At this point, I think we can formally declare the Thursday post "missing in action."
Hopefully it will turn up soon, but you probably shouldn't hold your breath. At least I'm still managing to get out posts Sunday through Wednesday, despite the demands of working until at least 11:15 most nights.
Anyhow, as I've noted previously, I've been working out at the Y twice a week, to add some strength training to my on-the-bike workouts. In general, I'm not the biggest fan of the "dry-land" exercises, but Coach Scott says that they are important, so I'm doing them.
Also, I have to admit that it is nice to spend some time around other people, rather than just spinning in my living room, alone, all the time.
So, for the past month, I've been doing a workout routine that Scott refers to as Stabilization B. It's mostly core stuff, with some weights thrown in for good measure. I feel pretty silly jumping around and struggling to heft 35-pound barbells, but what can you do, I am a bike racer, and there's just no getting around that.
Tomorrow, however, starts a whole new silliness by the name of "Strength A." As you can surmise from the title, Strength A consists of more weight exercises, along with some additional plyometrics.
Basically, what I'm trying to say here is that if you're looking for a laugh, swing by the Y tomorrow around 10 a.m.
In other news, I did get outside to ride today, which was a VERY welcome break from the trainer. Toddster and I did a nice 90-minute loop through Greenfield, then, after dropping him off in Ballston Spa, I headed out to Malta Ridge to finish up the two hours. Although it was cold today, it wasn't cold enough to completely freeze my bottles, so that was nice.
The forecast highs for this week are seasonal, if a bit chilly, so I'm not exactly sure when I'll get outside next, but hopefully it'll be sooner rather than later.
The ride today also gave me a chance to see how my new tires performed on the road (they're really noisy on the rollers). The verdict? I think they'll be fine.
So, still on my agenda for this evening: fold the clean laundry that I diabolically spread all over my bed, so that I can go to sleep. It seems this is the only way that I can get myself to fold laundry in a reasonably-timely manner. Unfortunately, I'm already fighting the effect of some powerful sleepy-time tea. I hope I get everything put away before I pass out on top of the sheets...
Sunday, January 31, 2010
At this point, I think we can formally declare the Thursday post "missing in action."
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
As far as days go, today was fairly epic. I started at 10 at the bike shop, where I did my best to make sure the stool behind the register didn't float away (it was a pretty slow day). Then, after an extremely quick stop back home to change into non-bike shop clothes, I headed to the office for several hours of meetings.
By the time I emerged from the last of these, it was 5 p.m., and it was time to start my work day.
Fortunately for me, I've been getting a little better at being sports editor. My staff cranked out a nice assortment of local stories for Thursday's edition, and I (with some guidance) put together what I hope will be a nice-looking package for the front of Wednesday's B section.
For the third day in a row, we got all of our pages down to the press well ahead of deadline. So things at work are good, even if demanding.
Of course, my busy day necessitated an unplanned day off the bike, but no matter, I'll compensate on my off day on Friday. Besides, I sold three inner tubes today at the shop, and that was important.
I also bought new tires for my bike. I've already mounted the Serfas tires, and will be reporting on their performance shortly. In the past, I've been a bit of a tire snob, but lately I've come to the realization that if I'm value-minded in every other aspect of my bike purchases, why should tires be different?
Also in the past, I've experimented with expensive tires that left me disappointed, so I thought maybe it was time to experiment with cheaper rubber. We'll see how it goes. If the past is any indication, I'm sure I'll wind up buying Continentals next time I need tires. But maybe not.
Speaking of reviews, I've watched the first half of the Battenkill training DVD, and am waiting for the chance to watch the second half before reporting back on the film. Unfortunately (not really) it's been warm enough to ride outside the past week or so, so I haven't yet had the opportunity to watch the DVD. But fear not, I'll get to it soon! That's all for tonight, see you tomorrow!
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
For today's reading, please check out my latest essay over at Embrocation Cycling Journal. Here's a link.
Here are the first few paragraphs:
Another elite-level cyclist with whom I’ve had the pleasure of racing with – and learning from – over the past couple of seasons gave me some valuable advice as the 2009 season rolled to a close.
