Saturday, April 30, 2005

 

Morning Warmth

mountain biker warms hands over camp fire
Originally uploaded by bikejake.



One of the joys of a mountain biking trip; waiting for the sun to warm the rocks and canyons and the day's adventure to begin.


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Building the Blog



Starting this blog has renewed my interest in website design, something I used to do more of in the early days of the web. This link to CSS ZEN GARDEN takes you to one of the most helpful and beautiful sites I have found during my quest to rekindle my knowledge...

On this site, different designers have come up with over 100 varying designs for the same page, based on the same HTML coding. It's all done using only CSS-based design; the HTML never changes. The variations are astonishing.

The CSS ZEN GARDEN site fully demonstrates the power of using Cascading Style Sheets to build websites that will last and be fully accessible to all sorts of browsers and readers. The site fully demonstrates that adherence to open standards will not only reduce the tower of babble that website design had become by the late 1990s, but also free designers to do even more flexible, original work.

This is great news, bringing to an end that period in which we were trapped into cobbling together web pages using contorted, nested tables, GIF-spacers and lord knows what all else just to build a website that would work in more than one browser at a time. It was a time when Netscape and Microsoft battled it out to gain browser dominance by throwing out standards and offering narrow, proprietary tools that wouldn't work with the other guy's browser.

A nightmare, unless you were a full time web designer with somebody paying you the big bucks to keep messing around with this stuff.

So when I came back to all this, and started this blog, I began by just trying to learn what the heck was going on with the Blogger Template. A simple enough task, though I still haven't quite got it all clear in my brain.

But I am gaining on it.

At least I've learned enough to begin to manipulate the templates more to my individual design taste (minimal and graphically clean.) Thanks to Blogger for making this possible; these templates are awesome for someone who mainly just wants to write a blog and not be bothered by HTML and all the rest of it. I think that includes most of us.

Still, the allure of the web medium, and really learning and understanding the possibilities of using it are, to me, the sirens call. The beauty and learning value of a site such as CSS ZEN GARDEN is a real treat. Spend some time with it; fascinating and fun to look at if nothing else.

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Friday, April 29, 2005

 

The World is Flat



A couple of years ago my wife introduced me the writings of Thomas L Friedman, of whom I had previously been only vaguely aware. I was quickly hooked. Now Friedman has written another book,The World is Flat and it's a must-read for anybody wondering what the world will be like for their kids twenty years from now, or what forces really drive the events we all see on TV everyday...

Friedman's book elucidates what my own lifetime of working in policy and international business has taught me. The world is not just "getting smaller;" it's "getting flatter."

Knowledge, motivation and skills have always been present around the globe. But now, new affordable communication and transportation technologies work hand in hand with increasingly widespread education and political democratization to level the playing field. More players enter the game, every hour. We should welcome them, for the richness and diversity they bring.

Innovation and genius pop up everywhere, daily, to influence markets, products and culture.

The U.S., Japan and a few countries in Europe no longer sit together, alone, sharing the driver's seat.

People in China, India, South America, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, emerging nations that we Americans have hardly heard of now influence events and lifestyle.

New products, services, and ideas regularly merge into the flow of commerce and politics around the globe.

The new tunes on our iPods come from everywhere. Our rice cookers have shipped from the interior of Asia. And who used to eat hummus or cous cous?

New thinkers and producers speak out from a rapidly expanding number of nations, adding increasingly relevant voices. New ideas flow from streets and villages of every nation, to challenge our old leader-nations' thinking and priorities.

Thank goodness.

And as all this "flattening" occurs, the possibilities for improved lives for more people, for better care of our physical environment, have actually come upon us.

Everyone can win.

And many are doing so, every day, as the new players step onto the playing field, entering the game from outside the traditional gates of wealth.

But on the potential downside of all this, for Americans, is that we have choices to make; how we live our lives, how we compete and cooperate, how we face our fears.

We snooze or ignore what other folks around the globe are doing, or get lazy or complacent, we lose.

We must step into the broadened flow of global ideas, products and services with renewed vigor and openness.

And now, I gotta go ride my bike.

I've got a bunch of stuff to think about.

And, oh yeah.

The parts on that bike.

They come from a whole bunch of different countries.

And they all work flawlessly together to give me the greatest ride possible.

Hmmmmm.

