Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Big Deuce recap

The past couple of weeks have been really choc full for me. Lots of driving, working, meeting athletes for training sessions, and so on. Last week I averaged 6 hours of sleep from Monday until Saturday night which is not enough for me over that many days. I turn into a shell-shocked bleary-eyed version of myself which will stare at you blankly and mumble things like, "Huh?"

Despite that, the swim races went well. I am really happy to be part of bringing some new events to town. Swimming has been an important part of my life for most of it, and I'm glad to share this passion with everyone.

We had almost 200 people swim on Saturday morning. The course started with a beach start, then 150 yards out, then north for 600 yards, across for 100, then south for 600. The 1 milers turned the initial buoy to finish while the 2 milers did a 180 and headed back onto the course.

I was on my surf racing paddleboard to lifeguard and watch for any swimmers in distress. We only had one real issue - a talented local triathlete cramped up badly on the 2nd lap and I was able to get to him in just a few seconds. He was OK but his legs were both cramping, making swimming impossible.

The swims are getting some both talented and new swimmers into the open water swimming world, which is the mission.

Thanks to all the volunteers, guards, and rescue personnel who helped out.

This weekend we are off to Ocean Isle with a few of our friends for a beach weekend, which I am looking forward to. I will have to work but I can do that sitting on the deck.

Friday, July 23, 2010

busy week

I was going to write a longer post but realized it is all babble about regular life trivia that you would not care about. Been a busy week.

Looking forward to hosting the Big Deuce and Little Uno swimming races tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Your attitude, not your aptitude, determines your altitude.

We were leaving New York City, and Bri turned to me and said "Everyone was so friendly! I don't know why people think New Yorkers have a bad attitude."

After our visit to New Jersey: "People here are nice!"

See, the secret here is that Bri is a nice person, and when you are nice to people, they tend to be nice back. Not all of them, not all the time, but kindness procreates kindness, and this sort of positive vibe is self-perpetuating.

If you go into NYC and give someone a bad attitude, they will be very quick to tell you to &%(%$ and $#&*(%. But they'll turn to the next person and maybe be nice if that person has no f-ing problem, you know?

There are legitimately bad people that none of us can save, but my experience is that non-criminals (that is most of you!) tend to be decent people who will treat you well if you reciprocate.

The visit to the Jersey Shore was fun as always, caught up with a bunch of old friends and had a good time.

I am back to the grind, Big Deuce is this weekend and I have a bunch of other duties. It is much better to be in-demand and busy than out of work and idle though.

Also, my phone died while on vacation, so I bought one of these new Android super phones. It has assumed my identity and transferred all my funds to a numbered account in Switzerland. It is like having a portable TV in your pocket. Technology is amazing. We are moving at the speed of light.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Erie Canal day 6 - actually NYC

Today we woke up in Rome, NY. We had parked our car here on Saturday night prior to the tour. The original plan was to park in Canjoharie (the end of day 6) but I couldn't find a good parking spot. Anyway, day 6 ride would have been 62 miles, but instead Bri and I went for a short run in a local park, then jumped in the car and drove 4 hours to Manhattan. We rode 250 miles on mountain bikes in 5 days, which is enough for us.

Tonight we toured around NYC a bit. Here are the pictures. Tomorrow we're off to Ocean City, NJ for a couple days on the Jersey Shore.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Erie Canal day 5

Another 50 miles from Syracuse to Rome. A mix of trails and road. The canal in this area is not a transport canal, more of a cultural relic and small tourist attraction. Big carp all throughout.

Tomorrow we're going to roll out with the group then come back to our hotel, shower up, then drive down to NYC. No plans other than a run in Central Park. Lame, right?

From the brewery last night:

Rolling out of Syracuse:

Where they drydocked the canal boats for repairs:

Getting near our hotel, checking maps:

We have not run much at all this week, and don't care.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Erie Canal day 4

Seneca Falls to Syracuse. 40 miles and there was a 50 meter pool at the finish site. Very refreshing.

Bri pointing at a map we found:

Me pointing at something:

Bri has fun:

New York's only working aquaduct:

After 4 days, things are getting ripe at camp. This is why we're staying in a hotel.

Our hotel tonight is in Armory Square, downtown Syracuse. What a pleasant surprise to discover that the Empire Brewing Company (microbrewery) is less than a block away.

Tomorrow we'll start with a short run then 50 miles into Rome.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Erie Canal day 2

We had a pleasant ride today, 53 miles from Medina and ending in Pittsford. Had lunch at mile 33, then stopped for a swim at mile 44 at an outdoor olympic pool in Rochester. We did 2500m for those of you interested. Finished up with a few easy miles rolling into Pittsford. All told we started at 815AM and finished around 330PM. We're not in a hurry and are riding fat tires.