“Andrew,” he said, “the best thing about serious riding is not riding.”
Lest you think that I've forgotten my place in my bicycle-centric world, let me assure you that I did ride today, despite some heavy snow showers that rolled through the area around noon. Really, I love living in upstate New York.
Also, further unto yesterday's, here's a link to the story I wrote for The Saratogian, on Trek-Livestrong's plans to race the Tour of the Battenkill.
Monday, January 25, 2010
I've just learned from Dieter Drake, promoter of the Tour of the Battenkill, that Trek-Livstrong, owned by Lance Armstrong, is the first pro team to confirm it's participation in the April 18 pro men's invitational.
No word yet on whether or not the team will bring Taylor Phinney, but the team's presence certainly lends a little prestige to the event, as they will almost certainly have team director Axel Merckx along, a cycling legend in his own right -- he'll almost certainly be the most famous cycling personality to have visited Washington County, a milestone in its own right.
Unfortunately, I do not think Armstrong himself will be attending, to supervise the U23 team he owns, as he's scheduled to be racing Amstel Gold on the same day. So it goes. Maybe next year, if he isn't too busy racing tris and wearing mankinis.
No word yet on other teams, but it seems to me that some likely suspects are the team of last year's winner BMC, as well as prominent players Planet Energy and Team Type 1, and UnitedHealthcare. I wouldn't be surprised if Fly V Australia throws their name in the ring, and word on the street is that Rapha Condor, from Britain has already thrown their name in the ring.
Of course, this is all conjecture -- I'm just getting excited, and looking forward to some top-notch racing action in just a couple months.
Down here in the less-rarefied air of elite-amateur racing, I 've also recently learned that the extended course for the April 10 pro-am race, to be used by pro/1 men and cat 2 men, has been changed from past years. This year, instead of using some road to Vermont that never seemed to come through the winter in cycle-able shape, the promoters have designed an interior loop that will send racers over Juniper Swamp Road twice.
To make the loop, racers will complete the course as they did last year, until reaching Shushan. Then you'll turn left (where you went right last year), and head back to Rt. 313 via Fish Hatchery Road, and then you do it all again until you reach Shushan the second time. This time, you'll turn right and proceed as in the past.
So that should hurt, a lot.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Brett needs a haircut. And sunglasses.
We both need to show a little less chest. But it was warm!
I'm doing better with my perpetual goal of spending more time hiking this season, having already logged five days in the woods during the winter season.
This weekend, joined by Brett, I headed back into the high peaks, to tackle a solid chunk of the Upper Range, summiting Saddleback and Basin --the later of which is one of the more technical hiking routes you can do in the high peaks, particularly in the winter. And all this, just two weeks after summiting Whiteface and Esther with Scott and Lauren.
The tent was more crowded than a lean-to
But it made cooking easier
The confined space made our rice and beans smell delicious
And I managed not to burn the tent down
It's not that steep, but without protection,
a few spots turn into no-fall zones with high consequences
Brett and I have tried to make an annual trip in the winter time, and have done pretty well over the past few years. Last year, we were joined by Brett's better half, Deanna, for a successful assault on Haystack. Although successful, I think the experience may have scared Deanna a little bit, as she stayed home this time around.
I'd last climbed Basin in the summer,
And it remember it being pretty tough -- turns out ice makes it harder!
With that in mind, I set a slightly more ambitious itinerary for Brett and I -- 16 miles in one day over the two peaks, followed by a night at John's Brook, and then an easy pack-out this morning.
Gothics looking over from the top
Clearly, we got lucky with the weather
MacIntyre range in the background
Saddleback was the easier of the day's two objectives
Although my bedroom and living room are both now filled with camping equipment in various states of drying off and smelling bad, the trip was challenging and fun -- that the weather was warm (for January) didn't hurt either. Conditions up top were good -- the snow was well packed on all the trails, and even with the warm weather, we didn't see too many other hikers. Once again, I can't think of too many better ways to spend a weekend!
