Wednesday, March 26, 2008

new kicks

i picked up my new asics nimbus 9s this afternoon. it's either a great move or a *really* bad move to be running in new shoes for my upcoming & first half ironman this weekend. trust me, i tried getting them before last weekend but timing & posted store hours for the new rogue run store (really cool place - glad to see some competition for run tex) didn't jive well. anyhow, i'm returning to the nimbus 9s after a couple of years of bouncing between mizunos & brooks running shoes. i bought my first pair of nimbus 9s back in 2004 just prior to running my first 1/2 marathon (the 3M) & they rocked & were the best pair of shoes ever. i'm really not sure why i switched to something else after i wore those shoes out. i think i was looking for something cheaper & for a support shoe versus a comfort/cushioning shoe. anyhow, the mizunos that i have now have really done a number on my feet & ankles so i'm looking forward to being back in a pair of nimbus 9s - they even match the t3 colors - white/grey/blue!

i took them for a test run as soon as i picked them up today. i had just finished lunch at casa with kristin & i needed to burn off my 4 plates worth of food. plus the sun was out & i could use a bit of a tan. they felt great, however, like breaking anything else the 4-mile run resulted in a small blister on my right foot. i figure i'll wear them on the plane tomorrow & around san diego prior to the race & they should be fine. plus i plan on getting in a short jog tomorrow or friday so come race day they should be good-to-go.

regardless, i'll berunning in them on race day - it can't be any worse than what happened at the austin tri last year when i ran without socks & zip laces for the first time. i've still got the scars on both feet & the blood stains on the mizunos to prove that it wasn't a pretty sight.

tri packing

packing for an out of town triathlon is a lot of work. i packed less for a 3 week vacation to europe. for once i can give kristin about all the stuff she's packing because i've got way more with me than she's ever packed for a trip :)

consider that i need all the goodies for an open water swim (wetsuit, goggles, swim cap, slippers, & towel), a bike ride (bike, bike shoes, tri shorts, tri top, food while on the bike, bike box (we'll talk about this one in more detail) sun glasses, water bottles, helmet, & maybe gloves), a run (running shoes, socks, visor, more nutrition - gu packs), & of course a bag to lug all this stuff around in. i'll also need some workout clothes prior to the actual race (t3 coaches say i still need to get in a run on thursday/friday & a decent bike ride). then there is the "normal" packing. i need day clothes & night clothes especially if we want to visit some nice restaurants. & of course these days no one can travel anywhere without your iPod & your laptop too.

out of all these goodies you got to bring with ya i've still got to be super good about my nutrition so we may be packing some stuff just to ensure i've got the right type of protein bars, gus, shakes, etc.

the best & most scary part of all this packing was packing up the bike. i think next time i'll definitely pay to have the bike shipped in one piece. i borrowed a bike box from my buddy ed. i was expecting the bike box to be this BIG box that had the perfect foam cut-outs for a bike. instead it's a tiny box (in comparison to what i was expecting) with basically just 3 pieces of foam inside. you practically have to take your whole bike apart to get it in there. i wasn't prepared to do this at all - thank goodness for the guys at Jack & Adam's!

even with the expertise of the Jack & Adam's crew i'm still very nervous about my bike. both wheels came off, the seat posts comes off, the pedals come off, & the handle bars come off. then the wheels are placed in the box between two of the three pieces of foam & then the bike is jammed on top just barely fitting into the box. to close the top of the box you are basically crushing the entire bike which is sort of a good thing because at least nothing (the seat & handle bars) should move around inside.

after all that work to get my new B12 & get it setup just perfectly to fit me i'm nervous about getting it put back together & having everything work/fit perfectly when we arrive in san diego. i've also got race wheels for this race that i've never been on before so i'm hoping everything synchs up well when they are put on the bike. danielle, a friend who is also doing ironman california, has an appointment for us at a local bike shop to get our bikes put together. thank goodness because i don't think i could do it right. at the end of all this we've got to repeat this entire step of breaking the bike back down & putting it back together when i get to austin. please oh please don't let anything happen to my bike!!!

off to the races now!

week 11 - CDA training in 2008

this was a solid, yet relaxed week of training. coming of the 100 mile ride & 21 mile run this weekend made anything less feel easy. i only worked out with t3 once this week - an afternoon swim & a track practice). this was my first track practice with t3 & i did enjoy the intensity & will make it a point to attend at least one every other week as this ironman training continues. i also hopped into the quarry for this first time this week on easter sunday. while the quarry isn’t as “cool” as barton springs i do enjoy that it feel more like an open water swim & i don’t have to watch out for other swimmers (head on collisions). i’m thinking it may be time for a new wetsuit – i need something a bit more “pro” than the wetsuit i got from team-in-training last year. week12 training should be interesting as it’s going to be a mix of IM CDA training & preparing (tapering) for my first ½ IM (oceanside) next weekend.

week11 CDA ‘08
mar17 – mar23

- elliptical (2 miles) at pure (20-minutes)
- total body weight workout at pure (20-minutes)
- swim (1000 meters) at pure (20-minutes)
- total: 1-hour
- trainer at home (1-hour & 5-minutes)
- run (2 miles) in neighborhood (20-minutes)
- swim (2500 meters) at pure (1-hour)
- total: 2-hours & 25-minutes
- track (6.2 miles) workout (1-hour & 15-minutes)
- total: 1-hour & 15-minutes
- swim (3050 meters) with t3 (1-hour & 15-minutes)
- spin bike at pure (1-hour & 15-minutes)
- treadmill (1.5 miles) at pure (15-minutes)
- total: 3-hours & 15-minutes
- run (5 miles) at town lake (45-minutes)
- total: 45-minutes
- road bike (50.5 miles) to MD & up & down 360 (2-hours & 45-minutes)
- total: 2-hours & 45-minutes
- run (11 miles) at town lake (1-hour & 25 minutes)
- open water swim (1500 meters) at the quarry (30-minutes)
- total: 1-hour & 55-minutes

total training time: 14-hours & 20-minutes

total run: 27.7 miles
total bike: 50.5 miles road & 2-hours & 20-minutes spin bike/in-door trainer
total swim: 5.03 miles or 8050 meters

Monday, March 24, 2008

a pink shirt

kristin says that every guy should own at least one pink shirt. while shopping yesterday for some new shorts at the one store that wasn't closed on easter sunday (both costco & the rogue run store were the other stores we were hoping to get some shopping done at) kristin insisted that i purchase my first pink shirt. while not totally objecting to the purchase of a pink shit i am a bit leery to say the least. rather than going "all in" i'm starting off with a cheap cotton pink t-shirt prior to spending the big bucks on a nice pink dress shirt. i'll take my chances & wear this bad boy into the office today just to see how much grief i get from the guys. i'm not really sure that fashion statements coming from software engineers is a really good test though... what do you girls & guys think about the pink shirt?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

4,000 US soldiers killed in iraq

as a result of the 4 most recent US soldier deaths just reported (march 23 2008), the number of american soldiers reportedly killed in iraq since the beginning of this war is now 4,000. let's put these numbers into perspective... this war was launched just over 5 years ago. (4,000 / 5 = 800) 800 soldiers a year on average have died in iraq. (800/365 days in a year = 2.19) 2.19 is the average number of american men & women killed each day in iraq.

tomorrow when you get up & enjoy our morning breakfast & coffee & then go to work & come home to complain about how hard your day was - think about the two US soldiers that gave their life that day so you could complain about that "hard" day at work.

