Thursday, January 29, 2009


The Des Moines Register has announce the overnight towns for the 2009 edition of the ride.They are:

  • Council Bluffs (4)
  • Red Oak (3)
  • Greenfield (2)
  • Chariton (1)
  • Indianola (0)
  • Ottumwa (2)
  • Mt. Pleasant (4)
  • Burlington (4)
It's going to be a short one, 442 miles and 22.8k feet of climbing. We've been in most of these towns before, the number of times noted in the parentheses. All except for Indianola where the traveling freak show / circus that is RAGBRAI will stop for the first time. That is going to give us two logical day one's midweek with everyone and their brother joining us on the ride in and/or out Indianola from Des Moines.

I have not so fond memories of Mt. Pleasant from the 1984 edition. Ever since then, I've been calling it Mud Unpleasant. We overnight in Red Oak, which was my Dad's home town. I'll have to see if I can remember where the farm is and maybe do a ride by. I haven't been to Red Oak since the last time RAGBRAI was there in 1997. Just 170 days and a wake up to go.

Note: One other highlight for this year is the lack of Lance Armstrong. Lance Boy will be "le Touring" in France, so his little entourage / sideshow won't be with us this year. Woo Hoo! RAGBRAI - It's not about the Lance.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Yo Sparky!

Man... Some people can just ruin your day. On the way home tonight this dim bulb in his pick'em up truck full of brush, decided that I was on his road. He was on the horn as he passed me way, way too close. I must have slowed him up on his way to dump his load of important crap. Grrr.....

So... if you are in Iowa, I urge you to write your various State Senators and urge passage of SF34 in the Senate. It's about time cyclists get treated correctly.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bent Hair!

Did the Cy-Yo class at the gym this morning. This is the normal Saturday morning gig for me. Kathy L. was teaching and we did her "interval" bit. Nothing close to true intervals, but I can deal with it. Didn't go too hard and the HRM data backs that up (118bpm average for the 90 minutes). The yoga segment helped stretch me out a little bit. Then it was off to the Cafe for some coffee with my wife. *smiles*

Got home, relaxed a bit, and then it was off to the Shala for the V3 class. This didn't seem as hard as past ones, perhaps I'm just getting numb. This was the 24th day in a row for my practice. There were a few things that came back from the V2 class on Wednesday and the V1 class, aka private lesson, on Thursday. But, I was still working and sweating. I'm going to have to start working on Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand) given that we are practicing it in every V3 class and I'm getting tired of skipping that. I'm going to give it a whirl against the wall before I give it a go in V3 class with a spot in the middle of the room.

I'd thought about stopping for a coffee on the way home, but elected not to. Had some lunch and when I went back to hang my stuff up from class, there was a box sitting in the desk chair. From Stumptown! The Hairbender had arrived! So... I decided to fire up the Silva and grind up a double. It's way good stuff. Now I just have to keep myself from having two or three more. I'd really like to sleep tonight.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More Coffee!

Well... With no end in sight to this weather phenomena called "winter", I'm coming close to running out of home roasted coffee. Normally, I roast on the deck since coffee roasting produces a fair amount of smoke. The roaster that I am currently using, a first generation iRoast, (link & picture is for the iRoast2) doesn't care for ambient air temperatures under about 65F. This "winter" thing sort of puts the home roasting on hiatus. So... I've ordered some coffee up from Stumptown in Portland, OR. I have two bags of Hairbender coming my way. They roast tomorrow and then ship via USPS Priority mail. This is one espresso that is reputed to be "tricky". We'll see... I've had it before when I was at the Division Street store in Portland. If you are in Portland, it's worth a stop.

I'm also almost out of green coffee. To solve that problem, I've also ordered up some more green coffee from the best source of green coffee on the planet, Sweet Maria's. The UPS man will not be happy when he gets to heft a 31 pound box of green coffee on to the front porch. I have the following heading my way:

The Ophiolite blend has been getting very good reviews on the Home Roast list that I read. All of this should keep my stash from going to zero. That would be bad. The Auriferous is very new and I haven't read much about it, but I figured it would be good to have some to try.

Did the V2 class at the Shala after I got home from work.

Note to self: Legs tired after bike ride home featuring "bonus" miles. Makes yoga class harder.

If this was step down from the V3 class, this edition was a baby step down. I'm thinking that my arms and sholders will be going "Ouch!" in the morning. We'll see. One thing is certain, when my head hits the pillow tonight it's going to be "Bam! I'm sleeping!".

Saturday, January 17, 2009

This Is So Not Right

~set whine mode on~ There is something like a 50 degree difference in the temperature today vs. yesterday. If yesterday was a "normal" January day, I would be out riding in shorts today. This is just plain wrong. ~set whine mode off~

Woke up, fell outta of bed, did not drag a comb across my head (that would be pointless), had breakfast, two lovely double shots of Espresso Monkey, and hit the door for the gym. Did the CyYo class. Ninety minutes on the spin bike followed with 30 minutes of really basic yoga. The spin part went well. The data out of the heart rate monitor said I averaged 127 bpm for the 90 minutes. I'm not sure why it was that high. I didn't think I was going that hard or maybe I'm getting sick. I'm hoping for the former.

