Monday, July 27, 2009

Pure genius…..

For the past 2+ years, I’ve stopped at Starbucks on the way to work and picked up my Venti coffee….nothing fancy, just a large coffee to get the day started.

And, for the past 2+ years, I’ve gotten in the truck, put my thumb over the hole in the lid and held it there while I drove the 3 blocks to work so I wouldn’t slosh coffee onto my truck seats. Oftentimes, burning the heck out of my thumb in the process….

I’ve also noticed that on the counter next to the cash register, they have these little plastic thingamajigs. I’ve always wondered what they were for since they’re really too short to stir anything but a small espresso.
Possibly they’re fancy toothpicks for the pastry samples they put out on occasion?
Maybe they’re just fancy toothpicks although I’m not sure why you’d need a toothpick at Starbucks unless you got a poppy seed stuck in your tooth?
And not sure why if it was a toothpick it would have a rounded tip? Unless it’s a government safety thing?

Well, last week, as I waited for my coffee, the guy in front of me received his cup of coffee, grabbed one of the plastic thingamajigs and used it……any idea what it’s for????

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Not one of your best ideas Rich

That’s what I heard from my buddy Tracy last Sunday morning as we waited for the start of the First Ever Harvey Bear Mt Bike Race…..(actually I think what he said to me was phrased a little differently, but this being a family friendly blog, I’ve cleaned it up a bit)

I’m actually a pretty smart guy sometimes and I have really been known to come up with some great ideas. The day last winter when a bunch of us decided to blow off work and go skiing….that WAS a great idea. The time I brought my mt bike with me to Tahoe before our friend’s daughter’s wedding and had a fantastic ride….another great idea…

But, standing in the parking lot in Gilroy at 8:30 in the morning when it was already in the high 80s and preparing to ride a route that included lots of hills and almost zero shade….in a race…..ok, so maybe this isn’t one of my better ideas.

This thought recurred to me several times as we headed up the first hill…2 miles of loose, dusty, hot, climbing…..this was followed by some fast, but still loose and still hot, and since I wasn’t in the front, still definitely dusty single track downhill. The downhill, as it always is, was followed by more uphill...this went on for the entire 13 mile loop. I saw many of the same people over and over again, passing and being passed depending on how each of us were feeling at that particular point...eventually I just quit trying to keep track and tried to motor on through...

I’m not sure what geological phenomenon is responsible for creating this park, but a large portion of the trail is black, lava-rock like loose gravel…Who would have thought I would be almost as slow on some of the down hill portions as I was on the uphill? My tires repeatedly slipped and slid and several times I thought for sure I was going down only to recover miraculously at the last minute.

Now granted, I’m not the most proficient downhiller, and growing up my coordination was repeatedly called into question to the point that my nickname was whoops. (evidently that was my common response when tripping or stumbling over something any normal kid would have noticed and stepped over gingerly)

All in all though, it was a pretty fun morning. I’ve never been in a race before and I learned several things. One – I’m not nearly as fast in reality as I am in my own mind and Two – it’s better to start at the front of the pack and try hard not to get passed than to start at the back and try to work your way forward….especially if it’s dusty and there’s a lot of singletrack...

Next time I’ll know better…..wait, did I just say next time? Hmm…maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea afterall…..

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Busy doing nothing…

I haven’t been posting much lately. It seems like life has been really busy lately and yet, when I sit down and look back at the past couple of months, it doesn’t seem like I’ve really done anything.

You always hear people talking about how life goes by faster the older you get and I guess that’s true. I can remember summer breaks in grade school and jr high where, by mid-august, we were actually bored. Hard to fathom right? 3 months with no school, our chores our only responsibility, nothing to do...boy wouldn’t that be nice now?

As I was riding up Diablo last night, I was contemplating just how busy life is and how filled my days are with regular stuff...
Obviously there’s the work thing which takes up 8-10 hours every day depending on your schedule. Then, Tuesday and Thursday evenings I ride the bike. That leaves Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings for family, spouse time, chores around the house and all the regular stuff we have to do like laundry, grocery shopping, paying bills, etc.

Every other Saturday I try to get a long ride in. (Hopefully this will be enough distance training to get me in decent shape for the Coast Classic) and then on alternating Saturday’s we try to spend the day doing something as a family or getting projects done around the house. (no, the new lawn isn’t done in the backyard so don’t ask)
Sunday's are church and usually lunch then puttering in the yard....

I wonder sometimes if this is what life is supposed to be like. We work hard to get ahead and be able to buy a house and all the toys and stuff, then have to work even harder to maintain and keep the house and toys and stuff….(as you can see, spending 2 hours pedaling up Mt Diablo on the hottest day of the year probably gave me too much time to contemplate these types of things)

I also wonder if our parents were this busy. I don’t remember life being this busy when I was young, but that could just be that I was looking at it from a kids perspective where my only responsibility was making sure my chores were done so I could go play.

So, where does this go from here? Obviously if I quit my job, I’ll have a lot more time to enjoy my bikes and work in my yard. Of course then I’ll have no money so I’ll end up selling my bikes and the bank will take over my yard so that’s not really an option. (at least they would actually finish the back lawn)

Maybe though this is the way it’s supposed to be and things aren’t that out of whack after all…
I usually get to spend an evening every week with my wife, I do see the kids and the grandkid pretty regularly, I am getting in a decent amount of riding, my yards aren’t in that bad of shape and the house isn’t falling down around us….

So, I guess it’s possible that this is what life is like and it’s even more possible that our parent’s were just as busy….I think though, that it’s good to think these types of thoughts and have these types of discussions with ourselves just to make sure we don’t let things get out of whack….(don't have discussions with yourself out loud though, people look at you funny if you do that)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The lake is so much fun, we should do it twice….

Last night was our regular Thursday loop around Lake Chabot. It’s always one of the highlights of my week since it’s such a good workout and a chance to hangout with some friends at the after ride bbq...

It’s so much fun, that last week I thought I might try to do the loop twice...and actually conned Jack into trying it with me...

The first lap we decided we’d go out pretty hard and really get a workout. That way we could take it easy on the regular loop and not be totally least that was the plan...

Turns out we did go pretty hard the first lap. I was pretty much winded the entire loop and felt like I was working pretty hard. We ended up finishing in just under 1½ hours.
The second loop, wasn’t actually that bad. A couple of the climbs really worked me and all the way up the last road section to the truck I was on the verge of cramping. But we took it easy and had a fun ride…..the interesting thing… took just over 1½ hours.

So, evidently whether I’m hammering or cruising, the lake loop takes me about 1½ hours…Of course on the last climb of the last loop we had the additional motivation of beer waiting for us at the top so that may have skewed the numbers
Total ride 26 miles 3400ft of climbing