*** this post was *not* published in support of or against this war, bush, or any candidate running in this year's presidential election. it was simply an observation of the US men & women paying the ultimate sacrifice for what most of us to often take for granted - our freedom. ***

droids of starbucks

sometimes it is hard to believe that starbucks is having financially difficulty. while their falling stock prices & the firing of their CEO end of last year clearly points this fact out it's still hard to believe given the perception one sees when visiting a starbucks. especially if you are visiting one in the yuppie suburbs of dallas, TX one morning on your way into the office for all day meetings.

there must have been 15 cars lined up around the starbucks drive thru & at least 10 people deep in the line inside. these people weren't just stopping in because it was friday (this picture was taken on a wednesday morning) & they wanted to treat themselves to an expensive morning treat - they were regulars for sure. i noticed 3 women in their cars putting on their make-up - just part of their morning routine while waiting for their caffeine fix. you'd think that starbucks is putting crack in people's coffee given the way that these people get so excited when they get their order served up too. oddly enough, i rarely leave the house in the morning without having coffee.

it surprises me that so many folks do get up & get ready at home but don't actually have their coffee until on their way into the office or when they get in the office. coffee is part of my morning wake-up ritual. to each his own obviously. oh, & this week i started ordering soy caffe lattes & i even going as far as adding a bit of soy milk in my cup of joe at home - just looking to add a bit more protein/calories to my diet plus i like the way it tastes :)

easter 2008 with payton

a number of our friends & family members have been asking about payton. how's he doing with the cats, how big is he now, how far can he run, etc. given that he'll be 8 months old on august 5th (just two weeks away) & kristin took this great picture of him this easter morning (minus the girlie flower on his collar) i thought it a good time to post an update about him.

each day with payton just gets better. kristin is so amazing with him - those dog whisperer DVDs really helped :) payton is now weighing 70+ pounds & can easily run 4 miles. the vet recommends we keep him under 4 miles until he's a year old so while he got the stength we'll have to hold him back for 4 months more. payton & the cats (bevo & cubbie) while not best friends for sure, they do get along better than before. bevo stands up to him every now & then & cubbie just runs around the house like a soldier running for his life & as long as payton never gets a view of him all is good.

payton has some new friends now too. a couple of weeks ago kristin set him up for a play date with cisco (a yellow lab) down the street & he & cisco enjoyed a 1/2 day running around in cisco's back yard. cisco's owner said that the two of them playing looked like a mix between a bad porn video & a wrestling match. payton has yet to be "fixed" & is all to happy to be a bit to friendly with anything with four legs. payton also plays with charlie (another yellow lab in the neighborhood) at the dog park at the end of the street. just yesterday payton met royal who will soon be one of his best friends. royal (a vizsla) belongs to our friends greg & katie who will be hosting payton at their house for the weekend while kristin & i are in san diego. to ensure payton & royal get along well we introduced the two dogs at bull creek yesterday. royal showed payton the ropes & taught him a thing or two about bull creek & swimming. actually dad had to help with the swimming - it took a little push but once in the water payton swam like a champ :)

so payton is doing well. i think we enjoy him more than he enjoys us, although he's quickly becoming a momma's boy. he still greets dad at the door when i come home, but he's definitely more loving towards his momma.

first quarry swim of 2008

today (easter 2008) is just the day for firsts... brunch came second, i had to work up an appetite before i could truly enjoy casa :)

both kristin & i met our friend danielle at the quarry at pure austin. danielle & i are racing together next weekend at ironman oceanside & this was her first open water swim of the year. if you've been paying attention to my blog you already know that i've enjoyed a few open water swims at barton springs this year.

i actually think that the water at the quarry is colder than barton springs right now - it felt like 30 degrees when i jumped in. that's me in the water screaming like a girl & payton getting a bit hyper on the pier in reaction to me jumping in & screaming. kristin said that when i started to swim off he ran to the edge of the pier & almost jumped in after me - lucky for the both of us, & payton for that matter, that he didn't go through with jumping in.

minus the freezing temperatures & the fact that some of the buoys had gone off path & one seemed to have disappeared completely it was a great swim workout. both danielle & i completed two laps (1500 meters - just shy of 1 mile) right at 30 minutes. i'm definitely finding myself more comfortable in the water & i am getting used to breathing on every other stroke. i do notice that when i breathe on my right side that i pull way left so i'll have to be careful about that & get that bad habit under control soon.

i feel like i had a really good training/recovery weekend following a very long one last weekend. i rode just over 50 miles yesterday via a modified version of the dam loop which included a number of trips up & down 360. then prior to meeting up at the quarry this morning i got an 11 mile run in down at the lake.

when arriving to casa following this morning's run/swim the "family style" serve yourself approach was a welcomed site to my tummy!

first sunday brunch at casa

this easter sunday kristin & i enjoyed brunch at casa de luz with our dear friend danielle. this was in fact the first time that any of us had made it to casa for a sunday brunch. we've enjoyed a many of dinners at casa & every so often we are fortunate enough to make it to casa for breakfast & lunch.

the BIG deal about casa’s sunday brunch, so we thought, is there pancakes with fresh fruit. while they were healthy pancakes, they didn’t have the yummy factor i was anticipating. i would have been completely OK with the lack of yummy tastes if it were to have been replaced with a super hearty/healthy taste. instead they were pretty dry & boring; even with the fresh berries draped on top.

if you do like the sunday pancakes you are in luck because just like everything else they are served “family style.” now this part about sunday brunch i thoroughly enjoyed! for dinner & lunch you serve your own soup & salad (as much or as little as you like & as many servings as you like too) & the staff make your plates. normally your first plate is prepared according to the menu & brought to your table prior to you finishing your soup/salad & then should you want more (like me) you can either ask for another plate “as-is” or you can ask for a little of this, a lot of that, & none of that for example – again, as many trips back as you like (i’m a 4 – 5 plate kind of guy). anyhow on sunday everything is yours for the picking from the beginning! today’s menu – see below – was pretty amazing. i was a big fan of the tempeh veggie stir-fry & the black beans with suncheese (my first time to have suncheese). i was also quite impressed with the jalapeño hot sauce – it was a nice compliment to everything on my plate minus the pancakes, soup, & salad. to note, today was a 5 plate meal for me :)

sunday brunch
march 23, 2008

specials: pancakes w/ fruit sauce (contains gluten)
specials: tempeh veggie stir-fry
specials: *jalapeño hot sauce*
soup: cauliflower & summer squash
salad: garden salad w/ ume flax veggie dressing
grain: short brown rice
greens: mixed blanched greens w/ mustard & basil tahini sauce
veggie: baked sweet potato, kabocha & butternut squash
bean: black beans w/ suncheese
pickle: radish & onion
made with infinite love by: timo, ada, ciara, ross, cory, & rosi

Saturday, March 22, 2008

burgers are back!

since we parked the grill in the garage & moved into rosedale (9 months ago) we haven't made or had burgers. that all changed tonight - we made burgers & we made them with a whole new style & attitude. don't get me wrong, the "old" burger was amazing & super healthy. this "new" burger however was off the charts & reflected the new style & attitude that we have both adopted since moving back into this great city.

the "old" burger was made with super lean beef or bison meat seasoned with rancher's steak rub from wildtree herbs. we used whole wheat buns, smoked provolone cheese, sliced avocado, & sauteed baby bella mushrooms. sounds pretty tasty doesn't it?

the "new" burgers - let's call them the rosedale burgers are jazzed up to better suit our new lifestyles. remember, kristin became a vegetarian in october off last year & while i haven't completely kicked the meat habit i've grown to love & crave vegetables with everything that i eat.

