Dec 31, 2009

2010 Resolutions

I have never been much of a New Year Resolution kind of guy. I guess it could be that I thought my life was some sort of master puzzle and I was destined to fill a specific spot. Or maybe I was scared to commit to something for fear of failing.

Or maybe I was just plain lazy. My money is on lazy.

Looking back, I fulfilled most of the things I started out to do in 2009, even without a published list. Promoted some races, got my Class B officials license, got one daughter out of college, another into my house, and, best of all, became a grandfather. (Little "Nugget" is set for arrival in July 2010 but I got the news in 2009.) I didn't get one thing accomplished like I would have hoped but that is another story.

I still didn't quite hold up my end of the marriage partnership though. Colossal "fail" there, but I'm trying. I wonder why my wife stays with me sometimes, but I am always glad she does. She could do so much better, but I doubt I could. There are days when I wonder what I did right to snag her, and what she did wrong to get hooked by me.

What is in store for 2010? Hopefully no drama, but still a crap-load of stuff. A trip to Florida for a dance competition and a visit with my brother and family. A grand-baby. A wedding in California (I think in 2010, maybe 2011.) Lots of time with my bride. And some cycling.

So, in reverse order of importance, here is my very first published list of resolutions:

  • Get my weight down to 190. 
  • Race competively in two mountain bike races and two cyclocross races. 
  • Deal with that nagging "other story" once and for all.
  • Be a better father.
  • Be a better husband. 

That's it, five things. To accomplish those five things, I have two (opposite but complimentary) things I am going to live by:

  • Namaste
  • HTFU
With that, I'm off to celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another with my bride. Have a Happy New Year.

Blue Moon or Blue Moon?

Either way you go, tonight will be a blue moon night. According to an online source:

Get ready for one of those rare celestial phenomenons you won’t want to miss. Not only will the earth be blessed with a full moon to accompany tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, but it will be a Blue Moon — the second full moon in a single month. The first full moon of this month occurred on December 2, and the second will fall tonight on the cusp of the new year.
According to NASA, the last time a Blue Moon fell on New Year’s Eve was almost 20 years ago, in December 1990. And although a Blue Moon occurs on average every two and a half years, the next time one will fall on New Year’s Eve won’t be until 2028.

Either way you choose to include the Blue Moon in your New Years' Eve, be careful. Someone wants to see you in 2010.

Dec 28, 2009

December 27 Spin Class mix


The Wallflowers
6th Avenue Heartache
Talking Heads
Burning Down The House
The Bravery
Mysterious Ways
Van Halen
Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
Faith No More
Stupid Girl
The Rolling Stones
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
My Own Worst Enemy
Sick Puppies
You're Going Down
Rescue Me
Modest Mouse
Float On
The Train Kept A Rollin'
Thousand Foot Krutch
Franz Ferdinand
No You Girls
Rock 'N Roll Train
The Chemical Brothers
Block Rockin' Beats
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Runnin' Down a Dream
Velvet Revolver
She Builds Quick Machines
Going In Blind
The Verve
Bitter Sweet Symphony
Van Morrison

Dec 23, 2009

Merry Christmas To You

In case I don't make it back here before Christmas, I hope all you who may happen to stop here have a joyous Christmas and a happy New Year.

We will have kids in the house on and off Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but the majority of the day will be spent alone with my bride, Kandy. We plan on taking in an afternoon movie while a nice prime rib meal bakes at home in the oven.

The Christmas spirit is hard to come by for me anymore, but hopefully not for you. Merry Christmas.

Dec 14, 2009

Too Bad Its Only 2009

A few weeks ago I got the strangest phone call" "Hello Mr. Downey? We're curious if you want to interview for a position here."

"Here" was Riverside County, California.

After getting my jaw off the floor and gathering my wits again, my answer was a shaky "Yes?!"

It seems the application I sent in out of curiosity a year or so ago had floated to the top of a pile and I was being considered for a job. The job was basically the equivalent of what I do now only for a bunch more money. In California. Where its warm. The HR lady said there were five openings and 30 people on the list. There would be a preliminary interview, a written test, a second interview, and possibly an offer.

So I interviewed. Pass. Written test. Wait. Then another call. Want to come interview with the bosses? Yes, when? December 23. Ok, let me book a flight. Thank you Mr. Downey, we'll see you then.


Nov 30, 2009

Jingle Cross is over

The Jingle Cross Weekend is over. I had a great time and learned a lot. Thank you to all the great folks I worked with this weekend - Jeff, Heidi, Carla, Brett, Mark, Steve, Emma, and the rest of the great crew.

