Monday, June 30, 2008
Everything is getting more expensive. I, being a diabetic, am a glaring example of this. Food is going up in price, especially the things I eat. Lean meat, fruit, and vegetables are following the rising fossil fuel trend. Trucking fresh, quality food to market is getting more costly by the day. I can't eat romen noodles and cheap, processed, crap and expect to maintain my health. Cuts have to be made in other areas to meet nutritional goals. It's starting to hurt.
My social life has to be pared down to minimum. The wife and I would hit the movie theater 2 to 3 times a month, eat out once or twice a week, and travel to the campground almost every weekend in the summer. Now, the spare cash isn't there. A year ago, a tank of gas in either of our vehicles would run @42.00 dollars. Last weekend, it was $69.00. So we drive less, go less places, pump less into the economy than we used to. Actually, we are spending the same, but it is concentrated in one area instead of several. This only helps one interest instead of several.
My wages aren't going up. At all. Not going to happen any time soon, as far as I can see. I'm not in a union, so no scheduled raises. No cost of living. The industry I am in is at a dead end standstill. It has been for several years. A radical shift in the way it's run and perceived is need before it can be considered a good occupation. The general public wants top notch service but doesn't want to pay for it. I often advise young people not to get involved in the industry, as right now it's headed for long hours, poor wages and benefits, no job security, in other words, a dead end.
Is there a happy ending? I hope so. Our parents went through much worse. They didn't have the rapidly changing technology and it's ability to help quickly solve problems that at first look insurmountable but when looked back on were fairly minor compared to what earlier generations had to deal with. I want to be in the generation that was the example of how to get it done.
Monday, June 23, 2008
The most interesting thing was when they were talking with Johan Bruyneel about what they needed to do to get ready. One rider said he was riding 30 miles a day. Johan said to get in more miles. He seemed to hardly contain his laughter when talking to the other guy, who was about 50 lbs over weight. Basic instruction was ride more and loose weight. But concentrate on the weight loss. Duh!!
In the end, the big guy made 2 of the 3 climbs before throwing in the towel, and the other made the whole stage, finishing in a time that would have put him in the main field with the pros. But he hadn't run the previous 15 stages like the pros had. Al in all, an interesting look behind the scenes at Trek and Discovery. Some beautiful camera work and back drops made it a different experience than your stock Euro-tv coverage. I want to go to Spain and ride...
Thursday, June 19, 2008
My knee is holding up well after surgery. Very little stiffness in the morning and it doesn't give out on stairs like it did before the repairs. Getting in and out of cars is still a little uncomfortable, but much better than before. I can climb out of saddle better than I have in a long time, but I'm still a snail compared to others I have ridden with lately. This will get better with more hill riding and weight loss. You just can't fool gravity, no matter how you try.
This coming up weekend, I'm planning a century on Saturday, probably down to the camper and back. Hopefully, the weather holds out. I'll take the Munger Trail, which btw, needs some work. The stretch near the Buffalo House is in bad need of resurfacing. Sunken areas and a lot of mini "volcano's" make for a bumpy and potentially damaging ride. I'm not sure who to talk to, but I'll find out and report my displeasure in the state of disrepair this great trail has fallen to. See you out there!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Stepped out the back door last night, fired up the gas grille to cook me up a tasty burger. 90% lean ground beef w/ garlic and onion bits from Tastefully Simple, and some fresh ground pepper. But the propane tank, she was empty. I didn't want to fry it, so I dug out my trusty cast iron griddle pan. Get glowing red and throw on the burgers. The smoke alarm went off of course, but they cooked perfectly. I need a better range hood, which is why I don't use it more often. Yum-yum.
Looks like the weather is going to give us a break for the next week or so. Just in time to mow the lawn again, get some quality mileage in for the July 19th Velo Duluth Split Rock tour. Hope you all can make the ride, it should be fun. I'm itching to get things in my life sorted out enough to start riding in some of the local group rides regularly. There are several in the area, so I need to make time for them. That's where one really improves their riding skill and improves the fitness. See you out there.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Me, first and foremost is the simple, but hard to obtain, perfect day. That's when the legs are strong, the pedal stroke is smooth and fluid, the weather perfect. Could be a solo training ride, a hard group hammerfest, or just a cruise with buddies and no particular objective.
Next is for my health. I rode most of my life until a bad marriage and general lack of joy in life derailed my spirit and ambitions. 14 years and a bunch of pounds gained let diabetes slip one past the goalie. I bought a mountain bike for exercise and weight loss. I had assumed I would just get on and pick up where I had left off. Fat and gravity let me know otherwise. But I stuck with it and am getting better everyday. I'll never be fast again, but i remember what it was like enough to try to get back to it. Climbing is the toughest form to regain, and the most work.
Another thing I use cycling for is the mind clearing, stress relieving effect it has. My life recently has been one hectic, problem, health, and stress filled mess for a while again. But just an hour in the saddle clears the head and allows me to put things in perspective. I get the same impression from a lot of the blogs I read. If more people understood this concept and got in some good, hard workouts instead of drinking, drugs, overeating etc., the world would be a better place.
I've been riding to work quite a bit. Saves gas, cost of maintenance, improves fitness. A very small sacrifice of of time for big savings and gains in the wallet and health. Wakes a person up so you can be sharper at work, plus you can drop the work "baggage" before you get home. My drive/bike ratio is widening and I hope to make it a way of life. The hills suck on the way to work, but the speed on the way home is rewarding.
I could go on all day, but this is enough for today.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
I got out last weekend for about 7 hours of saddle time last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The weather was perfect, the knee held up well, and did some exploration of the area back roads and trails for future rides.