kristin's rosedale burger was made with a portabella mushroom cap. she used a whole wheat bun from whole food's bakery, goat cheese, oil curred olives, & grilled garlic artichoke hearts. it was the best looking & best tasting vegetarian burger she's ever had.

brian's rosedale burger was made with a half a pound of bison meat seasoned with cracked pepper & sea salt. i used a seduction bun from whole food's bakery with avocado spread on one half of the bun & garlic hummus on the other half. i also topped this beautiful burger with baby spinach salad, oil curred olives, & sun dried tomatoes.

on the side, we both enjoyed roasted sweet potato sticks seasoned with olive oil, cracked pepper, & sea salt.

we washed these rosedale burgers down with a 2005 claret from becker vineyards. this claret was light, crip, & full of berry flavors.

it was simply an amazing burger night in our austin home & we'll enjoy future rosedale burgers very soon.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

mediterranean dinner with friends & beeturia

this past weekend kristin & i entertained our good friends zia & heather. kristin was especially excited about the mediterranean dinner she prepared & it turned out fantastic!

appetizer: fresh pita from austin's very own
phoenicia bakery & hummus from whole foods.
salad: arugula & mint salad with oil-cured black olives, oranges, & ricotta salata.
entree: orange roughy baked in parchment packets with fennel, asparagus, & thyme. roasted beets & carrots with cumin vinaigrette. whole wheat cous cous topped with lemon greek yogurt & chamoula.
dessert: baklava (again from phoenicia bakery) with rose water & black tea granita.

as i suggested above - this meal was amazing. so amazing that i had seconds & thirds of the whole wheat cous cous & the roasted beets. i would have had seconds & thirds of everything else but this is all that was left over from the original place settings. remember, this was my BIG (100 mile bike & 21 mile run) training weekend so the calories were well deserved.

*** this is where the story heads south - not sure i should be sharing this ***

later that night i noticed that my pee wasn't the usual clear color that it is from drinking the gallons of water that i do. it was a little pink in fact. i had heard stories of how biking can make you pee blood. i did just ride a 100 miles that morning & i thought that maybe i had injured something. when i woke up the next morning & made my usual bathroom stop before loading up on coffee & i noticed that my pee was even pinker. i began to get a bit nervous at this point. in an hour i needed to be at the trail & running 21 miles & here i was peeing pink. i took down my usual breakfast of oatmeal & coffee, showered, & headed to the trail.

when i arrived to the "rock" most of the t3 team were already there. i quickly grabbed ed & noah & told them about my "pee problem." they said it didn't sound right to them - that only freaked me out more.

regardless of the feedback i got from my training buddies i started the run off feeling physically fantastic. within a 1/2 a mile my legs were warm & i was leading the run. around mile 10 i had to take a pit stop to pee & no longer was i peeing pink - i was peeing blood red. it scared the ever living sh*t out of me. i had 11 miles ahead of me, i was nervous, yet feeling very strong. as i ran strong for those 11 remaining miles all kind of scary thoughts were going through my head. i couldn't understand how i could feel so strong & yet my body was obviously not doing well. i ended up finishing the 21 mile run right around 2-hours & 45-minutes & beyond the pee scare i was feeling awesome.

the t3 group was meeting up at
austin java at 12th & lamar so i thought it a good time to grab mo (our coach) & get his opinion. after the group ate plenty of calories & consumed gallons of caffeine i grabbed mo in the parking lot as we were leaving to get his opinion. i was hoping he was going to tell me that peeing blood is just part of biking. to my surprise the news he gave me was a total downer. he said that the only other time he'd heard of something like this it turned out that the guy ended up having tumors that needed to be removed. talk about being freaked out by some news! i told mo i'd make a doctor's appointment for tomorrow & i would let him know what the outcome is.

when i got home kristin & i talked about my condition. she, like me, couldn't see how i could have something wrong with me. regardless, we setup a doctor's appointment for tuesday afternoon. as the day continued on i felt physically strong, yet mentally trashed. the good news is that my pee continued to get less pink. while gearing up for dinner that night a light bulb flashed in my head. i ran to kristin & told her what i was thinking. could it be that the beets i had consumed the night before were causing my pee to go pinkish? we immediately hit google for answers. normally i stay away from google when looking for medical advice because any symptom you enter suggests cancer & that's the last thing i wanted to read about right then. to my delight there were a many of sites discussing how beets & other foods such as blackberries can actually tint a person's pee. the odd thing was that i've eaten beets almost all my life & never before has my pee been pink. one
website in particular won me over though.

the website introduces what is referred to as beeturia which simply suggests that your pink/red pee is nothing more than the result of consuming beets. the articles i could find on beeturia all suggested the same facts... about 14% of americans have or have had beeturia & it is thought to be linked to an iron deficiency of some sort. given that i have gone semi vegetarian i know that iron is something i've got to be sure i get enough of & it's possible that this training/new diet has affected my iron intake.

anyhow, i latched on to this notion of beeturia & made it a point to *not* polish off the remaining fresh roasted beets that were waiting for us in the refrigerator from the night before. by the time i went to bed the pinkish tint was almost completely absent from my pee. by mid-day on monday it was totally gone. i made it a point to pee clear a few more times prior to getting home later that night & putting the beeturia theory to a test.

when i got home monday night i went straight to the fridge & consumed at least two whole roasted beets. within an hour of having to go to the bathroom my pee was once again pink. so there you have it folks - i've got beeturia! i would have gone ahead & kept my doctor's appointment on tuesday just because it couldn't hurt to have myself checked over given all the training that i've been putting myself through. however, an unexpected trip landed in my lap for work & i had to leave for dallas right after lunch (swim workout) on tuesday. i think i'll go ahead & schedule an appointment first thing next week just to be *extra* safe.

sorry for all the details, but it was your choice to continue to read this very long explanation of how eating beets scared the sh*t out of me for a good 24+ hours. it's the honest truth people - nothing else seems to matter when your health is compromised.

Monday, March 17, 2008

the gayest picture ever

one of my very good friends zia... i can't believe i hang out with someone that would do something as gay as put his snoodle (it's a cross between a poodle & a schnauzer) in a baby travel backpack & then let someone (girlfriend heather) take a pic of him. this is worse than the purple pin-striped suit he wears from time-to-time. indeed, zia is the most metrosexual friend that i have.

rather than just knock zia i will note that he's also one of the most interesting, talented, & smartest people i know. he's running his own consulting firm (razorwire5) & a not-for-profit organization (aienla project). he's traveled to more countries than all of my friends combined (& most of my friends have been overseas a few times) & he's living life "his" way. while zia makes for an easy target to make jokes about i respect him & what he's got going on at many levels.

cheers to you zia & to the gayest picture ever!

so not moving to san fran

i think san francisco is one of the best cities in the US. the views are amazing, the restaurants rock (i love avocado on everything), the wine country is a short drive away, the weather is pretty constant, & the city supports an active life-style like mine. in fact, san francisco is number 2 in my list of top 3 favorite US cities.

1. austin
2. san francisco
3. chicago

it's the cold weather without a doubt that keeps me from considering actually living in chicago. as for san francisco - it's simply the cost of living! just as i'm posting this past friday about gas prices here in austin my good friend trevor who is vacationing in san francisco this weekend (following a speaking engagement at eComm highlighting some awesome new & free technologies released by jaduka) sent me a pic from his iPhone of the current (03/14/08) gas prices in san fran.

