Friday, July 24, 2009

Today's Workouts

14 steamy miles on the trails. Felt like a rain forest out there. Wore my Asics Trail Attack running shoes. Legs were tired from yesterday's long run but not as sore as I thought they would be.

Wildlife count: 4 does, lots of horseflies and too numerous to count; bushy-tailed rats. Surprisingly I saw zero psycho Woodchucks or should I say Groundhogs to keep Jess happy?

How about a compromise? We go with either Woodhogs or Which one do we like better?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Today's Workouts

27.58 miles this morning wearing my Asics DS Trainer running shoes. Rough run from start to finish. Why? Not quite recovered from race 10 days ago, humidity has rolled in, and stayed up late watching a chick-flick with Sam and then back up at 4am to run. I was sweaty before I got to the end of my driveway.

Fluid intake. 16 oz water and 8 oz coffee before run, 1-20 oz and 2-24 oz bottles of sports drink during and a 24 oz bottle of recovery drink after. And my weight was still down a few pounds. I was sweating like a whore in church.

Got just a tease of rain to cool me off. At miles 10 and 18 it rained for about 30 seconds. Barely enough to help. It was kinda like your first kiss with your beloved, just enough to give you a glimpse of what is to come and enough to make it worthwhile to keep going. The only thing that got me through the last few miles was Morphine, the band not the drug. Although the drug would have helped even more. Finally during the last 5 minutes it started pouring

Why Men Shouldn't Take Messages

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tour de France 2009

Day 19 > Stage 17 of the Tour de France. From Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Le Grand-Bornand 169.5 km. This is the stage that tour junkies have been waiting for. This is a series mountina stage through the Alps.

Here is a picture from today's stage of how crazy it gets riding up the big hills with all the fans going nuts.

Lots of rain at the start, which helped cause more than a few crashes, and then it dried out. All the main contenders broke away on the second to last mountain climb. Inlducing Alberto Contador, Armstrong, the Schleck brothers, Kloden and Wiggins.

Contador and the Schleck boys were the ones together at the end and they put a decent amount of time on the rest of the field. Many will say that Lance, who dropped from 2nd to 4th, blew his chance at the title and even blew getting top 3. But he’s comfortably in 4th and the time trial is tomorrow so he should be able to make up time on the Schleck’s. in fact it could be a 1,2,3 for Team Astana come Sunday in Paris; Contador, Armstrong and Kloden.

Top 5 Overall

1. Alberto Contador - Astana at 67h 33' 15"
2. Andy Schleck - Saxo Bank at 02'26"
3. Frank Schleck - Saxo Bank at 03'25"
4. Lance Armstrong - Astana at 03'55"
5. Andréas Kloden - Astana at 04'44"

The Jersey’s are as follows

Yellow (overall leader) – Alberto Contador - Astana
Green (Sprinting points leader – Thor Hushovd - Cervelo Test Team
Polka Dot (King of the Mountain) – Franco Pellizotti - Liquigas
White (best young rider) – Andy Schleck - Saxo Bank

Tour Fun Fact

Feed zone and feeding rules

During the Tour, riders must continuously replenish foods and liquids. Before, during, and after stages, cyclists' eating and drinking habits are reminiscent of scenes of stokers shoveling coal into steam engines — they eat and drink that much.

Riders' nutritional needs are the responsibility of individual teams, with some exception. During every Tour road stage, there's a designated area on the course called the feed zone or feeding station. Team representatives carrying musettes, or feeding bags with sandwiches, fruit, and energy bars. They hand off supplies to riders as they advance through the feed zone. It's cycling's version of take-out food. New water bottles are also distributed to riders in the feed zone, but musettes and water bottles must be those supplied by Tour sponsors or otherwise Tour approved.

Outside the feed zone, riders in a breakaway can also receive supplies from their team managers' vehicles or a Tour-supplied motorcycle. Musettes and water bottles can be used in these feeding options, but these resupply situations and the designated feed zone must follow Tour-established regulations.

Today's Workouts

7 mile trail run at lunch time wearing my Asics Trail Attack running shoes. Steamy and muggy on the trails but shaded.

Wildlife count: 5 deer and 3 woodchucks, 1 of whom I almost stepped on. He must have had his iPod on too high. Another one came charging down the trail like he was going to attack.

Golf a Sport?

Recent Sports Headline: “Tom Watson, 59, almost wins and comes in second at British Open Golf Tournament”

Sports Headlines you won’t see:

“59 year-old quarterback wins Super Bowl”

“59 year-old tennis player wins Wimbledon”

“59 year-old pitcher wins World Series game”

“59 year-old runner wins the 100-meter dash at the Olympics”

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tour de France 2009

Tour update - weekend and today.

Alberto Contador or Team Astana is currently in first place and riding his bike like he stole it. Armstrong is in second and being a good teammate (at least in public) and supporting his teammate.

Tomorrow is a killer mountain stage and assuming Contador doesn't have a real bad day he should be the Tour champ come Sunday.

The overall Top 5

1. Alberto Contador - Astana at 67h 33' 15"
2. Lance Armstrong - Astana at 01'37"
3. Bradley Wiggins- Garmmin Slipstream at 01'46"
4. Andréas Kloden - Astana at 02'17"
5. Andy Schleck - Saxo Bank at 02'26"

The Jersey’s are as follows

Yellow (overall leader) – Alberto Contador - Astana
Green (Sprinting points leader – Thor Hushovd - Cervelo Test Team
Polka Dot (King of the Mountain) – Franco Pellizotti - Liquigas
White (best young rider) – Andy Schleck - Saxo Bank

Tour Fun Fact

Podium girls

Besides a kiss, the podium girls also give the stage winner a stuffed lion (Lyonnaise Bank is a major sponsor) and a bottle of champagne to shake up and spray. For all you aspiring American Cyclists out there, make sure you are practicing the Euro-Style kissing on both cheeks.

USA Today quickie on the "pecking order in the world of professional kissers."

First, Credit Lyonnaise, the yellow jersey women, who also take on a variety of other promotional duties before working up to the podium.

Next, Champion's polka-dot podium women, who do some other meet-and-greets, as well.

Third, PMU's "racier" green jersey podium women, who also do "wild dance routines ... in the publicity caravan."

Finally, Aquarel's white jersey podium women, who also help pass out the company's bottled water.

Today's Workouts

15.18 mile run this morning wearing my Saucony Tangent 3 running shoes. Humid run but with little rain showers off and on.

This is the reason you see weird mileage numbers.
The Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS watch. Its like something that Dick Tracy, Get Smart or James Bond would have, at least that's what I tell myself. It's actually something some dorky scrawny number-obsessed loser runner would have. But pretending it's a cool spy-toy is a lot more fun.

It tells you how far, how fast, and how long you have run. Plus a whole bunch of other things like; heart rate, elevation, %grade of hill you are going up.

Alas it can't make a martini, shoot poison darts at someone or give you x-ray vision...maybe when the new model comes out...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Today's Workouts

9 mile trail run wearing my Asics Trail Attack running shoes. The humidity has finally kicked in but the temps are still great.

There is a God

Once-Trendy Crocs Could Be on Their Last Legs

Crocs were born of the economic boom.

The colorful foam clogs appeared in 2002, just as the country was recovering from a recession. Brash and bright, they were a cheap investment (about $30) that felt good and promised to last forever. Former president George W. Bush wore them. Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler wore them. Your grandma wore them. They roared along with the economy, mocked by the fashion world but selling 100 million pairs in seven years.