We are staying in a nice B&B tonight, it is very roomy and the town is cool, we may just stay here for a couple day and relax. Just kidding. Pictures below:

The lock system which transports boats from one level of water to another:

Ever where the term "Podunk town" came from?

The underwater road, been on a couple of these over the years:

Our comfortable and plush bed, courtesy of the Canal Lamp Inn.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Erie Canal updates

We are happily cruising along the Erie Canal in Upstate NY this week. It is our annual weeklong summer vacation. The last 2 days were spent in cars, getting ourselves up here for the fun. There are 500 or so others along with us.

Today we covered 47 miles, from Buffalo to Medina. Most of the ride is along the canal, on either paved trail or crushed gravel. We are on our mountain bikes, which works well. My cassette is old though and it is skipping like mad in the middle gears, so I am big gearing it (riding it like a fixie with a triple in front).

Tomorrow we'll cover 54 miles to Pittsford, with a stop at the Genesee Valley Water Center for a swim along the way.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

bike tour 2010 summer vacation

Bri and I are off for our summer vacation this weekend. We're driving to Buffalo NY to ride in a bike tour along the Erie Canal. The tour itself is 8 days, but we're going to check out 2 days early in order to spend an evening in NYC and then a couple of days on the Jersey shore. It should be a lot of fun.

These tours tend to be slanted to retirees but there are usually a few younger folks like ourselves.

I am busy so this update is short and to the point.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy July 4

Yesterday I ran in the 4 mile Great Raleigh Road Race with the TAF racing team (pictured above). This is the crew we do our Tuesday night intervals with - all good runners and fun people. Downtown Raleigh has a lot of small, steep hills and this course hit a bunch of them. I am getting my foot speed back but the hills drive my heart rate to the moon and I don't recover from multiple supra-threshold spikes like I used to (that means if the HR goes over lactate threshold several times in a short period you exhaust your ability to come back to a steady state sub-threshold pace, re: why both competitive runners and cyclists practice for surges and accelerations with over-threshold speed).

Anyway, it was a nice cool morning and I ran 25:22 which is not shabby. Bri had a long week and decided to sleep in.

Today we rode with several friends/athletes up to Chapel Hill and back, then ran a mile with Tassie. I am continually amazed at our fortunate circumstances - we live in a beautiful part of the country and have some really nice places to ride and run.

When we're not out running or riding this weekend we are packing up the house and painting things that need paint - we're going to list the place for sale soon and actually get into another house.

We have a ton of useless crap.

Tomorrow I don't know what we're going to do, besides see the new Twilight movie. I am on Team Alice, she is a hot weirdo.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

To new home it or not

When it comes to finances, Bri and I are pretty sensible folks. I was taught to save my money for a rainy day early in life, having seen my parents go through a couple financial crises, and fortunately my wife understands the value of compounding interest and delayed gratification. We have been paying extra into our mortgage since moving into the home, and the Cary metropolitan area has not declined in value precipitously like many areas. We're roughly even on our purchase price (on paper at the moment).

So...we're looking for a larger house with a garage. We could go BIG or just bigger than now. The pros and cons of the choice:

BIG: Cons
larger mortgage payment and upkeep costs
if real estate drops another 20-40% nationwide as some economists predict, our percentage loss is magnified
The hedonistic treadmill dilemna
More capital tied up long term
Opportunity cost of not buying this house 5 or 10 years from now, when it may sell for a 30% discount

BIG: Pros

Check out my McMansion
Check out my McOffice
Tassie gets a playroom of her own
Neighborhoods and neighbors - I find surrounding myself with successful people brings my "game" up (though they may be upside down and maxed out, re: total fakes, so who knows what value that has as a motivator)
Locking in a sub-5% mortgage rate (they were in the high teens in the 1980s as we combated inflation)

Bigger than now: Cons
Less total room
1 car garage vs 2 possible
If interest rates spike in the next few years, our opportunity to lock a lifetime low rate will be gone, meaning we'll need more capital as a down payment

Bigger than now: Pros
Less mortgage and ongoing upkeep costs
We don't need all that much more room than we have - our current house with a garage and 1 more bedroom or bonus would be perfect
The neighborhood differential is minimal and/or exists only in the mind of the consumer

Our third choice is to sell this home and rent for a couple or few years while the US goes through the painful contraction of the debt supercycle collapse and the recent artificial stimulus (federal government payouts) rolls off and we realize half the country is broke or worse, but I am risk adverse to this choice due to my inability to accurately predict what home prices and mortgage rates will do in the future. Rephrased, the devil you know is often better than the one you don't.

In other news, today I thought: 90% of people in the world will say you can't do or achieve a thing; the other 10% are the ones doing and achieving.