- $3.93 unleaded plus
- $3.99 performance plus
- $4.09 high performance

that's almost a dollar more a gallon than here in austin. sure, i know that *most* folks living in san francisco get paid more than those of us working in austin, but my gosh that's a lot for gas. it's almost as if they are marketing the gas there too. note that the sign doesn't read $4.09 for 93 octane... they call it "high performance" gasoline. i suppose if i'm going to shell out $4+ bucks for gas i too would want to think i'm getting something more special than just 93 octane gas.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

week 10 - CDA training in 2008

as much as it pained me i took it super easy monday – wednesday while traveling to white plains, NY for work. if i really wanted to i could have worked out early monday morning before flying out & when i got back home wednesday evening. instead i let this trip & time off really F with my head & as odd as it sounds i got really depressed. the worse thing about the trip was my sleeping & my diet were both way off course. given that i wasn’t working out, i could have at least made it a point to catch up on some much needed (& deserved) Zs. kristin (thank you so much sweetie) let me make up for a “rough” trip & let me get to sleep super early wednesday night after returning home & when i woke up thursday i hit “it” hard & haven’t stopped since. i got 3 solid workouts in on thursday & on friday, saturday, & sunday i completed my longest workouts of thus far: friday – 1.2 mile (non-stop) swim, saturday – 100.5 mile bike ride in the miserable wind, & sunday – 21 mile run! also, my achilles is doing much better as a result of the daily icing, making ibuprofen part of my daily meal, & changing up my run stride (thank’s for the great advice coach mo). oh, & i (kristin too) had a great 1.5 hour massage yesterday after my bike ride. i’m also heading out to get a pair of new run shoes this afternoon because after resorting back to a 3 year old pair of asic nimbus 9s my feel have never felt better – so long mizuno wave inspire 3s.

week10 CDA ‘08
mar10 – mar16

- rest – traveling to NY from austin
- total: 0
- total body weight workout at hotel (35-minutes)
- exercise bike at hotel (25-minutes)
- total: 1-hour
- rest – traveling to austin from NY
- total: 0
- run (7 miles) at town lake (58-minutes)
- swim (2900 meters) with t3 (1:17 minutes)
- spin class at pure (55-minutes)
- treadmill (1.2 miles) at pure (10-minute)
- total: 3-hours & 20-minutes
- bike trainer at home (1-hour & 5-minutes)
- run (1 mile) with payton in neighborhood (10-minutes)
- swim (2000 meters) at barton springs (45-minutes)
- total: 2-hours
- road bike (100.5 miles) to san marcos with t3 (5-hours & 15-minutes)
- total: 5-hours & 15-minutes
- run (21 miles) at town lake with t3 (2-hours & 45-minutes)
- total: 2-hours & 45-minutes

total training time: 14-hours & 20-minutes
total run: 30.2 miles

total bike: 100.5 miles road & 2-hours & 25-minutes spin bike/in-door trainer
total swim: 3.06 miles or 4900 meters

Friday, March 14, 2008

shave & suit

in november/december of last year i was sporting a mountain man beard. while i’m not a fan of the beard today it was fun at the time & i enjoyed not having to shave for those 5 – 6 weeks. given that i had to shave daily & get hair-cuts weekly while serving as a US marine i haven’t been a fan of either activity ever sense. after the mountain man experience i began using the shortest guard on the beard trimmer & i’d usually only shave twice a week.

my “no shaving” style for 2008 all ended this tuesday, march 11th, when i shaved with a real razor. i was meeting with nokia folks at their office in white plains, NY & i felt the need to “clean-up.” not only did i shave; i was sporting a suit for this meeting. while fun to dress up everyone now & then i really prefer jeans & a nice shirt.

to my surprise my shave & suit were not necessary. i was expecting a room full of suits & what i got was a bunch of 30-some dudes (minus the accounting guy) wearing jeans, nice shoes, & those pin-striped shirts that are currently so popular. worse off, 2 of the 7 guys had that short shave look that i’d been sporting. oh, & then there was the most senior of all the guys sporting sunglasses on his head.

boy did i feel like a bone-head. i have to remind myself of the industry that i am in & that in tech almost any thing is allowed – even from folks that are with a big organization like nokia.

87 - 89 - 93 - $$$

oh my! i've been listening to NPR & i realize oil is at its highest selling price per ever - $107.88 a barrel - but damn i didn't realize the impact to us (the consumer) until i was at the pump tonight.

*** 87 - $3.139, 89 - $3.269, 93 - $3.399 ***

it may be time for me to consider riding that new shiny bike to & from work & if kristin wants that honda fit then i'm going to support that decision all the way. is it possible that we may see the price for a gallon of gas reach $4 before end of year? at this rate of increase i'm afraid it's actually possible.

yellow trash

i think like so many other things you should have to subscribe or opt-in to receive the yellow pages phone book. anyone know how often the yellow pages company updates this BIG paper weight that only people like my grandmother still use? just last week they were dropping new yellow page books off in our neighborhood. lucky for me i was at home letting payton out at lunch & i was able to stop the delivery dude from dropping one on our porch. seriously, for the past 8 years every phone book i've received has ended up in the trash. of course today, if i were to receive one it would end up in the recycling bin.

the point isn't about recycling though. sure, these yellow paper weights should be recycled, but my point is that we don't need the BIG yellow book anymore. if you really feel like you do need it then you should have to subscribe to it & possibly pay for it versus every home & business in the US receiving these damn wastes of paper.

when i returned to the office after lunch today i found 6 yellow books in our lobby. at most we'd need one book for our our office & in all reality we don't even need one. if someone in our office doesn't know how to google for a phone number, then they shouldn't be working with us.

plenty mag

not to far away from that rolling stone magazine with obama on the cover that i referenced in a previous blog lie another magazine titled 'plenty' that caught my attention. i thought it very cool that there was a magazine that focused solely on "going green." its pages were filled with articles about environmentally smart ways to go greener. topics included hydrogen cars, clothing made from recycled materials, the right foods to eat based on how they were grown, etc.

i thought to myself for a moment - what a great magazine & how wonderful to see something like this. then i pondered, if this is all about going green why am i looking at a magazine filled with pages & pages of paper? shouldn't this magazine be in digital format if the creators behind it really mean what they say about being green?

when having some time after work today i took at look at plenty's website to learn more. while happy to see that they do produce a magazine that is environmentally conscience - see statement below regarding how plenty takes their mission seriously & practices what they preach. but isn't it still wrong that this magazine isn't in digital format only? if plenty was distributed via digital format only there would be so much less machinery involved to develop the content in this magazine, there wouldn't be bounds & bounds of paper (recycled or not) for printing, there wouldn't be any printing or print machines running that use energy & require A/C for cooling. let's not forget the distribution involved in getting this magazine to the many different retailers - mail planes, trucks, etc. burning all types of fuel.

when i think more about how the digital age can help reduce so many negative things affecting our environment i'm frustrated to think about why we don't enforce such approaches. all music & movies should be downloaded, all software should be downloaded too, all magazines, bills, books, etc. could all live in soft form & require little to no paper, manufacturing, & the delivery to get these products to market. the digital age we say we are in could bring such relief to a number of things that negatively impact our environment every day - so why aren't this approached being enforced?

comments from plenty magazine:

"we take our mission seriously and practice what we preach. we offer a digital version of the magazine. our paper is 85-100 percent recycled and contains 20-30 percent post-consumer material. we also offset our carbon footprint (the energy used to print the magazine and run our offices) with green mountain energy. oh, and our website is carbon neutral as well."

