Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wasting Time

I think I got a BlackBerry just because I come very close to going insane when I have idle time. I can now keep it together waiting in line at Kroger's since I can check email and text the kids. I have four hours to kill right now while I wait for the girls to finish dance and even having my lap top hardly takes the edge off the fact I'm wasting time. I could go home but it is an hour drive each way; it's a judgement call. I have errands I can run so I guess I will stay put on this side of town.

I had to work really hard to get the kids out of bed in time for church this morning. I don't remember questioning the merits of religion with my parents like my kids do with me, but I'm sure mom and dad knew what I was thinking and they were just too horrified to discuss it. It's always chaos Sunday mornings and today the kids had to pack their bags for dance before we left. We went from church to dance and now I'm at Starbucks. This is going to be a long, drawn out post with no real point because I am board and jacked up on coffee. It will likely get buried with all my other unpublished posts that have no point, or make me sound bitter. I suppose there is always some type of a point and really, I'm not bitter, just anxious.

Alright, I now have only 3 hours and 45 minutes to kill. What is eating at me is I happen to be only 5 miles from my parents' house. They are in Florida but one of my bikes is in their garage here in Michigan from when I exchanged it for their car half way through my ill timed ride last Sunday. It is beautiful out. I could have very easily thrown some riding clothes in the truck this morning and rode after I dropped the kids off at dance. I haven't gotten the hours in riding this year as I did last year, and blowing chances like this is just unacceptable. Last night I compared screen prints of my February 2009 riding hours to my 2010 hours just to torture myself. I clearly need to work harder. I have long since given up my goal of placing in an Expert race but I don't want to embarrass myself. Hum...when one's stated goal for a race season is not to embarrass themselves, it might be time to reconsider what the heck they are doing racing in the first place. I started racing BMX 30-some years ago which morphed into road racing then mountain bike racing. I think I forgot how to just ride a bike.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Public Service Announcement

I just noticed announced that online registration for the 2010 Iceman Cometh Race starts Monday, March 1st at 11:00 (EST). This is a very cool race I encourage everyone to sign up for. It is limited to something like 3,700 racers and it fills up quickly. And now that I posted this on the Internet, I’m confident the two or three people that occasionally read my blog will cause it to fill up that much faster.

In addition to the Iceman, I really wanted to do the Lumber Jack 100 this year. In December I told everyone who would listen I was going to do this race. I emailed people I ride with to remind them when registration was and posted something on Face Book to make sure no one forgot to register. I forgot to register. It filled up in just one day. That’s okay, I’m not sure I am capable of racing 100 miles anyway. I better not screw up registering for Iceman.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Losing Weight Part 3

Earlier this month Em let Allie and I hang out with her and her friends at Toco Bell. Anymore this is a honor. But Toco Bell didn't sound appetizing. For a bunch of reasons, I have no appetite at all, which is very cool because last year at this time I was starving myself like a high school cheerleader trying to get down to my racing weight. And the flu this weekend pushed me right into my ideal weight range. If only I can get the flu a few more times between now and the Yankee Springs Time Trial in April, I will have an excellent power to weight ratio.

This morning one of the mechanics asked me if I was working out because he said my shoulders looked broader. I am not quite sure how I feel about getting a compliment like this from another guy but whatever, I just want to do a good time trial.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Worse Day of the Year Ride

I was really looking forward to the Worst Day of the Year Ride yesterday. It was very nice out and I am trying to be a little more social. More people showed up for this ride than I expected.

I wasn't feeling great. I was achy all over but I worked out very hard the day before so this made sense. I think I have my riding clothes down to an art but I had the shakes. It was suppose to be just a social ride but I was really working hard to stay in the group I latched onto. Bill was the only person I knew in my group, but looking around I didn't think I should be trying this hard to keep up. It felt like I had the flu but that was impossible because I don't get sick. I haven't gotten sick since I lived at my parents home some 25 years ago. Sure, the kids had the flu this weekend, and I didn't bother to get a flu shot this year, but I couldn't catch it; I am immune to such things. About 15 miles into the ride I realized I really did have the flu. There was no way I was going to make it back. I was only a mile from my parents' house so I gave it everything to catch Bill, gave him the keys to my truck so he and Dan could get back, and told him I was going to get my dad's car and drive myself home.