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Thursday, April 28, 2005

 

News Flash! Pain Sucks



Talk about being a whiner and a baby. Last week my dentist did a crappy job of fitting a temporary crown for me. The thing constantly falls off, adding surprising crunchiness to my sandwich or whatever I happen to be eating at the time. So, after an unsuccessful trip back to the dentist yesterday morning to get the silly thing glued back on YET ONCE AGAIN, I found myself... sitting in a King Sooper's parking lot prying open an emergency "dental repair kit". A roll of hastily torn gauze drooled from my mouth as I used an old kitchen knife (with a broken point, I might add) to scrape old, dried cement out of my lovely silver crown.

All the while, my exposed tooth is throbbing and I'm thinkin', 'this day ain't going so well.'

One last jab of the knife, wipe the whole thing on my jeans, dump some listerine ($3.49 - small bottle) over everything, yank the gauze out of my mouth -- managing to scare the bejesus out of a nice young couple walking by, just wanting to buy their groceries and be left alone, not to be visually assaulted by some old spitting weirdo wielding a kitchen knife.

I smiled, not a particularly pretty sight, and that scared them even more.

Smooth some new dental cement down into the awaiting crown, stick it roughly back up into somewhere near the gaping vicinity of where it's supposed to be, bite down, feel it squish into place, and I'm back in business.

Hey; no worse than fixing a bent derailleur!

Only problem is, the whole affair hurts like hell. At least for a while.

Motrin, here I come.

Pain: it sucks. I had a bad attitude for at least a couple of hours.

My hat's off to those who suffer and live with chronic pain and disability.

They are the truly courageous.

The rest of us; we're weenies.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

 

Wild Plums on Red Rock



Nature's beauty, wild plums
Originally uploaded by bikejake.

Remember those wild plums
I wrote about in"Ride to the Sky" The ones that
smelled so heavenly as we rode up
through Red Rocks amphitheater?
Well, here they are;
Enjoy.


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Morning's Gift

Angel of Patience

I was flipping through some blogs this morning and and came upon a fine gift: Rebekah, who lives in Italy, writes with real feeling about those things of value and wonder that lie within us all. A site worth visiting. Here's a sample...

Rebekah writes:

"I was talking about self-discovery. Who am I really? Is what I write really and truly a manifestation of the real me? And is it really that important to search out one’s self? But forgive me, my eloquence is becoming not so very eloquent.

Another of my interests is to understand others. All these people around me, my family, my friends—even my fellow bloggers. I seek to understand what makes them tick so to speak. What causes their actions and reactions, their emotions, their values? What is important to each individual? To become acquainted with this myriad of characters, and hearts is not un-useful to such a predominantly intuitive person such as I. I am concerned that I will offend, will be the cause of grief or discomfort, and so I work to know how I may avoid such blunders. I don’t know if you would call this a science or an art form, but it certainly is somewhere along those lines.

But too much ado about my interests. This blog has provided a means of self-discovery, and others-discovery in a very nice manner, and I can only hope that my ramblings will have really meant something and not have been just a bunch of words on a page somewhere in cyber-space."

...inner thoughts well put, that I think most of us share, even though we may not articulate them so well.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

 

Spring Buds





Originally uploaded by bikejake.

Spring,
What more is
To say?


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Sunday, April 24, 2005

 