Stopped for a latté at the library and then headed home for a snack, a short nap, and then it was pack up and head off for more yoga in the V3 Class at the Shala. Just four of us today. Ann apparently has been visited by the Bad Flu Fairy - Get Well Soon! There were a number of things in class that went well. And then there were the things that just made me smile with the absurdity of the thought of me doing it. I was also being amused at hearing and seeing the steam coming out of the radiators. I suspect that the boiler has been turned up to full power given the arctic weather of the past few days. It's going to to be an über toasty one tomorrow! After class, my upper back was really feeling it.

On the way home, I checked out the river front bike path and decided that given it's snowy state and my lack of energy, it would be lunch followed with a nap instead of a bike ride. I'm already seventy miles short of last year at this time. This really isn't a worry since I did most of my miles for January last year in the first half of the month. Given the mid range weather forecast, I'll be back ahead in a week or so.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Death March Of The Penguins

Man... it's like cold out there. I've had the bike in the garage yesterday and today. It will also be there tomorrow. I've had a number of folks ask me if I've been riding. *lol* I'm not that crazy. But... if you want to see crazy, here's a little bike ride that I have no, nada, zero, zip, zilch plans to ever ride. It's the Arrowhead 135. It's your basic (ha!) ultraride. You have 60 hours to ride the 135 miles. Sounds easy, eh? Oh yeah... it's on the 1st weekend in February. It starts in International Falls, MN (aka Frostbite Falls) and goes to Tower, MN on the Canadian border. The temps there are such that it makes the current -15F a bit on the warm side. Here are a couple of blog post from the Surly Blog:
Surly is a little house brand of Quality Bicycle Products. My single speed, pictured above, is a Surly 1x1 that I absolutely love. A lot of folks use the Surly Pugsley for the Arrowhead. All of their stuff is well made, well thought out, a great value, and made of steel.

So... Instead of riding yesterday, it was two and a half hours on the spin bike at the gym followed by a yoga class (flow) . Today there was no yoga, sadness *lol*, at Indigo, so it was take the mat to the gym, knock out the Primary Series through Navasana, then two hours on the spin bike. It's looking like more quality time on the spin bike tomorrow and Happy Hour at DSY. It's suppose be be -29F tonight.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Well That Was Stupid

I did the ride thing this morning. I was feeling the need to ride since I didn't the day before. The forecast big snow for yesterday actually happened. It was hard to drive in and it would have been super hard to ride in. So... even though it was 9F, I headed out on the bike. The road surfaces were much worse than I expected, so I elected to ride to the Bus and take that over the river. That went reasonably well given the fact that temperature was falling like a rock. The ride home was way under my riding cut off (negative digits) but I rode home since the bike paths were all plowed. I found out that the Heating Insoles just don't keep up at -1F. I'll have to make some sort of over boot for them to cut the wind and get another insulating layer.

I did hit the clothing pretty well. I was a bit over dressed on the torso and under dressed on the legs. Ah well...

Got home in time to grab a snack, change clothes, and head over for Mark's Tuesday night class. I was working in there tonight. I was sorely tempted to wear my Tapas Yoga Shala shirt, but I wasn't up for the abuse that might have ensued.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Jack Piper And The Chamois Of Fire

Ah... At long last the sequel is being released. Last year, the group of Merry Pranksters that I hang with on RAGBRAI was entertained during the long winter's night by a story written by one of our own, Flava Dave. The first story can be found here -

The sequel, Jack Piper and the Chamois Of Fire, is being published at Stuzio. It's being done as Flava Dave has time to get the chapters out in between getting miles in and his day job. Enjoy!

As I put this post up, I've got a movie on the telly that I haven't seen in ages, The Commitments. It has the absolutely best music. It's highly recommended.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


It occurred to me on this mornings ride into work that the breathing that I do on the bike in the winter is pretty much 180 degrees opposite of that one does in yoga. This is especially true when it's uber cold. That's because I use a balaclava that has a heat exchanger built into it. You basically have to forcefully exhale and inhale through it. It requires real attention to the breath to do that when you ride. It's especially challenging when your climbing a hill and really having to work.

The ride into work the last two mornings has been a bit of a wakeup call. I'm finding it pretty hard on my legs. That suprises me a bit since I didn't really take a bunch of time off the bike over the holidays. I'm hoping that I'll be riding myself back into it.

Well... It's off to bed. It was a long day with a delightful wakeup call from work this morning at 0115 to fix a problem, the ride in and out of work scoring "bonus" miles, and Mark's class at Indigo. I hope I hear the alarm go off in the morning.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Iron Or Noodle - The Fourth Class

So... It seems that I've managed to survive the Iron Ashtangi Challenge. Although, at the present, I'm feeling more noodle than iron like. I rolled into this morning's Led Primary Series Class feeling pretty good. I remarked to my daughter prior to class that my arms felt pretty good, but I wasn't sure if it was because I was starting to get used to it or I was just numb. Upon further reflection, perhaps it was a little of both.

