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


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.