*Incidentally, I apologize for, again, not posting anything here on Thursday. But sometimes (increasingly often, it would seem), other things are more important than blogging.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Earlier this evening, some piece of The Saratogian's computer mechanisms failed, sending me and three co-workers scrambling to put plan B into place. Plan B involves driving to Troy, to put our pages together from the offices of our sister publication, the Troy Record.
Unfortunately, plan B also involves a lot of additional stress, about an hour in the car (although I think I may have set a land speed record for the Troy-to-Saratoga commute on the way home, which I don't think my passenger appreciated). This evening, the trip to Troy caused me to blow the page deadline by a substantial margin. So that's great.
Fortunately, I was ably assisted this evening by sports writer Nicole Russo, as well as news desk staff Paul Tacket and Angela Valden, who jumped in to assist when it was looking like a 30-minute miss of the deadline might turn into a wider margin.
Fortunately, we're still publishing every day, so we can try it all again tomorrow. That's a newspaper joke, by the way.
Anyhow, there's only one sure-fire way to compensate for a really stressful day at work, which is, obviously, beer and Toto's Africa. Thankfully, I have some of Brewery Ommegang's finest on hand, and plenty of Toto, thanks to Molly. With a little luck, I'll be asleep in about 20 minutes, so that I can get to the office in time to clean up the many messes I made tonight, and to make a 10 a.m. interview. You'll have to forgive me for not blogging further this evening.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Taken at Cousin Jonathan's Bar Mitzvah
Jonathan is the oldest of Grandma's six great-grand kids
I've been thinking about my grandmother recently.
Grandma Charlotte Bernstein, who turned 90 last Tuesday. I wasn't able to get to Florida to help her celebrate last week, but I'm looking forward to traveling down with the family next month for a big get-together/celebration. In addition to my immediate family, my uncle David, his wife, three daughters, and their six kids will all be in attendance.
Grandma, my Dad's Mom, is my last living grandparent, and I feel very lucky to have her around, to give me a hard time about my continual lack of girlfriend (at least as far as she knows), my working too much, my not sending her enough newspapers, and my not coming to visit her in Florida often enough, etc... Because really, who else is going to do those things, if not your grandmother? Hopefully it's the role of a grandson to not meet expectations. At least I call from time to time.
Like many people, I started out life with four grandparents. Sadly, I never really developed close relationships with my other three grandparents. Grandpa Ralph (Mom's Dad) died of lung cancer in 1996, when I was too young to understand that he wouldn't always be around. Grandpa Phil (Dad's Dad) died in 2003, following a botched angioplasty, tragically robbing me and the family of the chance to say good bye. Grandma Bea, Mom's Mom, died in 2006, after years of declining health that slowly robbed her of any ability to interact with the outside world.
Sadly, I don't think I'll ever be able to dance as well as Grandma
At least I can compensate by saying I haven't had as much time to learn
But, despite outliving so many of her peers, Charlotte is still going strong. On her birthday she played penny slots with my parents and my aunt and uncle at the "Indian casino," as she calls it. I don't think they won big, but it was fun, she said.
At next month's party my Dad tells me that there's an opportunity for me and other family members to offer a toast of sorts for Grandma. Dad suggested that I talk about some of her more-shining grandma moments, such as when she taught my brother and I to play poker, or when Eric and I climbed the tree in her backyard to pick grapefruits. Maybe, but I'm worried that neither of those will make the best 90th birthday party speeches.
Part of me wants to leave all the toasting/roasting to my brother, who is, without a doubt, the better Bernstein when it comes to funny public speeches. But part of me doesn't want to bow out -- after all, grandma is only going to turn 90 once.
Monday, January 18, 2010
The steed has served me very well, but is now on the verge of replacement
This photo was taken on the eve of the 2009 season, my best campaign yet
Earlier today I mailed off a check for an obscene amount of money to purchase drive components for my new bike. Hopefully, in a couple weeks I'll have in return a box full of shiny new bike parts, to be mounted to my new frame, which is arriving... some time.