Ride to the Sky


Sunday; still recovering from yesterday's ride. It went great; road up into the mountains was dry with not too much sand and gunk on it. A little chilly at the top, just over 11,000 feet, but the weather held and it felt good to get in my first real altitude for the spring. I didn't really start feeling it until about 9,000 feet, then started breathing a bit more rapidly. Heart rate stayed in normal range all the way, though, so I guess... those hours and HOURS on the trainer over the winter paid off.
I met my friend, Art, at about 10:30 a.m., after it warmed up to somewhere in the 50s, then we headed up through Red Rocks Ampitheatre for a warmup, but mainly just because it is so darned beautiful. Sunshine on our backs, and as we wove up through those massive red sandstone rocks, the wild plums along the road were in full bloom, with a fragrance that made you just want to stop and lie down in the new grass and inhale it forever.
But then it was down into Morrison and up the canyon to Evergreen, about a 12 mile gentle climb. Art left me there, bike nazi that he is, to head back to Denver for a mountain biking date with his latest infatuation. Me, I continued upward, wondering how far the road would be good, and if the somewhat cloudy weather and good day would hold. Reaching the turn off for Mount Evans, I kept on climbing, keeping, most of the time, in that 190 - 240 watt power range that I wanted to be working in for the day. Miracle of miracles, the road was fairly clear of the winter's road sand and the surface was dry. I began to realize that it was still cold enough at altitude that the serious snow melt wasn't really occuring, even though tall snow banks lined the road. I peaked Juniper Pass, feeling good, but definitely weakening; I had been riding, 95 percent of it, climbing for about three hours and 45 minutes.
Stopping to put on a wind breaker (no, I'm not skilled enough to do it on the go,) I dropped the remaing three miles or so down into Echo Lake at about 10,000 feet. The road entrace to Mt. Evans was closed, with about 4 feet of snow weighing down the road barrier. It usually doesn't open until about the first of June, so nature looked to be right about on course. The lodge, where I usually get water, a cup of hot chocolate and return of feeling to my legs was closed and the lake surface was solid ice, covered with snow; pretty, but not too conducive to standing around lolligagging. What breeze there was, was stiff and chilly. So I turned around after a couple of bites on a Cliff Bar, and headed back up to the summit, having reached my turn-around for the day.
And then the legs started to protest in ernest, and the power meter just didn't seem nearly as willing to climb over 200. Oh, well. Only one way home, and that was to keep on peddlin'. Besides, it was great training for the summer's Leadville Trail 100.
Pain, learn to deal with it.

The backs of my legs started reminding me more and more that it had been less than two weeks since my major bike fit and new position. OUCH.

Long story short; by the time I got back home my ride time had been six hours, five minutes, 80 miles and 7,300 feet of climbing.

Did the hot soak in the tub feel good?
Ohhhhh yeahhh.

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Saturday, April 23, 2005

 

Today's Ride


Six:fifteen a.m.: weaather's supposed to be good today, highs in the 60s. Right now, dawn has broken and the first real light of day is gathering in the east's salmon-bellied sky. I'm waking up, waiting for the house to warm and my tea water to heat and even as I'm feeling still not quite functional, I'm looking forward to getting on the bike and on the road.... Today's mission: long, slow, and high. Still slightly too wet for good mountain biking up even in Denver's foothills, some trails OK and other's too muddy and fragile. No use messing up good singletrack when there's plenty of road around.

So it's back to the skinny tires today. Probably start out from my house in Lakewood (5660 feet), climb up to Evergreen (at about 7600 feet,) then head up toward Squaw and Juniper Pass, letting road conditions and snow melt determine how far I go. I'm anxious to begin getting some miles and time in at altitude; less than three months to the Leadville Silver Rush, a 50 mile mountain bike race at an average altitude of almost 11,000 feet... so time to get the lungs a'pumpin'!

More later, after ride. Have an excellent day, where ever you are


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Friday, April 22, 2005

 

USDA Gets it Right!




Wow. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released a new "Food Pyramid" based on two AMAZING FACTS: 1) daily excercise helps keep us healthy, and 2) everybody is different.

And I am not being cynical when I point this out; in fact I'm really happy that a U.S. government agency is finally recognizing... that you can't just concentrate on nutrition and eating habits to stay healthy, without also considering the other side of the equation: Excercise.

And in fairness, most diet books and media coverage about nutrition have traditionally given excercise too little attention as well when talking about nutrition; it hasn't been just the feds who came up short in this regard.

In addition to looking at excercise as a component of a healthy lifestyle, the MyPyramid web site is interactive, so that when you go to it you can enter some simple data about your own exercise lifestyle and instantly get back a pretty darned good set of guidelines on what you might want to be eating.

Awesome.

Sure, there'll be people critisizing this or that aspect of the whole deal for one reason or another (or one special interest of their own) but, by and large, folks, you have to give USDA credit for a very positive step on this one.

Take a look at it; it's well worth the time.


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Thursday, April 21, 2005

 

Tyler Hamilton Slammed by anti-drug agency



Two days ago, in a split decision, Olympic Gold Medalist and Tour de France hero Tyler Hamilton was slammed by the American Arbitration/North America Court of Arbitration for Sport for homologous doping - transfusing another person's blood.