The company had expanded to meet demand, but financially pressed customers cut back. Last year the company lost $185.1 million, slashed roughly 2,000 jobs and scrambled to find money to pay down millions in debt. Now it's stuck with a surplus of shoes, and its auditors have wondered if it can stay afloat. It has until the end of September to pay off its debt.

"The company's toast," said Damon Vickers, who manages an investment fund at Nine Points Capital Partners in Seattle. "They're zombie-ish. They're dead and they don't know it."

Now if I can just get the Misses to throw out the ones in our house.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I'm Sailing, I'm Sailing

Teen becomes youngest to sail solo around world

(CNN) -- A Southern California teenager has serious bragging rights: After docking back in his home state late Thursday morning, Zac Sunderland, 17, can claim to be the youngest person to sail around the world alone.

Sunderland was greeted with thunderous applause and congratulations as he arrived at Marina del Rey in his 36-foot sailboat.

"It's kind of crazy to have it done now because, I mean, for the past year I've been just fighting for the next ocean, fighting to get back. And now I'm back so it's amazing," he said.

The teen acknowledged the 27,500-mile voyage wasn't easy. He told CNN that pirates off the coast of Indonesia gave him quite a scare.

If that was one of our teens (not likley, they get lost in our home town) I know the first thing my bride would say would be "Good job now get your haircut".

Friday, July 17, 2009

Today's Workouts

10 mile run on the trails. Humidity is back and it feels like summer. Very sticky in the woods and the horse flies are out. Wore my Asics Trail Attack running shoes. Wildlife count: 1 doe and 1 woodchuck.

How to Live Along Time

Pet Peeve Phriday

Today’s Pet Peeve is brought to you by Satan.

Have you ever gotten bored during Mass and browsed through the hymnals? (not that I would ever do that) But what is up with hymnals having song #666 in there? Isn’t that like hotels having a 13th floor? Or airlines having flight #13 or #666?

We have a few hymnals at our church and two of them have song #666 in them. One song is “Only Begotten, Word of God Eternal” and the other is “Change Our Hearts”.

Like those two songs will ever get song at our church. What choir or folk group director is going to announce; “and our communion song is number 666”? I mean unless of course I was choir director.

Shouldn’t the song books just be numbered 664, 665, 667, etc........

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tour de France 2009



Day 13 > Stage 12 of the Tour de France, from Tonnerre to Vittel. 212km. While not a true mountain stage, today’s ride does have 6 decent climbs in it but the peleton should be able to hunt down any breakaway groups and give us another sprint finish, assuming the teams work together

Well apparently the teams wanted to rest up for the mountains and let the breakaway go. Nicki Sörensen of Saxo Bank a made a nice mini break from the 7 that broke away with 2 miles to go and crushed them all.

No change in the top 5 overall.
Egoi Martinez took back the Polka-Dot from Brice Feillu. These guys seem determined to swap it daily.

The overall Top 5

1. Rinaldo Nocentini- AG2R-La Mondiale at 00:00
2. Alberto Contador - Astana at 00:06
3. Lance Armstrong - Astana at 00:08
4. Levi Leipheimer- Astana at 00:39
5. Bradley Wiggins- Garmmin Slipstream at 00:46

The Jersey’s are as follows

Yellow (overall leader) – Rinaldo Nocentini – Team AG2R-La Mondiale
Green (Sprinting points leader – Mark Cavendish – Team Columbia
Polka Dot (King of the Mountain) – Egoi Martinez – Euskaltel-Euskadi EUSKADI
White (best young rider) – Tony Martin - Team Columbia

Tour Fun Fact

Sign on the line, or you don't pass start
Prior to every Tour stage, riders must sign in on a pre-race staging area. The procedure is required in part as tradition, in part to appease spectators gathered near the starting line, awaiting the arrival of their favorite riders minutes before a stage start.
During road stages, riders and team managers must arrive at the signature registration area at least ten minutes prior to a start. Riders who don't sign in are fined 100 Swiss Francs, or about $85. If a rider is prevented from signing in because of traffic congestion or another unavoidable circumstance, a fine is not levied.
After the entire field registers, the race manager begins a stage in one of three ways;
• A standing start begins at the riders' sign-in or signature area.
• A deferred standing start occurs if a stage begins some distance from the sign-in area because of area restrictions.
• A rolling start or flying start occurs when a stage begins when the cyclists casually pedal from the sign-in area, and then begin at the stage where the course is designated as Kilometer 0 (Mile 0).

Today's Workouts

A bit of the hair of the dog. 21.12 Miles (I must have been listening to Rush on my iPod) running on somewhat sore legs. Got a tad tired and dizzy from mile 17 on. Still a bit beat from Sunday's race. Wore my Asics DS Trainer running shoes.

First Let's Kill All The Lawyers

One afternoon a lawyer was riding in his limousine when he saw two men along the roadside eating grass.

Disturbed, he ordered his driver to stop and he got out to investigate.

He asked one man, "Why are you eating grass?""We don't have any money for food," the poor man replied. "We have to eat grass."

"Well, then, you can come with me to my house and I'll feed you," the lawyer said.

"But sir, I have a wife and two children with me. They are over there, under that tree."

"Bring them along," the lawyer replied.

Turning to the other poor man he stated, "You come with us, also."

The second man, in a pitiful voice, then said, "But sir, I also have a wife and SIX children with me!"

"Bring them all, as well," the lawyer answered.

They all entered the car, which was no easy task, even for a car as large as the limousine was.

Once under way, one of the poor fellows turned to the lawyer and said, "Sir, you are too kind." "Thank you for taking all of us with you.

The lawyer replied, "Glad to do it. "You'll really love my place.

"The grass is almost a foot high"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tour de France 2009

Day 12 > Stage onze (11) of the Tour de France, from Vatan to Saint-Fargeau. 192km.



This is another of the fairly flat stages that should see an early breakaway and then the teams reeling them back in for a sprinters bunch finish. Look for Cavendish to go for yet another stage win.

Next week should be the telling week as the tour hits the Alps.

The race officials nullified the 15 second lead that some of the riders had yesterday. So Bradley Wiggins and Levi didn’t lose any time or their positions in the top 5.

Sure enough early on Van Summeren and Sapa jump out ahead of the peloton and get an earlier lead. They managed to stay away free for close to 100 miles but alas they were caught with 3 miles to go and once again Mark Cavendish took the stage win in a mad rush finish. Mark is a beast. He now has 8 stage wins to tie the record, and he did it in just the last 2 years.

Join me again tomorrow for the 211.5km stage 12 from Tonnerre to Vittel.

No change in the top 5 overall.
Cavendish took back the Green from Thor. He’s ahead by a point. And Brice Feillu tokk back the Polka Dot from Egoi Martinez.

The overall Top 5

1. Rinaldo Nocentini- AG2R-La Mondiale at 00:00
2. Alberto Contador - Astana at 00:06
3. Lance Armstrong - Astana at 00:08
4. Levi Leipheimer- Astana at 00:39
5. Bradley Wiggins- Garmmin Slipstream at 00:46

The Jersey’s are as follows:

Yellow (overall leader) – Rinaldo Nocentini – Team AG2R-La Mondiale
Green (Sprinting points leader – Mark Cavendish – Team Columbia
Polka Dot (King of the Mountain) – Brice Feillu – Team Agritubel
White (best young rider) – Tony Martin - Team Columbia

Tour Fun Fact

Riding by numbers:

Tour riders are identified by race numbers. The defending race champion wears No. 1, and his teammates follow in order through No. 9. Every rider considered as his team's overall title contender wears the lowest number on his team. He's listed first on all official rider lists; from there, there's an alphabetical order to the numbers.