Some bullet points:
  • Most impressive moment: Being at the top of Mt. Krumpit watching Todd Wells power up the hill and making it look so so easy.
  • Most satisfying moment: watching Troy Krause take a well-deserved 4th after a bad luck weekend.
  • Wish I could do that moment: Seeing Nate Woodman pick up speed on everyone going through the whirl. Amazing skills.
  • Feels like home moment: Seeing all the Nebraska folks working together in the pits helping each other excel.
  • The "Wow" of the weekend? The single speed class win by Brian Eppen in a speedo, in 40 degree weather.
  • "Wow" #2: eight women riding single speeds in bikinis and knee socks. In 40 degree weather. Then drinking heavily the rest of the day.
  • Worst moment of the weekend: Being away from home for 3 days. When I got home my daughter asked if it was worth. Yes and no. Officiating is great fun even if a ton of work. But I'd rather be riding or with my wife and family. Lots of decisions to make in the future. I am refocusing toward riding in 2010 though.

All in all it was a great weekend, and thanks to all, but most of all my wife. I love you.

Nov 24, 2009

Another One... (Thanks Sydney)

The Registration Table (NSFW)

This is funny, I don't care who you are. Thanks Megan She is the genius behind this one and promises more.

You go girl. 

Nov 20, 2009

Bite me.

We have a daughter who lives in Lincoln. She, as well as my wife and another daughter are big Twilight fans. Big like BIG - read all the books multiple times, own the DVD, etc. And last night was the culmination of several months of waiting for them with the release of the latest Twilight movie "New Moon."

Not only did we all go see the movie, we saw the midnight showing. In Lincoln. We live in Norfolk, 2+ hours from Lincoln. What time did I get home after the movie? La's just say "late."

It was fun but being in a theater with several hundred grown women giggling and squealing like school girls over every contrived move or cheeky comment by the lead actors got old. Quick. Not to mention all the over-stimulated women who sat in the lobby drinking soda for two hours prior to showtime who needed to tramp to the powder room constantly.

Don't even get me started about the dude who came as a werewolf.

Nov 19, 2009

The Nebraka Peloton

Swing over to the home of the Nebraska Peloton, a new blog for information on riders, teams, and happenings around the cycling scene in Nebraska.

Nov 18, 2009


I'm a sucker for good rabbit cartoon, and this is the best since Transylvania 6-5000

Nov 11, 2009

Uh, What?

Two days ago something jumped up and slapped me in the face. Not usually a good thing but this most certainly was. I can't really say what it is just yet, but I will be able to - sooner or later. Suffice to say, its enough to knock me back on my heels for a bit before propelling me forward into the unknown. Like I said in a previous post: life is funny that way.

On a different subject, I have been making a concerted effort to redirect my energy in different ways lately. I am trying to find a better balance between my love (wife and family) and my passion (cycling). There has to be a way to walk the line between the two and I am determined to find it.

A buddy is buying a golf course, and I am trying to talk my bride into taking this on as a couples pursuit. Lately we have been doing yoga together, and that helps. We can use the stress release and flexibility, and its an opportunity to bond. I hope golf will do that too giving us something completely new to learn together.

Today we discussed a new approach to my cycling. I would train with the goal of some racing, while still backing away from the responsibilities of the cycling community. The idea would be to go to a race as a family, with the intent to do well. Then forget it and be with family.

Given the choice between doing some racing or devoting a crap-load of time to the behind-the-scenes aspects of cycling, I'll take the racing and riding.

Can I get an "Amen"?

Nov 7, 2009

Nice Weekend

From all accounts it looks like it will be a gorgeous weekend. I don't think I'll be able to take advantage of it but here's hoping all of you can.

Have a good weekend!

Nov 5, 2009

Not Funny "Ha Ha"

"All it takes is one thing to be out of place to throw everything off balance." I wasn't really talking bikes but this is a good illustration of what I mean, and how things have been going lately. If even one thing goes awry it can bring the whole (pick one: organization, career, plan, family) crashing to the ground.

Conversely, its often the minor adjustments that keep things whirling smoothly.

Suffice to say: adjustments have been made. Things are whirling smoothly again.

Life is funny that way. Not funny "ha ha" but more along the lines of "that dead wildebeest smells funny".