The question of whether Tyler is a heroic cyclist or a blood doper has raged in the cycling community ever since last fall when allegations first surfaced. Like most cycling fans I have followed the case with extreme interest because... I have greatly admired Hamilton's incredible career and "can do" attitude for years.

So when the blood doping allegations popped up following the 2004 Olympics, I was devastated to think that they might be true. Then, reading more about the case, and following it over the winter, I still could not believe in my heart that Tyler was guilty.

I still don't. Call me stupid; call me naive. Call me Polly Anna. Call me believing someone is innocent until proven guilty. Though things are not beginning to stack up. If Tyler's innocent, which I believe he is, then this thing has all the aspects of a BAD B-grade movie, complete with villains, extortion, international bureaucrats, and an incredible athlete being ground up by the system.

Tyler still has one more appeal, to the international Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, and he has said that will be his next stop in fighting this case.

Good luck, Tyler, fight the good fight; we're still hangin' in there with you. You are awesome, man; know that there are a bunch of us out here who care about you, your family and your career.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

 

Fruita Spring



mountain bike trail at Fruita, Colorado
Fruita Spring
Originally uploaded by bikejake.

Sweet Colorado Singletrack Beckons
Winter is done and it's time to
ride in the sun. Life begins once
more anew...

I always enjoyed this photo which was taken several years ago in the middle of a long high desert mountain bike ride near Fruita, Colorado's Book Cliffs. It was mid-morning on one of the first beautiful warm days of spring, with new grass just beginning to poke through the ground. I look at it and can even now feel the sun upon my skin and the smell of the soil, earth and new life.


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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

 

Answer to a Poet

poems.2 @ insomniantics.bravehost.com

Your poems carry much power and sorrow.

And beyond that -- Strong life and hope.
Depth and Meaning.

This, I read,
and quickly find...

Each day, to me it seems,

we all seek. Even beyond and
behind, out where none may find.

All that is out there, is
only that which we bring and give.

But -- but -- even as we despair,
there IS more, and
somewhere within, somehow -- this we
know, this we seek. To touch.
And this is what really
we are, the seeking and the touching.

This I feel, out upon the bike; I feel it in
the wind and the downhill swoops
and the uphill climbs. I feel it in
the sweat and laughter, the tears
and joy, the breathing and pounding of my heart.

So buy a bike and ride it, far or fast, short or
slow. But
Ride it.
Ride it.
Ride it, beyond and out,
out into the stars.
Out into your heart.

Ride it.

Out beyond the sun and out to where we
really are. Out to where we truly exist. Out
to where We are one. All of us. Earth
and moon, Jack and rocks, soil
and thee. Out there, Out there
we are all. And in here, here
deep within. We are.
Within and without --
lies
the meaning we
call, "God."

This I find,
as I ride. This, my
bike, the spinning wheels
and the chafing seat,
tells me.
So as I ride, I
listen and I
hear.

The wind, the birds, the freedom -- tell me.

Let these things also speak to you. Let
it tell you too.

Be All.

Ride.

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Sunday, April 17, 2005

 

Yesterday's Ride


My friend Megan and I headed out yesterday, Saturday, on our road bikes to do one of our favorite "medium" climbing rides. We left my house in Lakewood, headed through the Bear Creek bike path, south along C470, and then up Deer Creek Canyon, cutting off half way up onto the High Grade climb. For those of you who don't live in the Denver area, High Grade is a beautiful winding road up a canyon, topping out at... somewhere around 8,000 feet, with good steep sections in the middle.

Megan is getting into good form once again, after spending the fall and winter rehabing from ACL surgery on her knee, which she ripped apart playing ultimate frisby last August. Yeah, she's a jock; but most of all she's a highly competitive mountain biker who won the 30-34 year old age group, sports class, last year in the Mountain Cup Series of races. Never is she more charming than wiping whatever off her nose and onto the back of her glove while eating a power bar on a climb. And Saturday she was girded for bear and eating my 63-year old butt on the way up High Grade. This became apparent as soon as the road tipped seriously upward, right as my legs starting screaming. She beat me to the top of the seven mile climb by a good three minutes (she says four -- and it was probably more like five.)

