Wednesday, December 31, 2008

there's hope for the future

Kids are hilarious.

Last weekend, my little 7 year old cousin-in-law & I did a little post-xmas rocking out on my drum set. I kept time on the high hat while she wailed on the toms & occasionally gave the ride a workout.

After a couple of "songs" (each of which ended when she hit the crash cymbal) she said, "Let's play another one!" She then proceeded to raise her little arms above her head, band her drum sticks together four times, and count off "One, two, three four!" before tearing in to another song.

She never saw me do that, she just did it on her own. Maybe she's in to Loverboy or something.

I wish I was that cool when I was seven.

Friday, December 12, 2008

it's about time i put some original art on this mo-fo

Many moons ago, when I launched my website, I suggested that anyone else with Monomelic Amyotrophy contact me so we could start a metal band called "Bring Out the Gimp". Several dudes with MMA have contacted me & referenced my theoretical band in their email, which is awesome. Incidentally, if we ever do start an MMA band called Bring Out the Gimp, do not come see us. Seriously, you will not survive our live show. We will rock that hard. There will be a five kilometer safe zone around us. We will melt the devil's face. Satan sold his soul to our band to keep us from turning our amps up past "8". I might ask my brother-in-law join us on stage. He's the 6' 6" singer of Mantys and sounds like this.

Seriously, don't come to our show.

Anyhoo, I haven't designed suitably 'core album cover art for our band yet. Although, I figured once our gimpy band starts rocking, other gimpy bands are sure to follow. As such, I spent my evening (my Friday evening, because that's how much I love other MMA-havers out there) designing logos for pro-neuron disease bands who want to rock. Rip these off as needed. Contact me if you need a high-res version for your MMA band.

Amy O'Trophy - traditional Irish folk music

Atrophy - probably some hipsters re-hashing the Strokes

Amy-O - bad ass female rapper. She'll cut a bitch.

Neuron Disease - Heavy duty Russian punk band. They're connected. I'm just sayin'.

the monomelics - Here's a logo for a sad-sack emo band. Mopey bastards.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

out of context

Contextual advertising is pretty neat. It's the technology that displays online ads that are relevant to your interests. If you read a news article on digital cameras, odds are you'll see some camera ads in the page's ad space.

Facebook does contextual ads too. I usually see ads for triathlon equipment or bands I'm interested in (since that info is in my profile).

Lately, I'm seeing this ad a lot:

What. The. Hell?

First, how did Facebook guess I'm tired of waxing? I don't even mention ski wax in my profile! Second, the guy in the ad is clearly shaving his chest. Shouldn't the ad ask if I'm tired of shaving? Maybe the art department thought this photo was easier to comprehend. I've never seen a photo of a man waxing his own chest. If I did, I imagine my reaction would be, "What's all this then?"

I finally got around to reading the ad copy, where I learned the shaving man who is tired of waxing wants me to win 5 large in laser hair removal. I think lasers are pretty awesome and all, but I really don't need one scorching my torso. Did you notice that blondie is covering his nipple with his thumb while shaving? He's concerned, and he's only armed with a Gillette Mach 3. What precautions does one take with laser hair removal? I bet there's a number 5 welding shield and a lead apron involved.

To sum up; Facebook's contextual ads presented me with a trifecta of chest hair removal options because I'm a web designing triathlete from Minneapolis who likes Weezer & the Stones.

Makes perfect sense.

Friday, December 5, 2008

wow.

For the love of god, someone give these gentlemen a medal.

packin heat

I'm not sure how to feel about this thing. Behold the Palm Pistol:
It's a single shot 9mm pistol designed for the elderly & disabled. According to the Constitution Arms website, "It is ideal for seniors, disabled or others who may have dexterity limitations or difficulty sighting and controlling a traditional revolver or semi-automatic pistol."

Wow, I'm their target market! I wonder if it comes with a cool holster. For $300, it better! The Palm Pistol may be easy to use, but it totally lacks the style of a Derringer.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I bring the noise, but I kinda phone in the funk

Here's the combo of neoprene & velcro that facilitates my rocking of the drums.

It was originally designed to alleviate tennis elbow pain. Turns out it also alleviates non-drumstick-hold-ification. I can usually make it through a song or two before I need to adjust it.

I hear both my drumming, and whatever song I'm playing along with via iPod, in my headphones. Everyone else just hears muffled tapping. The first time my father in law heard me drumming, he asked my wife if one of the cats was barfing. Seriously. My drumming sounds like a cat puking. That's how hard I rock. Apparently.

After playing Rock Band, I looked for info on the game being used for physical rehab. Surprisingly, I couldn't find any. The Wii seems to have the video game PT (Physical Therapy) market cornered.

I also couldn't find any articles about drumming being used for PT (though it's been done for music therapy). I guess no one else with a degenerative motor neuron disease ever though, "Well, I can't play guitar or mandolin anymore. I better learn to drum." I love the way my screwy mind works. That bass-ackwards pile of grey matter never does me wrong.

I do know that no matter how good I get, I'll never be the best disabled drummer of all time. Most people think of Rick Allen from Def Leppard when you say 'disabled drummer'. He lost his left arm in a car accident, but continued with the band by playing an electric kit.

However, Rick Allen wasn't the first. A guy named Stevie beat him to it.





Holy. Shit.

Did you see that?

Hummingbirds don't move that fast.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

with one hand...

You know the expression, "I can do that with one hand behind my back"? That has lost all meaning for me. Pretty much everything I do, I could do with one hand behind my back. That's the beauty in having a useless left hand.

Now that presents a dilemma; do I stop using that expression, or do I run it in to the ground?

"Build a website in a day? I could do that with one hand tied behind my back".

"Cook dinner for a dozen people? I could do that with one hand tied behind my back"

"Blog about a rare motor neuron disease? I could do that with one hand tied behind my back."

Yeah, I'll stop using that expression. I'm already sick of it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

a comedy of errors / a tragedy of gravity

I kicked my week off with a bang. Actually it was more of a thud, followed by a short slide.

Sunday night I set my Cross Check up in winter mode - changed the 46 tooth chainring to a 43, swapped the 16 tooth freewheel for a 15 fixed gear, tightened all the bolts on my fenders & rack, swapped clipless for flat pedals and greased the hell out of everything.

My Monday morning commute was cold but uneventful. No bonehead drivers cut me off, there weren't any slick spots to avoid. Everything went fine until I was literally 70 feet from the office, when all hell broke loose.

I cross a good size bump as I leave the street & enter the drive that leads to the parking garage. It's a 2 inch lip where the concrete meets the pavement. 99 times out of 100, I ride right over it. One out of 100 times, my pannier gets ejected from the rack & lands in the sidewalk.

Yesterday, my pannier ejected. Since I'm riding fixed now, I can't coast. My left foot came around & knocked the pannier in to the rear wheel. It buckled a support for the fender, which caused the support to snag a spoke, which caused the fender to roll up inside itself & lock the rear wheel.

Right about this time, I found myself momentarily free from the confines of gravity. I was adjusting my glasses when my fender revolted, so I only had my bad hand on the bars. With flat pedals instead of clipless there was nothing holding me to the bike. Thus, I achieved a low orbit for about a half a second...