Every rider must have an official double-sided number plate on each side of his bike frame and in a designated position. Riders must also wear two numbers, one over each hip. During individual time trial stages, cyclists' two small hip numbers are replaced by a larger single number affixed on their lower back. Race organizers provide number plates and race numbers, and they must be worn without alterations.

Yellow Jersey holder Rinaldo Nocentini and wife.

Today's Workouts

7 miles on the trails. Broken Record Report - Weather is still delicious. Wore my Aasics Attack Trail running shoes. Legs are slowly coming around after the race.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tour de France 2009

Weekend through Tuesday update. After the weekend stages, an off day Monday and Stage 10 today. It was all basic racing the past few days with no changes at the top other than KLÖDEN Andréas replacing Wiggins in the Top 5. That now gives Astana 4 riders in the top 5. The Green and Polka Dot jersey's also have new leaders

In todays 121 mile stage Mark Cavendish won his 3rd stage of this years tour.

The overall Top 5

1. Rinaldo Nocentini- AG2R-La Mondiale at 00:00
2. Alberto Contador - Astana at 00:06
3. Lance Armstrong - Astana at 00:08
4. Andréas Kloden - Astana at 00:54
5. Levi Leipheimer- Astana at 00:54

The Jersey’s are as follows

Yellow (overall leader) – Rinaldo Nocentini – Team AG2R-La Mondiale
Green (Sprinting points leader – Thor Hushovd – Cervelo Test Team
Polka Dot (King of the Mountain) – Egoi Martinez – Team Euskaltel
White (best young rider) – Tony Martin - Team Columbia

Tour Fun Facts

Oh, no, we're wearing the same outfit
Every rider must wear his team's official outfit — shorts, jersey, socks and shoes, gloves, and helmet. Unless a rider withdraws prior to the event, each of the 21 participating teams has nine riders, attired identically, at the start of the race.
Several exceptions exist, however. Leaders in overall standings and best climber (polka dot), sprinter (green), and young rider (white) competitions wear their respective colored jersey. Each of the sub-competition jerseys includes the appropriate team advertising banners. In individual time trials, competition leaders are provided with appropriately colored skinsuits instead of jerseys and shorts.
If a rider leads more than one race competition, he wears the jersey in accordance to priority of importance: yellow jersey, green jersey, polka-dot jersey, and white jersey. The runners-up or next highest-place riders in the competitions wear leaders' jerseys in the remaining categories.
The reigning world road race titlist wears a white jersey with horizontal adjoining blue, red, black, yellow, and green bands during the Tour. The rainbow jersey also includes the rider's team sponsors' logos. Reigning national road titlists also wear their national champion jerseys with the same allowance for team names and advertising banners.
Riders can wear additional clothes over or under their jerseys, including rain gear, tights or leg warmers, or other overgarments. And they can wear additional clothing at the start or during a stage. A rider seeking additional attire during a stage drops back to receive items from a team vehicle or from motorcycle drivers designated by race organizers.

Today's Workouts

10.27 mile run around 9am this morning. Weather continues to delight. 75 and sunny, nary a cloud around. Wore my Asics Speed Star running shoes.

It was so nice out in fact I ran without my shirt on. I wanted to soak up some vitamin D and work on the base tan before heading to the beach in a few weeks. I should have put my shirt on before hitting the local track for a few laps....apparently my toplessness (is that a word?) caused quite a stir during one of the ladies races.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Today's Workouts

Lunch Time Run - 5 sore and slow miles on the trails wearing my Asics Trail Attack shoes. Legs loosened up a bit towards the end of the run

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Rosaryville 50k (31 miles) Trail Race

Rosaryville 50k Trail Run
Upper Marlboro, MD

I decided to do this race last Wednesday. Main reasons were; it would be a good catered training run and it was only 20 minutes from my house. I figured I was going to run 25+ miles for my long run this week anyways, so I might as well do a 31 mile run on some trails instead of pounding out all those miles on asphalt. Plus this way someone else would be providing all the food and drink for me. Also it was only $35 which is a nice price for a race.

I didn’t bother to taper or rest up much for the race since it was to be a training run. I just wanted to get some time on the trails and figure out how to run and eat at the same time. I did hydrate a bit more yesterday and take a few salt pills. I got up at 4:30 this morning, mainly so I could eat a few hours before the race. Had a pb&j, coffee and Gatorade. Then I just hung out for awhile. I left the house at 6 and headed down to the race for the 7am start. Signed-up, paid my money and then hung out for awhile.

The race start time was listed as 7am. There was also a 10k, 15k and 25k option. They started each race 5 minutes apart; going from shortest to longest race. They started a tad late but nothing too bad. The 50k peeps (there were 52 of us) got off at 7:20. The first half mile or so was on a road to the trail head. We then were to do 3-10 mile loops through the Rosaryville State Park. There were 2 aid stations on the course, roughly every 5 miles. The trails were very nice, mainly packed dirt and well shaded. No rocks. The course was advertised as mainly flat but it wasn’t. But that was a good thing. It wasn’t supper hilly but all the up and down was actually good for the legs – got to use different muscles. The trails were well maintained and open to the public. So there were a few mountain-bikers, people on horseback and other runners/hikers to watch out for. The trails were mainly single-track so passing had to be done with care.

I started off slowly for the first loop and then about an hour in loosened up and started to feel perky. I picked up the pace and then halfway through the second loop I settled in behind a couple running slower than I was but I decided to stay behind them for awhile and chill. I followed them for about a half an hour and then passed them. After 2 laps someone the aid station people said I was in 13th which sounded cool to me. Most of the time I was running alone and we were all strung-out on the course so I had no idea where I was really.

By this time the day was heating up and getting a bit muggy (thankfully we were shaded for most of the run). I was going through 32 ounces of fluid every 5 miles.

On the third and final lap I just tried to run steady. I passed one person halfway through the loop and towards the end I saw 2 other people up ahead (this was at around the 29 mile mark) so I picked up the pace and passed both of them. The last half mile was out on the open road and back to the starting area. The sun felt brutal but it was probably only around 85 and not super humid for this time of year. But after the shaded woods it felt hot. I looked back a few times to make sure no one was going to catch me.

I had hoped to finish somewhere in the 5 – 5 1/2 hour range. I really had no idea what to expect though time-wise. Sam and Joey, Robert and Dominic had driven down for the finish so they were they cheering. I crossed the line around 5:03 and change and I was 8th place overall (I think).

This was a first time event and it was well run. Low-key but had everything you would need. Well stocked aid stations, good trails, nice t-shirt etc…I would run it again.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

5 Powerful Reasons to Eat More Slowly

From Dr. Mercola

Many people rush through the day, with no time for anything. When they have time to get a bite to eat, they gobble it down. That leads to stressful, unhealthy living.

Here are some reasons you should consider the simple act of eating slower:

1) Lose weight. A growing number of studies confirm that just by eating slower, you’ll consume fewer calories -- in fact, enough to lose 20 pounds a year without doing anything different or eating anything different. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you’re full. If you eat fast, you can continue eating past the point where you’re actually full.