Now this is funny "ha ha":

Oct 30, 2009

And the last one falls

Our last child turned 16 today. Of the five, he's one of the more trouble free, but "he" is a boy, with a new license, and boys and cars are "interesting." He has four older sisters and I lived through them - let's hope I am as lucky with this one.

Oct 29, 2009

Its been a while

Wow, it HAS been a while. Life's been busy, and my online line has been consumed with biking and promoting.

For those that care, I have stuff to share. But right now its bed time.

Aug 25, 2009

Funny Stuff Borrowed

I can't take credit for this, but this is some funny stuff. And true. Enjoy.

Random thoughts:

* More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can’t wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that’s not only better, but also more directly involves me.

* Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

* Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you're going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you're crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.

* I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

* The letters T and G are very close to each other on a keyboard. This recently became all too apparent to me and consequently I will never be ending a work email with the phrase "Regards" again.

* Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn't work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards or FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.

* I think everyone has a movie that they love so much; it actually becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I'll end up wasting 90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone's laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little bit harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I'm still the only one who really, really gets it.

* I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in

* I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

* Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart".

* How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?

* While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it...thanks Mario Kart.

* MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

* I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

* If Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring would probably just be completely invisible.

* Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from; this shouldn't be a problem....

* You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you've made up your mind that you just aren’t doing anything productive for the rest of the day.

* While watching the Olympics, I find myself cheering equally for China and USA. No, I am not of Chinese descent, but I am fairly certain that when Chinese athletes don’t win, they are executed.

* I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it's on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.

* Why is a school zone 20 mph? That seems like the optimal cruising speed for pedophiles...

* Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

* Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn't know what do to with it.

* The other night I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, saw they had included four sets of plastic silverware. In other words, someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think about it, and then estimate d that there must be at least four people eating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating by myself. There’s nothing like being made to feel like a fat bastard before dinner

Aug 1, 2009

Prepare for Whining

Get ready - whiny post ahead. I have been feeling in a real funk lately and am having a hard time chasing down the reasons. I really don't like myself when I feel like this so this is hopefully a cathartic post to get me moving again. There are lots of things to talk about here, and the topics are in no particular order. Sort of a stream of consciousness thing. Ready?

After having a great spring on the bike, I did what I seem to do every year and hit a mid-summer slump. I started struggling on group rides and my general performance and "want to" went down through the floor. So, I took advantage of a forced week off the bike (out of town) and ran. Running, never my strong suit, actually felt really good. Being able to run in the shadow of a national monument helped and I had a good week. This week will be another short week of riding followed by a few more days of running. Really hoping that after all this I can get back to form again.

Speaking of being out of town, I just returned from a trip to a training class. I like going to training, but it seems that anymore there isn't much joy in it. I go to class, go back to the hotel, and generally lament the fact that I am not at home. I miss my wife, my dog, and my kids. That is good right? Maybe its the fact that most of the "experts" I am listening to don't have anymore knowledge or experience than I do. Seriously - aside from a huge natural disaster or structural collapse - there isn't much in the way of dead bodies I haven't seen. Listening to federal agents tell me how smart they are and how I "really need their help" just irritates me. Screw them.

Now family. No matter how good things are with most of them, there is a still a missing piece. I have a daughter that seems bent on self-destruction and breaking her father and step-mother's hearts. The problem is that I miss her terribly. I think of her all the time, have dreams about her, and feel miserable about not having seen her for months. It hurts down to my soul.

The rest of them - Katie, Dan, Kayla, Kristin, and Jake - are great. I couldn't ask for a better set of kids.

Work? What about it? Nothing too exciting but always pressing. A nagging murder I can't seem to get resolved, a few other cases that are pending. Internal issues seem to be under control right now. Nothing really good, nothing really bad. Meh.

Officiating? Some serious doubts about my ability/desire came up after the last race I worked. There were issues: a few things I could have done better, a few things those I worked with could have done better, and lots of registration and communication issues. When the registration and administration was working (out of my control) I made it all work flawlessly. When the back-end failed I made it work, it just wasn't pretty. My main thing is that I didn't melt down under pressure but, again, I missed being home. I think it will be fine, heck, I am still very new at this. I DO need to back up a little, unload a little responsibility, and narrow my focus. I have met some great people, made some great friends, and done some really good things with cycling. I want it to be fun again. Hopefully it will be.