...followed by a rather harsh landing on my right shoulder. Ouch.

I walked away mostly unscathed. Unfortunately, my rear fender was torn to shreds. The back tire won't spin because of it, so tonight I'll have to take it off & pop a new one on before our next bout of precipitation.

Not to self - keep both hands on handlebars at all times.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

the greatest music video ever, EVER!

Rock, revenge, swords and copious amounts of beer. Perfect.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

snow time is go time

We had a bit of wet snow overnight here in Minneapolis. That means I was able to make some practice snowballs this morning before heading to work.

If you're new to this blog, some neighbor kids challenged me to a snowball fight last summer. Just for fun, I'm taking it seriously.

Making practice snowballs in the basement is good prep, but it can't compare to the real thing. I didn't take in to account how slippery a snowy surface will be. I'll have to start practicing in wool socks on waxed linoleum.

As for the little punks across the street, they don't appear to be practicing at all. I should be able to take them down quickly. Man, I can't wait to pelt their adorable little heads with several pounds of packed snow.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Googling MMA

There's a problem with Monomelic Amyotrophy's abbreviation, MMA. It just dawned on me the other day that, in the parlance of our time, MMA is the standard abbreviation for Mixed Martial Arts fighting. That's the thing where dudes in a chain-link octagon beat the hell out of each other for no apparent reason. From what I can tell, there aren't any rules. Good family fun.

This abbreviation clash sucks, because if you Google "MMA" all you get is dudes doling out beatings. Monomelic Amyotrophy was first identified in the 1960s. Mixed Martial Arts is relatively new. Seems fair that the disease should keep the MMA abbreviation & the blood sport should get a new one.

Here are some suggestions for re-naming Mixed Martial Arts.

HEAT - Homo Erotic Action Throwdown
SLAM - Super Lame Arrogant Machismo
RUDE - Really Unnecessary Dangerous Exercise
PUNCH - Punch Up Nuts, Chin, Head

I could go on...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Let there be rock

UPS delivered my spiffy new electronic drum kit this afternoon! Hopefully it won't take too long to assemble, as I'd like to be rocking the hell out sooner rather than later. I'll be sure to document the occasion for posterity.

Friday, October 24, 2008

fearful

My greatest fear in life is that some art of mine will end up on Photoshop Disasters and a picture of me will end up on Hot Chicks With Douchebags.

This is what keeps me up at night.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

bring the noise

I just ordered a fancy electronic drum kit. RAWK! I can't wait for that sucker to arrive. I'm going to keep my arms from getting too weak & lay down some funky ass beats at the same time. I may also lay down some dope beats & heavy beats. Possibly even a break beat will make a guest appearance once I figure out 5/4 time.

I used to play guitar & harmonica at the same time, so I'll have to learn simultaneous harmonica & drums. I'm sure it's possible.

In other news, I've heard from 2 more dudes with Monomelic Amyotrophy this week (what's up Ian & Tony!) Which brings the total number of MMA cases I've heard of to eight. I even have a follower of this blog now, so I feel motivated to be funny... or at least spell check this thing.

I created a Facebook group called "People with Monomelic Amyotrophy (MMA)" which thus far only has two members. If you have MMA, quit reading this blog and get your gimpy ass on Facebook. We'll upload photos & share stories and figure out what our similarities are. Lord knows the medical & pharmaceutical industries aren't going to help us out. There just isn't enough money to be made from 8 guys who have trouble tying shoes & opening jars.

Monday, October 20, 2008

RAWK!!!

I freakin' LOVE the game Rock Band! I played it for the first time this weekend (on an x-box 360 console & 46" HD TV) while visiting friends in Iowa City.

I've played Guitar Hero before, but always managed to suck it up. Even when my left hand still worked OK, and I was still playing guitar, I couldn't get beyond the medium level without getting booed off the stage.

With rock band I tried playing the bass lefty on Easy & got booed off the stage in under a minute. I could finger the notes, but couldn't hit the strum bar at the right time. So I tried singing & held my own on Medium. Not bad.

My first attempt on the Drums resulted in 80% on easy for the Weezer song "Say it Ain't So". I moved up to Medium & scored an 88%. Better. I moved up to Hard & scored another 88%.

How did I rock the drums with a gimpy hand, you ask? Rubber bands. Check it:

After a break for dinner & several hoppy refreshing beverages, my "bandmates" and I went for broke on expert level. (Incidentally, I decided our band name should be the "Gutter Sluts") On attempt number 5 or 6, we finally made it through "Say it Ain't So" on the Expert level. Behold our bitchin' score:

Awww, yeah! 85% on expert after less than 3 hours of playing. Granted, this is one of the easier songs. I tried drumming to a difficult one & bombed out after 30 seconds.

I looked around online for stories about people using Rock Band for physical rehab, but couldn't find any. I worked my arm all evening without even realizing I was doing it! There is definitely a drum kit in my future. I think I'll get one of those electronic ones that uses headphones. I'm sure Marney & the cats will appreciate it.

Of course, I couldn't have rocked without my band mates.

Hopefully we'll get in a world tour before the usual drug & groupie-fueled lifestyle tears us apart, only to reunite on VH-1 in 20 years. I'm guessing talented guitar god Matt will be the one who says "It used to be about the music, man!" while Dr. Andrew will get all the chicks as lead singer. That leaves me with booze, pills, or heroin... or a combination of the three. It's going to be a wild ride.

Friday, October 17, 2008

schwag

I love winning stuff.

After the Chicago triathlon, I didn't stick around for awards. I didn't have a particularly good race, we had to check out of the hotel, and I didn't know if there were PC division awards. Also, I was in a bad mood because the bike course was a disaster with potholes & pavement cracks everywhere. My forearms hurt from bunny hopping holes in the aero position. Ever bunny hop while traveling 23mph and steering with your elbows? It's scary.

Anyhoo, I received a FedEx package this week which contained my Chicago awards(I finished 2nd in the PC division). Second place was good enough for a big ass silver medal, a TYR duffel bag, silicone swim cap, and goggles. Far out! I'd have hung out for the awards if I knew I had goodies coming.

Chicago will have to make some changes before I race there again. 9000 people is way too many for that course to support. If the cut the field to 4000 or less, completely resurfaced the bike course & changed it from 2 laps to 1, I'd go back.

Racing a debacle like that makes me realize how good we have it in Minnesota. From June-August there are 2 or 3 races every weekend. The big ones like Lifetime are just as well run as small races like Lake Minnetonka. We've got it good.

Monday, October 6, 2008

DNF

Welcome to Coldsville. Population: me.

Yesterday I had a big fat Did Not Finish at the Twin Cities Marathon. Everything was going well through mile five. I was right on pace, ticking of 7:20 miles. Then the light mist turned in to a light rain. My left arm got cold. Really cold. By mile 7, the light rain was a regulation downpour. By mile 8, my left arm was totally numb & totally useless. It just hung lifelessly for the rest of the race.

Mile 9 as the last time I grabbed a drink. Despite wearing warm gloves, my right hand got too cold to function. I fumbled for a GU, but couldn't pull open the tiny velcro closure on my shorts pocket. I tried grabbing water at miles 11 & 13, but couldn't hold on to a cup.

