Sunday, January 31, 2010

Casting Shadows Again, Hot Diggity...

Dog Diggity!

Dartre and I took the 15 minute ferry ride over to Vashon Island for a 40 mile tour and the sun came out, and all the world took on a happier face. It felt glorious to have the sun on our backs and to be casting shadows once more! But wait, could this be foreshadowing six more weeks of Winter per that rough-furred little rodent? We'll see.

What follows is our photo collage from a January 31 Winter day of cycling. Be prepared though. There are plenty pics of us posing. We just couldn't get enough of that sunshine.

See the bicycle in the bottom right corner of the building? Does it get covered in saltwater when the tide comes in, or does that floating building still float?

Dartre didn't get enough miles in on our planned ride so she knocked off another 10 miles on the stationary bike at the Vashon Island Gym!

If you're unfamiliar with Lutefisk, check it out here.

The shrine of the ancient bicycle. When I grabbed the handlebars for a photo I got a big in electrical shock. Is it possible that the tree stored electricity that got passed through the metal bars into my bare hands since I had metal cleats on, or...?

Our good friend the setting Sun is reflected in the ferry's wake as we headed home.

Keep it sunny,


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ooh My, What Lovely Scalenes You Have!

Well those may not have been my physical therapist's exact words, but she was impressed with my scalenes. Well frankly, who wouldn't be, right?

She told me my scalenes were highly toned, even waxed on to say my scalenes might be the most well-developed scalenes she's ever seen! Concerned she might swoon, I offered her a seat on the PT table. She declined.

But come on now, my neck muscles? I would  love to hear about my highly developed hammys (I wish!) or my quads (Nope) or even my calves (uh uh), but no such luck in the actually-making-a-bicycle-travel-forward muscular department.

My physical therapist (she's actually the substitute PT, so what does she know anyway?) hypothesized that it might be that cycling and keeping my head up is what has sculpted (my word, not hers) my lovely scalenes. My wife (DartreDame when she posts here) postulated a different idea. She claims that when I am stressed out or put on my stubborn pants, that I "set" my jaw in that certain way, and that it requires lovely scalenes for proper "jaw setting".

The only consolation I have drawn from this is that at least I now know that with proper training (holding my head up or stressing out) I do have the ability to tone my muscles. That is news, and from that I will draw hope that even my muscles are potentially toneable.

When I was about eight years old or so, my older brother started a gym club in our basement. From a few Weider weights, a whole bunch of muscle mags, "Willie's Gym" tee-shirts, and a healthy dose of imagination my brother launched his endeavor. But to give you a sense of our family genes, my brother drew a picture of an arm attempting to flex its bicep right under the words "Willie's Gym". The bicep, however, was completely flat and the tricep drooped down pathetically, the antithesis of a sculpted arm.

We were building our "mushles" we claimed. We had enough self awareness, even then, to know we'd never be mesomorphs, so like ectomorphs the world over we tried to make up for our wimpiness with wit of the self-deprecating kind.

But at least I have muscles to be admired, and I don't even have to take off my clothes. Just get those scalenes in the right light and with a little jaw flexing I'll be admired by all those with discriminating tastes in muscular elegance.

As for my substitute PT, she is a good one. As with my regular PT, I gain a great deal of knowledge and...well challenging exercises. Everything but neck exercises. Come to think of it, if I extrapolate from all the body parts for which my regular and substitute PTs design exercises...let's see now...yes, my neck is the ONLY muscle they haven't tried to improve! And as for my regular PT tells me repeatedly that my butt is underdeveloped. Great! Underdeveloped butt, and overdeveloped neck. Sheez!

Pictures courtesy of Wiki. The lower pic actually features the scalenes in red. But according to Substitute PT, my scalenes are even better than the Wiki guy's!

Keep it sculpted,


Friday, January 29, 2010

Paris Brest Paris 2011 Website!

I knew there was a brochure for PBP 2011, but I didn't know the website was up. There's more there than in the brochure, so check it out: Paris Brest Paris 2011!