For the past two seasons I raced on a Scott Addict, which I purchased from NYC Velo through a sponsorship arrangement between my former team, Brooklyn Velo Force, and Scott. It was such a dramatic improvement over my previous bikes, that I could hardly say enough good things about it upon bringing it home. The Scott has served me very well, and has been present for many of my proudest cycling moments, too numerous to list here.
But, over the past two years, it's been subject to about 23,000 miles in conditions ranging from ideal (sunny and warm) to downright shitty (wet, salty, cold). Think of the state your car would be in if you drove 200,000 miles in one year and you get the idea. The bike I purchased back in March 2008 has seen four new cassettes, countless chains and cables, a new saddle, derailure hangers, handlebar, wheels, pedals, bottom bracket, and headset, and through all the tough miles, crashes, and hours in my trunk or on the trainer, it's been a real trooper.
But, it's tired. The frame has grooves from where cable housing rubbed the head tube and seat tube, and the shifting on the Shimano Ultegra SL gruppo isn't what it needs to be. Worst of all, the white finish is not looking so good. So, while the frame is still structurally solid and rides like new, with the necessity of replacing nearly every component it seemed like a good time to add a new bike to the fleet.
So, I'll be racing in 2010 on a carbon Champion System frame with an integrated seat mast, built up with SRAM Force parts and a 3T cockpit. As of now, the plan is to continue riding on traditional Mavic wheels, and racing on Zipps. I'm very excited for the new ride, and optimistic that it will be up and running in time for the season openers in March. Until then, I'll continue riding the Scott. When the new bike is assembled, I'll be sad to see the Scott relegated to winter/rainy day status.
So it goes, I suppose.
The new bike also represents a bit of a shift for me, as I'm using the opportunity to become a real number cruncher, by investing in a Quarq power meter. Yes, the guy who hasn't used a cyclometer is 2005 because he doesn't care about miles is now going to be tracking watts. Imagine that.
Stay tuned for bike porn in the coming months.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
I got a press copy today, and will be posting a review later this week
More information and web store here
First of all, sorry for the omission of Thursday's post. I have no excuse, except that I'm really tired when I get home from work these days, and Thursday being the end of last week, I just didn't have any motivation to write. It happens. Forgive me.
Anyhow, this was a great weekend, jam-packed with riding and fun.
The riding fun started on Saturday, when I went down to Delmar to meet up with some of my cycling brothers and sisters from the Albany area. It was warm -- probably in the low 40s at points -- and sunny, so about 20 people showed up for a group ride down to Coxsackie.
It was great to ride with a group, and to catch up with a few people I don't see too often. Matt, a former team mate of mine, was even courteous enough to take me out for an hour before we met the group, so that I could meet Coach Scott's prescribed hours for the weekend.
In thanks, I up-ed the pace at every opportunity and left Matt thoroughly whipped by ride's end. I'm such a good friend. At least he still let me shower at his place after... thanks buddy!
The Albany crew takes their town line sprints pretty seriously, and I proved to myself that my pre-season training is going well by taking one of the early sprint. Connie whispered in my ear that we'd go down a hill, then up the other side of a gully, and then the line was two ks out. So, despite not having any idea where the line actually was I did my favorite thing, which is to channel my inner Fabian Cancellara and launch an audacious attack.
I got a gap on the climb, and then was able to turn over my 14 fast enough to see red, but also to hold off a charging chase group of Andy Ruiz, Dieter, and Kevin Mosher. I impressed myself, anyway. No matter, I didn't win another sprint all day.
So that was fun. After spending the afternoon in Albany (and thanks to Connie for lunch!), I met with some of the other NYCross.com promoters in the evening, and we worked to hammer out a schedule for next year's series. It's looking like Spa 'Cross will be a few weeks earlier in 2010, which I'm excited about. Hopefully, we won't be up against any UCI races this year either. The date isn't firm yet, but look for an announcement soon.
Then it was off to not one, but a series of wine bars -- I'm so classy.