2) Enjoy your food. It’s hard to enjoy your food if it goes by too quickly. Make your meals a gastronomic pleasure, not a thing you do rushed, between stressful events.

3) Better digestion. If you eat slower, you’ll chew your food better, which leads to better digestion. Digestion actually starts in the mouth, so the more work you do up there, the less you’ll have to do in your stomach.
4) Less stress. Eating slowly, and paying attention to our eating, can be a great form of mindfulness exercise. Be in the moment, rather than rushing through a meal thinking about what you need to do next.

5) Rebel against fast food and fast life. A hectic, fast-paced, stressful, chaotic lives -- the Fast Life -- leads to eating Fast Food, and eating it quickly. Rebel against that entire lifestyle and philosophy with the small act of eating slower.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tour de France 2009

Stage 7 > Day 7 > 224km today’s stage goes from the seaside city of Barcelona to the ski resort of Arcalis in the independent principality of Andorre. I have never heard of the country of Andorre, guess I should have paid more attention in 10th grade Geography.

The riders head into the Pyrenees today – let the racing begin. The final climb is roughly 20km and should separate the wheat from the chaff.

A group of 9 busted out to a large early lead of over 10 minutes. Over the last long climb those 9 will split up and more than likely get caught by the huge pack that will be hunting them.

Astana is doing most of the work on the front of the Peloton – maybe planning to try and get the Yellow for Lance, Contador or Levi. No one in the front 9 is a threat to lead the race so they might not get hunted down. With 30 miles to go the lead 9 are 12+ minutes ahead of the Peloton. But we could see a race leader try and break out of the main pack on the final ascent and put some time-distance between themselves and the other contenders.

I take that back, if the lead doesn’t come down there are a few in the front 9 that could take the yellow jersey, they would not be able to keep it long but they could get it for a day or two.

Cancellara has blown up on the final climb and is slipping off the back of the main pack, there will be a new yellow jersey holder tonight.

Contadar took off like crazy at the end and finished about 20 seconds ahead of Lance…so who will be in yellow? Its gonna be all bunched up near the top of the standings. Best stage yet of this year’s tour.

Let’s not forget Brice Feillu (Agritubel), who takes the win for his native France and also puts himself in the Polka Dot jersey.

And its Rinaldo Nocentini (let’s hear it for the Italians) in yellow by 6 seconds then Contador and Lance is 2 seconds behind him.

The overall Top 5

1. Rinaldo Nocentini- AG2R-La Mondiale at 00:00
2. Alberto Contador - Astana at 00:06
3. Lance Armstrong - Astana at 00:08
4. Levi Leipheimer- Astana at 00:39
5. Bradley Wiggins- Garmmin Slipstream at 00:46

The Jersey’s are as follows

Yellow (overall leader) – Rinaldo Nocentini – Team AG2R-La Mondiale
Green (Sprinting points leader – Mark Cavendish – Team Columbia
Polka Dot (King of the Mountain) – BriceFeillu – Team Agritubel
White (best young rider) – Tony Martin - Team Columbia

Tour Fun Fact

How does a team worker help his leader?
Although an individual wins the Tour de France, he could not do so without the help of his eight teammates. The duties of a team rider (or “domestique”) include:

Riding “tempo” at the front of the pack to control the pace and prevent riders from rival teams from advancing up the road

Riding in front or to the side of the leader to protect him from the wind

Slowing down or dropping behind the field of riders to fetch fresh water bottles or food from the team car and taking them up to the leader

Stopping when the leader has a puncture, crash or mechanical problem, and helping pace him back to the peloton

Giving the leader one of his wheels (or his entire bike!) if the team car doesn’t arrive quickly enough to help

Pacing the leader up to a threatening breakaway

Pulling the leader up a mountain climb as long (and fast) as he can, to split up the group, to protect the leader from the wind and to discourage attacks by his rivals

Today's Workouts

7 Mile trail run wearing my Asics Trail Attack running shoes. The great weather continues.

Critter Count:

2 deer
2 runners
1 dog

Pet Peeve Phriday

Parents who use an atlas to name their babies. Now not all of these are bad, if fact some of the names I actually like. It’s just the trend of naming kids after cities, states and countries that is annoying.

Dakota, Denver, Cody, Carson, Cheyenne, Austin, Aspen, Ireland, Savannah, Charlotte, Dallas, Sydney, Madison, Virginia, Augusta, Catalina, Troy, Orlando, Brooklyn, Phoenix, Venice, Olympia, Montana, Paris, Houston, Holland, Trenton, Jackson, Mason, Easton....

And before anyone points out the fact that I have a daughter named Alexandria (a city in both Virginia and Egypt) – all I have to say is tough tootsie - do as I say not as I do :P

Baby Name test:

It always helps to say something out loud to yourself to see how it sounds. For example: "Babe Ruth is a Hall of Fame baseball player". See that just sounds right. "Pee Wee Herman is a manly-man". That just sounds wrong.

So before you name your baby take the following test – Which sentence below does the name fit in better? Say it out loud.

1) "Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States [blank] [blank]" or
2) "And now, on the main stage, the Lusty Ladies Adult Club presents the hot action of [blank] [blank]."

I'm thinking birth certificate forms should include this simple test.

Celebrities may be the worst at naming babies. What is it about celebs that they have to give their poor kids ridiculous names? Are they that big of publicity-whores? Are they that insecure that they have to try and standout even more?

Here is the 50 craziest celebrity names from London Times article.

Aanisah: Macy Gray (also mother to Tahmel)
Apple: Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow
Astrella Celeste: Donovan and Linda Lawrence (also parents to Oriole Nebula)
Atherton Grace: Don Johnson and Kelley Phleger
Audio Science: Shannyn Sossamon
Aurelius Cy: Elle Macpherson and Arpad Busson
Blue Angel: U2's The Edge and Aislinn O'Sullivan
Bluebell Madonna: Geri Halliwell
Brooklyn: David and Victoria Beckham (also parents to Romeo and Cruz)
Calico: Alice and Sheryl Cooper (also parents to Sonora Rose)
Camera: Arthur Ashe and Jeanne Moutoussamy
Destry: Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw
Diezel Ky: Toni Braxton and Keri Lewis (also parents to Denim Cole)
Fifi Trixibell: Bob Geldof and Paula Yates (also parents to Peaches and Pixie)
Fuchsia: Sting and Frances Tomelty
Gaia: Emma Thompson and Greg Wise
Gulliver: Gary Oldman and Donya Fiorentino
Heaven: Lil' Mo (also mother to God'Iss Love Stone)
Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily: Paula Yates and Michael Hutchence
Hopper: Sean Penn and Robin Wright
Ireland: Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger
Jaz: Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi
Jazz Domino: Joe Strummer
Jermajesty: Jermaine Jackson and Alejandra Genevieve Oaziaza (previously married to Jermaine's brother Randy)
Kal-El Coppola: Nicholas Cage (Kal-El is Superman’s original birth name)
Kyd: David Duchovny and Tea Leoni
Lark Song: Mia Farrow and André Previn
Lennon: Liam Gallagher and Patsy Kensit
Liberty: Ryan Giggs
London Emilio: Slash
Luna Coco Patricia: Frank Lampard and Elen Rive
Marquise: 50 Cent
Memphis Eve: Bono
Moon Unit: Frank Zappa, also father to Dweezil and Diva Muffin
Moxie CrimeFighter: Penn Jillette (also father to Zolten)
Ocean: Forest Whitaker (also father to Sonnet and True)
Pilot Inspektor: Jason Lee and Beth Riesgraf
Poppy Honey: Jamie and Jules Oliver (also parents to Daisy Boo)
Rocket: Robert Rodriguez (also father to Racer, Rebel and Rogue)
Rufus Tiger: Roger Taylor also father to Tiger Lily and Lola Daisy
Saffron Sahara: Simon and Yasmin Le Bon (also parents to Amber Rose and Tallulah Pine)
Sage Moonblood: Sylvester Stallone and Sasha Czack (also parents to Seargeoh)
Satchel: Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee
Seven Sirius: Andre Benjamin and Erykah Badu
Shiloh Nouvel: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Sosie: Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick
Suri: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes
Tallulah: Bruce Willis and Demi Moore (also parents to Scout and Rumer)
Willow Camille Reign: Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith
Zola Ivy: Eddie Murphy and Nicole Mitchell