obama in the mix of magazines

while avoiding the high prices of all the junk food in the airport & waiting for my connecting flight from dallas to austin on wednesday of this week i roamed through a magazine shop where i was delighted to see obama on the cover of this month's issue of 'rolling stone magazine' with a title that read "a new hope."

while i was delighted to see obama on the cover looking all "god" like i was ammused with the other magazines that surrounded this one. to the left there was 'playboy magazine' - quite fitting for a scandal down the road. to the bottom left was 'esquire magazine' with a picture of mr. republican governor arnold schwarzenegger with a caption that read "what obama, mccain, clinton, & the rest can learn from arnold the president of 12% of us." just below the rolling stone issue was a copy of 'the source magazine' which is referenced as being the bible of hip-hop culture & politics. to the bottom right was a copy of 'mac life' for the nerd/yuppie in all of us.

i'm suprised there isn't a product placement guideline for a magazine with a cover of a presidential candidate on it. anyhow, i got a good laugh from this one - i hope obama's campaign manager did too :)

price gauging at airports

i'm bias to airports to begin with. i can't stand them! i rarely find anything worth eating, if i'm not running for a plane i'm sitting for hours waiting for one, the never ending security lines, & to top it all off the price gauging that takes place inside of airports makes me sick.

while i can fill my bag with cliff bars & trail mix you aren't allowed to bring your own water. if you buy a water outside of security you are then forced to throw it away or drink it before you can enter an actual terminal. granted, i understand the need for security... security is actually at the bottom of my list of things i can stand about airports :) everyone knows or should know that while in the air your body gets seriously dehydrated. airlines all recommend you drink plenty of water while flying, yet the airport stores price gauge you on water - $2+ bucks for a small (20oz) bottle of water. the airports should enforce a price cap on water in my opinion so that anyone with a dollar can get a big bottle of water because we all know if you order water on a plane you get a small cup of water & nothing else. isn't it odd that if you order a coke you get a full 12oz can, but if you order a water all you get is a cup filled with about 4oz of water?

as for the food marts, coffee shops, etc. they price gauge on everything. the same coffee that you'd get at starbucks (which is already over priced) costs you double in an airport. i ordered a smoothie from smoothing king while at the airport earlier this week & the same smoothie was three dollars more than what a smoothie king in town would charge (note: don't get a smoothie from smoothie king, especially while in the airport - this deserves it's own blog post). i'm suspect that the overhead costs for the smoothie king in the airport are way less than a smoothie shop that has to maintain their own brick & mortar store, AC, heating, security, etc. so the margin these chains are making on the items they are selling must be astronomical.

checkout the attached pic. that south beach bar is being sold for $3.49. you can find that same bar in a grocery store for less than a buck. probably not the best example, but you get the point about the type of price gauging taking place at airports.

the value of a timeout

for any of you who have ever watched a sporting event, especially basketball, you know the value of calling a timeout. when one team goes into a slump & the other team is on a high & scoring left & right the team that is in the slump always calls for a timeout. the coach pulls the team together, they talk about a strategy, & then the team hits the floor with a clear mind & usually the slump has ended. at a minimum, the team that was in the slump has it a least slowed the momentum that the other team had.

so why do we not call more timeouts in our own lives? i’ve watched so many sporting events where the crowd i’m with has yelled until they are blue in the face for one team to simply call a timeout to slow things down. yet, these same people who are able to identify the need for a timeout in sports don’t see the value in their own lives when a timeout should be called. whether at home or at work i believe the timeout brings value & isn’t called enough.

just last week i had one of those weeks at the office where every time i turned around it seemed like something wasn't working in the worst way possible – in our office we refer to these types of mishaps as events or outages. was it true that three servers hosting crucial databases could all fail in the same week at different times throughout the week or was it due to the fact that the whole company got into a rhythm of accepting these types of outages (ie: we were in a slump) & therefore every other day we had one? could we have avoided one of these outages if we would have simply slowed down after the first one (called a timeout), called the team together to regroup, & then get back to the game plan of focusing on every day work & making sure the "i"s were dotted & the "t"s were crossed in an effort to prevent future outages?

i suppose this is why we take vacations from work & from home. maybe we venture off to a new city or country, we relax at resorts, & sometimes we just stay at home & do nothing. while vacations are a quite valuable time indeed & definitely a form of a timeout i think we rely on these "extended timeouts" all to often when all we really need are more mini timeouts to slow the momentum of whatever it is in our lives that is out of control. in basketball you can take a full timeout or a 20-second timeout. sometimes those 20 seconds are all a team needs to regroup.

so next time you feel like "it" is out of control or that you can't get a grip on things remind yourself to take a timeout to get yourself back in the game with a new game plan.

the 1.7 cent penny

i heard this morning on NPR that due to the current cost of copper it costs the U.S. mint (really costs the american tax payer - you & me) almost two cents ($0.017) to create the penny.

once again this has sparked discussion about eliminating the penny altogether. the U.S. mint has already drastically reduced the amount of copper that goes into producing the penny. pick up a penny created in 2008 & one created a few years ago & you'll notice that the 2008 penny is much lighter & thinner than the previous generation of pennies that were manufactured. in fact, the existing penny is only copper plated & the percentage of copper used is only 2.5% & it still costs more to create the penny than it is actually worth.

i for one would be a BIG fan of seeing the penny disappear. i've felt this way ever since my first trip to australia 8 years ago. items that you purchase still ring up in pennies but this is where rounding comes into play. if an item rings up as a $1.77 - you pay a $1.75 & if an item rings up as a $1.78 you pay a $1.80. doesn't it just frustrate the crap out of you when something rings up for a $1.71 & you know that when you hand that cashier a $1.75 you are going to get back 4 dirty old pennies?

i can't stand carrying coins - let alone nasty corroded copper plated pennies. outside of items ringing up for values not easily divisible by 5 what good is the penny? can anyone name something that you can buy with a single penny?

i just don't get the fascination folks have with the penny. is it some significant artifact in U.S. history that we really need to hold on too?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

casa has spoiled me

casa de luz has quickly become the most frequented restaurant for kristin & i. what started out as an every now & then sunday night meal has turned into an every sunday night tradition. even better is that we have a few friends that are becoming regular “sunday nighters” with us. over the past couple of weeks we’ve even found ourselves enjoying both a breakfast & a dinner at casa during the week.

while casa is absolutely amazing & super healthy i’ve got to tone down what has turned into a “how many plates can brian eat” episode. the food is obviously all healthy for you. like anything though, to much of something can be bad for you. the “bad” parts for me is that i'm finding that it is taking much more food to fill me up when i eat & secondly i’ve got an addiction to veggies & you’ll be hard pressed to find another restaurant that serves up the type & most importantly the quantity of healthy veggies as casa.

tonight i suppose i lucked out. i had dinner at the hotel restaurant rather than driving around looking for somewhere to dine. while i do order meals with meat (mostly fish), i try my best to get as many veggies as possible with the dish i order.

i began my meal with a spinach, beet, & garlic salad. i asked to have it served dry as the beets & garlic where enough to flavor the spinach to my liking. for a main course i ordered the sea bass which was to be served over polenta, mushrooms, & cherry tomatoes. i quickly scanned the menu for other veggie offerings. the bok choy, kale, brussel sprouts, & asparagus all grabbed my attention (a number of restaurants in white plains, NY have had kale & things like swiss chard on their menu to my surprise). in an effort to keep the cost down i asked the waiter to 86 (given that i’ve never worked in a restaurant, it was just over a year ago that i learned the 86 restaurant term while out for lunch with the crew in ft. lauderdale, FL) the polenta & hook me up with a side of bok choy, kale, brussel sprouts, & asparagus. of course i requested that they all be steamed or just lightly sautéed with olive oil. the waiter with a confused/shocked look on his face nodded that he understood & said thank you & walked off.