Earlier today, I went out for a group ride with the Saratoga crew, where I filled John in from the previous night's meeting, and checked out the status of Corinth Mountain Rd. (it's still scary, sand doesn't help). It wasn't quite as warm today as it was yesterday, but we still had a solid crew for January, and it was great to catch up with Andy, Graber, and a few others. I went for a few town lines, but the sprints weren't quite as closely contested as they were in Albany. I bumbled into Team Stoneyfield on the way home, and got to ride a little with them as well. All in all, it was a great weekend on the bike. Unfortunately, it was not a great weekend for getting adequate rest, so I'm going to crash now. Goodnight.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
It's been a long time coming, and I've hinted at it over at Embrocation, but it's high time that I announced my team affiliation for 2010.
When the season gets going in March, I'll be flying orange for Champion System Racing. I've known team president Ray Alba for several years, both from racing in the city and from riding the MS Century with him in October. I'm grateful to Ray and team director Andrew Kozak for giving me the chance to ride for their team this year.
Champion System, sponsored by the maker of custom technical apparel of the same name, is based in New York City (Hell's Kitchen, to be exact), so I imagine that I'll be spending a little more time down that way racing as a result. Which is fine with me.
The team also races some bigger NRC events, and lots of big-money crits. All of that means two things from me: I'm already working hard to elevate my game for this season so that I can be a solid member of the team, with the goal of earning my cat 1 upgrade, so that I can support my team mates at whatever event we might find ourselves. Secondly, I'm going to be learning how to race crits in a hurry.
I let Coach Scott know about the move back in 2009, and he's promised me that I'll be fast enough to accomplish whatever duties this domestique is called upon to do.
Of course, I also want to thank Dieter and the crew at Anthem Sports Elite Development for the support they all showed me during the 2009 season. Thing tailed off for me a bit at the end of last season, mostly as a result of some extreme burnout, but 2009 was my best season to date, and having a solid group of team mates to race with made the many accomplishments all the better. Thanks guys, and I'll see you on the road!
More to come on this year's program in the coming weeks and months.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I've written here before about a problematic proposal to install rumble strips on secondary roads.
Today, I learned that a much-loved (although, not by me) New England road race has fallen victim to a similar policy in Massachusetts.
Yes, because of new rumble strips on SR 7, the Jiminy Peak Road Race has been canceled for 2010. I personally never had fun at this race, but it had become a staple of my annual schedule, especially since it's only an hour from home. Also, it was an important tune up before Bear Mountain, a race which I love.
So, with the NYS Department of Transportation proposal still looming out there, I'm very concerned about the implications for races in New York State. Theoretically, every race in the state could be at risk. So, don't delay, check out the New York Bicycle Coalition for information on what you can do to make sure that we don't lose any more races to rumble strips.
In happier news, the Tour of the Battenkill has exceeded 1,800 registrants, and organizers feel they are on track to hit 2,200 by race day.
Here's a press release:
Monday, January 11, 2010
I was conversing with a friend a few minutes ago, as he extolled the many virtues of the cycling life in Boulder, CO.
That's nice. It's true that I do spend a lot of time in winter riding my trainer, and it's certainly true that I would gladly purge my closet of winter riding accessories. But it's equally true that I've lived with seasons my whole life.
I think I would miss winter if I were riding outside in shorts and arm warmers in January. To me, the endless trainer hours are a rite of passage, no matter how much I may complain about them here and in other venues.
So, no thanks, @jerkcyclistfromColorado, but I'm going to stick to the snowy, cold East coast, at least for the time being.
In other news, I joined the YMCA today, so that I'd have a place to go and
ogle women lift weights and complete other "dry land" exercises that Coach Scott has had me doing this month. Previously, I'd been doing plyometrics at home, but, after weeks of trying, my vertical jump has final surpassed the limit allowed by the 7-foot ceilings here at 106 Caroline, so I figured it was time to look for a venue with higher ceilings.
Plus, the available free weights will allow me to do some exercises that I'd previously been skipping (don't tell Scott).