At 35th Ave I figured I could continue for 2.5 miles & hop off the course at a medical tent, or turn around & run 2.5 miles home. Continuing meant getting wrapped in a space blanket & waiting for the sag wagon to take me to the finish. Going home meant hopping in a hot shower and calling Marney so she wouldn't stick around the finish waiting for me. Easy call.

So, I ended up running 17 miles & change in 2 hours & change. At least I'll recover quickly & be on the bike or roller skis quickly. Next time it rains in a race, I'll have to wear some neoprene kayaking gloves or something. That or duct tape little chemical hand warmers to both sides of my thumb.

Monday, September 29, 2008

snowball fight preparations

I got duped last night. The six year old neighbor who recently challenged me to a snowball fight stopped by. He said he was selling x-mas wreaths for his cub scout troop.

But that's pure BS. The kid was doing recon.

I gotta say, I'm impressed. He was even wearing a little cub scout uniform. I need to do some background... find out if there really is a troop 120 in Minneapolis. I doubt it. I don't yet know what intel he was after. I'm guessing he was looking for evidence of my basement snowball practice range.

Good thing I had the electrician come in the middle of the night to wire a 240 volt connection for my new industrial shaved ice maker. The jig would have been up if the kid caught wind of that.

I noticed him "pet the cats" before he left. Nice try, junior. I know you were really checking that pair of gloves by the door to see if they were wet from packing practice snowballs.

Like I'd leave my snowball gloves by the front door. Amateur.

It's so freakin' on this winter.

Friday, September 26, 2008

weirdest dream ever

I've had some strange dreams in my life. I'm dreamed in foreign languages, in black & white, with subtitles, and I once had a dream with credits at the end. But the dream I had last night blew all of that away.

In this dream, I was at my parents' house in Illinois, and most of my extended family was there. For some reason, I was talking about selling our car & buying Surly Big Dummy. I postulated that I could run all the errands I currently do in the station wagon with the Dummy since it has tons of cargo capacity. Given the chance, I'd loose a car in favor of a cargo bike.

This is where things stop making sense.

My uncle Steve says something to the effect of "Well that will never work. You can't carry cargo on a bike, and you'll probably get hit by a car!"

At this point in the dream, my uncle Steve has morphed in to John McCain. Seriously. He's wearing the standard-issue Republican outfit; Navy suit, white shirt, red tie & American flag pin. I think all of the McCain TV ads are getting to me. I'm more than a little freaked out by this.

Anyway, I tell McCain, "A Big Dummy can totally take the place of a car. I'll show you." And we proceed to walk down to Nokomis Cycles. This the bike shop closest to my house in Minneapolis, so the dream has shifted there. I know it's weird, but just go with it.

So we walk in to the shop & I say to Dwight, the owner, "Hey Dwight. I need to take a Dummy for a spin." Dwight says, "OK, but you need to wear a helmet." So he grabs a couple of helmets off the shelf & hands them to McCain & I. Dwight is a great guy. He's even looking out for me in my unconscious state.

McCain & I hop on the bike & head out. I'm pedaling, he's riding on the snap deck. If the mental image of that doesn't make you laugh your ass off, you may be dead.

I decide to go to the Home Depot off hwy 77 & 66th street to prove the awesomeness that is Surly bikes. Surlys truly are fantastic. I really want to get a Conundrum next, but Marney said she won't be seen with me if I'm on a unicycle. I even named one of our cats Surly. Surly the cat likes cheese, bacon, and he farts a lot. He's also terribly uncoordinated and falls off the coffee table on a weekly basis. I love that fuzzy little stink bomb.

Back to the dream - McCain is impressed by how many people yell out "sweet bike!" as we cruise down Cedar Ave. He's starting to warm to the idea of bikes as cargo carriers.

Once at Home Depot (I wish we would have gone to my local store Hudson's ACE - but what are you going to do?) we lock up the Big Dummy, grab a cart & do some shopping. We bought like, 5 gallons of paint, a six foot ladder & some 2x4s. At the check-out, McCain said "Oh, let me get this." and put the purchase on his AmEx.

Once all of our booty was stashed safely in the Xtracycle bags we headed for home. Upon arrival, McCain said, "Well you proved me wrong. I guess you really can get by with a bike instead of a car."

Then we went inside, where McCain helped my wife & I paint our living room. After painting for a half hour or so, Surly the cat jumped on my back and I woke up.

Wow. The WTF-ness of this dream is just staggering. Even though I'm a cynical bastard when it comes to politics, it's nice to know that the part of me that believes there's good in all of us hasn't died. It's just been relegated to my dreams where it converts warmongers to bike fans.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

get pissed

I F'n hate celebrity gossip shows, especially TMZ. The bastards decided to pick on Mathew McConnaughey by using PC athlete (and world championship qualifier)JP Theberge.

USAT PC Committee Co-chair J. Beeson has asked PC athletes to politely let TMZ know they're a bunch of wankers. I'll be letting them know... but there will be nothing polite in my message.

Monday, September 22, 2008

this motor neuron disease is trippy

You know what's really nutty about monomelic amyotrophy? You can see it.

Granted, you can't see it in the literal, microscopic, holy-crap-there-goes-another-neuron sense, but you still get to watch it in action.

Hypothetically... say you have cancer. You know it's in an internal organ. You know it hurts. It's beneath your skin (assuming it's not skin cancer) and you don't have to look at it.

As I sit here, my tricep is going crazy. It's twitching around like you wouldn't believe. It's twitching because the motor neuron that tells that muscle either "FIRE!" or "chill, baby" is dying. As a result, my tricep gets pieces of info that cause it to spasm uncontrollably.

Remember the movie Crimson Tide where the nuclear sub gets part of a transmission about firing it's ICBMs? Gene Hackman & Denzel Washington go nuts about whether or not to launch the nukes? They totally freak out & try to arrest each other as they inch closer to all out armageddon. One of them wants to launch, one wants to wait for confirmation. Well, that's what's goin' down in my tricep.

Except my tricep isn't as devastatingly handsome as Denzel, as ferocious of an actor as Hackman, and - to my knowledge - not as radioactive as a nuclear sub.

Anyway - here's to hoping (raises a beverage of some sort) you never have to watch a disease lay waste to an appendage. I don't know for sure, but I have a feeling that out-of-sight truly is out-of-mind when it comes to an ailment whomping on your person.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

if its war they want, its war they'll get

A funny thing happened after a run earlier this week. A 6 year old challenged me to a snowball fight. Seriously.

I was stretching in front of the house after an hour long run. It was 80 degrees. The kid across the street said "Hi Colin." and then layed this on me;

"This winter we're going to have a snowball fight, and its going to be my house against your house. So you better get ready."

Then his three year old sister pipes up with "We're having a snowball fight and you better be ready."

Damn right I'll get ready. Those little punks are going down!

The three year old has a twin brother, so they easily out number me. I'm guessing Marney won't assist me in crushing the neighbor kids - so I'm on my own. Six small hands can prepare ammo faster than my hand & a half. Ever try making a snowball one-handed? It ain't easy.