when he returned with the meal he almost got it right. the polenta was 86’ed as requested & the sea bass looked amazing. however, the chef simply mixed in a few pieces of kale & bok choy with the mushrooms & cherry tomatoes that were already part of this meal. there also wasn't any sign of the asparagus or brussel sprouts. i went ahead & started eating the dish as it was prepared thinking that the waiter would just bring the asparagus & brussel sprouts on the side on his next trip out & i could live with the few pieces of bok choy & kale that were mixed with the meal.

when the waiter finally did return to my table my plate was clean. the meal was fantastic! the veggies mixed up really well & the sea bass tasted even better than it looked. the waiter, gary, asked how everything was & i told him that it was great & then asked about the missing asparagus & brussel sprouts. he apologized for missing them & then asked if he got everything else correct. i explained to him that i was actually requesting a side of kale, a side of bok choy, a side of asparagus, & a side of brussel sprouts (wow - that is a lot of veggies... maybe i got carried away) & that i was expecting the sea bass to simply be served with the mushrooms & tomatoes just like on the menu. he explained that he would take care of it.

i expected him to simply return with the veggies i ordered on the side. to my surprise & delight he returned with an entire full meal & went so far as serving the mushrooms & tomatoes on the side too. he said, “here you are sir & as your requested for no additional charge. i apologize for the prior confusion & i hope this meal meets your expectations.” talk about great service!

in the end i got my fill of healthy & tasty veggies along with two magnificently prepared sea bass fillets – all for the price of the original meal. if only the service & food at every restaurant could be this awesome. remember, you get what you pay for.

seven deadly sins 2.0

the web is not the only thing seeing a 2.0 release these days. the vatican has just released a modernized (2.0 release) version of the "seven deadly sins."

polluting, genetic engineering, obscene riches, taking drugs, abortion, pedophilia & causing social injustice join the original seven deadly sins defined by pope gregory the great in the sixth century: pride, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, wrath & sloth.

how do i interpret this 2.0 release of the seven deadly sins?

polluting - buying anything from walmart or a drive thru window
genetic engineering - eating vegetables from a can
obscene riches - riding the veloway on race wheels
taking drugs - consuming anything advertised as a "100 calorie snack"
abortion - ok, nothing to joke about
pedophilia - getting married before turning 30
causing social injustice - second hand smoke

Monday, March 10, 2008

phlog - mon,mar10'08 - 2

phlog - mon,mar10'08 - 1

pictures tell stories too

while at dinner this past weekend i asked kristin why she no longer blogged. she said it just wasn’t on the top of her list of things to do right now due all the other things she’s involved with currently. totally understandable & while i am very busy too i use blogging as a type of relief in a way – it allows me to say & share so many things i do & think without having to call, e-mail, meet up with everyone i want to share those activities & thoughts with. i suppose you could look at it as a time saver for communicating. blogging is also a nice chronological history of what is happening in my life & the world around me.

the definition of a “blog” according to wiki is: (a portmanteau of web log) is a website where entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. "blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

when responding to my question about her blogging habits kristin thought up a great idea in my opinion. she said, “what if i just post pictures from my day? maybe post one picture in the morning, one in the afternoon, & one in the evening. no words, just pictures… quite artistic i think.” we talked about this & we both agreed it was a cool & fun approach to blogging. i thought it such a good idea that i too wanted to follow this approach in a new blog separate from radarhill. kristin said that i couldn’t steal her idea. in fact, i’ve got a great pic of her sitting with arms crossed & a mean look on her face at kerbey lane (we went back on sunday to enjoy more vegan hummus & tabbouleh tacos prior to grocery shopping) the next day when i brought the subject back up :). i really do think the photo blog idea is a great one – i’d approach this type of blog with three, maybe more, random pics from each day. no words – just sequential pics from my day.

as i consider this type of blog more & more i did some quick googling & quickly realize that what we both thought was such an original idea already exists. in fact, wiki (& many others) call this type of blog a “photoblog.” the definition of “photoblog” according to wiki is: a “photoblog” (a.k.a. photolog or phlog) is a form of photo sharing & publishing in the format of a blog, but differentiated by the predominant use of & focus on photographs rather than text. photoblogging (the action of posting photos to a photoblog) gained momentum in the early 2000s with the advent of the moblog & camera phones.

there are other types of blogs too:

- artlog: blogging with the use of art
- MP3 blog: blogging with music or MP3s
- micro-blogging: quick text blog entries
- moblog: blogging from mobile devices
- podcasting: blogging with audio/voice
- vlog: blogging with the use of videos

so while a great idea & an original one for kristin; it isn’t a new idea. so if i photoblog or phlog from time-to-time kristin will be OK & uncross those arms & turn that frown upside down – right my love?

week9 - CDA training in 2008

now that i have the b12 i can’t complain to much about biking out-doors. if i do, i think kristin will kick my butt :). this was a big weekend both for riding & running. 80+ mile ride followed by a 3 mile brick on saturday & then a 17 mile run on sunday. next weekend is even bigger & then we scale it back a bit. one concern for the week is some pain/tightness around my right achilles heel – i hope it doesn’t turn into some goofy injury that holds me back. regardless if i want to or not, next week (during the week) i am going to be forced to cut back a bit due to a work trip to NY for a few days. my goal while traveling is to stay true to a clean diet & get plenty of sleep.

week9 CDA ‘08
mar3 – mar9

- spin bike at pure (45-minutes)
- run (1.70 miles) on treadmill at pure (15-minutes)
- stretching & light weights at pure (15-minutes)
- total: 1-hour & 15-minutes
- bike trainer at home (1-hour & 30-minutes)
- run (3.5 miles) in neighborhood (30-minutes)
- swim (3500 meters) at pure (1-hour & 25-minutes)
- total: 3-hours & 25-minutes
- run (4 miles) with payton at the lake (35-minutes)
- light weights & stretching at home (15-minutes)
- total: 50-minutes
- bike trainer at home (1-hour & 30-minutes)
- run (3.5 miles) in neighborhood (30-minutes)
- swim (3200+ meters) with t3 (1-hour & 20-minutes)
- total: 3-hours & 20-minutes
- run (2.5 miles) on treadmill at pure (20-minutes)
- total body weight workout at pure (20-minutes)
- swim (1000+ meters) at pure (20-minutes)
- total: 1-hour
- road bike (82.5 miles) at spokes ‘n spurs with t3 (4-hours & 45-minutes)
- run (3.0 miles) at spokes ‘n spurs with t3 (30-minutes)
- total: 5-hours & 15-minutes
- run (17 miles) at town lake with t3 (2-hours & 20-minutes)
- bike trainer at home as a recovery ride (35-minutes)
- total: 2-hours & 55-minutes

total training time: 18-hours & 0-minutes
total run: 32.50 miles

total bike: 82.5 miles road & 4-hours & 20-minutes spin bike/in-door trainer
total swim: 4.8 miles or 7700 meters

