Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Birthday 2009!

Happy New Year to all!

The New Year's Resolution

The idea of the New Year's resolution never quite made sense to me. I get the whole concept of reflecting on the year that's passed and trying to make improvements for the new one. That I understand. What troubles me is waiting until January 1 to take action. Many of the more common resolutions can be started as soon as you identify the area you'd like to improve. Let's take a look at some of the more common ones.

Fitness/health oriented - lose weight, exercise more, go to the gym, eat better, etc. - once you've identified this as an area of improvement, why not take steps right away instead of waiting for some milestone date? Hell, you may even be able to lose the weight (or whatever your goal) by Jan. 1. Another benefit, if you are joining a gym - beat the crowds, it always seems like gym attendance goes up about 500% when January 1st rolls around...

Relationship oriented - spend more time with family, friends, pets, etc. - again, if you are feeling like you are neglecting those close to you, take it to them. Plan a get together, break bread with loved ones, take your dog for a walk, whatever floats your boat. But start today!

Finance oriented - get out of debt (my personal albatross...), start saving for kids college, start saving for retirement, etc. - Do it now! Put a plan in place to pay off credit card debt, start socking away a bit of each paycheck for the college fund, no need to wait.

You get the point. Postponing corrective action only gives you "permission" to continue down the old path. Besides, who needs all the added pressure of "The Big Resolution" for the New Year?

That first step might be a bit anxiety-ridden as you adapt to the new lifestyle change, but if you stick with it, it will be routine in no time!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

You're Damn Right I got the Blues!

That pretty much sums it up. My cyclocross season is over and blues legend Buddy Guy said it best, "You're damn right I got the blues." It was my very first season and I've loved every minute of it. From the first time I straddled my mountain bike and rode in the local practice race, to my somewhat comedic performance at States (6 in. of snow + Gary's poor bike handling skills = comedy), cyclocross racing has found it's way into my soul. It's like some place I always belonged. I hate labels, but I guess you could say I'm primarily a road cyclist. I love it but 'cross just feels right unlike any other cycling discipline I've tried.

And now that the season is done, I feel empty. 'Cross racing has left a void. How to fill it? Here are some of my feeble attempts:
  • Blogging
  • Subscribed to Cyclocross Magazine and ordered all the back order issues
  • Continually looking for an amazing deal on some carbon rims (tubulars)
  • Although it makes me a bit envious, long talks with my training buddy about all the stuff he's upgrading on his bike
  • Surfing the web for anything 'cross related - I think all of the sites I've found are listed below to the right - anyone have any other good sites/blogs let me know!!
  • Reading other folks blogs - a special shout out to Mud and Cowbells for the excellent 'cross content and photos
Any one got any other tips to fight the cyclocross season blues, I'd welcome them. I'm like a cyclocross-philic sponge and anything I can absorb to help fill the void, would be much appreciated.

In the meantime, if anyone else is feeling like me, here's about 9 minutes of this year's World Cup race at Pijnacker. So grab a Duvel and your favorite cowbell and enjoy. This should at least sate the 'cross beast for a little while!
World Cup - Pijnacker

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Off-Season, upgrading time

I'm not sure what it is about the off-season but I get this super strong compulsion to drop some serious cash on my bikes (ok, it's always there, just stronger in the off-season). Maybe it's striving for constant improvement, now that I'm not training as hard, my focus turns on improving my bikes and equipment. Not that I can afford to do it, but the urge is there nonetheless... Hell, if it wasn't for my level-headed spouse, they would have thrown me in debtor's prison by now (granted, I'd be behind bars and the proud owner of a Reynolds DV46 wheelset and a pair of TRP EuroX Mag brakes, but that's beside the point) Before I go into my lust list, here's where I'm at currently.
  • Road bikes: Look 261 built up with Campy Record (circa 2002), Colnago Crystal (1996) built up as a fixed gear
  • Cyclocross bike: Orbea Mud built with Ultegra and 105 and Mavic Aksium wheels (2008)
  • MTB: Specialized Stumpjumper (old school, like 1993 or 1994)
If money were no object, (or some wealthy philanthropist comes accross this blog and would like to help out a bike racer who's down on his luck) here's my wish list in no particular order:
  • Reynolds DV46 Cross Wheelset (tubular please)
  • Dugast Rhino tubulars
  • TRP EuroX Mag brakes (I know, a bit excessive but I dig the white)
  • Sidi Dragon 2 shoes (in white)
  • Crank Bros Egg Beater SL Pedals (running some old Ritchey's circa 1994...)
  • Alpha Q cross fork for the Orbea
  • Ritchey WCS handlebar and stem
  • SRAM Red groupo, again, for the Orbea
  • Lynskey Pro-Cross Frame and Alpha Q fork (this would be my race bike, will use the Orbea as a pit bike)
  • TIME VXR Proteam built up with Campy Record (for my road racing pleasure, the Look is getting old...)
That's the short list - meanwhile, until my ship comes in, I'll keep pressing my nose against the proverbial window... Feel free to comment on your own wish list!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hello, World?

What is it about cycling that inspires people to share their thoughts, reflections and general view points on life? Does it have something to do with the individual nature of the sport? Maybe. Maybe all the long solo rides provide the perfect setting for deep thinking. Or maybe it has something to do with the suffering. Nothing like a good dose of self-induced pain to bring about the philosopher in us all. Or maybe cycling just attracts a certain type of individual that likes to share their thoughts and feelings. Who knows. I'm just speculating at this point.

The point is, there's an abundance of cycling-related or themed blogs out there. Some damned good ones too. Does the world wide web really need one more? Probably not, but I'm feeling the urge to open up and I figured this was as good a venue as any.

Going by the title, this may seem more like a
cyclocross-oriented blog, but I think 'cross merely inspired me to take the leap to get started. Cycling is my passion, any form of it, and this blog will revolve around that. I'm not saying other stuff won't work it's way in here from time to time, but it's mostly going to be cycling related.

As my first blog ever, I'm approaching this as a work in progress. That first step is the toughest. We'll see how it goes from here.