We had another full room today for today's led class which absolutely rocks. We had the usual fun time. Memorable events today were:
  • The look that Kathy had on her face when Kelly remarked "Only Four!" in Utthita Hasta Padangustasana (Standing Hand To Big Toe).
  • Ann almost needing an emergency extraction from Garba Pindasana.
  • The lovely certificate of completion and gifts for the five of us that made it through all four of the classes in the Challenge.
I can really see the advantages in doing this practice six days a week. I certainly was noticing a few little differences here and there today verse how I was for the Mysore class all the way back last Thursday.

Well... It's back to reality tomorrow. My two weeks of away from work has ended. I'm not really looking forward to the alarm going off at 0345 and then hopping on the bike for the ride in. That will be made all the more "pleasant" by the forecast 10F overnight low temperature. I just look at it as the thermodynamic opposite of Tapas, although the suffering and austerity is most certainly present. But, the bag is packed and the alarm is set, so I'm committed (or should be committed).

I'm looking forward, in a slightly twisted sense, to trying out my Christmas present from me to me, the Sidi Heating Insoles for my cycling shoes. It will be a lot colder than when I demo'ed them, so it will be interesting. I am still planning on doing a hand made cork insole in addition to them, but that's a few days off.

Note - I'd like to publicly thank Evan and Kelly for putting this together. I feel like I've been rewarded several times over. First, with all of the fun and hard work in the classes and yet again with the certificate and gifts. Thanks so much!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The V3 Class or Iron Ashtangi Challenge Round III

Well... Just made it home from today's class. My, that was fun, in that Vinayasa III class sort of way. I had an OMG moment in the class when we dropped down into Virabhadrasana III (Warrior III) from Vrksasana (Tree). I was having visions of the V3 class from back in November. I was thinking that we'd be doing the dread "Dikasana" in the Ashtanga series. In a later conversation with Jill, she said she was thinking the same thing (And she wasn't even there when we did it that day). I suspect it was probably going through Brian's and Kathy's head too.

I'll apologize in advance to all of my V3 classmates if I've caused Evan to scribble down a note or two for next week w/respect to this YouTube clip. Ever since I saw this, I've been thinking it might be roughly comparable to the Saturday class, in a certain twisted way. In fact, I think we've even done some of these "poses" sans the moving wall and dunk tank.

Now I have to have a nice rest and recovery before the final class in the Iron Ashtangi Challenge. I'm thinking maybe a beer and a nice soak in the tub is in order. Possibly even at the same time...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Iron Ashtangi Challenge Round II

Well... Round II of the Iron Ashtangi Challenge is in the books. It was a surprising turnout tonight. I'm thinking we had maybe 14 people in the room. Seven of the folks were brand spanking new. I'm thinking that this might have been a little happier Happy Hour than they might have intended. I'm a little hazy right now, but I'm thinking that we had five of the stay for the whole class. Impressive!

I was a pretty hurtin' unit. I did the flow yoga class at the gym this morning and then did twenty miles on the road bike after lunch. The road bike ride was nice. Man... is that easy to make it go. Quite a difference from the commuter bike with the five pound tires. It would just accelerate with the merest thought vs. the think and then work like a Roman galley slave to make it happen on the commuter. As a result of the earlier work, I was really not recovered before the class started. At one point in one of the vinyasas, my right arm just failed. Bam! Nothing left... move on... nothing more to see.

I'm thinking that instead of a certificate, maybe Evan and Kelly need to be awarding the "Purple Arm" medal. Or... maybe I'll get myself a new yoga mat like the one that I designed in the picture for this post. You can do that here - Some how, it seems fitting. Although, I will admit, I just can't see practicing on one of these mats. It would be way too weird.

I'll be doing the Cy-Yo class at the gym at 0700 tomorrow morning and then answering the bell for Round III at 1230, assuming that I can still move.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Bam! Let The Wild Rumpus Begin

Well... I was awake and watched the new year come in. The only reason for that was I just couldn't get to sleep. I didn't do the Dick Clark or Times Square thing on the telly though. I was enjoying listening / watching to this lovely physics lecture. How lame is that?

Started the day with a quick spin class at the gym. That was followed three hours later with Phase I of the Iron Ashtangi Challenge. The class was in the Mysore format. That was a first for me. I managed to get lost a couple of times and not really use my "cheat sheet", so I think it went well. It also seemed "faster" than the led class. I suspect that was just me missing counts here and there.

We had a total of 16 people in the room. That was way more than I expected to see. It's always fun to have big numbers in the room with the corresponding energy gain. I'm actually not feeling too bad right now. We'll see how I'm feeling for Phase II at Happy Hour tomorrow.

Then it was zip home, eat a little something and sneak out for a ride. Wow... I don't recall ever seeing the hill on the bike path that icy. I managed to loose traction maybe 5 meters up it. That was with the studded tires. Didn't even fall over. Huzzah! The walking off to the side of it was still pretty much rated "Circus Act". So... it was bail to the city streets. It was over to the East Village and then loop back in on the River Front path.

Now I just have to work on getting into the proper state of mind for Phase II. Perhaps this will help. (See the lower left corner of the page)