After a quick drink, we headed down for about a mile, took a quick (almost too quick) corner onto the sand swept road the locals call City View loop. It's a stretch of great steep climbs, most less than a mile, quick rollers and some great sweeping descents. Always tricky this time of year, with snow still stacked on the roadside banks, snow melt running across the switchbacks and lots of good, nasty winter sand and road debris just to keep you alert on the downhill sweeps. I was feeling strong at this point and having a good time leading Megan up the climbs. She'd blasted her legs a bit with her long, race pace climb. Hee hee!

But I was soon to pay. On Monday I had gone up to the Center for Sports Medicine (an awesome facility) in Boulder to get checked out and a new bike fit, hoping to do away with some chronic left hip pain on long rides. My new seating position felt intuitively correct and my spin felt much smoother. BUT... (there's always a, "but"; my BUTT was really beginning to hurt at this point, as well as what seemed to be every muscle and tendon in the back of both legs, as my body screamed, "What the HELL is THIS all about!"

Yeah, I know: don't go out and do a bunch of really hard climbing right after a radical change in bike fit, but, hey, the sun was shining, the air temperature was way about freezing, and spring was in the air. So, here I was (oh, yeah, did I mention the hard intervals on Wednesday; another not so smart move.)

By the time we got down Turkey Creek and across to Kittridge, I was a hurting puppy -- and backing WAY off on the climbs. Megan (she is a Friend) took pity on me and pulled, coming down the grade into Morrison, so we could keep up a good pace on the way home. At about 50 miles we reached my garage door, and I went inside the house to whine to Katherine, my wife. Of course I had a grin from ear to ear as I did so! Split a recovery drink with Megan; she went home to her significant other and I hit a tub full of soothing hot water.

Wonder what the weather will be like tomorrow?

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Friday, April 15, 2005

 

P.A.D. Peripheral Artery Disease... Please!


I'm busy spinning and watching TV when yet another pharmaceutical ad comes on, telling me in dulcet tones about how their product will help save me from Peripheral Artery disease (P.A.D.)

P.A.D? ...Please! The message is: I sit on my butt; I eat fatty foods; I watch TV, and if I'll just buy... yet another company's over-priced DRUGS, it will all be bliss. I will be perfectly healthy, live longer, have greater sex and never have to lift a finger! ...And certainly not break a sweat.

Where did we get off, adding more and more "disease" labels to conditions that are largely self-inflicted, as if this somehow suddenly makes them a labeled "problem" that can then be "magically treated" by just buying "one more pharmaceutical product which, by the way, may cause 'lung failure, intestinal bleeding, stroke, capillary bleeding, stuffy noses, disturbed sleep, and God knows what else -- all rapidly cataloged and spewed forth by a monotone, boring, auctioneer-fast speaker as we simultaneously watch fresh blooming flowers, handsome couples gazing into each other's eyes, dying to make mad passionate love. Ahhhh, the land of marketing, sales, and commercial messages.

Whew! ...more later, after I've thought about it.

What about you; how do YOU feel about these drug sales messages?

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

 

Pride before the Fall


So I recovered this last week from my five day mountain biking trip and have been feeling good... uhm, you might even say, 'proud.' On Monday night, I did a good endurance spin. I followed up last night with a hard spin with climbing repeat intervals, with 4 repetitions of high-power stomps (CTS-talk) thrown in. Finished tired but feeling good; told my coach that all was well. Then came last night. Still melting snow outside, so I head back downstairs to the trainer. My legs feel a little heavy, but not too bad...

I climb on and start out with an easy 30 minute warm-up. Then I crank it up to do a 45 minute Tempo interval... and 25 minutes into it I am so tired I can't keep the pace. Heart rate's up 15 beats over where it should be, and wattage is steadily dropping. I push and grunt and get the power back up. Then it slides down again and my cadence drops off.

I'm finished. I wouldn't call it a full-fledged bonk, but whatever, it sure isn't working. I wind down with easy spinning for another 15 minutes and call it finished.

And so it goes with training; two or three steps forward, and one back; or so it sometimes seems. Overall I know I'm making progress; I can feel it when I ride. But, man, oh man, I thing I have to continually learn is that age does seem to affect recovery; it just flat takes longer than when you are younger.

Oh, well; enough whining. I'm off to take my lunch break at the health club; do some upper body, core, work; but not too hard, and, yes, I'm gonna give them legs a rest today (but not too much.)


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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

 

Red on Brown



Red desert flower on White Rim trail

Canyonlands_2
Originally uploaded by bikejake.