Sunday, March 9, 2008

a great vegan find at kerbey lane cafe

a great new vegan find at kerbey lane. after blogging about kerbey lane cafe last week i couldn't stop thinking about eating there. while kristin was a bit hesitant & really pushing for going to manuel's (one of our favorite restaurants in austin) last night, i was able to convince her to give kerbey a try for dinner. about 6 years ago we found ourselves at kerbey a many of mornings for breakfast/brunch, however, even when we would go for dinner we always found ourselves order something from their breakfast menu (usually breakfast tacos) & never giving any of their dinner entrees a taste.

i was quite impressed with our meal & it helps that the folks working there are all really cool & laid bake & the atmosphere just has that austin feel. i really enjoyed my greek chicken entree & while kristin said the veggie enchiladas she ordered weren't as good as manuel's she was definitely cool with coming back for dinner more often.

the real find for both of us was their hummus & tabbouleh tacos - yum! they stuff two whole wheat tortillas with creamy garbanzo & red pepper hummus, tabbouleh, & sprouts. these two awesome tacos also come with a really nice side salad. all this healthy & tasty food for $5.95. with or without kristin, i'm sure to cruise into kerbey more often just for these vegan tacos!

spokes ‘n spurs 2008

yesterday i rode the spokes ‘n spurs ride in liberty hill, texas. the funds raised for this ride are used to support the spirit reins foundation which provides support & healing for troubled children. this was my first organized ride of 2008 & outside of the 30 degree temperatures it was an awesome ride with great course support & sponsors.

the spokes ‘n spurs ride course was for the most part the same course that was setup for the rip roarin ride i did last year with dave & laura. i recall that rip roarin ride being a tough one too – i did the 108 mile coarse & there were only like seven other dudes going the full distance (other distances included 20, 40, 60, & 80) & the course support near the end was basically non-existent. i recall coming into the finish area & 95% of the cars in the parking lot were gone.

the t3 team was representing at spokes ‘n spurs & while the longest course was 62 miles (100K) we added an additional 25 of our own. it was quite motivating getting to the end & turning back around & passing by all the other participants (many of who were just riding the 40 mile distance) that were still coming in knowing that you were adding another 25 miles to your ride. on top of that, t3 had us scheduled for a 3 mile run after we finished our 80+ mile ride. the good thing about the run at the end is that the sun finally started coming out & for the first time all morning i could feel both my hands & feet!

my thanks go out to lara bar who was out sponsoring the race & handed out those perfectly sized trial bars that i love & which work so well while on the bike – i wish they would sell this size. accelerade was there sponsoring too & they were handing out full sized bottles & there were plenty of ‘em. while i have mixed opinions about this product & i go back-&-forth between using it – yesterday it was nice to have one. lastly, a HUGE thanks to all the volunteers who were out supporting us. many of whom were out there before & stayed out there longer than most riders. these volunteers were so cool that they even prepared PB&J sandwiches on wheat bread - while traditional wheat bread doesn’t come close to super healthy (& pricey) hemp bread that i’ve become accustomed too, they still looked damn good.

oh, & congrats to carlos who enjoyed his first road ride on his new bike. also, thanks to dave & laura for making the trip out there too. while we didn’t get to hang out or ride together it was just nice knowing that friends were out there on the course with me.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

heading to CDA on the b12

i just bought a new bike. the felt b12 is finally mine! it is gorgeous & will make me go so fast – it damn well better… good thing we sold the audi when we did :)

since december of last year i’ve taken 7 really nice tri bikes for test rides. if you are going to spend some serious cash on a bike & you plan to be on that bike a lot (say for 5+ hours at a time) you want to really take it out & ride it; not just tool around a stores parking lot.

while i love the folks at bicycle sport shop & i think they do a great job at what they do they can’t compete with a store like jack & adam’s when it comes to setting you up & getting you on the right tri bike. if you need a good road bike, mountain bike, or service on your bike definitely head to BSS – they’ve saved my butt a couple of times.

i did start at BSS back in december. i road an ’07 specialized transition e5 comp. it was a nice bike but it wasn’t carbon & it just didn’t feel all that hot. specialized has actually totally redesigned the transition for ’08 & according to bicycling magazine it’s a sweet ride. given that the transition is the only tri bike that BSS sells i headed over to J&A's put myself in the hands of the pros. right off the bat i knew i found the right shop – there’s no tooling around in the parking lot with the bike – they fit you & give you the keys to take it out as long as you need. need it for a couple of days to get some time in on it – sure thing!

my first ride was on a quintana roo kilo. i like the QR & since my current tri bike is a QR (a really old ’01 QR that i bought off craigslist – got a great deal actually) i figured i would see where seven years of technology/development had brought the kilo. the kilo has an aluminum frame, not a carbon frame & while this bike retails for $1,600 it is still considered an entry level tri bike. i got out on the kilo & while the fit on this bike was much better (J&A’s sized me for a 54 – my existing QR is a 56 (way too big)), the bike itself didn’t feel all that much different than what i’ve got. so after one long ride on the kilo i passed on it.

*** note: just like car manufacturers, bike manufactures change things up from year to year & most new bikes don’t arrive until late Q1 of the new year since in majority of states folks can’t ride their bikes outside because it’s too cold (doesn’t apply to us in texas). so J&A’s inventory was low & they, like me, were just waiting for the new bikes to arrive. ***

given that the racks in the shop were mostly empty jack set me up on a kestrel talon that had a carbon frame. kestrel is a damn good brand & a number of ironman championship races have been won on a kestrel. however, i wasn’t digging the frame or the look of this bike at all. while looks aren’t everything, when you are shelling out BIG bucks for a bike you want to enjoy looking at it. kristin has already warned me that whatever we buy i need to keep for the next 3 – 5 years so i can’t afford to make any mistakes on this purchase.

once i jumped on that kestrel with a carbon frame i knew there was no turning back to a bike with an aluminum frame. a carbon frame is just so much more forgiving on your body & so much lighter too. i told jack (owner of J&A’s – damn cool cat) that from this point forward i only wanted to ride carbon. we had a problem though - that kestrel was the last carbon bike in stock that was in my price range & until the newer bikes were to arrive there was nothing for me to test ride.

after doing some internet research & talking to friends i narrowed my search down to three carbon tri bikes that were in my price range: the kuota k-factor, the cervelo p2c, & the felt b12. all are damn fine bikes with their own little perks.

of the 3 bikes i was now shopping, J&A’s only carried two of them. they don’t have the distribution rights for the cervelo. the folks down the road, austin tri-cyclist, are the only guys in town with the distribution rights to the cervelo (jack, from J&A’s is working on this). while i am no doubt a huge fan of J&A’s, I needed to see what the cervelo p2c was all about. so i ventured down to the austin tri-cyclist shop & i have to say the cervelo p2c is damn sweet. the folks at cervelo hit a home run with this puppy. not only was it sweet, the guys at austin tri-cyclist were offering it below MSRP & they even were throwing in a package deal to include wet-suit, new shoes, new clips, & helmet for a $100 bucks over what the MSRP was on this bike. at this point i hadn’t ridden the kuota k-factor or the felt b12 (because they hadn’t come in yet) so i didn’t just want to move on the p2c without giving these bikes a chance.

the kuota k-factor was the first of the two bikes to arrive at J&A’s in january. jack called me up & that saturday we scheduled a fit & a test ride. when saturday rolled around i couldn’t wait to get down there & pick-up the k-factor. i ended up taking the k-factor on the 360 loop & back. while a nice ride, i wasn’t impressed. it was the cheapest of the three bikes i was now considering & while it had a carbon frame it just was lacking in so many other spots. i returned to J&A’s & told jack that i’d hold tight until the b12 was in.

