Monday, August 07, 2006

Back for a bit

We're back from the first half of our vacation, getting ready to head out to the second half.

The first was wonderful, in the NC and Virgina mountains and foothills. We all had a blast. We've been gem mining, driven along the Blue Ridge Parkway (everyone should drive a portion of this at least once in a lifetime), stood on windy bridge on Grandfather mountain and even tried hiking to the top - it gets a little unnerving on the cables and ladders, although not if you're my five year old in which case dad is just a bit of a wuss.

The second half is all in Virgina - we're heading to a theme park (Kings Dominion - my oldest is getting the coaster bug!), to Richmond, Williamsburg, Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Road tripping is fun.

The Nintendos are wonderful for keeping the kids quiet.

I'll post pics later, after we get back.

Mysteriously quiet at Overground ...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Nothing much

It has been suggested by another non-posting blogger that things are getting a little dusty round here, that a new post would be appreciated. So an update. Nothing new to report, same old. Let's see - it got hot here, into the high 90s, which has put a little kink into my bike riding to work - basically I just wussed out. I did ride in Monday, but had to get a ride home after my tire went flat and my pump decided to break right then too. So only 13 miles this week.

Beginning tomorrow is our vacation. We're heading towards the Blue Ridge mountains, to Linville Gorge, Grandfather Mountain and on to Virginia to ride the Creeper Trail - 17 miles downhill with my wife and my boys. Next week we'll be at a theme park riding coasters, in Williamsburg and then in Norfolk. The kids have Nintendos to play in the car - an absolute road trip godsend.

So, another reason for me to not be posting for a while.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Rope A Dope

Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich are O-U-T, out of the Tour de France this year, having got caught up in the durg use and blood doping affair that started after the Tour de Spain. The French newspaper L'Equipe is announcing that another 15 - 20 riders may be banned from riding also.

So Jan's last best chance, having been second five times behind Lance, has just come and gone. I actually feel pretty sorry for him, since I personally believe they are all taking drugs of some sort at that level. It's probable that Lance was also doping ... however you need proof, and the hounding that Dick Pound, the head of the anti-doping agency has subjected Lance to has been without basis and unwarranted.

So, the two favorites are out. The tour is wide open. The riders will be wondering who will be forced out of the ride next - it's actually pretty enthralling. Middle aged men around the world will be wondering what effects EPO could have in the bedroom.

Personally, I'd like to see all the performance enhancing drugs legalized. Every one of them. And tested for, and controlled. That way we can have two races, the one with the guys loaded to the eyeballs who will die at age 35 with blood so thick it can't be pumped around by their hearts, and then the clean guys who will be able to hold their grandkids. Let the public decide which race to watch. Same with the olympics, football, baseball, tiddly winks, whatever.

I promise to never take drugs to improve my commute time when riding to work.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

World Cup Weenies

It's that special time again, where once every four years the best football teams in the world meet up to kick a ball backwards and forwards into a net - which is odd because on the whole the ball doesn't really care where it goes. Anyway, we still do it, and it can be thrilling to watch - the nationalism, the sense of occasion, the picking of the underdog team to root for, the fact that I saw a big England flag with my home town written all across it. All these things make it one of the best sporting events on the planet.

(BTW, and just to contrast, it's not a "world series" if only one country plays ... just so you know)

There are a couple of football fans in the office, and it's been the subject of conversation for a couple of weeks now. One topic has been the sheer number of yellow and red cards awarded, a lot of which have not been deserved. Which got us onto the subject of cards in general, and sportsmanship in the world cup. We noticed there's still a lot of diving going on, falling over without any need for it to try to get the foul or penalty. The consensus was these guys just need to grow some stones and act like men, not small whiny girls.

And we came up with the solution ! Instead of just having yellow and red cards, we want to introduce the pink card. There wouldn't be any penalty to it, but if the ref saw you took a dive and you were just faking, you'd be shown the pink card. Everyone around the world would know you were just a bit of a girl. And if you got two pink cards in the tournament, you'd have to wear pink shorts in the next match.

A lot of these offenses seem to be committed by the latin american teams, a typically macho culture. Imagine going back home and having to explain why you got two pink cards in the world cup. Emigration to an non-football playing country (yes US, I'm looking at you) would be the only option.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Bike to work week day 4

My legs went from feeling creaky to feeling taut. There's tension in the muscles, like something could snap. I know it's not gonig to happen but that's how it feels.

My backside is still sore. Thanks goodness for the new saddle, I can't imagine what I'd be feeling like on the old one.

Hills are not an issue now though. The big secret is just keep pedalling. Don't stop. And it's almost the same kind of feeling as driving to work, that kind of auto-pilot you get on a familiar route.

There's a training course today with the group I work in, and then beers afterwards. I may be a little more lubricated riding home - I have no idea what impact it's going to have, but I'll try anything once.

And congrats to Sancho, who is thinking about one day possibly maybe almost beginning to sometime get serious about bike riding. You're already 99% of the way there buddy :-)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

OK legs, you don't like me and I don't like you ...

... but we're in this thing together so let's just make the best of it, OK ?

Day 3 of my bike to work week started slowly. Leaving the house I could feel that my butt was a little tender, and my legs really weren't moving like they were on Monday. The only thing I could do was sit back on the saddle and spin things out, hoping that it would get easier. The first couple of miles were pretty tough going, and then after that it started to be something I enjoyed. By the time I got to work I'd recorded my fastest time of the week so far, an average of 17.9mph. Hey, when you're on a bike you learn to deal in 1/10th increments.

As I was approaching the last hill on my ride, the lizard oart of my brain took over and I was stood up, sprinting. Stupid lizard brain.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Sore backside week

As I'm sure everyone is aware, this week is national bike to work week. All across the country, tens of people are riding into work on their bicycles, dodging F150s and potholes.

Since I've been bike commuting for about a year now, I decided to take it as a personal challenge, with the goal of leaving the car at home all week long. It means a little more organization is needed, and a full pack each way, but I'm pretty excited about it. By the end of the week I'll have taken another 125 miles plus off my annual total, and I'm hoping it will get me in good shape for my first century ride of the year on June 3rd.

Happy riding all !