What I lack in numbers, I can make up for in range. Six year olds can't chuck a snowball more than 20 feet, and there's at least 25 feet of road between us. I have the additional advantage of controlling the high ground. Our front yard is a good 3 or 4 vertical feet above the neighbors. My plan is to prepare a bunch of snowballs in advance, then lob them at the kids artillery style.

I'll need to take the six year old out first, he's the tactician. The twins don't have much snowball fight experience. The kid's main weakness is his eyesight. He wears glasses, so a few direct hits to the face will knock off his specs, or at least make them difficult to see through. With their commander unable to give orders, the twins will be easy targets.

You may think pelting children with snowballs is mean. Well they started it. I'll do my best to only knock out their baby teeth.

I'm going to set up some sort of snowball range in the basement. I need to work on my accuracy. Three year old kids have tiny heads which are hard to peg from a distance. I might even hire a pitching coach.

Those kids won't know what hit 'em.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

i know some pretty amazing people, but this takes the cake

Many of my friends from college have reached amazing career highs in less than ten years. I know MBAs, attorneys, business owners & more than one person with the prefix "Dr."

I'm happy to say a fellow Art major from Luther is currently the one blowing my mind. If you were to go to Barak Obama's website, and visit his online store, you'd find this T-shirt for sale.

The shirt is part of a celebrity-designed collection for Obama. While the design is attributed to Beyoncé Knowles' label, House of Deron, anyone who was at Luther College in 1999 will immediately recognize it as the work of Scott Nylund.

Scott is the Design Director for all three of Beyoncé's fashion lines. Design Director. I've never met an art director who was younger than 40, and Scott is directing 3 labels less than 10 years after graduating. Groove on that.

The reason anyone who was at Luther in '99 will recognize his work is due to his senior show posters. His illustrated models still strike the same poses they did in college. His senior runway fashion show will never be topped.

The two of us worked together on a T-shirt design for a big frat party (Trout Fry '99, for those of you who went to Luther). I will now forever be bragging about that shirt. "Oh you saw Tom Hanks at the airport? Well I once collaborated with Beyoncé's design director. Bow down, bitch."

Bow down indeed. Fine work, Mr. Nylund.

more Paralympic news

There's a good article in the Strib today by Jim Souhan. It's about shot & discus paralympian Scott Winkler.

Winkler tried out all sorts of sports at the USOC sports camp. I gotta find out if there is one of those for non-military athletes!

Monday, September 15, 2008

time to start stopping

Yesterday I performed minor surgery to my Karate Monkey's rear brake lever.

I straightened it out a bit using a bench vice & a bar clamp for leverage. I mainly use the vice for opening jars of salsa, so it was nice to once again have a legitimate use for the thing.

The dual lever setup worked well in early backyard tests. I'll take it out on the trails after the Twin Cities Marathon & see how it works. I can ride most of the stuff around here with just a front brake. The real test will be biking Decorah. They have some of the most sadistic trails in the mid west down there.

A suspension fork might be necessary before I try riding Decorah again. Last year, Dead Pet (awesome name for a trail, no?) chewed me up & spit me out. I think it kept one of my collar bones.

Friday, September 12, 2008

new toy

I learned recently that there's a 40% chance that monomelic amyotrophy will affect (is it affect or effect? I never can remember how to use those) the opposite limb to a lesser degree. Turns out I'm part of that 40%. My thumb web muscle has started to atrophy over the last few weeks. My right hand grip strength has decreased to 70 pounds of force. Last year it was in the 90-95lb range.

I don't often (ever) try to lift anything over 70lbs, so I don't really notice it. My chopstick form has gone to hell, but that's the only detriment thus far.

In an attempt to limit my losses, I bought a new toy. I'm hoping the Grip Saver Plus by Metolius will do as it's name implies and save my grip.

I've played with it twice now, and it doe a nice job of working all of the forearm muscles. Hopefully it will help me retain my legendary kung fu grip.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

hit & run

from the Strib: Bicyclist killed in hit and run near Lake Calhoun.

Find the person responsible. Do not call the police. Call me. I'm coming over with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

criminal triathlete

From the Star Tribune. I swear this wasn't me.

Criminal 'triathlete' flees Minneapolis police

Authorities say a would-be thief led Minneapolis police on a chase through water and on land.

Police say the man was caught trying to steal items from inside a car last Thursday in the 25-hundred block of Hennepin Avenue. The owner of the car saw the man inside her vehicle and called police. Authorities say the man took off on a bicycle.

Police later spotted the suspect on Girard Avenue, at the south side of Lake of the Isles. Authorities say the suspect ran, and then jumped into Lake Calhoun. He swam to a nearby sailboat that was docked in the lake.

Police negotiated with the man to swim back to shore. When he eventually agreed, police arrested him and took the man into custody.

He's being held on suspicion of fleeing police and motor vehicle tampering.

Monday, August 18, 2008

first place, Women 30-34?

I won the women's 30-34 age group at the Lake Marion Tri yesterday. That's right. Women 30-34.

When I picked up my packet they had me listed as a man. Apparently the timing guys thought I looked a little femmey on race morning. Not sure how that mix-up occured, but they had me categorized as a chick.

I should have worn my wetsuit despite the 80 degree water temp. I swam a 21:18 750 meters, or 2:36/100yd pace. I've never swam that slow in my life! There was a headwind for part of the course, but I can't believe it slowed me down that much.

The bike was surprisingly hilly & windy. I averaged 21mph for 20K - pretty slow. The run was non stop rolling hills. Easily the toughest 5K I've run. I turned in a cruddy 20:30 or 6:36 pace. Granted, I did a tempo run on Saturday & this race was just a tune up for Chicago next weekend, but a 20:30? Ouch.

The pressure is off for Chicago. Aaron Scheities (blind guy & PC Tri world record holder) will be competing. It's a given that he'll stomp the tar out of the rest of us even if he has a bad day. He's the only PC triathlete to ever break 2 hours.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

G'day! I mean b-day

My sister emailed me a birthday limerick. It's way too rad to not share.

I once knew an athletic man,
Who developed an ingenious plan:
Stay physically fit
And "oldness" won't hit!
But then he turned thirty, so it turned out he was wrong, because even though he was still in good shape, he was SOOOO OLD!!!!!

The literati greats have nothing on Anna. Take that, Proust!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I'm growing a hipster beard. Please sandblast my face.

I forgot to bring a razor to work this morning. As such, I'm now sporting a scruffy look. My little "soul patch" below my lower lip appears to grow faster than the rest of my beard.

I look like a hipster. Lord help me.

I already ride a single speed bike, which is very hipster-ish. At least it's not a fixie. Those are uber-hipsterish. Now I'm working on a soul patch 'I'm too cool to shave' look.

All I need are some tight pants, black socks & a white belt to complete the look. And maybe some PBR. The hipster beverage of choice. Hipsters, if you're reading this, High Life is a tastier cheap beer. Consider switching.

If you see me biking home today, please tackle & shave me. I'll leave my sidburns' length to your discretion. I think they're short enough to still be cool.

