Saturday, May 31, 2008

Everything is ready

Clothes are laid out
Tires are pump
Food is laid out

Think I'm ready for tomorrow!   I'm pretty excited!  

I'm going to go watch a little TV then hit the hay - rise and shine is bright and early at 5:00 am!

Back on the bike

So like I posted last night we got our bikes back.  I had done some work on my bike before we came out and I thought the work wasn't as good as it should have been but when I got the bike back yesterday the front brakes looked much better than I thought I remembered.  

We rode about ten miles this morning down to Zephyr cove to take a team photo -- at some point I'll post an electronic version of it on the site.   On the way back from the ride we stopped at the post office and a local skate and ski shop to pick up a shirt for Jake.   On the way out of the shop my bike hit a patch of sand and my bike slid out from under me in the middle of the street.  Nothing hurt other than my ego from crashing in front of a bunch of traffic.   

We've had lunch and picked up all our stuff for tomorrow.   

We sold a ton of socks this morning - 200 pairs in fact - and are going to head to some of the pasta parties in a few minutes to sell off the rest of the stash.  

More to come later tonight.

Friday, May 30, 2008

We're off to dinner

In their haste to welcome the local riders, McP's lost an s making us wonder if the "Welcome Bicyclist" sign meant we had to eat dinner one person at a time.....

Also I now have my bike back! Yay!  More to come on that in a bit....

Checked in!!

We're checked in to the Mont Bleu across the street from the starting line.  Noel was awesome enough to ensure the we got a room with a whirlpool tube which should be nice and relaxing post ride.  She also nailed us a room on the third floor which will ensure that the saturday morning descent to lobby will be relatively easy (as opposed to schlepping down from the 15th floor when everyone in the hotel is trying to get in the elevator with a bike)

Noel has completed the unpacking featured in the photo and we are off to the grocery store to pick up some snacks and then we will get out bikes!  Yay!

Wisconsin Team People Waiting for their bus

I'm on the bus waiting to roll out of Reno to head towards Tahoe.   Its about an hour bus ride before we actually get to Tahoe.   

I should be reunited with my bike soon!  Yay!!

On the way to reno!

On the tarmac in phoenix boarding for tahoe.
Air travel is increasingly becoming a nuisence -- with the unpleasant security procedures and the outrageous prices in the food court ( $13 for a personal pizza, a froyo and a soda!) It almost makes you wnat to go all john madden and get a bus - but taking 5 days to get to tahoe isn't really an option.

Oh well we've got a good group here (and there are some wisc team people on the flight too) so it shouldn't be too bad.   Will be nice when we get to Reno though.   I'll have to see if we can persuade the bus driver to head through the drive through at the in and out burger.

Wheels down in phoenix

Had a window seat - Slept most of the way out.   I think we have a 45 minute layover and then its on to Reno.   Maybe its a longer layover.   Eh who knows.   Hopefully they'll have interwebs in the phoenix airport!

Cleared security

I've cleared TSA security and I don't feel any more violated than I normally do when I interact with the federal government.

Wow its early

On my way to the airport --- I'm sleepy its Fri, May 30, 2008 4:51:00 AM -- I've been up almost 2 hours already today. 

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Almost ready to go

Let the live blogging begin --- wheels up in >24 hours.   I'm almost all packed and ready to go!! Woo hoo!

Also more importantly


Season Total:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wheels up in less than 48 hours

I miss my bike. I want to be out in Tahoe getting ready to ride.

Things are pretty uneventful here though....

FYI - I feel healthy.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Kenny Curtis has a Farm....

Interview with Kenny Curtis of XM Radio |
So you do all the voices for the characters?

I do them all [There are at least 10 different regular animal characters in skits on the show including Forrest Skunk, Bear E. White, Vinnie Da Pooh.] except for Dentina the Tooth Fairy. We have a couple of thousand skits pre-recorded, ready to be plugged into the show. They are scheduled by the software. We will record new stuff nearly everday.

For phone calls, I tend to take those off the air, record them and play them back. I’m a little nervous about talking to kids live. Plus most kids want their requests played on the way to school which is about the same time for everyone across the US. So sometimes I have to record and play them back and know that kids may not hear the request.

My colleague, “Absolutely Mindy" [afternoon host, Mindy Thomas] will do live conversations with kids. She’s braver than I am.

My bike shipped out the other day, so there's not really alot of tombike news for me to promote. So for the time being I am just going to blog on miscellenous stuff.

Thought I would pass along some stuff about XMKids. Those of you who spend any amount of time in the car should seriously consider getting an XM Radio if for no other reason than XMKids. The Kenny Curtis Animal Farm is fun for kids, smart and entertaining. My 5 and 7 year old girls really love it. I think it might have been the highlight of their vacation in Williamsburg last year when they were able to get a request played on the air.

Anyway, the show is well produced, entertaining and makes kids music tolerable and often enjoyable for parents. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Woobly Wheel

As you can see in my video and as I mentioned in the post below my wheel has pretty much gone to crap. As the video shows the wheel was nowhere near true this weekend. You can see it hitting the brake pads every time it spun. The photo in my post Sunday shows how the rim had cracked.