I made it home, barely, and curled up and waited to die. So this is what it's like to be sick. Kind of sucks. The kids are just getting over the flu so they were content to just stay on the couch which worked out well for me because I was in no condition to interact with them. I was waiting for Bill to stop by with my truck so I could drive him to his house. I didn't know how I was going to do it, I could hardly move. I woke up around 8 PM and called Bill to see where he was at. He told me he dropped the truck off at my house and rode his bike home since he figured I was in no condition to drive. He was right and has no idea how much I appreciate that.

I called in sick for the first time in my life. I am watching Canada take on the USA in Curling. I have hit rock bottom.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Back to Normal (?)

I put my Yakima rack back on my truck. I am driving Bill (AKA $40 Bill) and Dan (AKA Cyclo-Dan) to the Third Annual Worst Day of the Year Ride. This is a 28 mile ride through Ann Arbor that somehow involves chili and beer. This ride was originally scheduled for January 23rd but it got rained out. Trying to schedule, in advance, an organized group ride on the worse day of the year is a fickle thing.

The weather has been great lately. Renee invited me to ride with her and a running buddy at Island Lakes today. They ran the trail earlier in the day. Whatever. The trail was great; snowmobiles pressed the snow into a perfect riding surface. The sun was out, no wind, and it was 28 degrees. Any warmer and it would be slushy, any cooler and it would get a bit dicey. Tomorrow could very well be the best day of the year.

Matt's blog inadvertently talked me into riding outside last winter. I had a great time and I think I was a better rider in the Spring because of it. This year I got a little soft and needed Bill and Renee to coax me off my trainer and onto a trail. I feel much better now that I am out and riding.

I know this sounds sappy, no, not even sappy, just stupid but putting the rack back on my truck made me feel...normal. I feel like I am my blindly optimistic self again.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Everything Can Be Fixed

Allie and I went to Borders last weekend. Thousands of books and she picks out one that explains how things work: vacuum cleaners, the I-phone, etc. She is so much going to be an engineer. While Allie learned about the internal combustion chamber engine, I looked for a Valentine’s Day card that wouldn’t come across as sarcastic.

Allie’s book took the mystery out of how things work, like the I-phone. When looked at carefully, everything can be fixed. My truck is back up and running. The garage door works better than new. The furnace is warming our house as it is suppose to. There has not been any sign of lice in our house since my neurotic cleaning frenzy two weeks ago. Everything can be fixed but sometimes the energy required to fix something is better used by cutting your losses and starting fresh.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Typical Friday Night at the Wagner's...

Trip to Block Busters for a DVD and a trip to Urgent Care for Emilie. I need to think about this for a minute, but I don't think we went one week this year without a trip to the hospital. I find myself addressing the doctors by their first names.

Valentine's Day

Allison got her first pimple this week, a reminder that she will not be my little girl forever. We are going to the Daddy Daughter dance Saturday. Em didn't want to go, she is a little too cool for all that. I was thinking about this last night as I looked through the Valentine's Day cards Allie made for her class. I saw a card to Griffin. It seemed to have a few extra stickers on it. I heard Allie mention Griffin's name before so I pulled it out of the pile and carefully inspected it. Allie giggled. Oh man.

