Friday, December 28, 2007


I've been thinking about buying a new road bike for some time -- probably as far back as October of 2005, a month after I bought my tri bike. For various reasons (all good), I've yet to pull the trigger.

Now, why would I possibly want a third bike?
1) My current road bike is old (like seven years old; that's ancient)
2) With Hannah in Texas, I get pretty bored. Building up a bike on my own would be a good way to pass the time.
3) I like gear as much as the next guy. And why only have two bikes when you can have three?
4) My current road bike is not new.

So there you go, no real good reason, which is why I haven't bought a new bike yet.

All that said, a number of bike "companies" are doing group buys for the holiday season. Basically, that means one of two things: 1) The more people that sign up and pre-order a bike or frame, the lower the price becomes; 2) The company fixes the price at an incredibly low price and advertises it as such.

One of the "companies" is offering a ridiculous deal right now (deal ends December 31!) for a full carbon fiber frame, including shipping. For the last week I've been tempted and tempted again. Today, I had my finger on the "purchase" button.

(Side note: I have "companies" in quotes because what most people don't know is that most bikes today are actually made by only a handful of Asian manufacturers, especially the carbon ones. These American brands then import generic frames and rebadge them with their own labels. I don't have any issue with that per se, especially those made in Taiwan. I'm only suggesting that you keep this in mind if you're going to buy a new bike; you might be able to get a better deal elsewhere on the exact same frame. Marketing!)

Anyway, I stopped myself from taking advantage of the great deal for a few reasons:
1) The $400 frame (awesome deal, trust me on this one) isn't a $400 bike. I'd still need to buy all the parts for it. Right now, money's just a little too tight for that. And Hannah's got a birthday coming up. Oh, and the house.

2) I'm pretty sure the frame is made in China. It's manufactured by a Taiwanese company, but they have two facilities -- one in China. Only their super top end stuff gets made in Taiwan; at $400 there's no way this is super top end. It's not that I think the frame is going to be coated in lead paint, it'll probably be an excellent bike, made by skilled laborers. And I've got plenty of cheap stuff made in China. At this point though, I'm not about to spend money on a luxury from China.

3) I don't really ride my road bike that much anyway. Not enough to warrant three at this point.

4) My current road bike isn't that old, I mean, c'mon, it's only seven years old. I've got t-shirts older than that.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Coming up

I've got my event schedule pretty well worked out for the bulk of 2008... exciting! ...and new! (Just like the Love Boat.)

This might be my fullest competition schedule since college. It helps that I'm not doing a half or full ironman.

January 19 - San Angelo Trail Series 10k -- This is assuming everything works out in Tejas. That said, it wouldn't be a move if I wasn't doing an event the same weekend.
February 2 - San Angelo Trail Series 12k -- Nothing witty to say here, move along.
April 12 - Northface Endurance Challenge - Half Marathon or 50k-- We'll see what shape I'm in by the registration opening on February 2. Good shape means half marathon, great shape means 50k... poor shape means a very slow half marathon.
April 19 - Striders Duathlon (5k/18k/5k) -- Back in San Angelo. I've never done a duathlon. Should be fun. I'm opting for the shorter distance race for two reasons: 1)Hannah and I can sort of do it together, 2)That potential 50k the weekend before.
May 4 - Devilman Sprint Triathlon -- I've done the half in Cedarville, NJ for the past two years. Unlike most other people, I like the race, although I'll be doing the short course this time.
August - Super secret mystery race -- This is the all or nothing race at which I'll be putting all 110% of my eggs in the basket. I'll probably reveal it at the 11th hour. After all, it's not a sprint, it's a marathon. Except in this case, it's actually a sprint.
September 27- Great Eastern Endurance Run 100k -- I don't think I have anything going on that weekend; should work out nicely. I believe Hannah might even be in town.

All told, this could be my lowest cost race season ever. That is, if you ignore the flights to San Angelo to participate in a $10 race.

If anyone wants to join me for one of these, come aboard, we're expecting you.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


I went to a party in Hoboken this past Saturday. Now, I'm not what you'd typically consider a party-kinda-guy. Add to that the fact that this party was thrown by a bunch of Lehigh AXP guys -- who graduated high school after I had graduated from college -- and it's no surprise that I left before midnight. Don't get me wrong, it was a nice party and all, and it was good to see some college friends I haven't seen in a while... but it had run it's course for me earlier than most.

Anyway, as I was walking the 13 blocks from the party to the train station to go home, I passed all the bars. Outside of every bar was a gaggle of smokers -- looking like they were epileptic. This was on the night that north Jersey got that sleet and snow. Pretty darn cold. I couldn't fathom the need these people had to feed some addiction that it so rough on the body.

I considered all of this the next morning as I added layer after layer of polypro so that I could do my planned run outside.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Winter of Adventure!

With Hannah in Texas, all I could see ahead of me for the coming months was a grim, grey, godforsaken (well, not really, but it was a "g-word" that's a synonym for "lonely") winter.

But all that changed when I hit upon what's getting me down (aside from the obvious Hannah being in Texas) -- I get bored in the winter. So, to remedy that, I've decided to get out of town.

Every weekend that I'm not flying down to Texas, I plan to get outside. Some weekends that might just mean some trail runs or hikes somewhere in NJ (provided there's no snow). But if there is snow... man, I've got some plans that are just downright exciting. If Hannah can drive three hours to Austin to go to Macy's when she's bored, I can drive two hours to PA or NY to revel in some wintery goodness.

I mean, I've got most of the clothing that will get me through. And I'll be able to put those packs to good use. The only things I'm short are a few fun items, and some impenetrable gloves (yay for Christmas!).

I've turned around my entire mood about this coming winter. That's a good thing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Our serious cat

We have a very serious cat. And with Hannah in Texas, he's only become more serious. He used to tolerate my early morning wakeups when I would get up, feed him, and ride my bike on the trainer because he would then go back to bed with Hannah. Now, while he's still pleased that I wake up and feed him, I usually leave to go run or go to the gym.

Thus, he's left by himself to ponder the plight of the moral industrialist in today's litigious society. He'd do that anyway, but now he doesn't have anyone to scratch his back while he thinks.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

We went to Austin a month ago, but whatever. We saw some things, learned about Texas history and went to a Christmas craft fair -- and had a great time (oooh, the irony).

We also went to the longest "continuously running" outdoor artists market in the US. There was one tent set up, I'm not even sure it was a vendor/artist. I am now suspect of anything in any guidebook.

Oh, and Hannah almost got gored by a giant longhorn.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I don't bake

I can cook. I can sort of grill. But I can't bake.

For example:

This was my attempt at making cranberry-apple bread for my department's Thanksgiving potluck a few weeks ago. I ended up making mashed potatoes with parsnips.