Keep it much anticipated,


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Partially Avenging the Mass Murder on the Interurban Trail

No mass murder of crows, but not a great deal to crow about either.

In my earlier post about Mass Murder on the Interurban Trail, I translated a murder of crows to be a flock of crows, like the thousands we saw roosting at dusk on King County's Interurban trail. A week later, John Vincent and I tackled RUSA Permanent 0531 Mercer Island-Redmond-Orting-MI again, but we saw no crows.

Becasue we departed an hour earlier and made initially better time than DartreDame (my wife, Pramila) and I had the week before, John and I passed through "Crowville" well before dusk. Hence, no crows in the trees.

The day had began inauspiciously, however, when John flatted within the first 8 kilometers. I saw the giant pothole in the beam of his light just as his front wheel fell into it, and soon enough his pinch flat exposed itself. It did make me consider the relative visibilities for upright and recumbent riders. I wondered whether the sitting back position of John's recumbent handicapped his ability to see the pothole. Not sure.

Later, after nearly 13 hours of riding and seven hours of rain, I know that visibility became the issue. We'd made it at last to the final leg of the trip, and it was dark and rainy and our glasses were rain-spattered and opaque. Neither of us had a dry snippet of cloth with which to wipe our glasses, and it was getting cold.

I've been riding pretty steadily this Winter so while I wasn't comfortable I still had enough in the tank to push through, round the Mercer Island Loop and finish. John, unfortunately, had had to scrap a few rides in the past few months, and really hadn't ridden a long ride since October. Finishing was on John's mind, but the visibility and toll of the conditions made it feel a little less than safe. Sadly, he had to pull the plug, but sensibly and reluctantly chose safety over recklessness.

For me, knowing what John endures just to be on the bicycle he loves--see my earlier post here about John's transition to the recumbent so he could continue riding despite neurological damage--I have tremendous admiration for his tenacity, finish or no. He's taught me a great deal, and I know he'll be out there again...and soon.

The uncanny thing is that it was the same issue for Dartre the week before as for John this time. In each case, they hadn't ridden much since October. Give that seemingly easy Permanent 0531 a dose of nasty conditions and a recent paucity of riding, and it seems to find a way to frustrate.

Looking back over my shoulder as I rode along Lake Sammamish as the sun rose much earlier that day.

So there you have it. The Interurban Trail, unassuming and seemingly minding its own business, once again hosted mayhem, but at least not a mass murder this time.

Lots of lessons learned or relearned. Training matters. Visibility cannot be taken for granted. Failing to finish isn't failure. Coming back to try it again can work (this ride gave me my second consecutive month or R2 of R12). Take nothing for granted on endurance rides. And plenty more.

My next ride, come February 6, is with a small rascal of randonneurs, so I am looking forward to the larger flock sensibilities that accompany clusters of riders. It feels already--even though it hasn't come yet--as if it is a little more Springlike (did I just jinx us all?!) in its sociability. A pair of Winter randonneurs is like the solitary pair of Mergansers we've ridden past. But a whole rascal of randonneurs in February begins to feel like that flock of Starlings that will settle into our back yard soon.

Tell me, am I just delirious and overly desirous of Spring, or does riding in groups in some Winter sun-like vague way conjure up the insinuations of Spring?

Top photo courtesy of King County.

Keep it learning and yearning,


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Another Indian Randonneuring Website!

I don't consider myself a photographer, but India is a colorful country and even I catch a bit of luck now and then (even if I did seem to cut off a few heads in my pic above!).

There is much to love of India, but most of all it is the Indian people. All types are there of course, like everywhere, but the generosity and gentleness of Indians is what I like most.

So pardon me please, as I once again point you toward a magical country in which I will someday randonneur. I hope to return this December, and I have no idea whether randonneuring is possible this trip, but you can bet I'll be investigating!

The picture above was taken in Rajasthan. We were in a car about to enter a toll booth at the entrance to a new, modern road. To our left was this group of women--women are often the construction workers--who were as interested in me as I in them.