Anyway, here's the latest on my wheel. I took it in to a local Bontrager dealer and they gave it to the Bontrager rep. According to their webpage, they seem to have a pretty good warranty ( ) so hopefully I will hear soon that they've happily replaced my busted wheel. In the mean time I am riding on a loaner wheel from the local authorized bontrager dealer.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

80 Miles on a Broken Rim

Yesterday's ride is always the hardest of the season. It's intended to work folks hard so they know that when they head to Tahoe that they're ready for all that the ride can throw at them.

It started out as usual with Noel and I getting up at the crack of dawn (4:45 am) so that we could get dressed and get ready so that we could be out to Middleburg Virginia (which is 81 miles and 1 hour 41 minutes from home) so that we could be ready to start the ride at 7:30. This is par for the course for rides in rural Virginia so the early morning start wasn't too big of a deal and we were able to get out there before the ride started - granted not with alot of time to socialize before everyone rolled out. It wouldn't have worked well for me to be late being that I was sweeping for the ride making sure that everyone made it through the ride well regardless of pace.

Well unfortunately I discovered when I pumped up my tires in the parking lot that the rim of my wheel was looking like it was ready to fail. What had happened (as you can see in the photo) was that the nipple holding my spoke in the rim had began to pull through the rim where the rim was 013 It meant that my rim was out of true (meaning that the wheel moved to the left and right as it spun around its axis). This meant that I had one of two choices - not ride - not really an option - or jerry rig my bike so that I could make it through the day on a wonky wheel. Since I was signed up to help out and I really wanted to do the ride I had to cobble together a way to make the bike work. It wasn't too hard but it did make the day a little hairy.

My coping strategy was pretty straight-forward - open the rear brake caliper as wide as possible so that the rim wouldn't hit the brake as it spun and to take it really easy on the rear brakes. I also didn't know how fragile my rear wheel was so I did my best not to use the back brake during the ride. From a physical perspective this wasn't really a big deal because most of the bike's stopping power comes from the front brake but it did take a bit of thinking to remember to use the front brake - especially since I am right handed and the back brake is on the right side of the handlebar. The other coping mechanism I had to institute was keeping the downhills slow. I figured if there was a catastrophic failure of my rear wheel and everything went to shit, I could do ok in a 15 MPH crash - but if I hit the pavement at 30 MPH it was going to be a long day for everyone on the ride. Not bombing down the downhills took a little bit of the fun out of the ride, but I've gone down hill fast before and I'll do it again - and without having to worry whether my bike will take me to the ground.

As for the ride it was a good ride and a good challenge. The highlight and the biggest challenge of the ride comes at roughly 12 miles into the ride. We roll out of the start for a little while and then when we hit the town of Bluemont we begin climbing. There's probably a half mile or so climb which likely takes us up a couple hundred feet, and then there is a switchback into a flat which takes us out to major highway. We stay on the highway for about a quarter mile and then turn left onto the steepest part of the climbing of the day. For about a half mile we head up to Mount Weather with the grade at one point reaching 22%. It was a hard bit of climbing and burned up my legs a bit but served as a strong confidence builder for Tahoe.

After the climb up onto Mount Weather the rest of the ride was relatively uneventful. Not too many dramatic climbs for the rest of the ride -- mostly rolling hills and flats. It felt really good and I feel pretty prepared for Tahoe. After about 40 miles of riding I came to the conclusion that my wheel was going to hold up and that I would make it through the rest of the day.

I made it in fine and we had some yummy belated bar-b-que with teammates in the parking lot at the conclusion of the ride. I was able to find out this morning that Bontrager has a pretty strong 5 year warranty and I should be able to get my local bike shop to get the wheel replaced for me by Monday so I can ship it out to Tahoe at the Bon Voyage party on Wednesday. I'll post more details on the sucess or lack of in a couple days.

I've included a map and elevation chart below.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Last Ride

Well I'm coming up on the last big team ride of the season. We've had a pretty exciting year and its been a crazy couple weeks. Let me run through a few things.

The last couple weeks have been pretty good. I've been able to get in two weeknight rides most weeks, often down at Hains Point. I've ben riding alot with my co-worker Tim Chapman of 3500 Miles. Tim is in the same pace as me relatively. That is to say when he drops the hammer he's a good bit faster than me. But we can ride together and I don't by any means feel like I'm holding him back. But he's got some speed in him. The local teams were out at Hains last night training, and at one point I jumped in and tried to keep up with the guys. I looked down at one point and we were going 29 MPH. I just couldn't hang with those guys and had to bail after a half a lap. At the end of the night I emailed Tim and asked him why I didn't see him at Hains. He replied with this: (note Socha is a co-worker who insists he has a bike but who we never can get out to ride)

----- Original Message -----
From: Chapman, Tim
To: Jones, Tom
Sent: Thu May 15 19:09:48 2008
Subject: Re: You pull a socha???

Ha! No. Had to be home at 7. Just got back. I never saw you. Rode 1 lap alone and 3 with group. Those dudes are too fast.

We need to coordinate better where to meet. My fault

----- Original Message -----
From: Jones, Tom
To: Chapman, Tim
Sent: Thu May 15 19:08:00 2008
Subject: You pull a socha???