I went to the Y today around noon. This makes perfect sense for me,
an insomniac a partly-nocturnal sports editor, but I was a little surprised to find the parking lot full, and the exercises room equally full -- and not just with the retired set, but with a whole range of folks, from parents with kids, to people my age, and everything in between. It was rather fascinating.
Also fascinating, as I struggled with my "dead lift with row," using a 20-pound dumbbell in place of a kettle bell, was how much stronger EVERYONE ELSE was. As I remarked to Steve earlier tonight, cyclists really don't belong in the gym. Christian Vande Velde had some interesting comments on that topic here.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
What's better than climbing a mountain January? Fucking nothing!
Those were the words I cried to Scott and Lauren as we disembarked the Nissan early Saturday morning on the shoulder of Marble Mountain Road, west of the North Pole. Scott and I had come up with the plan to climb Whiteface and possibly Esther mountains the day before, then Lauren, having got the day off from work, had decided to come along. Neither of us had really considered the weather when we made the plan, but no matter, with snowshoes on our feet, nothing was going to stop this intrepid threesome.
Looking north, Whiteface offers another impressive view
The summit observatory was closed for business.
I knew we were in for it, when, at quarter to 6 on Saturday morning, I checked the weather for Wilmington, NY, and saw a forecast high of 8 degrees. Getting out of the car, a couple hundred feet higher up the mountain, it felt much closer to 0. Yeah, it was going to be one of those singularly awesome days of hiking where a great struggle promises awesome rewards. The blue-bird sky was a hopeful sign as we began our ascent.
I was trying to shade my camera lens,
but I got a piece of glove in the shot. Oops.
It was blowing 15-20 MPH on the summit, which we reached after three hours of hiking. On top, a thermometer measured the temperature at -10. According to the National Weather Service, that puts the temp, with wind chill, at an arctic -35. Typically, in conditions like those, the last thing one want to do is stop for lunch. Lunch on the summit is usually a luxury reserved for the summer alpinist.
Marble Mountain is the steepest part of the hike
and the most fun on the way down!
But, Whiteface being Whiteface, we found a nook in the summit observatory's wall, where we were both completely sheltered from the wind, and able to enjoy the glorious sun. Lunch ensued, before we made a mad dash back through the exposed section in wind, to get back below the tree line. Properly chilled from our lunch break, moving was a wonderful thing.
I managed to cut off part of my face
The wind also tried to do this, but was not successful
Later, we headed for Esther. We encountered two hikers coming down from the smaller of the two peaks, who were shocked at how cold it was. Let me tell you, it was a good thing those guys didn't attempt Whiteface. Esther was balmy by comparison.
We made it home in time for burger and beer at The Local. I can't think of a better way to spend a day.
Friday, January 08, 2010
I'm currently engaged in the mind-numbing activity of evaluating what options I may have for car insurance. It seems that if I add renter's insurance I can reduce my car payments if I switch from my current carrier to Allstate. That's nice. Now, it's back to GEICO to see what they'll do for me if I drop
Do I need renter's insurance? Well, I would be pretty sad if there were a fire and I lost all my bikes.
This was a very interesting week, full of lots of learning on the Sports desk. I think the sports department and I are going to get to working well together, but we're certainly in a period of adjustments, which is fine. I'm off today, and will return to work on Sunday, at which time I'll lay out the Sports cover for the first time. So, that should be fun.
I woke up this morning planning to get outside for a ride, but when I stumbled my way into the bathroom and looked out the window I realized it was snowing. My friends, who are tougher than I am, suggested that this would be a good day to get out on the 'cross bike. I think I may just pop in a movie instead. I'm feeling pretty lazy.
Scott and I are going to hike Whiteface tomorrow, which I don't think I've ever climbed in the winter, so I'm certainly looking forward to that. Hopefully, we'll be able to tack on Esther as well. I think that'll be better than riding the trainer tomorrow!
Tops from the week:
1) Andrew has a new job!
2) New Years celebrations in Brooklyn, thanks for a great time, everyone!
3) I just saved on my insurance with GEICO! (update from above.) Also, I now have renter's insurance, so that's good..