Other places I saw women sitting along a road pounding rocks into gravel to create a bed for the new road. Talk about patience!

The roads, for the most part, are not so good by our standards. But cycling through Indian villages, I can only imagine, would be a wonderfully generous and gentle experience. I can hardly wait.

In the meantime, I'll grab my vicarious pleasures via the internet, that other road that runs through India and by Indians the world over. And for randonneuring purposes, please check out another Indian Randonneuring site: Randonneurs India.

For more on randonneuring in India see my previous post.

Keep it vicariously,


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Looking Straight into the Eyes of What is Between Me and Paris

OK. Now we're cooking with gas!

Dates, times, regulations, and promotion of the Paris Brest Paris Randonneur (PBP) are in motion. You can go to the official English version of the new 2011 PBP brochure (seen above) and much is finally explained.

For me, it sharpens my 2010 objectives very clearly. I knew that I wanted to complete a SR Series (200k, 300k, 400k, 600k) this year for many reasons. I also wanted to test myself on a longer brevet: 1000k or 1200k.

But now seeing that if I complete a 1000k in 2010, I will maximize my chances for meeting the country quota (assuming I otherwise qualify by doing an SR Series by end of June next year), I am determined to also complete a 1000k.

Completing a 200k, 300k and 400k feels very doable. I did that in 2009. While I completed them, however, I had repetitive use injuries (knee stuff, shin stuff or groin stuff) to deal with afterward. To get at that, I plan to put in alot more miles and work my body in other ways off the bicycle.

The 600k feels intimidating, but no more so than the others did the first times. The 1000k really feels like it is a different animal for me. But this focusing, this sharpening of objectives, this looking straight into the eyes of what is between me and Paris (rhymes best if Paris is pronounced as the French do) is exactly what I need.

I dig the progressivity of the whole endeavor, and I can't imagine ever attempting a 1200k event without having completed the milestones along the way. But with the milestones, seemingly anything is possible.

Here's a quote from the PBP brochure under the title "Editorial" and translated from the French:

"You will be among thousands of other riders from all over the world who want to participate in this mythical event in order to join the long list of successful randonneurs who have contributed to the legend of this Paris-
Brest-Paris Randonneur.

All along the 1200 km of this route, you will measure the strength of your body and, above all, of your mind. You may strive for a personal best or simply try to finish within the time limit; but you will always keep at heart the goal to support each other and to enjoy the friendly camaraderie that transforms this monument of endurance into an authentic Randonnee."

That is the spirit I read about in 2007 just after that event that got me thinking about this thing I'd never even heard of: Randonneuring. Exciting!

Keep it sharp,


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Randonneuring in India: My Dream Comes Alive!

Imagine beginning a brevet in Bombay! I've never bicycled in India (the family I visit there insists it is a crazy idea), but I sure want to.

Now, I can not only bicycle there, I can randonneur. All thanks to Randonneurs India, a new Audax Club Parisien-cerified organization that began near as I can tell in late 2009.

I'm gleaning all this from a website I just discovered: The Singular Randonneur. Check out their nascent organization.

And while you're imagining, check out a few of my previous posts of cycling and India here and here.

And remember, with a billion Indians and millions and millions of bicycles, there's got to be quite a few future randonneurs pedaling around right this minute.

Keep it dreaming big,


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Calling All Crows! Calling All Crows! Mass Murder on the Interurban Trail.

Murder, as in "A Murder of Crows", is a flock of crows.

And a big murder it was. Thousands, without exaggeration, of crows descended upon the trees along the RUSA Permanent 0531 route (Mercer Island Redmond Orting MI) at dusk to roost for the evening. And we happened to be just right there--on the Interurban Trail--for the event.

Those crows fought and cackled to get just the perfect roosting spots, and it all came down to an unknown-to-us-but-obvious-to-them pecking order. It was loud and raucus as the dim winter light faded into (what else?) crow blackness.