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tour de France 2009

Stage 6 > Day 6 > 182km Today the Tour de France takes place in Spain – don’t ask. We are starting in Girona and ending in Barcelona. This is another somewhat flat stage but it does have a few climbs to that could break things up. Its also raining today in Spain so that might limit the sprinters a bit at the end.

A small group did manage to stay away (barely) all day. At the end it was Norway's Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam)

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s stage, the tour enters the Pyrenees and the fun will be starting in earnest. Here is the description of the stage:
“The Tour’s early entrance into the mountains will be sudden, with a Level 1 mountain pass and one of the highest finishes in its history, at 2,200m elevation. And yet this will not the time of great manœuvres. The fact that difficulties will be spread out throughout the race, as well as the length of the first Pyrenees stage, should enable a bold, sturdy climber who breaks away from the pack early to seize his chance at Arcalis.”

The overall Top 5

1. Fabian Cancellara - Team Saxo Bank
2. Lance Armstrong - Astana at 00:00
3. Alberto Contador - Astana at 00:19
4. Andréas Kloden - Astana at 00:23
5. Levi Leipheimer- Astana at 00:31

The Jersey’s are as follows

Yellow (overall leader) – Fabian Cancellara – Team Saxo Bank
Green (Sprinting points leader – Mark Cavendish – Team Columbia
Polka Dot (King of the Mountain) – Stéphane Auge – Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne
White (best young rider) – Tony Martin - Team Columbia

Tour Fun Fact

How are mountain climbs categorized?

There are no set rules on how the organizer can categorize hills or mountains. This is how the Tour de France climbs are defined:

- The easiest is a Category 4, which is typically less than 2km long and about 5 percent grade, or up to 5km at a 2-3 percent grade.

- A Category 3 can be as short as one mile with a very steep grade, perhaps 10 percent; or as long as six miles with a grade less than 5 percent.

- A Category 2 can be as short as 5km at 8 percent, or as long as 15km at 4 percent

- A Category 1, once the highest category, can be anything from 8km at 8 percent to 20km at 5 percent.

- An hors catégorie (“above category”) rating is given to exceptionally tough climbs. This could either be a Category 1 whose summit is also the finish of the stage, or one that is more than 10km long with an average grade of at least 7.5 percent, or up to 25km miles long at 6 percent or steeper.

Today's Workouts

10 miles early this morning wearing my Asics Speedstar running shoes. A lot less then most Thursdays - resting up a bit for a race on Sunday.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tour de France 2009

Stage 5 > Day 5 > 196KM Basically flat stage with a few climbs thrown in. Today’s stage takes us from Le Cap d'Agde on the Mediterranean coast inland to the town of Perpignan.

Le Cap d'Agde


Who was hurt the most by yesterdays TTT? Probably Cadel Evans (2nd place each of the last 2 years) and Carlos Sastre (the defending champion). They are down by 2:59 and 2:44 respectively. A huge chunk of time to make up legally.

With a basically flat but windy stage it looks to setup as another bunch sprint finish, assuming the peloton reels in the breakaway group that is sure to take off early in the race.

Well there was a nice breakaway group of 6 today and they almost got caught by the peloton but Thomas Voeckler managed to just hold on and take his first ever stage win by 7 seconds over the main pack.

No change in the overall standings or in any of the jerseys.

The overall Top 5

1. Fabian Cancellara Team Saxo Bank
2. Tony Martin Team Columbia - Htc, at 0:33
3. Lance Armstrong Astana at 00:40
4. Alberto Contador Astana at 00:59
5. Bradley Wiggins Garmin - Slipstream at 01:00

The Jersey’s are as follows

Yellow (overall leader) – Fabian Cancellara – Team Saxo Bank
Green (Sprinting points leader – Mark Cavendish – Team Columbia
Polka Dot (King of the Mountain) – Jussi Veikkanen – Francaise Des Jeux
White (best young rider) – Tony Martin - Team Columbia

Tour Fun Fact

The shortest rider is Samuel Dumoulin of Team Cofidis at 5’2” and the tallest is Stijn Vandenbergh of Team Katusha at 6’6”.

The heaviest rider at this year's Tour is Cofidis rider Rein Taaramae at 198 pounds. The lightest rider is Team Caisse d'Epargne's Rigoberto Uran, who weighs in at an Ally McBeal like weight of 119 pounds.

Today's Workouts

7 mile run on the trails wearing my Asics Attack Trail running shoes. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, again, the weather here in Maryland is still incredible. 84° and sunny, low humidity and a nice breeze. No global warming here Mr Tree-Huggers.

The only downer was the lame wildlife count: 1 lousy woodchuck

I Love Politicians

Sure $13 million isn't a ton of money in the big scheme of things - unless of course you are one of the millions who are unemployed and unless of course the money is stolen tax dollars....

From The Daily Reckoning

"Lawmaker spending on overseas vaca...sorry, diplomatic excursions has nearly tripled since 2001.

"According to a study from The Wall Street Journal, hundreds of lawmakers traveled overseas last year at a record taxpayer cost of $13 million. And that doesn't include off-budget costs like spending in war zones or borrowing government planes to jet set abroad.

"Some of last year's most diplomatically vital trips include: Five representatives checked out the Galapagos Islands to 'learn about global warming.' Six senators attended the Paris Air Show. Eight lawmakers enjoyed a delightful eight-day Italian excursion. And perhaps taking the cake, the House Homeland Security Committee's jaunt to Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Panama... pertaining to the defense of US borders, we must assume.

"While the official numbers aren't out yet, the WSJ claims expenses this year appear just as outrageous. There are over 20 government employees whose sole job function is to plan congressional outings."

A Tale of Two Funerals

Farrah Fawcett - Private funeral with 200 family and friends at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels.

Micheal Jackson - Total media circus and freak show at the 20,000 seat Staples Center - complete with MJ in a golden casket covered in red roses like he was some kind of Greek god. 3,000 of LA's finest will be guarding the Staples Center. Plus the very in debt city of LA gets to pick up the $2-$4 million security tab for the event...nice.

8,750 'fans' (out of 1.6 million) won tickets in some kind of online lottery.

The event was a who's who of celebrities. Which was to be expected but it just seemed so over the top. Was it really necessary to have Don King and Al Sharpton there? Alas I guess if that was the kind of celebration that his family wanted...

Notably absent was Elizabeth Taylor, long time friend of MJ's, who posted this message on Twitter and said she declined an invitation to speak because she "cannot be part of the public whoopla."

So much for resting in peace.