See? I said 'cool' instead of 'deck'. A true hipster would have said 'deck'. I don't know how deck became the new cool. I've been too busy shaving & not wearing vintage Chuck Taylors to keep up with the modern lexicon.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

more press

I'm telling you, 2008 is the year for people with disabilities! I mentioned the BBC TV show & US commercials in an earlier post. There's also the upcoming film Quid Pro Quo and Sarah Reinertsen just got some more press on the cover of Twin Cities Sports. That woman is unstoppable! I need her PR machine.

I'm also doing my part to spread the word that gimpy athletes are out there & prepared to demolish your healthy ass in any athletic endeavor. I was interviewed last month for Mid West Events magazine & this week I'm featured on my alma mater's News page. (thanks, Julie!)

It's a far cry from magazine covers or national TV spots, but they say any publicity is good publicity.

Spread the word. Triathletes armed with three or fewer working limbs are coming for you. We can not be stopped. We can not be slowed down. The podium is our goal. We may or may not devour your soul in the process.

Monday, August 4, 2008

gone

Two weeks ago, Nick Huber died. For those who didn't know him, he was a fellow Luther Communications major who graduated 2 years after me.

To my knowledge, we never met. Luther was a pretty small school, so odds are we bumped in to each other at least once. We did email back & forth a bit - mostly about the similarities in our disabilities and international soccer matches.

For two weeks I've been trying to think of something to write about him. I think there's a temptation to eulogize someone when they're gone, even if you didn't know them well. I didn't want to do that.

So, I'll just say that Nick was a funny guy & I loved his politics. He was passionate about supporting ALS research, so throw a buck or two their way if you can spare it.

The link on the right, "Nick - fighting ALS like a mo-fo" is staying up to spread the word.

Friday, August 1, 2008

ouch.

The Friday morning 15.5-16 mile run is in the bag. 2:06 total running time. I'm tired. Like, beyond the help of coffee tired. I should have stopped on the way to work to procure some amphetamines... or a red bull.

My sleepiness isn't being helped by my musical choice. I've been listening to Elliott Smith for the last 45 minutes. Here's a pretty tune for your enjoyment.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

something new

In a radical departure from my regular training schedule, I'm doing a 16 miler tomorrow (friday) morning. 6:00 AM start at the lake Harriet band shell with running Kevin. I always have to specify my Kevins when talking to Marney. There's running Kevin, MDRA Kevin, and Luther Kevin. Coincidentally, they're all about the same height & all three have 2 kids.

I've never started a long run that early, and I've never done one on a Friday. Hopefully they'll be some gas left in my tank for the Hennepin Lake 10K & 5K on Sunday. That will be a new experience too. I've done 2 races on the same day before (cyclocross & cross country) but never two running races. I suspect it will hurt.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

good morning

I've decided to say good morning more often. On my daily bike commute I see at least 50 other bikers, most of them on the Midtown Greenway. If I make eye contact with an oncoming cyclist, I'll give them a nod. When passing aanother biker, I say "on your left".

This morning I passed a woman on the bike superhighway & she said "good morning". It actually took me by surprise. I sort of stammered out a 'good morning' in reply.

Which got me to thinking, why don't I say 'hello' or 'good morning' to everyone? There I am, out in the fresh air instead of stuck in car, on a beautiful summer day, and I'm ignoring everyone I see. Strange.

I have noticed that cyclists and runners (myself included) act different if the weather sucks. The worse the conditions, the friendlier we become. The last time I rode home in a thunderstorm everyone was saying hi. I was chatting with other bikers at stop lights. Last January I ran 8 miles on a 15 below zero morning. Runners were practically shouting 'good morning' from 50 feet away. It's like an "I'm crazy, you're crazy, let's be buddies" type of thing.

Anyway, I'm going to say good morning more often.

Friday, July 25, 2008

fun things to do when you have a rare motor neuron disorder

Step 1) When explaining your motor neuron disorder to someone, be specific. Give them a bunch of details.

Step 2) Wait for that person to say something to the effect of, "Wow, that really sucks."

Step 3) Respond with "Yeah, but the worst part is it's really contagious. You should probably wash your hands soon."

Step 4) Enjoy their panicky expression for no longer than 2 seconds. One to two seconds is funny. Three or more & you're just being a dick. Don't be a dick, man. You're better than that.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

top 5

My top five complete albums - the ones that are so good you don't ever skip a single song (in no particular order):

1) Exile on Main Street, The Rolling Stones - Bluesy, gospely, rocking goodness recorded on both sides of the pond. I want "Let it Loose" played at my funeral. It sounds like goodbye. If I ever make a movie, "Shine a Light" will play over the end credits.

2) Ben Folds Five, Ben Folds Five - Punk rock for sissies at it's finest. "The Last Polka" is one of the best break-up songs ever.

3) American Beauty, The Grateful Dead - Folky perfection on every track.

4) Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles - Probably the greatest thing ever recorded. I remember playing 3 albums as a kid (once I learned how to operate the record player) Sgt. Pepper's, Paul Simon's Graceland & Harry Nillson's The Point. I remember very little from the latter two, but I can still remember what the Beatles album jacket smelled like. "A Day in the Life" was a mind-blowing opus when I was 6.

The final spot could go to almost anything by Radiohead, Wilco, Elliott Smith or Velvet Underground. But I'm rounding out the list with...

5) Sticky Fingers, The Rolling Stones - A great mix of blues & country. From the coked-up sound of "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" to the slow burn of "Moonlight Mile", not a single track disappoints.

Monday, July 21, 2008

cute overload

This past weekend I took a break from racing & did some volunteering at the Miracle Kids Triathlon at Lake Nokomis. It was about the cutest thing I've ever seen.

I started at 7:00 with race setup. That involved a few hours of hammering re-bar in to the ground for fencing. During the morning I met up with a couple of bike course volunteers. I biked to the lake, so I figured I'd give them a hand too once the race was underway.

I'm glad I did. I rode one lap of the race the same direction the kids were racing, then reversed direction & rode 4 more laps. My job was to cheer them on & help out with any mechanical issues or crashes. Watching an hour worth of little kids hammering away on tiny bmx bikes was just adorable. There were some older kids with road bikes who were out there to win. I think there were far more kids in the 10 & under division, and they were more fun to watch. Big smiles all around.

The second kid out of T1 was a girl riding an upright comfort bike. One of the volunteers said she was 12 years old, riding between 17-21mph AND she was chatting away the entire time! There's a future pro in the making.

There's another Miracle Kids tri August 16 in Chanhassen. Volunteer if you're near by. It's a fun time.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'm a traveler of both time and space...

Need a workout that rocks? How about doing 8 minute abs to Led Zeppelin's 'Kashmir'?


In other news of the awesome, this cat Bobby McMullen is a badass downhill mountain biker. He's also blind.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I just talked to Simon Whitfield...

...and it was freakin AWESOME!

For all a y'all not in the know, Simon Whitfield is a badass. He's a Canadian national champ, an Olympic champ, and just won the Lifetime Fitness Tri last Saturday.

I walked in to Gear West with my wetsuit to get some cement. I tore it a little on Saturday. Kevin (GW owner) was talking bike splits with a bunch of dudes. I grabbed the cement & proceeded to the counter, where I pulled out my wetsuit & asked the guy working (Drew, I think) if it would do the job.