Our 200k permanent dream died an timely death too as we DNF'ed after about 100 miles. DNF, for the uninitated, is Did Not Finish. In fact, rather than cycle back to our vehicle in the grocery store parking lot on Mercer Island, we ended up catching a bus at Southcenter Mall that took us to the SeaTac Airport Light Rail station from which we caught a train home.

Here's our story, and we're sticking to it: we got a little overly ambitious. While I had been riding permanents and cyclo-commuting to work since October, DartreDame (my wife, Pramila) hadn't ridden since her last (and first) 200k in October: the Three Rivers Cruise. We hadn't really realized that she hadn't ridden since then until we were driving over to our start on Mercer Island.

Huh?, we said. Well, we told ourselves, if the ride was too challenging for Dartre she could simply peel off after the Lake Samammish loop that made up the first part of our 200k permanent.

But things had gotten off to a poor start even earlier when I realized I didn't know how I was going to fasten Dartre's light onto her bike until mere minutes before we were supposed to leave the house. My poor planning meant that we actually started about 20 minutes late. To make that time up prior to the first time controle we had to really hustle, and it took some of the starch out of us.

Dartre though still felt good and happy she had made the controle, so when the peel-off time came it also went, but without Dartre peeling off. The downside of that decision is that once we began the next leg of the journey, down to Orting, it was a long, down-and-back leg with no further peel-off opportunities. You can see the route below.

And so, about 20 miles prior to the Murder on the Interurban Trail we knew we wouldn't finish. Dartre was too pooped--imagine trying to do 200k without having even ridden at all since October! Basically, that's like riding your bicycle quarterly and doing only 200k's. What was I thinking?

Well, part of what I was thinking was that my Achilles hurt. Yep, same as it used to. This time it was linked to my new shoes (more on a future post) and the fact that we'd moved my cleats back putting my pedal spindle well behind the ball of my foot. Supposedly more power and less ankle movement, but as I'm learning perhaps, at the expense of more Achilles stress.

All this means is that when Dartre felt like she had to abandon, I was ready to support that decision. Lots of lessons learned, and I hope to tackle it this weekend or next.

Is a DNF a failure? Undoubtedly, we didn't meet our objective for the day, so yes. But it's also an attempt. How many Saturdays have I not attempted. Are these DNA's?

For a while, maybe especially on the bus to the Light Rail station, I was remorseful. But then I realized that I'll get more riding in for sure this month because of it. We learned. Dartre got the training she needs for another attempt. We stayed united. We tested our bodies, our selves.

So yep, we Did Not Finish, but we Are Not Finished. And after all, 100 miles is 100 miles!

As for bird groupings nomenclature, Wikipedia comes through again. Below is a list of these endearing names. The pic of the old Hitchcock movie poster is also a Wiki find.

Enjoy, you Rascal of Randos!

A flock of birds

A dissimulation of (small) birds

A siege of bitterns

A peep of chickens

A brood of hens

A clattering of choughs (i.e. jackdaws)

A covert of coots

A herd of cranes

A murder of crows

A herd of curlews

A trip of dotterel

A dole/dule of doves

A flight of doves

A badling of ducks

A mob of emus

A charm of goldfinches

A gaggle of geese

A flight of goshawks

A rasp of guinea fowl

A cast of (tame) hawks

A lease of (tame) hawks

A siege of herons

A clattering of jackdaws 

A train of jackdaws

A desert of lapwings

An exaltation of larks

A tidings of magpies

A sute of mallards

A sord of mallards

A watch of nightingales

A parliament of owls

A covey of partridges

A muster of peacocks

A nide of pheasants 

A nye of pheasants

A congregation of plovers

A bevy of quail

An unkindness of ravens

A building of rooks

A walk or wisp of snipe

A host of sparrows

A murmuration of starlings

A flight of swallows

A herd of swans

An eyrar of swans

A spring of teal

A dole/dule of turtledoves

A fall of woodcocks

A herd of wrens

Keep it well-named,

Monday, January 18, 2010

Birthday Monkey!