All I can say is thank God its finally over and he's in the ground. I like listening to his music but the 24/7 in your face reality-show like coverage as been a bit much. He was hardly Mother Theresa or the Pope.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tour de France 2009

Stage 4 > Day 4 > 39KM Team Time Trial (TTT) in the town of Montpellier

For the TTT all 9 riders of each team ride together, at least 5 from the team have to finish. The clock stops after the 5th rider for the team crosses the line.

The TTT just looks plain cool. So if you haven’t seen one, check out the Versus reply tonight.

Today’s time trial will give Lance a very realistic chance of getting back into Yellow for the first time in 3 years. Team Astana is a very strong Time Trial team and Lance is only 40 seconds off the lead in 3rd place.

Well that turned out to be s truly exciting race. Yes really, it’s true. I know that it might not seem thrilling to watch 9 men in skin tight spandex ride bikes for 46 minutes (unless of course you are Madonna or Richard Simmons) but trust me it sure can be.

So as I said, Lance was down by 40 seconds overall and his team beat Fabian’s team (Team Saxo Bank) by 40 seconds. But alas the Tour can’t have 2 riders wearing yellow at the same time. Ties are like Kissing Your Sister. The Tour doesn’t normally record time in 100th of seconds but they did this time. So Lance is in second place by a few one-hundreds of a second. In addition to Lance, Team Astana also has riders in 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 11th and 18th place. An astounding 7 of their 9 riders are in the top 20. Their other two rides are in 165th and 177th place. I wonder if those two slackers have to eat at a different table.

Complete Stage 4 Results

1. ASTANA 00:46:29
2. GARMIN - SLIPSTREAM 00:46:47 00:00:18
3. TEAM SAXO BANK 00:47:09 00:00:40
4. LIQUIGAS 00:47:27 00:00:58
5. TEAM COLUMBIA - HTC 00:47:28 00:00:59
6. TEAM KATUSHA 00:47:52 00:01:23
7. CAISSE D’EPARGNE 00:47:58 00:01:29
8. CERVELO TEST TEAM 00:48:07 00:01:37
9. AG2R-LA MONDIALE 00:48:18 00:01:48
10. EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI 00:48:39 00:02:09
11. RABOBANK 00:48:50 00:02:20
12. QUICK STEP 00:48:55 00:02:26
13. SILENCE - LOTTO 00:49:05 00:02:35
14. FRANCAISE DES JEUX 00:49:15 00:02:46
15. TEAM MILRAM 00:49:18 00:02:48
16. COFIDIS LE CREDIT EN LIGNE 00:49:28 00:02:58
17. LAMPRE - N.G.C 00:49:54 00:03:24
18. AGRITUBEL 00:50:47 00:04:17
19. BBOX BOUYGUES TELECOM 00:51:11 00:04:41
20. SKIL-SHIMANO 00:51:52 00:05:23

The overall Top 5

1. Fabian Cancellara Team Saxo Bank
2. Tony Martin Team Columbia - Htc, at 0:33
3. Lance Armstrong Astana at 00:40
4. Alberto Contador Astana at 00:59
5. Bradley Wiggins Garmin - Slipstream at 01:00

The Jersey’s are as follows

Yellow (overall leader) – Fabian Cancellara – Team Saxo Bank
Green (Sprinting points leader – Mark Cavendish – Team Columbia
Polka Dot (King of the Mountain) – Jussi Veikkanen – Francaise Des Jeux
White (best young rider) – Tony Martin - Team Columbia

Tour Fun Fact

Helmets: Mandatory, dude!

To reduce or eliminate deaths from crashes, every rider in the Tour must now wear a helmet during every stage of the race, including time trials. At their own risk, cyclists may remove their helmets during the final climb to the summit if the climb is at least 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) long. A Tour course marker designates the point on the course where cyclists can remove their helmets. Removal of helmets on mountain stages is never allowed before the start of a climb.

Today's Workouts

15.5 mile run early this morning wearing my Saucony Tangent running shoes. Weather is still awesome in Maryland. The run was originally supposed to be 12 miles but my legs were feeling extra perky this morning.

Our Future Healthcare System Under Obamacare


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For Achondroplasia, press 1-0-0-0. For Acne, press 1-0-0-1. For Acrodysostosis, press 1-0-0-2. For Acromegaly, press 1-0-0-3. For Adenoids, press 1-0-0-4. For Adrenoleukodystrophy, press 1-0-0-5. For Age-related macular degeneration, press 1-0-0-6. For Agoraphobia, press 1-0-0-7. For Albinism, press 1-0-0-8. For AIDS, press 1-0-0-8. For Alcohol poisoning, press 1-0-0-9. For Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, press 1-0-1-0. For Alport syndrome, press 1-0-1-1. For Altitude sickness, press 1-0-1-2. For Alzheimer's disease, press 1-0-1-3. For Amyloidosis, press 1-0-1-4. For Anemia, press 1-0-1-5. For -----

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On a scale of 1 to 9, with 9 being excruciating pain, how much pain are you in?


Enter your age, followed by the pound sign.

7 4 #

I'm sorry, the maximum age of treatment for this condition, as determined by Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research is Seventy-three. Thank you for calling.


7 2 # ... 7 2 # ... 72 # !!

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Call recording terminated

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tour de France 2009

Day 3 - Stage 3 - 196.5km. Marseilles (It is the Tour's 33rd visit to this harbour on the Mediterranean, first appearing in the very first Tour in 1903) to La Grande-Motte.


La Grande-Motte

This should be another 'sprinters stage'. Watch for an early break away by some riders with the pelton chasing them down so each teams sprinter can have a crack at a stage win. For the teams without a strong contender for the overall race win, winning a stage is huge. It keeps their team in the spot light and keeps the sponsors happy. The other option is that the peloton just chills today and lets the breakaway have their day in the sun. If the breakaway contains none of the 'A' riders then they might just let them go and save their legs for the mountains.

Sure enough, 4 riders broke away and stayed away for a decent amount of time but they were eventually caught. The interesting thing today was that the peloton/pack broke in two in some heavy winds. A group of about 25 (including Lance Armstrong and current leader Fabian Cancellara) reeled in the 4 and finsihed about 40 seconds ahead of the main peloton. "Co-Captain" of Team Astana (Lance's team) was not in the main group. This should make for interesting dinner conversation tonight on the team bus.

At the very end Mark Cavendish once again showed why he is one of the best sprinters in the world and took his second stage win in as many days.

Tomorrow is the Team Time Trial (TTT) and with Astana being a very strong team, Lance could actually find himself in Yellow tomorrow night.

The overall Top 5

1. Fabian Cancellara Team Saxo Bank
2. Tony Martin Team Columbia - Htc, at 0:33
3. Lance Armstrong Astana at 00:40
4. Alberto Contador Astana at 00:59
5. Bradley Wiggins Garmin - Slipstream at 01:00

The Jersey’s are as follows

Yellow (overall leader) – Fabian Cancellara – Team Saxo Bank
Green (Sprinting points leader – Mark Cavendish – Team Columbia
Polka Dot (King of he Mountain) – Jussi Veikkanen – Francaise Des Jeux
White (best young rider) – Tony Martin - Team Columbia

Tour Fun Fact

What is the gruppetto?
This is the group of riders that forms at the back of the race, usually on mountain stages. They ride at a pace just fast enough to finish within the day’s time limit (a varying percentage of the stage winner’s time). The gruppetto (Italian for “a small group”) is sometimes called the autobus, the bus or the laughing group — but this is no laughing matter. Riders at the back are often sick or injured and struggling just to finish the stage

Today's Workouts

Afternoon updates:

Workout update - 8 miles on the trails. the weather continues to be awesome for July. 85, breezy, sun not much mugginess. Critter count: 1 wood chuck, 4 deer and 1 jogger. Wore my Asics Attack Trail running shoes.