4) Hiking tomorrow, first trip to the mountains of 2010, and way more fun than skiing!
5) Sleeping in this morning. Imitating my room mate, but damn it felt good.
Bottoms from the week:
1) Late nights in the office. At least there's plenty of time to ride.
2) Snow, when I want to ride.
3) Cold, when I want to ride.
4) Marissa's going on vacay next week. Gonna be lonely here at the 106.
5) My new bluetooth headset is awesome -- but it kills my phone's battery!
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
My work is done for the night, so I'm sitting at my new (and expansive) desk, waiting for the last pages to be transmitted from our office to the press, in Troy. Once these pages arrive 20-odd miles to the south, I'll be able to check out for the night, which I'm really looking forward to.
Working this job comes with a different schedule from the one I'm used to -- most days, I'll get to work around 3 or 4, and expect to be here until 11:30 or 12. In an ideal world, I'd walk home, pop my contacts out and be in bed by 12:30, read for a bit and turn the lights out by 1, at the latest. But, this will require me to learn how to transition quickly from work to sleep, something that I'm not currently very good at.
Last night I was up until 2, then tossing and turning for a while.
The goal is to be up by 9, on the bike by 10, a schedule, that even on longer ride days, should leave me enough time to eat, cook dinner, and chillax a bit before heading to work. Sounds nice, right? Of course, I have to put that all into practice first. I'm also hoping to change my blogging schedule. Currently, I do all of my blogging at the end of the day. Ideally, I'd like to have it done before I go to work, so that I'll have one fewer thing to do at the end of the day, when sleep beckons.
Of course, the obvious flaw in all of these plans is that my schedule is now completely out of whack with that of many of my friends. I haven't seen my room mate since Sunday, although I can tell from the perpetual tied of dirty dishes in the sink/drain board, that she is still living in the apartment. So that's good.
Eating is another challenge. Typically, I like to be done eating about three hours before turning in, but right now, I'm fucking hungry, having just finished nine hours of work, which leaves me with the question of choosing between going to be hungry (never fun) or having a snack, and risk jeopardizing my winter diet. I think we all know which way this is going to go.
That's all. Wish me luck getting to bed soon.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
I was just looking at my training schedule for the rest of the month. Yikes.
The problem, of course, is that I'm hoping to be really fast for the Tour of the Battenkill, which is now just three months away. That requires lots and lots of base miles right about now. The problem with that is that it's f-ing cold outside, to say nothing of the snow.
Last week was a pleasant break from training, during which Coach Scott only asked me to ride 10 hours, time that I easily put in while off for a few days from work. Going forward is a slightly different story. 16 hours this week, 16 hours next week. Then 18 hours the week after. It's a good thing I'm not working at Blue Sky Bicycles right now.
Those kinds of hours are easy in the summer, when I'm looking for any possible excuse to get out and ride. But, this time of year, when 18 hours means I have to find 18-hours worth of shitty movies to watch, it becomes a bit more of a burden. At least, I can have the hope of getting outside on the weekends, but since I continue to be afraid of the cold, even that is highly weather dependent.
But, I am committed to getting it done, and fortunately for me, my new schedule as sports editor does allow me more daylight to ride, so when it does warm up a bit I'll be able to get outside. In the mean time, I've hung a Battenkill poster on the wall I face while spinning, in hopes that it will serve as a reminder of why I am subjecting myself to this degree of torture.
My friend Molly advised me today, in regards to yesterday's fifth 2010 resolution, that this is the year in which I'll finally get to finish first. I'm not sure if she was talking about bike racing, or other aspects of my life (I was thinking of the latter when I made the resolution). Either way, let's hope she's right, and if she was talking about bike racing, let's hope I'm setting myself up for some kind of success with all this spinning!
In the mean time, if you need me, I'll be on my trainer...
Monday, January 04, 2010
Well, I didn't actually have any time to think about new year's resolutions today, at least not at any length. Certainly not to the extent to which I contemplated them last year, or the year before. Of course, it was foolish of me to think that I would have time, considering that tonight was my first night as Sports Editor.