I turned 53 today, and my stepson, Janak or SingingCyclist when he posts here, gave me the present pictured above. It's the Monkey finger puppet holding up a sign of encouragement for my journey to Paris for Paris Brest Paris. The Monkey, the SingingCyclist's alter ego, is holding up a sign that says: "Go Ubb!"

Ubb is a nickname that my mother coined for me, and is a better moniker than "stepdad". Thus, it is Janak's name for me.

To construct it, Janak's Aunt Leslie and he punched a pipe cleaner through the Monkey's torso. The pipe cleaner affixes the talisman to my bicycle. Much like Billiken from this earlier post about a very early cyclo-tour up the West Coast for the Seattle Yukon Pacific Exposition, the Monkey will be my PBP good luck charm.

For her part, DartreDame made me a fabulous Indian dinner complete with the non-sweetened dessert pictured below. She also got me a breathable rain jacket for brevets since my commuting jacket doesn't cut it in the breathing department.

Ain't I a lucky randonneur?!

P.S. Singing and Dartre insist that I explain that they ran out of regular candles and therefore had to utilize the leftover "11" from a previous birthday.

Keep it monkeying around,


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wanna Help Build the Randonneuring Bicycle of my Dreams?

Wanna help build a rando bicycle? Got ideas for mine?

I'm about to start working with Portland constructeur Tony Pereira to build up my randonneuring-dedicated bicycle. One part of me feels this is extravagant, and the other part figures that since the last time I bought a bicycle for myself was almost 35 years ago, I should just go for it. Guess which part won?

Yep, I spoke with Tony, and it's time to submit fit measurements and start thinking about what I want.

What I want? Well, I'm been making my list, so check out what I've been thinking and then chime in.

What kind of lighting?
What kind of front bag?
What would you do?

Here's the list I've been compiling:

  • 650B wheels

  • Grand Bois Hetre 42mm tires

  • What Rims? (I have a set of Rigida Sphynx rims. Any good for Hetres?)

  • Honjo 58mm Fenders 

  • Low trail geometry

  • Internal Brake Cables

  • Custom front rack

  • Tony's custom front derailleur lever (sans cable) or friction-shifting downtube shifter?

  • Downtube mounted friction shifter for rear derailleur

  • 6 - 7 seven rear cogs

  • Chain Rest

  • Double or Triple chainrings

  • TA Pro 5 vis Cranks

  • Paul Racer Brakes

  • Three Water Bottle Braze-ons

  • Level Top Tube

  • Lugged

  • SON 20R Generator Hub (w/delux SL dropouts for wireless connection?)

  • Rear Hub?

  • Schmidt Edulux Headlight (mounted low on the left fork or rack?)

  • Mount for additional battery headlight?

  • Tailights: Generator or Battery?

  • Rear dropout spacing?

  • Bottom bracket? Ideas?

  • Headset? Ideas?

  • Other touches?

I'll be chronicling the the frame construction and build up here over the next several months. For now I'd really appreciate any and all ideas, opinions, or arguments you'd like to make for this or that way of approaching it.

I'd be grateful for any comments, and your shared wisdom would be helpful to anyone who reads it. Thanks in advance!!

The photo at the top is Jon Muellner's Pereira. It was his bike that first got me thinking about Tony Pereira as a possible builder for my ride. Thanks for your help, Jon.

UPDATE: The previous picture I had at the top was actually Tony Pereira's own bicycle. The one you see above is Jon Muellner's. Thanks, Jon!

Keep it building,


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I Hereby Rando-Resolve: Balance!

Randonneuring is what many might--and some do--call an obsessive sport. It's certainly not relaxed touring with no itinerary. It's time bound, and time-demanding, and culminates in a once-every-four-years event. If a randonneur plans to participate in Paris Brest Paris, that randonneur had better be planning and training and visualizing and...well, obsessing.

At least that's my working assumption from a newbie's vantage point.