Lunch update - cheese steak and crab fries

Ego update - on the way out to run at lunch time, some of the people that work here introduced me to the new receptionist. Since I’m a contractor at this location she will have to buzz me in when I need to get into the building. I was introduced as "this is Rob, he runs at lunch every day and he has the nicest legs of anyone in the company".

Najor Announcenent

The 'M' key has fallen off ny laptop. Using it is now a royal pain in the butt. In order to nake ny life easier I shall be using the 'N' key as a replacenent.

Please adjust your reading of ny posts accordingly. I an sorry for any trouble this ny cause you.

A special apology to San, Non to Five Ninnies, The Non, Narissa, Nary and any others whose nean parents put a letter fornally known as 'M' in your nane.

Nadia, Nancy, Nathan, Nick and Nero, you guys are all ok.

Now I just have to figure out what to with all ny upconing posts naking fun of Obana. It could get old typing Obana over and over again.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tour de France 2009

Day 2 – Stage 2 > Monaco to Brignoles – 187km.

This is non-mountain stage. Rugged terrain but not super hilly. It will be a sprinters bunch finish today. The overall leaders will just stay reasonably close to the sprinters and try and stay out of trouble – ie no crashes. The big boys will let the sprinters have their day in the sun and pick up some points and a stage win. The sprinters will all fade away when the tour hits the mountain stage anyway.

And yes it did turn into a sprint for the finish with Mark Cavendish, the Brit who rides for Team Columbia, pulling out the victory today.

There was no change in the top 10 overall standing.

The Jersey’s are as follows

Yellow – Fabian Cancellara – Team Saxo Bank
Green – Mark Cavendish – Team Columbia
Polka Dot – Jussi Veikkanen – Francaise Des Jeux
White – Roman Kreuziger - Liquigas

Tour Fun Fact

Why do riders race in a pack?

By riding behind other cyclists — called drafting — on a flat road, a rider uses roughly 30 percent less energy than he would riding alone. When the speed is extremely high (in chasing a breakaway or in the final hour of a flat stage), the pack stretches into a single line as each rider fights to stay in the draft created by the fast-moving group.

Today's Workouts

4.54 easy miles to try and loosen the legs up. Wore my Newton running shoes.

The Cowboy

A cowboy appeared before St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

'Have you ever done anything of particular merit?' St. Peter asked.

'Well, I can think of one thing,' the cowboy offered.

'On a trip to the Black Hills out in South Dakota , I came upon a gang of bikers who were threatening a young woman.

I directed them to leave her alone, but they wouldn't listen.

So, I approached the largest and most heavily tattooed biker and smacked him in his face ...

Kicked his bike over, ripped out his nose ring, and threw it on the ground.

I yelled, 'Now, back off!! Or I'll kick the snot out of all of you!'

St. Peter was impressed, 'When did this happen?'

'Just a couple of minutes ago...'

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Tour de France 2009

Day 1 - Stage 1 – The Prologue

Le Tour starts today in Monaco with a 15.5km individual time trial. Each rider is on his own and basically goes pretty much all out for about 10 miles with the fastest times being just under 20 minutes. Roughly 30mph. The riders wear more streamlined aerodynamic clothes and use a special time-trial bike that is also more aerodynamic. These bikes aren’t allowed to be used in the regular stages. They handle much too flakey to be riding in a large pack of other riders. See Pictures below.

Since Lance seems to be the rider that most people care about, he did very well for an old guy who has been off for 3 years. Plus ‘his’ team (team Astana) had 3 other riders in the top 10 and leads the team competition. Astana may have the old problem of two many chiefs and not enough Indians. Look for the who’s the leader question to be answered later this coming week when the riders hit some of the harder mountain stages. If Lance can hang with the leaders when they get to the big hills then it will be his team, otherwise it will be up for grabs with Contador and Leipheimer the mostly likely to come out on top.

1 Fabian Cancellara
2 Alberto Contador
3 Bradley Wiggins
4 Andreas Kloden
5 Cadel Evans
10 Lance Armstrong (40 seconds off the lead)

The Jerseys:

Yellow – Fabian Cancellara in first place by 18 seconds
Green – Bradley Wiggins
Polka Dot – Alberto Contador
White – Roman Kreuziger

Fun Tour Fact –
What is a peloton?
It’s a French word meaning “platoon” that’s used to describe the largest group of riders. The peloton is also referred to as the pack or the bunch.

Time Trial Bike - Used only for time trials and triathlons

Road Bike

Today's Workouts

4.5 mile easy run this morning wearing my new END OTG running shoes. END is some tree hugger shoe company that tries to make sures that are Environmentally Neutral. Personally I think the soles of the shoes looked quite a bit like baby seals and I'm pretty sure the shoelaces were made of polar bear gut. But I could be wrong...

Insurance Compaines Suck

In particular Progressive Car Insurance - Details to follow next week - Sorry Flo I used to think you were cool

Tour de France 2009

The Tour is back! The Tour is back!

The world's most prestigious cycling event starts today. This, the 96th Tour, is made up of 21 stages and covers 3,500 kilometers (2,170 miles).

These 21 stages have the following profiles:

10 flat stages,
7 mountain stages,
1 medium mountain stage,
2 individual time-trial stages,
1 team time-trial stage

20 teams, each with 9 riders, are entered in this year's race.

Besides competing for the overall win (the Yellow jersey) there are other jerseys up for grabs to:

Yellow - The maillot jaune is worn by the general classification leader.

Green - The maillot vert is awarded for sprint points. At the end of each stage, points are earned by the riders who finish first, second, etc. Points are higher for flat stages, as sprints are more likely, and less for mountain stages, where climbers usually win.

Polka Dot - The King of the Mountains wears a white jersey with red dots (maillot à pois rouges), inspired by a jersey that Félix Lévitan saw at the Vélodrome d'Hiver in Paris in his youth. The competition gives points to the first to top designated hills and mountains.

White - The maillot blanc (white jersey) is for the best rider under 25 on January 1 that year.

Most Combative - The prix de la combativité goes to the rider who most animates the day, usually by trying to break clear of the field. The most combative rider wears a number printed white-on-red instead of black-on-white next day.

The main story of this years tour will be Lance's return. Love him or hate him, he brings much needed attention to the Tour. How will Lance do? Can he compete for the Yellow Jersey after 3 years off and at the age of 38? Is he even the leader of his team (team Astana)? Albeto Contador of Spain (the 2007 winner), would seem to have a legitimate claim on being the leader. And Levi Leipheimer of the US is no slouch either.

I will be posting daily updates on the race and a Fun Fact each day - I'm sure y'all will be waiting with baited-breath.

Here are few useful links:

Versus TV schedule

General TV and Internet Streaming Info

Official Tour Site

Tour de France for Dummies

Tour de France 101

Tour de France Predictions

Friday, July 3, 2009

Today's Workouts

13.12 mile run this morning wearing my Asics Speed Star shoes. Very sore legs the first few miles.

