About This Blog

As time permits, in-depth musings on myriad subjects will be posted. Abbreviated adages will be announced via Twitter.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Taking on Toutant

Way back in January of 2001, I did the all-club New Year's Day Ride here in San Antonio. Knowing I would be in no shape to ride 60 or 70 miles after a 3-week holiday hiatus from the bicycle, I signed up for the 40-mile jaunt thinking it a piece of cake. After all, I had taken on the MS150 a few months prior and I had just won a trip to the wind tunnel at Texas A&M, so, truly, how hard could it be for a cyclist of my caliber. Ask a stupid question...

Less than 20 miles into the ride, I was gasping for air, barely able to make it up the first major climb on Scenic Loop. Six or seven miles later, when we hit Toutant Beauregard, I had my first real introduction to hill country climbing. I completely fell off the back of the group and had to even get off my bike by the side of the road. Heck, I may have even cried, disappointed as I was in myself. After suffering up its inclines and turns in the freezing cold (yes, it was actually cold that New Year's Day), I vowed to myself that I would conquer that climb.

Luck was on my side for doing so, too. I had just begun classes at UTSA for my BA and had a nice, long mid-day break for my Tuesday/Thursday class. I used this time to head out on the bicycle and ride Toutant Beauregard. By the time Spring Break hit, I had mastered its first false flat, as well as its two major up-turns: the first is a long, steep incline takes a semi-switchback approach to making its way up, while the second is a shorter climb, but far steeper than the first. After that, it's almost all down hill, all the way back to I10.

I rode up Toutant Beauregard yesterday for the first time in a year or two (the ride I did on Veteran's Day came the opposite direction, a near-suicide-pace descent around its twists & turns -- the opposite in more ways than one) and was amazed at not only how much the area had developed (more houses and even a Starbucks at the corner of TB & 10) but also with what relative ease I made it up the climbs. While it wasn't freezing, it was misitng the whole time, which added to the memorable mystique of one of my favorite rides in the area. The mist did create some doubts for my safety, but everything was just fine on Toutant and the ride back in...at least until I returned to the UTSA parking lot. I went down pretty hard, due to the slick streets, but, again due to the slick streets, injuries to me were minimal: A few scratches & bruises & gashed handlebar tape were the worst of it. My helmet appeared to have survived (still waiting for a callback from Rudy, though), and my sunglasses survived without a scratch, as well; Rudy Project makes some awesome stuff.

The weather appears to be more cooperative today, albeit a bit cooler outside. Today's training has on tap for it a 50-mile ride, followed immediately by a 4-mile run. I'll get to top those off today at noon with a massage. Life, it seems, is pretty good right now. Of course, I'll need to come crashing back to reality immediately thereafter and get grades entered and a test or two (or three? Hmm...LOTF, CMC, and finish the modified vocabulary; yup it'll be a busy day!) after my three days of sluffing off during the Thanksgiving break. Oh well. It's but a three-week haul until the Christmas holidays, so I feel confident I can make it. After all, if Toutant Beauregard posed no problems...

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


It's been a few days since the Rock & Roll Marathon in SA, and my body has recovered surprisingly well. I mean that in that I have virtually no aches & pains anywhere, save for my left Achilles, but that will likely stretch itself out when I can actually find some time to work out. And finding time to do that has been near-impossible this week.
  • Monday: Massage. I earned it.
  • Tuesday: Hockey game with N---. This was the 2-year anniversary of our first date, also a hockey game. The Rampage continue to lose, but N--- & I are very much the winning team.
  • Wednesday: At work until nearly 6:00. Got home to do more work for the forthcoming Polar Bear Splash, as well as laundry; I leave tomorrow for Corpus. Were it not for the fact that I have to be up for practice in a little over six hours, I'd likely head to the gym to sneak in a swim. Too bad I'm a wuss.
  • Thursday - Saturday: Will be in Corpus Christi for the TISCA swim meet. I plan to take running stuff with me but am unsure if I will be able to find time/locale to run whilst there. I'm not holding my breath for the La Quinta to have a fitness center, either.
And such will be my week after the marathon. I suppose taking some time off after such a major effort is a good thing, but I would like to be able to call the shots on it myself, rather than having my time dictated to me. It makes me feel so...helpless. Using the excuse that June 21 is still so far away won't cut it, either; I want to do well in CdA. Here's to hoping for a winning Super Lotto ticket or something.

With those idiotic thoughts, I bid you a good evening. I'll pop back in after TISCA to share the good news that I have returned to my training plan. Until then, get some work outs in for us both, and thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rock and Roll!

Today was the inaugural San Antonio Rock-n-Roll Marathon. I ran all 26.2 miles of it, establishing a new PR for a marathon, and proving to me that the Nike Free is one of the nicest darned pairs of shoes made. I totally plan on wearing them next year for CdA.

There is much I could say about this weekend's events surrounding the marathon (expo was lame [where were the deals?]; concert started too late for we working types; the Rudy Project SportMask is friggin' awesome -- I honestly forgot I was wearing them -- especially when the black fangs are paired with the Racing Red lens), but I'll leave it at that I felt great throughout the run (with one exception) and that, again, I set a new PR, missing qualifying for Boston by a mere seven minutes. Soon.

