May 30, 2012


Being back to work is great, and I love my job working for the DC Metro, but it sure does take away from my time to train, ride, shoot, and dig into the many interests I have. My blogging time has all but disappeared. But I’m glad to be working. Living in the country northwest of Baltimore and working in DC creates a 50 mile commute and has me filling my jeep just about every 2 days. But I enjoy the drive and love listening to NPR all the way in and all the way home.

Since I’ve been MIA for so long, I’m going to bring things up to speed here.

Well, I bought a nice Jeep. It’s a black 2006 Wrangler X, 4.0 liter, 6 cylinder, 6 speed manual transmission with 33 X 12.5 X 15 Mickey Thompson’s and I love it. My last jeep was a YJ, and had a soft top which was extremely noisy on the highway with all the flapping, so this time I went with a hard top. It’s also got an Alpine stereo, amp and 10” subwoofer in the back which bumps nicely!

Also, I bought a dirtbike. It’s a 2006 Honda CRF450X! Sadly, I already broke it. Only got to rip around on it twice before I cracked the crankcase on the right side while kick starting it. From what I’ve read online, they crack easily if you kick them too hard. The replacement crankcase half is only $111.00 online so I have a dirtbike repair project in my future. Joy. You can see a small gallery of pictures I took here.

Mountain bike Racing:
I haven’t raced in the last two weeks and have hardly been on the bike for that matter. My front wheel on the Cannondale looks like a taco from the crash I had in my last race. I haven’t had time to try and true it but my gut tells me it’s done for and I’ll have to order a new one. I believe, if you were to run your finger across the top tube of my bike you’d find dust!

Yard work:
It’s been getting quite tiring, mowing an acre and a half with a non-powered push mower. So, I finally got the riding mower going with a new battery. What a breeze it is now! Mowing time was reduced from 4 hours to 45 minutes. Also, having a yard is great, but mowing is a factor I haven’t considered in my life in the last ten years and as the week goes by, and the grass grows tall, I have to save time on the weekends to hack it down.

I haven’t been target shooting per say, but now that I have the Sheridan sighted in, I keep it in the kitchen and will occasionally plug the Pepsi can perched on a stick in front of the wood pile out back. I’ll step out on to the back porch and shoot a few pellets into it from time to time. It’s quite red-neck… and fun. On a gun related note, I stopped home to visit my mom & dad last weekend and my father gave me a fantastic double-barrel Fox Sterlingworth 12 gauge that I can’t wait to hunt with this fall. That’s a blog post all in itself. Stay tuned for pictures. It was great to see my folks though, and I enjoyed cooking up some steaks and catching up on things.

Well, that’s all for now. Hopefully I can find some time to blog on a more regular basis.

May 25, 2012

Finish Every Day

Today marks Ralph Waldo Emerson's birthday (Though he's long since croaked). Nevertheless, Garrison Keeler recited one of his poems, Finish Every Day, on The Writer's Almanac this morning and I thought I'd share. Everyone always says: "Tomorrow's a new day". I believe Ralph put it best when he wrote the poem below.

Finish Every Day

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities
no doubt have crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.

Tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely
and with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with
your old nonsense.

This day is all that is
good and fair.
It is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on yesterdays.

May 7, 2012

Iron Hill Challenge - 22nd place

This past Sunday I raced my second race of the season at the Iron Hill Challenge in Newark, DE. At 11am, myself and 39 other Cat 2 racers set off for two, seven mile laps of slippery single track. It had rained the night before the race. Greasy roots and rocks made for slow going through the woods and gave cause for sticking your face out over the bars going through those sloppy turns to try to get some extra traction over the front wheel. At times, the mud was so thick, that I found myself in my granny gear, rocking my body fore and aft, just to maintain the little bit of forward momentum I had.

The start was fast and loud, knobby tires rumbled over the stretch of gravel road before we bottle-necked into some grassy single track. I entered the single track around 12th position. I held on to the fast pace for as long as I could but then fell back and settled in around 20th. I wasn’t confident that I could keep the pace I set and before long I was rolling along just fast enough to keep racers from trying to pass me, though when they wanted to, I moved over to let them by. About ¾ through the first lap, I was feeling zapped. I had gone out too hard in the beginning.

At one point the course traversed a steep V shaped ravine. Straight down and straight up! Spectators gathered around this point and cheered on the racers, which was awesome and encouraging. When I got to this section, I was exhausted, but also amped-up by the cheering and so I gave it everything I had to try to make it to the top of the other side. I hopped off the bike nearly at the top and ran the last few feet of trail before hopping back on and sprinting away. At this point, I felt my guts turning over. There was definitely some big trouble in little China! Before I knew it, I was heaving and blowing chunks all over my right arm as I tried to projectile vomit the eggs and bacon I ate at the rest stop on Route 95 a couple of hours earlier. Note to self: No more rest stop breakfasts. I can still see the little yellow bits of scrambled eggs splattered atop the trail-side leaves and twigs – nasty!

Puking from exertion is nothing new to me, though it has been a few years since it’s happened. I accredit it to my lack of training and piss-poor diet.

I digress.

After a few minutes of rolling along at a snail’s pace I was feeling better and said to myself, once again, let’s just turn this race into a training ride. And so on I rode. Though, little by little I felt stronger and stronger, faster and faster, and soon, about a ¼ way through the second lap, I was feeling great. Racy even! I delighted in the fact that the super swampy sections seemed to have dried out just a skoach! I hopped up and cocked my bike to the side off of a little 10” drop-off. I manualled a little roller section and I had fully left my self-loathing, vomitous state and re-entered the joyous land of the living, the competitive; the racing! I even passed a couple of people. Wow, maybe I can place in the top 20! I carried on, turning the cranks, which turned my wheels, which turned my day into part of a fantastic weekend. Podium or not, I’m glad to be racing this season. I came in 22nd in a group of 40 racers.