Pet Peeve Phriday

Today’s pet peeve is - People who name their kids “Pretentious” or “Character Building” names. You know the kinds of names that are going to ensure that the kid is a stuck-up jerk or at the least get them beat-up on the playground at recess daily.

Let me start off by apologizing in advance if your name, your kid’s name, your dog’s name, your pet llama’s name or your car’s name falls in this list of names I hate. If your cat has one of these names then I don’t care :P get a real pet already.

‘Trinity’, “Freedom”, “Destiny”, “Precious”, “Kingsley”, “Princeton”, any gemstone and most flowers, “Chastity”, “Preston”, “Thurston”, “Archibald”, “Panache”, “Mercedes”, “Chardonnay”, “Ambrosia” , “Meadow”, “Truth”, “Dynasty”, “Sage”, and last but not least “Apple”

What are some names you dislike? And don’t worry about hurting anyone’s feelings, no one reads this blog anyways.

Next week; people who use an atlas to name their kid

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Serena to meet Venus in the Ladies Finals - Yawn

Today's Workouts

26.33 mile run this morning while wearing my Asics DS Trainers running shoes. I ran this on a combination of roads, trails and the local high school's track. And yes I purposely went a bit over the marathon distance (26.2). Why? Well to rub it my other running friend's faces of course.

Extraordinarily Evil?

Am I the only one that finds Bernie Madoff’s sentence of 150 years just a tad excessive? Everyone seems to be rejoicing that he’s going to rot in jail until he’s dead, and then some. Dude is something like 70+ years old. How long do we think he’s going to last in prison? Let the punishment fit the crime doesn’t seem to matter when the media gets its panties in a bunch and has it out for you.

150 years?! Rapists, murders and child molesters rarely get that much. Old Bernie would have been better off killing an ex-wife and her lover ala OJ Simpson or maybe he should have just started a dog fighting ring. Bernie just had the unfortunate circumstance not to have been born in the projects and been beaten as a child, that kind of upbringing would have gotten him off with a small fine, some community service and enrolled in a personal enrichment program.

Sure he fleeced some people out of their money and sure it was said to be about $65 Billion dollars. A large number to be sure by anyone’s standards – well except for that Messiah Wannabe over at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. That dude spends money faster than a sailor in a Singapore Bar & Brothel. But what Bernie did seems to be very common in the investment community (no offense Wall Street). Not to mention the political community (none of those guys have ever over-promised and fleeced voters-right). This is like locking up a serial jaywalker for 10 years.

And just what were the people thinking who invested with him? Haven’t they ever heard the expression “if it seems too good to be true it probably is”? Bernie was promising and ‘showing’ such high returns on investment money that people just turned green with greed. They had to have some suspicions that what Bernie was telling them they were making wasn’t kosher. And no I’m not saying they got what they had coming but really they should have known better. These were rich people that had to have had some brains in their heads. I mean they didn’t get that rich by being morons. And yes I think Mr. Madoff should be punished. Just not so excessively. How about a huge fine and a billion hours of community service helping the poor and old get a handle on their finances. There are millions of people out there who are unemployed, being foreclosed on and have more credit card debt than I have running shoes. Or since he’s good at raising investment money maybe he could help me raise some money for my latest business venture; renting out children to undecided prospective parents.

But to have the judge call you “Extraordinarily Evil” is a bit of reach, more like you basic everyday evil it seems to me. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Jerry Springer, Nancy Pelosi…now that’s Extraordinarily Evil incarnate. But old Bernie, I don’t think so. And what about the hypocrisy of his prosecutors? After all they all work for the Federal government who runs the largest Ponzi scheme ever created. You might know it better as the Social Security System. Not to mention the billions and trillions that the Feds owe to US citizens, foreigners and their respective governments; and have no way possible to ever pay it back – short of just printing up a pile of $100 bills and shipping them over to the Chinese in one of the many empty cargo ships sitting around our docks. Hey they would love that. Maybe they would keep the flow of lead painted toys and gizmos coming.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Today's Workouts

6 mile trail run wearing my Asics Trail Attack running shoes. Went out at lunch time warm and muggy back in the woods but much better than running on the roads. Wildlife count: 1 deer, 2 wood chucks and countless squirrels, birds and horseflies.

Spending Less? Saving More?

Money, get away.
Get a good job with good pay and you’re okay.
Money, its a gas.
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.
New car, caviar, four star daydream,
Think Ill buy me a football team.

Everyone – The Washington Post, The NY Times, CNN, MSN etc – are reporting that Americans are spending less and saving more. Middle of the road food chains for us porky Americans, like Applebee’s, Chili’s and Ruby Tuesday’s are all duking it out to get that middle class night out on the town dollar. Applebee's offers dinner for two for only $20. Chili's advertises entrees for just $7. Ruby Tuesday's is going for a 2-for-1 deal. Buy one meal, get one free. All of them are making heavy use of discount coupons. We had pretty much stopped going to those places years ago (unless of course we got a gift card to them) in order to support locally owned joints.

So what if anything are you doing differently during this recession/depression? Are you talking advantage of the deals or hunkering down?

Even if you are still gainfully employed and doing ok financially have you changed your lifestyle? Are you paying down debt?

Are you cutting your own grass now (or hair)? Eating out less and cooking at home more? Stopped the hair plug treatments or the Botox? Staying in and renting movies or playing games? Clipping 50¢ off coupons for Rice a Roni and Tidy Bowl? Making your own underwear out of old burlap sacks? Tell me what you are doing to save money and budget better.

Us? We haven’t changed our lifestyle too much. With the size family we have we never have had a ton of excess money each month anyway. We’ve always had enough to survive on – sometimes barely – and we’ve never had to go into debt to meet our monthly obligations. So from a debt point things are the same. Zero credit card debt (we use them but they are paid off every month and have been for the 20 years we have been married). Zero car loans, we have also bought used cars for cash. And we have been in the same house for 9 years. It was a foreclosure that we bought before the house bubble so the mortgage is very manageable. And we still save at least something each month for a rainy day.

It is a good thing we have been living that way because every once in awhile a lot of things go to hell all at once. After our nice anniversary trip to Florida last month, everything decided to break all at once at our house – well almost everything. First our 15 passenger van became possessed on the way home from the airport. Possessed to the tune of $890. Then the stovetop had to be repaired ($225), next it was the computer that fried itself (more or less – I’m still trying to fix it), I bought a refurbished replacement for $290. After that the washing machine decided it was sick of doing 30-35 loads of laundry a week and pulled the plug on itself. New large capacity washer, $830. I tried to delay that purchase a bit but the Misses drew the line at everyone wearing the same pair of underwear for more than 3 days. 1 day later the very old hot water was leaking more than a bunch of drunks in the bathroom of their favorite bar. Price to have hot water so my teens can take 20 minute showers? $850. And that is the main reason I sock money into a savings account each month.

And that is all on top of the everyday expenses that are incurred in keeping a family of 14 going. Darn if those kids don’t want to eat at least 3 times a day. And clothes can only be passed down so many time, especially when you are passing down Strawberry Shortcake jumpers to a younger brother.

We have changed a few things. Our monthly date night has downscaled to less expensive restaurants and I have been putting a bit more into savings…just in case. And when I needed a haircut a few weeks ago I had Sam buzz me with the clippers (and 3 of the boys while she was at it).

It could be worse. I could be living in California which looks to be completely bankrupt by about lunchtime

One final suggestion - Lease/rent, don’t own your fun!