In a previous post, I related a few New Year's Resolutions I had successfully adopted, and I edged toward making yet another. So here it is: I hereby resolve to seek balance in all things randonneuring as I obsess my way to Paris in 2011. The formality comes from attending too many Robert's Rules ordered meetings.

Really, I'm not kidding. I will indeed focus, but I intend to be very mindful of a balanced focus. This applies to randonneuring items big and small. For example, I want to move from obsessing about finishing toward a place of preparedness and full effort without the worrying about what could go wrong. So, on a brevet, I will do my best to stay in the moment of the world sliding by as I cycle, and not in the moment of continuously recalculating my ETA for the next controle. At least I hope so.

More obviously perhaps, I want to be sure to balance the rest of life, like family and friends. Reaching Paris in 2011 is of no value if in the process I'm shrinking from those I love. One tip I have here, even as the newbie I am, is to recruit your spouse to randonneuring. I did it (or did she self-recruit?), and it works like a charm! What once seemed like an obsession is now a balanced joint activity. Right, Dartre?

On a grander randonnuering seasonal scale, I today plan to enter some of the longer brevets even if I'm uncertain of finishing so that I gain the experience of the longer brevets. Not that I won't give it my all, but I also don't want to forego the ride entirely for fear of not finishing. A balanced view in this case means that I'm focused on my ulimate goal--finishing PBP--and not fussing over intermediary status- or pride-oriented needs. Wait, maybe that is obsessing still? Tricky, this business of balance.

Anyway, I almost immediately dismissed this resolution because it is not as measurable as others I've done, nor as well-defined. But then I decided that it is exactly in this exploration of what balance means that I discover my intrigue with it. The notion of balancing an obsessive series of activities pulls me in.

So there it is, pretty vaguely. We'll see what balance means for me, and I'm surmising, what unbalance means. In both events, I anticipate the awareness.

Finally, part of the way I got to balance is by my recognition that the previous post on resolutions felt self-congratulatory: Look what I've done. Truth is that eating or not eating certain foods hasn't been too hard for me. Not that that is a testament to my will or strength of character, but rather the opposite. For me, it hasn't been a big challenge, even as I recognize it is for others. This just proves how one resolver's ceiling is another resolver's floor.

So...that leads to the question of what then would be more challenging for me and therefore worthy of resolve? The answer became balance. It could be that I'm inclined toward randonneuring precisely because I am fully capable of obsession. Could I then explore being successful, and balance that out so I stay a little more present?

In the end, I sure don't want to miss Paris. I don't want to miss it due to not qualifying. I don't want to miss it because I don't finish. And I also don't want to miss Paris, or the getting-to-Paris, because my mind is elsewhere obsessing along the way to Paris!

Wow! Even my writing about balance is obsessed. Egads!!! My use of italics is obsessed. I am going mad right before your crossing eyes!


OK. I just visualized balancing on a bottle of champagne (courtesey of the pic above that I copped from Wikipedia again), and I'm fully Now about that next controle, if my derailleur broke again and I'm fifteen kilometers away....

Keep it ti peeK


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Still More Randonneur Cross Training: Woodchopping!

Here is my stepson, Janak and SingingCyclist when he posts here, learning to split some kindlin'. Good stuff that woodchopping. Better be bending the knees. Twisting. Core. Like cycling, you've got to be moving from a stable platform or core. Otherwise, much energy goes wasted instead of into the pedals or between the woodgrains.

As you can see from the reproduced page below, we've even invented an exercise called the Woodchopper since fewer folks chop much wood these days. The page is from the book Cycling Anatomy which I reviewed here. There is also a previous post where I referenced the Medicine Ball Throw from the same book.

Keep it trained on that precise point where the grains meet,


Monday, January 4, 2010

I Hereby Rando-Resolve...

I've kept a few resolutions over the years. Well, three. And all about the same topic. I resolved first to no longer eat meats. I still eat fish and eggs, just not meats. It all began when I went to India for the first time. My traveling companions, DartreDame and the SingingCyclist (the former now my wife and the latter now my stepson), did not eat meat. We left in mid-December, and I decided I wouldn't eat meat while in India since I was told they had such a vast array of veggie choices.