Okay, so what's the new PR? Read it & weep:

Yup, that's it. Again, it's no qualifying time (as some guy in Spirit of the Marathon put it, "qualifying times are slanted for women and the elderly"), but it's the best I've been able to eek out since graduating to the full distance two years ago. After all, I went in with no expectations today, other than finishing. I was certainly not disappointed...well, not too badly, anyway; I always feel I could have done better.

But, there's always next year. Will I do the RNR SA, again? If nothing better comes along, sure. Providing the course doesn't change and I can hold steady, I just might be able to qualify next year. However, my attitude towards the marathon could change after Ironman. Ask me again in seven or eight months; I should be able to have an answer for you. As always, thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I'm always wanting more / Anything I haven't got / Everything I want it all / I just can't stop.

So rings true the decade-plus words of Fat Bob, for it seems that I am always wanting more. Ladies & gentlemen of the jury, I present exhibit "A," the Fuji D6:

I first glimpsed this beauty on ST several months back, and, after reading reviews & a video from this year's Interbike, I have reached the horrible conclusion that I cannot live without this bicycle. Never you mind the hefty price tag and the fact that I already have a TT bike, I want one of these. Were I to win Super Lotto, my first stop after the bank would be Joe's Pro Bikes to put one of these on order (size 54, Joe), complete with Hed 3 wheelset and, most likely, a Hed cockpit to match. Oh, and SRAM Red, too.; I've just been dying to give it a spin, and no time like the present to fulfill one's fantasies.

Sadly, that is all the D6 will remain: A fantasy. True, I can totally see myself on one of these, full-on aero, hammering out some course or other, but I can not see spending that kind of coin on a bike that will likely not get more than a couple of thousand miles out of me this next year; post-Ironman, probably even less. Sigh.

On this somber note, I bid you a good evening. Be sure to download your copy of the new Cure album, 4:13 Dream, from Amazon, and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Back in Black

I finally got out on my bike this past week, and it felt wonderful. That it was a 32-mile leisurely spin with the 2s AM crowd at Starbucks is irrelevant. What matters is that I got to ride my bike and have fun. While others were working, I was playing and having a great time doing so.

Because of the overcast conditions, I opted to wear the SportMask glasses -- something I've not worn much, since obtaining the Exowind. Awesome of a shade the Exowind is, I really enjoyed the near-nothing feel and unparalleled optics of the SportMask; I had, again, fallen in love with them. And that got me to thinking about colour options for CdA: Black & red. A perusal of Rudy's lineup more or less ruled out the Exowinds, for buying yet another set of them (in black) was just beyond my budgetary means, so I got to looking at options for the SportMask. An email to the offices in California, inquiring about buying just a pair of the "fangs" for the the SportMask performance (in black) was met with wonderful coincidence: The rep to whom I spoke just happened to have a pair on his desk that he was willing to ship straight to me for nothing more than the cost of shipping. Score.

N---'s flight wa supposed to land in a little over an hour, but it looks like it's going to be delayed some...closer to ten, maybe. I'm going to fly, so I can let Coach know I likely will not be at practice in the morning, due to my pending late night and already-exhausted state, and then head on out to the airport, regardless. Rest up, and don't forget to stretch -- the marathon's this weekend! See you in the starting chutes. Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Better Than Last Monday

While the data from my flash drive is still gone, today was a much better Monday than last. Nothing particularly special happened today to make it so, but nothing particularly awful happened, either. I'm hearing a lot of flack from students & parents about the college research project, but I'm simply passing the buck to the ST who wanted to spearhead the project; welcome to the big leagues, kid.

Typically, I get thoroughly depressed at this time of year, what with the time change and loosing that extra hour of daylight & all. However, day two of daylight savings time wasn't all that bad. I arrived home a little after five, changed, talked a bit with N---, stretched, and was out the door a short while later. What started out as a painful 6-mile jaunt out & back the Parkway quickly turned into a virtual hammerfest, courtesy of some guy with a baby jogger. For a couple of miles, he set a really good pace, but I guess the hills & weight of the baby jogger got to be too much, and I wound up overtaking him with a little over a mile left. And, now, hear I am: Home. And it's only seven o'clock.

It is, however, time to get some ironing done, for I am way behind on that lovely little chore. Toodles, and thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Gruene with Evny

It's Sunday night, and I am once again stuck wondering where the <expletive> my weekend went. Actually, I kind of know, but it still seems unfair. Being 35 sucks, what with all the responsibilities & stuff.

This weekend was the somethingth-annual Tour de Gruene. Traditionally, Sunday has been race day, with a 2-person team trial on tap for all who dared...and could find a partner. The latter has always proven my undoing, considering where, in the season, the TdG always fell. This year proved to be no exception, but there was the possibility of actually being able to race: A solo TT on Saturday afternoon. The hitch: I proctored the SAT yesterday morning and wound up doing yard work the rest of the day. The good side to that: N--- & I got to spend a lot (more) quality time together, even if it was raking a seemingly never-ending yardful of leaves.

Sunday morning was back to punishing myself, pounding out a hair under 15 miles in a hair under two hours' time; being unable to run more than once a week has been devestating to my training. However, I did feel good this evening, and I even got to swim tonight...for the first time in nearly a month. More musings on the irony of a swim coach not swimming another time. For now, I must find a bed, for practice will, as usual, come early tomorrow morning.

Hope you remembered to set your clocks back last night. Get some rest to gear up for Monday, and thanks for reading.