at this point i was really getting sick of riding my QR. it didn’t fit me & i now knew what a real tri bike was supposed to feel like.

when the b12s finally arrived in early february i reserved the first available 54 (my size). i scheduled my fit for a friday night; that way i could take the b12 on a long ride with the t3 the next saturday. after work i gave jack a ring & told him i was on my way in to get my fit down. he had bad news – one of the guys goofed the scheduled & let someone else take out the one b12 in my size. i was devastated & a bit pissed because i’ve been waiting almost 3 months for this bike to arrive & when it finally did i still couldn’t get my hands on it. jack could tell i was bummed & that i was getting sick of riding my QR.

jack & i talked later that night & even though they were closing he told me to come down to the shop & he’d hook me up with something very fun to ride the next day. when i got there he had pulled the top of the line kuota kalibur off the rack for me. this was a very high-end tri bike - $4,000+ & if you add race wheels you are easily looking at a $6,000+. this bike was hot & i was looking forward to hopping on it in the morning. i ended up talking to jack for about the next hour while we dialed this bike in to fit me perfectly – no reason to ride a bike this sweet if it didn’t fit me just right. i learned a lot about J&A’s, jack, & the whole austin tri/athletic scene.

needless to say, the ride on the kalibur the next morning was awesome. i was riding the audi (i’m an audi guy – what can i say) of bikes. i was almost nervous that after being on this nice of a bike that the b12 wasn’t going to be all that i had expected it to be. it didn’t matter though – neither kristin nor i were going to spend $4K+ on a tri bike.

that third weekend in february it finally happened; another b12 in my size arrived & jack had it reserved for me. i was pumped to get out on it. unfortunately it rained the saturday & i my first “ride” was indoors on my trainer. the next day was the AT&T marathon & i crashed that race to get in my 15-mile long run. however, later that afternoon i did a recovery ride on the b12 down south with kristin around the veloway & the s. mopac loop - while only a 19-mile ride it felt good. i called jack & he told me to hang on to the bike until the following weekend so i could get a real ride on it. that next saturday the weather turned bad & i found myself indoors with t3 on the trainer for 3-hours – again, not how i wanted to spend my time on the b12. the next day, prior to our long run, ed, noah, i got in a 20-mile ride & we spent a little time on bee caves (fast, hilly, & good turns) & the b12 felt awesome! i called jack right away & told him i’d take it.

it took almost a full week until i was able to make some time after work this past wednesday to make it to J&A’s to get my official fit & actually hand over the cash for the b12. jack gave me a great deal on the accessories that i purchased with/for the new ride along with some other additional goodies for both kristin & i.

it took almost 4-months to find the bike that worked for me. never before has buying something involved so much work, yet so full of fun along the way. a BIG thanks to jack & the guys at J&A’s for working with me on this one. i am one happy client & i’ve got one kick ass bike! coeur d’ alene – here i come & i’m coming on a b12!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

vegan indian dinner

i really am enjoying all the new vegan/vegetarian meals i've been introduced too. i almost enjoy cooking them as much as i enjoy eating them. when it comes to a vegetarian meal it's all about the freshness of the ingredients & the flavors you can bring out with the spices that you mix in.

kristin has this vegetarian indian dinner down! it's so damn good & spicy! what the heck is it you are wondering? curried tofu with brown basmati rice, & red lentils.

not only does it taste wonderful; it also always fills us both up, there is always enough for lunch the next day, it is super healthy (minus the coconut milk for which we substitute in lite coconut milk to reduce some of the fat content), it is packed with protein, good carbohydrates, & vitamins - all things that we both love. it even presents well in my opinion.

the R8 in town

i assume there aren’t too many audi R8s zooming around town so i feel comfortable referring to the one i saw this morning as “the R8” in town. zia, a good buddy of mine, e-mailed me pics of this dream machine many months ago. i thought for sure the R8 would be one of those cars you only see in high dollar action & sci-fi movies & only once in a blue moon on the actual road.

low & behold i ran past one this morning just 10 blocks from our house. where was it? the R8 was parked on the street right outside austin’s very own & the original kerbey lane cafe. if you are from austin then you know the original kerbey lane restaurant is just a fun loving looking cozy cottage just off 35th street on kerbey lane. the contrast of the R8 with it’s jet black paint & futuristic design in front of the live & loud paint colors used on the cozy cottage was something to see. i wish i would have taken my iPhone with me on my run i could have captured this contrast in design & color with a picture.

austin is such a cool place. isn’t it great that someone who will pay between $109,000 - $118,000 for an automobile like the R8 is still down to earth enough to get his or her breakfast at a place like kerbey lane? heck, for $6 bucks you can get a bottom less cup of fair trade coffee & short stack of kerbey’s famous buttermilk pancakes for less than $6 bucks! i bet this masked person is a graduate of UT’s CS department & is now a game developer who works long hours, makes good money, & can’t get enough of kerbey lane’s pancakes :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

you get what you pay for...

i’ve commented before that kristin & i do the majority of our grocery shopping at whole foods & central market; probably 75% at whole foods & 20% at central market. the other 5% of grocery shopping is done at HEB & just recently we ventured back to costco.

last week i made a quick pit stop at the HEB in the arboretum after a workout & prior to picking up
firebowl for dinner. it’s never a good thing to send me into a grocery store for just a few things especially after a good gym workout because i’m super hungry & i start making impulse buys left & right. the normal trip to HEB includes cat litter, cereal, a particular type of oat meal, a particular type of figs & prunes (can get the prunes at costco now), protein shakes (can also get at costco now instead) & a handful of other canned goods & pastas that are the same ones at whole foods & central market but about a 1/3 of the cost.

where i feel the most pain of going to a grocery store like HEB is at the check-out area. lines are long, people look miserable, cashiers are not friendly or very intelligent, the check-out lines are laced with trash magazines & candy crap, & what really got me the other night is their inability to bag your damn grocery somewhat correctly!

my first taxable job was sacking (call it bagging if you want) groceries at a tom thumb page grocery store (same store is called
randalls here in austin) in garland. we weren’t called baggers or sackers either – they called us courtesy clerks :) anyhow, i was a damn good courtesy clerk too! we were allowed to accept tips back then & i would pocket $20 bucks on most days. back then it seemed everyone wanted their groceries taken to their vehicle for them – these days i rarely see someone having their groceries carried out for them. i knew who the BIG tippers ($2 bucks) were & i made it a point to take extra special care of those customers. i would tell all the ladies how great their dresses, hair, shoes, etc. look. most of the time i was actually being honest, i wasn’t just saying it to say it. if you look hard, you can find something nice about anyone :)

regardless of what i said or didn’t say i was a damn good bagger. i’d square up the bags whether paper or plastic, frozen foods were bagged with other frozen foods, cold with cold, can goods with can goods, products like soaps, bleach, tooth brushes, etc. were bagged separately. always treat the eggs, breads, chips, etc. with the utmost respect for care. not only was i diligent about my bagging, i was fast.

these kids at HEB are just a mess. they go right to the plastic 90% of the time without even asking what type of bag you prefer. they don’t attempt to talk to you at all – normally they are chatting with the cashier about homework or something, they throw things in the bag in the order they come down the line with no regard for colds, dry goods, chemicals, etc. hell, i go out of my way to put things on the conveyor belt to make things easier for them & still they F it up!

when i walked out of HEB the other night with my groceries one of the bags i was carrying ripped in half & spilled all over the parking lot – talk about me being pissed!

in the end i just shook my head & reminded myself that you get what you pay for.