When in a desert of brown,
a splash of RED stops the eye
and arrests the soul

It's always amazing to experience the diversity and beauty of life's mryiad forms in what first seems a monotonous, drab landscape. But the more time you spend in the desert and the more intimately you experience it, the more there is to see. Edward Abbey, who wrote about the Moab and Utah desert country was the master of this particular art of seeing and reporting.


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What's a Week?


I woke up this morning thinking about the fact that is has been one week tonight since I returned from my Utah biking trip and it popped into my mind that a week, seven days, is a weird unit of time. Why is a week seven days? What if it were ten or four; what if this major repeating pattern that so dictates our lives and how we do things, all over the world, were to change?

Whoa. Who in the heck starts these things in the first place?

So I went on the week, googled "origin of week," and the first website I came up with told me some interesting stuff:


WEEK [formerly in the Web's Global Encyclopedia, now defunct]

Next to the day, the week is the most important calendric unit in our life. And yet, there is no astronomical significance to the week. Nothing cosmic happens in the heavens in seven days.* How, then, did the week come to assume such importance?

The first thing to understand is that a week is not necessarily seven days. In pre-literate societies weeks of 4 to 10 days were observed; those weeks were typically the interval from one market day to the next. Four to 10 days gave farmers enough time to accumulate and transport goods to sell. (The one week that was almost always avoided was the 7-day week -- it was considered unlucky!) The 7-day week was introduced in Rome (where ides, nones, and calends were the vogue) in the first century A.D. by Persian astrology fanatics, not by Christians or Jews. The idea was that there would be a day for the five known planets, plus the sun and the moon, making seven; this was an ancient West Asian idea. However, when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire in the time of Constantine (c. 325 A.D.), the familiar Hebrew-Christian week of 7 days, beginning on Sunday, became conflated with the pagan week and took its place in the Julian calendar. Thereafter, it seemed to Christians that the week Rome now observed was seamless with the 7-day week of the Bible -- even though its pagan roots were obvious in the names of the days: Saturn's day, Sun's day, Moon's day. The other days take their equally pagan names in English from a detour into Norse mythology: Tiw's day, Woden's day, Thor's day, and Fria's day.

The amazing thing is that today the 7-day week, which is widely viewed as being Judeo-Christian, even Bible-based, holds sway for civil purposes over the entire world, including countries where Judaism and Christianity are anathema. Chinese, Arabs, Indians, Africans, Japanese, and a hundred others sit down at the U.N. to the tune of a 7-day week, in perfect peace (at least calendrically!). So dear is this succession of 7 days that when the calendar changed from Julian to Gregorian the week was preserved, though not the days of the month: in 1752, in England, Sept. 14 followed Sept. 2 -- but Thursday followed Wednesday, as always. Eleven days disappeared from the calendar -- but not from the week!


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Sunday, April 10, 2005

 

Good old Denver


Good old Denver; yesterday it was in the 60s and today we're getting over a foot of snow. Been snowing all day, but, hey, guess what; by Wednesday...
people will be playing golf again and I'll be out on my road bike after work! Gotta love this place. And the skiers will be HAPPY because the mountains are getting a dump as well, extending the season for a bit longer.

I haven't skied for two years because I woke up one morning and thought, "Hmmm, if I rip a knee up skiing so that I can't bike, I'll really be angry at myself, but if I hurt myself biking so that I couldn't ski, it won't bother me nearly as much.

And this from a guy who had previously been skiing 25 to 35 days a year!

Plus, this was about the time that I really started to get into endurance mountain bike racing, so year-around training began to take over more and more of my "sports recreation" time. I don't know what it is, but I really like riding my bikes, on the road or the singletrack, and it feels so good to keep getting better at it and stronger. So the incentive and inner drive is really there for me to concentrate more on the biking. It's just like today; snowing like mad out, so I spent two hours on the trainer, listening to music (it really helps keep up the cadence) and then watching part of a movie to round out the time. And the indoor trainer seems better to me in some ways because it's so much easier to control the intensity of the workout and intervals than it sometimes is out on the road.

Still, there's nothing like putting on those long road miles, or intensely insane mountain bike miles, and living in Denver we are blessed with miles and miles of singletrack and long, long climbs. It's great... and soon, as the weather clears and the snow and ice begins to melt and go away, we'll be able to begin getting up to altitude again, at least on the road. Those long climbs at 10,000 to 11,000 feet clear out the winter lungs and get the red blood cells multiplying again!