The whole concept of Valentine's Day is perplexing to a 9 year old, much more perplexing to a 43 year old.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Life Starts At 176 BPM

It's been a tough year, not whining, just pointing out the obvious. The problem, as it turns out, wasn't my new, crappy health care plan or my truck giving up the ghost or anything else I have little or no control over that seemed to hit the ground like Humpty Dumpty. The problem is I have been in a base building funk. Building a base is important for athletes but I am just a regular guy with a high need for endorphins. This week I started including anaerobic workouts on the stationary. I have a much better disposition now.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Blue Skies Part II

Allie spent the day at a friend's which left Emilie and I home alone. As I was about to get on the trainer, Em asked if we could go out to eat. I'm always up for that. I threw on jeans and my Cahartt so we would go to Toco Bell. Em dressed up so we could go to Johnny Carino's. We had an excellent Italian meal and excellent conversation. Despite a series of things breaking down around me lately, this is a great time of my life. I almost deleted me last few (slightly bitter) posts but instead decided to just stop whining for the rest of the year. And if I do whine, it will be so subtle that it will be virtually undetectable. I'm even optimistic about the upcoming race season.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Blue Skies

The furnace went out last night leaving me calm in the assurance that this year cannot possible get any worse; therefore, it must, by default, get better. I can live with that. I started slacking as things got a little messed up this year. I recommitted myself to suck it up and do the things I know I should.

I told myself I would ride yesterday. Fridays are tricky since it is movie night for the kids and me. Since I avoid riding when the kids are around, I rode after they fell asleep. And since they fell asleep sometime after 11:00, my Friday ride spilled over into Saturday but that's fine.

I also committed to volunteering 40 hours this year with the MMBA. This morning I helped build a board walk over a swampy part of the Poto trail. Normally I only volunteer when they are cleaning up the Brighton Req Area after a storm since it feels like they are working on my trail. I like Poto but it isn't "my" trail. I'm glad I helped; they had Bell's Winter Ale afterwords.

I decided before going to the Poto that I would make an effort to talk to people I didn't know instead of staying in the little group of guys I ride with. No big deal for a normal person but I tend to fall more towards the introverted end of the spectrum. It was a good decision. Everyone I had a conversation with was interesting and one even owns a Yamaha RD350 like mine. Funny, I thought I was the only person hip enough in Michigan to have affection for these vintage race bikes. My Yamaha wasn't vintage when I bought it, I smuggled it across the Canadian border when it was new since they weren't legal in the States. Perhaps I'm not old, I'm vintage. I can live with that.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I took another day off work, this time to fix the garage door and sort out the issues with my truck. I did sneak in an uninspired 60 minute ride because Iceman is only 40 weeks away and I am getting concerned.

It looks like my truck will need a new engine. The dilemma is a re-manufactured engine costs about what my truck is worth. While I contemplated this, I called my dad at his winter house down in Florida and asked if I could borrow his classic 1989 Mercury Sable that was parked at his summer house up in Michigan. The car is in perfect condition and has never been driven in a salty, Michigan winter. I know this because he pointed it out several times during our brief conversation.

The kids threw a fit when I picked them up from school in my smoke'n hot Mercury but I have no self-esteem left in me so this car is perfect. It has rain guards installed over the side windows and, for some reason, I cannot turn off the wipers. This will prove useful in the unlikely event of rain this month. The alternator light came on when I reached highway speeds so I slowed down to see if it would go off. As my luck this month would have predicted, Cindy happened to be on the same road and past me. She sends me the following text:

"You're driving a tan Sable with handicap license plates and rain guards. You can't at least drive the speed limit so everyone doesn't think you are an old man?"

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Epic of Job

One of my (many) quirks is I am a bit germaphobic. Not really a germaphobe, I just refuse to touch the stair railing (or anything else) in a public place. Once I took swabs and cultured them in petri dishes to confirm my fears. With this mind set, I took yesterday off work to stay home and verify I fixed the lice problem in our house. I haven't seen a louse since the weekend so I think I am okay.

Everything in our house that couldn't be sanitized or thrown away was set outside. Two weeks in a harsh Michigan winter will show those lice I'm not fooling around. Other things that have happened this week is the garage door broke, the laptop died for a third and probably final time, my truck seems to have developed a rod knock, and I haven't really been riding. As I was throwing out close to 500 hair ties, bows, and bands, I considered Job, and how I got to this point in my life, and if we really needed 500 hair ties, bows, and bands.