I don't know if the conversation turned to disabled athletes or what, but Kevin asked "Hey Colin, what's that thing you have?" I said "It's called Monomelic Amyotrophy" and Kevin explained to this group of pros that it makes my left arm weak. Aparently there's a guy in town who had something similar in his leg as a kid. I stuck my arms out to show them & tried to wiggle my fingers a bit.

The guys then went back to their conversation, except for one who was genuinely concerned about my arm. He asked me some questions about it, I explained how it affects my swimming, and after a minute it dawned on me that I was talking to one of the greatest triathletes in the world.

We shot the breeze for a bit, then Simon examined my wetsuit & gave me some repair tips. It took every ounce of restraint I had to not flip out like a geeky fanboy.

For the record, Simon Whitfield is awesome. He's a funny dude, he's fast as hell, and he'll tell you how to repair a QR Hydrofull...and you don't even have to ask.

Proof the man rules:

Sunday, July 13, 2008

gut bomb

Lifetime was a huge disappointment for me this year. I came out of the water in 35 minutes, which was about where I thought I'd be. T1 went well. I felt good on the bike. In retrospect, I went a little too hard in to the wind. I came off the bike in 1:09 and change, which is my second fastest bike split ever.

Then came the run. I don't know what happened, but after 200 meters it felt like a grenade went off in my stomach. It was the worst cramping I have ever experienced. I actually dry-heaved a few times. I took a little sip of water at each aid station, and started to feel better at mile 4. By mile 4.5 my cramp came back in a bad way, and I was forced to walk for the first time ever in an Olympic distance event.

I ended up running a 48:49 10K. I should have been 10-11 minutes faster. The biggest disappointment was that I did a ton of speedwork & hill workouts to prepare for this race, and none of it mattered because I cramped so bad.

It's quite a shock to go from an age group win & 16th overall last year to 39th in my age group and 256th overall. Last year I went sub-2:20,this year I finished in 2:38 and change.

At the finish I bumped in to my tri-buddy Bart. Before the race he asked how my arm was doing. After the race, when I told him it didn't go well, he said "Well, at least you're still out here racing." I need to keep telling myself that.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

et tu, blue jeans?

My days of button fly jeans are coming to a close. What's that, you say? Who wears button fly jeans anymore? I do, dammit! For whatever reason, button flys always fit the best.

Long story long, I can't grip the fly side tight enough to make it through all the buttons without resting. Believe you-me, you get strange looks when you take a jean buttoning breather.

The Lifetime Fitness Tri (my favorite race) is in 2 days. MMA really blows my mind. I can't button pants, but I can race a triathlon. I can swim a mile, but I can't tie my shoes if my hand gets cold.

Hopefully the new QR Hydrofull wetsuit will keep my arm warm enough to function in T1. I'll also be debuting new Look pedal cleats with rubber grips on the bottom. Those will be a nice confidence booster on the run through T1.

In other news, this may be the most creative thing I've ever seen:

This guy made a bunch of old redundant computer hardware perform the song "Nude" by Radiohead (skip ahead to 1:30 to get to the tune). The scanner as a bass is pure genius. I love this kind of stuff.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

commuterriffic

There's a good story in the Strib today about the increase in bike commuting in the Twin Cities.

I can definitely tell the difference. Last year I'd see 15-20 other riders in the morning, now I see close to 50. Good stuff.

Now lets get some ZPG patches on those bike commuters!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

amputee...or sexutee?

This is interesting.

The BBC has a reality show for models with disabilities. Of course it follows the standard reality template - do something silly, have your picture taken, have your picture over analyzed by blowhards, get voted off.

My money is on Jenny. She's the lone American on the show. She was rejected as an America's Next Top Model contestant because of the way she walks (due to partial paralysis). I hope she earns the right to tell that nut job Tyra to shove it.

People with disabilities are edgy this year. First there was the deaf-produced Pepsi ad:


Then came the Sarah Reinertsen Lincoln commercial:


And now a group of disabled babes have their own reality show.

Someone let me know if there's ever an "America's Hottest Gimpy Guy" show. Me & my shrinky-dink left arm would totally rock that bitch.

Monday, June 30, 2008

hitting the hills

Tonight is hill workout number 2 of 4 I want to get in before the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon. Hopefully I'll see the results in my run split in 2 weeks.

This is the first time in a long time that I've done speedwork. I've gotta say... it sucks. For a guy that loves racing, I hate going fast.

Going fast is OK, it's the aiming for a certain pace or heart rate that drives me nuts. It kind of sucks the fun out of it for me. Most of the triathletes I know can't get enough training data. They've got Powertap wheels & GPS/heart rate combo meters & they know their lactate threshhold & max heart rate...

I know my tires have 120 psi in them & the start/split & stop/reset buttons on my watch stick, so I try not to press them once I get it going. I also know running up a long hill makes my lungs & legs hurt, so it's probably good for me.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Oh. Hell. Yeah.

My second tri of the year went considerably better than the first. Last time I was 10th in my age group, this time I won it.

First place, Men 25-29, Lake Minnetonka Triathlon. Ahh, sweet redemption.
The swim was better than last time by about 2 minutes. I didn't go as far off course as last time, and the water was quite a bit warmer. I didn't wear a watch this race, which was the best idea I've had in a while. Mentally, I felt like I had a chance at placing. I wouldn't have been so optimistic if I knew I had a 15:40-something swim.

T-1 was a little slow, I fumbled with my sunglasses a bit. I put my bike shoes on in transition this time around. It worked well, but I should have practiced running in bikes shoes. The Look cleats were a bit wobbly. I might try Speedplay pedals next time.

Bike was OK. The wind picked up on the second half of the out & back course which slowed me down a bit. My new aero bar brake lever was a huge asset. It came in handy on a few sweeping corners when I had to scrub just a little speed. Hydration went well.

T-2 would have been awesome, but I had trouble getting a shoe on. I can't grip the tongue tight enough to really whip the shoe on, so I end up smooshing the tongue down in to the toe box. Now I have an excuse to get some of those fancy one-piece Zoot tri shoes. Solid.

I wasn't too thrilled with my 18:33 run. I think I could have gone low 18 or high 17. But, it really doesn't matter a whole lot in the grand scheme of things.

The Lake Minnetonka tri is really a fantastic event. It's the most beginner-friendly race I've ever done. The race director gives out ridiculously huge trophies to the top 5 overall, and fairly huge trophies to the age group winners. I was carrying mine left-handed on the walk back to the car, and had to to stop & rest several times so I wouldn't drop it.

If, after a race, your only complaint is that the trophy you just won is too heavy... life is pretty sweet.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Is no-hands the new fixed gear?

What is it with no-hands bike riding this spring?! Over the last few weeks I've noticed a ton of people riding around upright, not hanging on to the handlebars.

Everyone is doing it! This morning I saw a high school kid on a mountain bike, a tight-pants hipster on a cruiser, and a 40-ish spandex-clad roadie all riding no handed. Of course, they were swerving all over the path like drunken idiots.