Indeed they do. In fact, at a buffet in India you'll find a small "Non-Veg" section rather than the small "Vegetearian" section we find here. Such are their expectations, at least where I visited.

The hitch in my newly and temporarily vegetarian gittalong came right after I made my pledge. We visited old family friends of Dartre's in Bombay on the second evening for dinner. The family friends didn't imagine that Dartre and Singing were vegetarian assuming them to be fully Americanized, and wanting to be hospitable they brought out a heaping--and I mean heaping--tray of chicken legs. When the friends realized that Datre and Singing wouldn't eat them and I saw the mortified look on their faces, I quickly broke my day-old vow and ate and ate and ate those drumsticks much to our hosts' delight. Yum!

It seemed to me a noble giving up on my first food vow. Next day, I went back to veggie for the rest of my time in India, and on returning I stayed veggie (Dartre's and my version allows our eating seafood and eggs). That was three years ago, and it was my first vow.

Next was sweets. I just realized what I always knew: if I am serious about being healthy, then why eat them? So I don't. Not candy, not baked goods. None of that. I'm sure I get lots of sugar in lots of other foods, but I choose not to have foods that are considered "sweets". Haven't missed them either.

As it stood then, I was "no meats, no sweets". I felt I needed something else that rhymed with "meats" and "sweets" and that covered fried foods. When I landed on "frites"--as in fried--I knew I had a good combination: "no meats, no sweets, no frits". I've come to like the symetry of my unholy trinity, and it suits and serves me well.

How strict? Well, I simply don't eat meats though I might if I hunted them myself (I did that years ago). I don't eat sweets, though as I said I get plenty of sugar in other ways. And as for frits: I've lately eaten fries and I love calamari and it mostly comes lightly fried. But, as a whole, I don't eat fried stuff.

What I find generally about my eating is that I eat most healthily when I'm exercising the most. Just not tempted then. If I stop exercising, I go back to some less healthy choices even though I still hold to the vows.

Now, about that "Rando-Resolve": I hope you don't feel betrayed if I can't conjure up my next vow just yet, but I began this post figuring that after I recounted my resolutions history my next resolution--this one is going to be about randonneuring--would come to me easily. hasn't.

So, rather than halfheartedly choosing something for the sake of posting, I'll pause to give it more consideration. I think because these others I've described were so well-considered, they stuck ("frites" rhyming with "meats" and "sweets" may not seem well-considered, but to me it was inspired!).

So while I'm pondering on this most important of questions, how about you? Got any resolutions for 2010, especially any rando-resolutions?

The picture above is from Wikipedia, and is from an early 20th century New Year's card.

Keep it,


Sunday, January 3, 2010

More Randonneur Cross Training: Snow Boarding!

Now this was a first for me: Snowboarding. Had it not been for my son, Mike pictured below, I'd have never tried it. We took my stepson up to Snoqualmie for his first ski lesson, and Mike and I decided to take a Snowboarding lesson.

Wow! I can tell you I am sore today. I bet I fell at least 30 times! By the end of the day I was getting the knack of it. Not competent, but clearly getting the idea of it and the feel of it. What fun! I gotta imagine it is good for the legs. I like skiing too, and DartreDame (my wife, Pramila) skiied with my stepson, the SingingCyclist or Janak, after his lesson.

Mike was visiting for the holidays so it was great to get him out despite a rather dismal day of snow sports in the rain. Apart from a few brief moments of snow, it pretty much rained constantly. Not great for Mike who lives in Colorado. As one guy on the lift told me: you can pretty much dust the snow off of you in Colorado, but here it just soaks you. But wet or no, it was good to be outside with Mike, home for the holidays!

Wet we were, but whetted were the appetites too...for more adventures in the Winter season. And if you canted your head just so and squinted at just the right time, you could even discern the slightly longer daylight. Ah anticipation!

Keep it leanin' uphill,