eatontown. I came up with an experiment to monitor what percentage of left-lane drivers were women. It was kind of interesting, but let's be honest, it was just an excuse to ogle pretty women. BTW, I don't remember the results, which further undermines whatever quasi-legitimacy that experiment had."

There are lots of pretty women on the train but when they sit this close it's hard to get your ogle on. I'm not sure I see the utility in this experiment aside from occupying my brain and bringing interesting content to the blog. When it gets mundane I'll either scrap the experiment or add a new twist, like spreading mustard on the seat next to me. Though it has made me see the usefulness of the 2 seater. People will grab coupled 2 seaters while there are 3 seaters open. I always wondered about this but now I see that it's actually a more comfortable way to sit when you never have to pack a middle rider in your seat.

Cycle 11

Friday Night post work out of NY. Plenty of people leave work on time to end the week so you should have someone sit here. But you never know.

Victim: Male, Indian, 40-49, not fat, married, regular, New Providence. He got in the seat with much fanfare, always annoying. Dropped his big load of mail and newspapers on the seat along with his soda. Immediately on the phone. 2 calls before we're out of NYC. I'm not sure this guy is Indian, but he has a hell of a dark complexion. Fluent in English either way. Makes a joke to the ticket guy. Not funny. Reads the post.

Assessment: not bad. Kept his space after the initial phone calls.

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