So, is no hands the new fixie? At least fixie riders hang on to the handelbars. They may be brakeless, but they can hold a straight line. That seems safer to me that the wobbly no-handed style that's getting very popular as of late.

Let's be careful out there.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

what the?

This makes no sense.

A bridge is closed because it may be unsafe, but the re-opened to vehicles but not bikes or pedestrians. What!?! How the hell can a bridge be safe for a 3000 pound SUV, but not a 160 pound runner or 200 pound guy on a bike?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

well that couldda gone better

Well, my first tri of the year was pretty much a train wreck. It started off with an 18 minute half mile swim. Ouch. That used to take less than 14 minutes.

I followed that up by spending the first half mile of the bike trying to fasten my left shoe. I leave my shoes on the pedals in transition, then velcro them as I ride. It wasn't a problem at the Gear West Du since I was wearing gloves. However, the 58 degree water made my hand too cold to grip the strap. Local rockstar & Kona veteran Anthony told me after the race that putting bike shoes on in transition works best for him. I've seen more than one guy slip & fall while running through T1 in a smooth soled tri shoe. But, if it Works for Anthony, I'll give it a shot. The transition area at my next race (Lake Minnetonka) is grass, so traction should be OK.

So, after 17 miles of biking with my shoe strap flapping in the breeze, I arrived in T2 and hit the run. I wasn't motivated to go very fast since I knew how far behind I was. That lead me to a revelation; no more watch wearing while racing. If I think I'm still a contender, I'll be more likely to hammer on the bike & run.

As my swim wave headed in to the starting corral I saw an above the elbow amputee. I looked for him after the race, but couldn't track him down. I gotta find that cat & see what transition tips he has!

Friday, June 6, 2008

fit to print

This just in...I'm being interviewed for Midwest Events Magazine! Hopefully I'll say something interesting enough that they'll publish the interview.

Manitou Sprint is this Sunday - it will be my first tri of the year. I'm expecting to swim well for about 200 yards, the fall apart. Water temp is about 60 degrees, and I have a sleeveless wetsuit. I'll be lucky if I can lift my left arm out of the water by the halfway point!

Monday, June 2, 2008

when last I rocked

Last Friday, I was playing cards with my wife & enjoying some nice tunes from my iPod.

Then a song came along and ruined my day.

And I absolutely love the song that ruined my day. It was "Get Off" by the Dandy Warhols. They are among the damn finest bands you'll find. Here's why hearing them sucked...

As soon as I heard "Get Off", I realized something terrible. That was the last song I played when I was able to play the standard, "right-handed" guitar.

In January of 2007, I knew my left hand was dying. My guitar playing was quickly going to shit. So...when I determined the end was near...I took stock of the chords I could play. I knew immediately what the best option was. It was the Dandys.

On a night in January, when my wife worked late & I had the house to myself, I rocked the hell out. I cranked that track on the stereo & played along. At the time, it was my final farewell to guitar. I played that tune at least 6 times in a row. I sang the lead & harmony alternately. I played guitar behind my head. I tried to blow the windows out of the house. I rocked it out like I had mere months to live...because I thought I had months to live

Hearing that ditty the other day was just sad. I have never missed guitar like that. While my wife dealed cards, I pretended to tear up due to a pollen allergy. That wasn't the case.

I'd honestly give another limb, just to make a little psychadelic prog-rock again. Man, I wish I could play that song.

Dandys rule, OK?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

oops

One of the drawbacks of typing one-handed (did I mention I type one-handed now? Well I do.) is that I make a lot of typos...like my own email address on my own f'n website! Lord, this is embarrassing.

Anyhoo, if'n you've tried to contact me & got a returned message try farbco01@gmail.com. I promise to be more vigilant in my spell checking henceforth.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

There will be Guac

Last post I put out a call for everyone to drop what they were doing & invent an avocado-scooper-outer so I could continue making guacamole. Turns out it already exists:

The avocado gods have smiled upon me. By avocado gods, I mean my friend Ali, who sent me this link.

Wouldn't it be something if I actually prayed before the altar of avocado gods? Why in the world would I need polytheistic sub-tropical fruit deities? You think one avocado lord would be enough. Oh well, it still wouldn't be as weird as Scientology.

In tri-related news, Strib columnist Stephen Regenold has a great writeup on the growth of youth triathlons. Good stuff.

In not related to anything news, this track is blowing my mind:

It's a techno mix comprised almost entirely out of audio from Alice in Wonderland. I don't particularly like techno, but I can't stop listening to this track. It's just so freakin' chill. If I pulled a Lewis Carroll & took hallucinogenic drugs, this would be the soundtrack to my trip. Of course I won't do that, because drugs are bad. Just say no, kids.

Friday, May 23, 2008

catastrophy!

Over the last year & a half I've gotten used to not being able to do lots of stuff. Last night I got hit with a bombshell.

I couldn't scoop out an avocado to make guacamole!!

I'll give you a moment to compose yourself...

Now then, my recipe called for 2 avocados. I scooped one and a half successfully. By the last half, my left arm was too tired to finish the job. Fortunately, Marney (my wife) came to my rescue. She also bailed me out on a ziploc bag-closing emergency. Thanks, sweetie.

I'm putting an open call out to all inventors and crackpots. I need an avocado-scooper-outer machine. A world without fresh guac is not a world I am prepared to live in. This a goddam emergency people!

Drop what you're doing, call in sick, cash in your 401K if you have to. Let's get this scooper-outer built! I'm not letting my guac-making ability fall by the wayside. Not on my watch.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

progress

I'm finally starting to see some gains in my swimming. Last night I did a 1:30 100yd rep at the beginning of my workout and a 1:36 at the end. It's a far cry from the 1:18s I was doing last year, but much better than the 1:50s I was doing in April.

In other news, this guy is trying to sell ad space on his prosthetic leg. Marketing genius.

Monday, May 19, 2008

race recap - Gear West Duathlon

Well, that sucked. I'd like to blame my bad race on the wind, but I can't. I finished something like 5 minutes slower than the last 2 years.

I didn't sign up for the competitive wave, which was my biggest mistake. I went out with the under 35 wave instead. I hung with a group of 4-5 guys at the front...and came into T1 over 2 minutes slower than last year. Great. I should have run with the faster guys.

I thought I was making up time on the windy bike course, but apparently I was not. The last run I had energy, but just couldn't get moving. I finished with enough energy to go out & run another 5K. Not good. Hopefully I'll get my act together by Manitou Sprint.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Yes!!!

Oscar Pistorius (double below-the-knee amputee & 400m runner) won his appeal & can compete in Olympic trials. Sweet! I hope he makes it to the games.

Friday, May 9, 2008

100 mile week in the bag

Piece of cake! Even though I didn't bike at all on Wednesday, I'll still hit 100 miles of commuting this week. When I arrived at work this morning, I was at 92 miles & change. I'll hit 101 or 102 by the time I get home tonight.

Next week is the actual bike to work week. It's also the 150th anniversary for Minnesota's statehood. I'm thinking about commuting 150 miles to mark the occasion.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

most frustrating evening ever.