Three laps with those guys is hard core. I can hang with them some nights but last night they were doing some lung burning leg demolishing least for me it felt like they were. Kudos to Tim for hanging with them.

Its been really good to have someone to ride with down at Hains. I've been pleased that I can make it out and it seems like its helped my training. If all goes well, I'll make Tuesday and Thursdays my regular rides after the Tahoe season.

This last weekend was a bit of a catastrophe. It was supposed to be the next to last ride of the season and it was supposed to be out in Davidsonville. Since it was going to be so close to our house, we had invited the team to come out to our house after the ride for a barbeque. We even had my parents come down to watch the kids while we rode and help us with the grilling.

Well the weather would have none of this. At ride time at 7:30 a.m. it was pouring rain. I think I heard that through Saturday morning it rained something like 2.2 inches in the Annapolis area. Amazing. So as the team is standing in the rain the coaches finally decide to call the ride. It was probably the right call becuase someone would have fallen and it would have ruined their day. As Murphy's Law would have it a half an hour after everyone left the rain passed and the sun came out and we had a wonderful day. Unfortunately we got sucks with 3 pounds of potato salad, 4 pounds of pasta salad and 10 pounds of hamburger. We'll eat all of it eventually, but it would have been nice to share it with team at a BBQ. I expect some of it will make it to the team barbque tomorrow.

As for riding I was able to get out with one of my teammates lauren and put in a 65 mile ride. It was a good ride and I enjoyed it. We made it to the beaches at North and Cheasapeake beach and toured alot of the countryside in the Anne Aroundel County area. The map is below. I'll update you on tomorrow's ride Sunday.

GWB Rides with the tribe!

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert presents US President George Bush with an Israeli cycling jersey

I have to get me one of these jersey's!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fruity Oaty Bar

Clearly this is the new official energy bar for Team in Training.


There are actually quite a few insights in the list on Skills for Men - Things Men Should Be Able to Do - Esquire .

While there are alot in the list of 75 that are a bit trite there a few in here that are worth considering including:

4. Score a baseball game. Scoring a game is an exercise in ciphering, creating a shorthand of your very own. In this way, it's a private language as much as a record of the game. The only given is the numbering of the positions and the use of the diamond to express each batter's progress around the bases. I black out the diamond when a run scores. I mark an RBI with a tally mark in the upper-right-hand corner. Each time you score a game, you pick up on new elements to track: pitch count, balls and strikes, foul balls. It doesn't matter that this information is available on the Internet in real time. Scoring a game is about bearing witness, expanding your own ability to observe.

28. Play go fish with a kid.

You don't crush kids. You talk their ear off, make an event out of it, tell them stories about when you were a kid this or in Vegas that. You have to play their game, too, even though they may have been playing only for weeks. Observe. Teach them without once offering a lesson. And don't be afraid to win. They can handle it.

35. Jump-start a car (without any drama). Change a flat tire (safely). Change the oil (once).

40. Speak to an eight-year-old so he will hear. Use his first name. Don't use baby talk. Don't crank up your energy to match his. Ask questions and wait for answers. Follow up. Don't pretend to be interested in Webkinz or Power Rangers or whatever. He's as bored with that shit as you are. Concentrate instead on seeing the child as a person of his own.

59. Write a thank-you note.

Make a habit of it. Follow a simple formula like this one: First line is a thesis statement. The second line is evidentiary. The third is a kind of assertion. Close on an uptick.

Thanks for having me over to watch game six. Even though they won, it's clear the Red Sox are a soulless, overmarketed contrivance of Fox TV. Still, I'm awfully happy you have that huge high-def television. Next time, I really will bring beer. Yours,

I will get back to writing about cycling soon. I know I have to update on some recent rides.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Looking Like a Great Raffle!

Some of you may have seen that there is a raffle coming up. You may be wondering what kind of great prizes do we have to offer at the raffle? Well boys and girls, we have some great prizes and by last count we probably have in excess of $1000 worth of AWESOME stuff including:

2 bottles of Pyrenees Ridge Shiraz from Schneiders of Capitol Hill
a $40 gift Certificate from Asylum – A Rock and Roll Lounge
a $99.99 Gift Certificate from Capitol Hill MaidPro
a 5 day Yoga or Pillates class pass at Capitol Hill Yoga
a gift certificate from Lounge 201
Two tickets to Folger Theatre’s, The School For Scandal
a craft basket from Ipso-Crafto
a cycling jersey from Capitol Hill Bikes
a gift certificate for Capitol Hill Arts Workshop
a sterling silver necklace from Fire and Ice
a subscription to the Bread of the Month Club from Marvelous Market
a gift certificate for a dinner for two from the Monocle
a floral arrangement from V Elegance Floral Design
a $50 gift certificate from Shelly's Backroom
2 one day bike rentals and a $100 gift certificate from Bike Wheel Bikes
a $40 gift Certificate from the Brass Knob
6 massages (Swedish, Deep Tissue) from Healing Hanz

All of these businesses have been very generous in providing us with some great merchandise to raffle off next week. If you're in the market for something they sell, please give them your business.