But one of these years, I'll get those boards out again.

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Saturday, April 09, 2005

 

Normalizing -- and some Realizations


Saturday morning about 6 a.m. and I woke up this morning realizing that I am finally normalizing following last week's Utah mountain biking trip. Physical signs: blood pressure and heart rate steadily settling down into normal range; both had been elevated from fatigue, severe exercise over five days. Sleep: returning to normal patterns. Eating: the ravenous hunger that always follows severe intense biking days is finally moderating; digestion returning to normal. Training: the soreness and and "heavy muscles" diminishing. Thought Process and Concentration: returning to normal; my mind is finally joining my body in being back in Denver and at work.

Now, here's the "Realizations" part.I realized that as I get started with this blog site, I have been slowly, over days, constipating myself, as I strove to "focus" what I write about and put it into some kind of orderly structure or thought-category.

Am I writing about mountain biking? Am I writing about biking in general? Or is this blog about excercise and fitness? Or is is about meeting life square-on and dealing with it? Who is my audience? What am I trying to communicate to them? "Etc., etc., etc.," as Yul Brenner playing the King of Siam would say.

The point is that, nah, this blog is about NONE of those things, and All of those things.

If it is to work at all, it has to be a free flow of who and what I am, and what I see and feel, and how this might relate to what you see, feel and live.

And if I do this, then we build a little bit of connectiveness, and a reminder of who and what we really are: a spindle of thread in the glory of life; a blip on the radar screen, the vapor of the buffalo's breath on the winter morning. I think of the explosive power of a Mount Saint Helan's and the silkiness of a cumulous cloud, both of these at the same time. These things, events; and much, much more: we are all of these. And just as importantly, we are, each one of us, each day, undeveloped Potential. Potential for good, for bad; for laughter, joy; health and fitness. Alive or dead. We are all this and more, and we are a continuam of life and natural process.

Me, I am a visual person; so the sights around me, the clicks of a camera, the whir of the digital video cam; these too are a big part of me, as well as the bikes and the riding. So shall they also be pieces of what I write about and share.

Visions that please and inspire. Colors, rocks, shadows and shapes that represent life in the visible spectrum. The thrill of the bike flowing down and through a mountain pass, the fatigue of the climb, and the triumph of the mountain top; the shift of the grade at the summit of the pass from up to down.

It's a great journey. It's ours, all of ours.

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Friday, April 08, 2005

 

Morning Prep Day 3 (photo)


Getting ready for day's mountain bike ride
Morning Prep Day 3
Originally uploaded by bikejake.

Getting ready to ride from White Rim's Shaeffer
Campground to top of Murphy Hogback


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Lasalle Mountains from White Rim 1 (photo)


Mountain bike ride brings magnificent view of LaSalle Mountains
Lasalle Mountains from White Rim 1
Originally uploaded by bikejake.

April, 2005: The Lasalle Mountains have more
snow on them than for many yearss


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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

 

Home from the Desert


Arrived home early last evening from our five days of our desert; tired, happy, dirty, smelly and fully alive. Today, has been, of course, a real "re-entry" day, back at work staring uncomprehendingly at whomever came into my office with the latest "crisis" or office scuttlebutt, wondering what on earth they were talking about or were so incensed about.

As one of my two buddies who was in Canyonlands with me when we entered back into daylight savings time, "Hey, the ravens and the kangaroo mice don't even seem to particularly notice; they're still going to work at the same time."

And the biking was spectacular: Slickrock Trail, Porcupine Rim, two days on the 80 miles of the White Rim Trail, and one follow-up play day out on the semi-desserted slickrock of Bartlett Wash; then the 5 hour ride back to Denver. Three days of great weather and two days of "winds from Hell" on White Rim. It's all good.


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Friday, April 01, 2005

 

Rocks. Sand, Sweat and Gears


...6:30 a.m.
Off to the land of sand and rocks. Rocks so old that they talk to you; sand that is so persistant that I'll be blowing it out of my nose for days, and sweeping it from camping gear and car for months.

Ah, it's a magical place... and when I return to the world, I shall write you about it. Until then, adieu and peace upon you.


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