I had 3 things to do last night, which I guessed would take an hour. I had to put new laces in my race flats, box up a Mother's Day present, and clean my bike chain & check the tires. Everything was going fine, until I ripped the valve stem while removing the pump, causing an irreparable flat.

When I had 2 good hands, I could change a flat in about 3 minutes. Last night I worked on it for almost an hour. Granted, I wasn't changing a well worn kevlar bead race tire. This was a Conti Contact with a wire bead. Side note: This is the best tire ever! I've been riding a 28mm Contact for 3 years and this is the first flat I've had. And the flat was caused by me ripping the tube.

Anyhoo, It took 4 tire levers to get the darn thing off, and 3 to put it back on. I used to use 2 levers for removal & I could push the bead back on with my thumbs.

Which got me to thinking...what would happen if I got a flat during a race? On a short course event, I'd double my bike split! I need to find out if there's some fix-a-flat foam for bike tires. If not, I'll need to sacrifice something to the tire gods before each race.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

slight hiccup

There was a slight problem with my plan to commute 100 miles during bike to work week...bike to work week is next week. Woops. I had to drive today (dentist appointment) but as of last night I'd already pedaled 52.5 miles. Tomorrow I'll be riding downtown for the TC One mile, which will add a bit. On Friday, I'll take the long way to & from work, and maybe run a bike errand over lunch. That should get me in to triple digits.

Maybe next week I'll shoot for 110 commuting miles!

Friday, May 2, 2008

May is a busy month

May is 2 things to two very different groups of people. It is Bike to Work Month and ALS Awareness month. Unfortunately, I doubt there's much cross-over.

I bike to work every month, so nothing really changes for me. The only difference is I'm going to take a slightly longer route on the way home, which will give a weekly tally of 100 miles. It's a more scenic route (Uptown lakes & Minnehaha parkway) than my normal route (midtown greenway, Portland Ave, 42nd Street) so it should be fun.

For ALS month, I'm going to do something this year. I may run a 5K that benefits ALSA, but I need to make sure that's the official race charity. If not, I might just donate to the cause. I spent a year thinking I had ALS, and it was pretty god damn scary. There was more than one occasion when a muscle twitch sent me into a sobbing panic.

Luther alum and sports junkie Nick has some tips on his blog for raising ALS awareness. Check it out.

I recommend getting one of these & wearing it while you bike to work.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

kick ass

Back in the day I was a high jumper. My best was 6' 4". I'm 6' 1". It may sound impressive, but I was a very average high jumper.

Jeff Skiba, on the other hand, is very non-average. This cat recently cleared 7' 1/2"...and he's a below the knee amputee! Groove on that! It's a safe bet that he will be kicking all sorts of ass at the Paralympics this summer.

Well done, Mr. Skiba. A plethora of disabled dudes salutes you.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

5 things I'd totally kill for

1. A 2008 Specialized Transition Pro with Zipp 808s.
2. The ability to do a really good Sean Connery impression.
3. One of everything Surly makes.
4. A Paralympic triathlon in 2012.
5. Wind power at home.

I'm adding one more...the ability to grow an awesome ironic moustache. Yeah I spelled it old school. Deal.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

zip-locked out

My ziplock bag-opening days are done. The meager amount of pinch strength I can generate (around 2 pounds of force) isn't enough to pull the ziplock open.

In most situations like this, I'd just use my teeth to open the bag. Last night the bag was full of marinading raw chicken. The teeth option did not seem like the wisest course of action. I've never had salmonella before, but an epidemiologist friend tells me it's no picnic. Unless your idea of a picnic is spending a day or two on the toilet. Then salmonella is a friggin festival.

In other news, I spent an hour adding 2 links to my bike chain last night. That job used to take 10 minutes. I better love having a 46 tooth chainring on the Cross Check, because I won't be switching back to a 42 for some time.

Friday, April 25, 2008

2 things

First, by Boston marathon recap is up on the MDRA blog.

Second, I need to start working on my guitar pick holder. I was able to hold a pick when I first bought my left-hand Les Paul. However, I can't come close to holding anything anymore so it's time to invent a way to handle a pick. That guitar isn't going to rock itself.

I've already decided what song I'll play first. I'm gonna blow the windows out of the house with this one.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Boston-bound

I'm heading to Boston tomorrow to watch the Women's Olympic Marathon trials. I just got word from my sister-in-law (who is running the trials) that she was bestowed race number 69. Yes!

Now, I don't need an excuse to bust out some totally juvenile humor...but an excuse never hurts. Just how many times I'll yell "Go 69! Woo!" hasn't been decided yet, though I'm sure it will be a lot.

We're shipping up to Boston.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

et tu, doorknob?

I can't open the back door left-handed anymore. The door knob is a little too small for me to get a grip on the thing. It sucks, 'cause I like gettin' in the back door. Am I right guys? Woo!

Lord, I'm going to hear about that one.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I'll never be a stripper now.

Time for another installment of "the things I used to do".

As of yesterday, I'm no longer able to remove my shirt in a sexy way. You know the way, how you cross your arms & grab your t-shirt near your hip bones & slowly peel it up and over your head. Those days are done.

Just taking a shirt off with one functioning hand is tricky. Taking it off un-sexily is just sad.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

worst. commute. ever.

I can't believe I lived through that. 10 miles of biking in to 25-35mph headwinds & crosswinds. Driving snow, rain & hail. Soaked to the bone after 2 miles with a temp of 35 degrees. Usually it takes 25-30 minutes, today it took an hour.

And now there's lightning & thunder to go with the snow and hail. WTF? This has to be a sign of the apocalypse.

love/hate

I love/hate running.


But I love advertising.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

coupla things...

First, my new website is jacked up. My legs don't line up properly on PC browsers. Damn PCs. I'll fix it tonight.

Second, there's a good article in the strib about male athletes shaving their legs. Good stuff.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Monday, April 7, 2008

the things that I used to do...

Time for a recurring feature on this blog..."The things that I used to do." As in, "I won't do them no more." Guitar Slim? Anyone?


Anyway, there's a lot of stuff I can't do anymore. Today my ability to cut & paste on a Mac keyboard left handed finally died. I haven't been able to do it on a PC keyboard for some time.

R.I.P, cut & paste ability. You were taken before your time.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I love this guy...

Jon Comer is a pro skater. He has a prosthetic lower leg.

There's no paralympic skate division.

Respect.

up & running

Behold, in all it's splendor, the monomelic-amyotrophy-tasic blog!

This baby sprang from a post I made on the MDRA blog last year.Not long after making the post another blogger commented on how it took forever for her son to be diagnosed with monomelic amyotrophy. A few months later another woman commented on her boyfriend likely having it, not being able to find info online about it.

I mean, people are googling this motor neuron disorder, and finding a running blog. That's how little info there is out there. All we know is there is no cure or treatment, and there are fewer than 200,0000 cases nation-wide.

And I thought to myself, "That's just nuts."

So that's where
monomelic-amyotrophy-tasic! comes from. I'll be blogging about the disorder, how it impacts everything from swimming to biking to cooking, and I'll even link to pertinent medical research, should any be produced.

I'll no doubt be ranting about other stuff as well. It is an election year after all.