It was no surprise, really, to find out that there is a lot for me to learn. The learning started tonight, with one of my new staff members, and will continue tomorrow with nearly the entire crew.
But, back to the matter at hand.
Before I delve into goals looking ahead, let's check in with the goals I set out for myself one year ago:
1) Train harder and more efficiently, with the goal of winning bike races, especially the Tour of the Battenkill.
2) Write more and expand my publishing repertoire.
3) Continue to stay in touch with my friends scattered far and wide.
4) Eat better.
5) Live simply to achieve rich ends.
How did I do? Well, as for number 1, I did train harder, and with more focus. Other than defending my Lake D hill climb title, though, I didn't manage to win any bike races. I came close once or twice, which was a lot of fun, and I even had a solid ride at my biggest goal of 2009, the Tour of the Battenkill.
For number 2, I think I can say that this was an unequivocal success and a meeting of expectations. The same thing goes for numbers 3 and 5.
I continue, however, to struggle with number four.
So that brings me to my goals for the coming year, and let me first say that the number one, overarching goal is to continue the good work on past years' goals where I have achieved good work. I hope that these goals will be both challenging and attainable.
Beyond that, in 2010, I pledge to:
1) Improve my diet, with a specific emphasis on cutting way back on processed sugars and other empty calories.
2) Training harder still, with an eye toward making an impression as an elite-amateur racer, and to be an asset to my new team (announcement coming soon).
3) Continue to develop my skills as a journalist, and to bring improved management to The Saratogian's sports department.
4) Seek out still more outlets for my writing, to reach a wider audience on a wider range of topics.
5) You know how they say nice guys finish last? I'd like to finish first for once in my life.
Sunday, January 03, 2010
in The Saratogian, published between 11/07 and 12/09
You need a back brace to lift those papers
Every since I started working at The Saratogian, I've been in the habit of keeping two copies of any page of The Saratogian on which a story I'd written appeared. On a day-to-day basis I'd keep the papers in a drawer in my desk, and when the drawer was full I'd bring the papers home and file them in an accordion folder (see above).
Eventually, I filled one accordion and started on a second, which was topped off after my most-recent drawer emptying. Since then, a few more papers accumulated, and now I've got a homeless surplus that just kind of sits on top of one of the files, awaiting my purchase of more storage.
It may be somewhat olde-fashioned for me, a reporter in the digital age, to be so attached to the paper products, BUT, the thrill of seeing my work in print has never diminished for me, not even after 26 months of working as City Reporter. Initially, the point of the clip file was to keep an archive of evidence of my good work that I could use when submitted applications for future jobs, but employers these days are more likely to want to see digital clips than printed ones.
So I suppose there is no practical reason to be holding onto all of these newspapers, but I know that I'm not likely to want to part with all this evidence of my hard work. Probably because I am a bit old fashioned, and like to think that I'd be just fine if the Internet went away tomorrow. Of course, this is ridiculous, both in the sense that I wouldn't be all that fine, AND that the Internet has been proven not to be a fad and doesn't seem likely to go away overnight. Furthermore, if the Internet were to go away, due to some catastrophic failure or whatever, even if I were OK with my massive clip files, very few others would be OK in the traditional sense, likely rendering my clips useless anyway.
I'm not quite sure what the point of all of this is, except to say that I've got a lot of newspapers taking up space in my bedroom at the moment, and this -- the eve of assuming my new role at The Saratogian -- seemed like a good opportunity to display some photographic evidence of the evidence.
Starting tomorrow, I imagine that I'll have many fewer entries for the clip file, as I anticipate writing a bit less frequently in favor of other duties, although I certainly don't think that I'll be changing my habits any.
So that's that.
On another note, it's something of a tradition here at GBBM to lay out some New Years Resolutions. Ordinarily, that would have been my first post of the new year, but as I'm still kicking around exactly what I'd like to resolve, I'm going to hold off until tomorrow to write about resolutions.
For everyone who made full use of their long weekend, good luck getting back to work tomorrow!