Going to California this weekend. Five glorious days away from Norfolk, in the state I want to be in. Great right? Not so fast - shouldn't I be visiting my family in Florida? Yes. Why am I not? Because, as the first line of each chapter of my life reads: I have no money. Going to Cali is a freebie - we have some great friends who gave up some airline miles so we could come see them. Actually, the miles are on an airline they *won't* fly so it works out well for all of us. And, with my brother's pending nuptials in Florida next year, we will be going then. And, if Kristin gets to go to Nationals for her school dance troop, it would be another Florida trip. Its all timing, planning, and understanding. So for now its sand and desert and ocean here I come!

Back to the work trip for a minute. One more reason it was a real bummer: I was traveling with a hodgepodge of co-workers, guys I work with all the time. I would die for them, literally. But, sometimes they're not the easiest group of fellows to live with. Neither am I. So, after five days of class and traveling, with alternating periods of love/hate/laughter/bitching, I am drained. And I put on some weight. Dammit!

Last, but not least by any means: my wife. God, I love that woman. But, like she says to me, some days she really pisses me off. I wish... wow. I wish she didn't have to work at all much less two jobs. I wish she had everything she wanted. I wish her mother and siblings weren't so needy and rude and hard on her. I wish I was a better husband. I wish we had more time.

I miss the closeness we have had at various times in our marriage - we are always close, sometimes just more so. But, invariably work and life get between us and we struggle which sets off a perpetual motion machine of struggle and failure until we find some way of stopping it. We are in the middle of one such session now, which is very hard. My funk isn't helping, and its contributing to my funk. See - perpetual motion.

However, this is a tar strip in the highway of life. Not even a bump. We have endured things that should have, and almost did, tear us apart and we still sleep in the same bed every night. Wow. She is my rock, and my pillow. I can only hope I am always those things to her as well.

Maybe its time to stop looking down, and look at the horizon. Maybe even up.

Thanks for listening. Sorry to whine but I feel much better.

Onward and upward.

Jul 4, 2009

Jun 18, 2009

Hello, hello? Is This Thing On?

Not sure anyone is listening anymore because it has been so long since I posted. its been a busy month since the list time I checked in here.

So what has been going on? Work, races, racing(!), family, and stuff. Lots of stuff.

Training has been going very very good. I am very glad I ended up with extra hours on the bike early in the year because with some of my other obligations I get put off the bike periodically. With the good base under me I don't lose any fitness. I am finally able to ride with the group on rides, get some lap times at the lake like I want, and can actually time trial now. It makes the whole package so much more fun.

Work has been up and down, some busy stuff, some down time. Nothing I can't handle and it actually feels kind of good to be busy there for a change.

Races - grrr. Maskenthine rained out twice. Norfolk Classic rained on, and hailed on. Managed to drown my Blackberry during the crit standing in the rain keeping an eye on a race. It was fun though and made for some good stories.

Being the Officials Coordinator is starting to take on a life of its own. It has been keeping me very busy, but I think its a very good thing. I learned a lot from some folks and am doing my best to make sure that I impart that knowledge on to the newer officials in the area. I also want to make sure that every thing is fair and functioning well. I have a great bunch of people to work with and its very rewarding so I am not complaining.

Family. Well, some ups. Some downs. But its all good, generally. Some things I would like to be better but I have no control over the situation. Eventually it will work itself out but until then its quite painful. All I can do is make sure I am doing my best to be a good father, husband, etc and let time do its part.

Anyway, the summer is here, and soon it will be gone again. I intend to enjoy it. You do the same.

May 18, 2009

Emptied the Tank

The last time I posted, I was at the crest of a cycling wave having some good rides and feeling great. As expected, I went out a week ago Sunday and had an awesome ride. It wasn't real long but I felt strong and rode as good as I ever have in the past.

Then Monday set in. I shouldn't make it sound so dramatic because what happened was totally expected, I just chose to ignore the inevitable. Took a normally scheduled Monday off. Tuesday spin class was to be my only ride but I had planned on biking to and from class. When I got home and changed, suddenly I had no ambition. None.

Managed to get through class still feeling ok and saw a light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately it was a train. Wednesday morning spin class went ok, but the afternoon weight session was canceled due to lack of interest.

All the while, work was being - difficult? Some things happened that just drug me down into a funk I couldn't break out of. After a talking to by my lovely bride and this guy I sucked it up and handled some unpleasant things at work and felt much better.

However, the damage was done and my week went out with a whimper. I wimped out of TNR ride but managed to power through a great spin class. With good intentions I set out to ride Friday evening but overtime canceled it.

Saturday was a group ride with the EVCC crew that was supposed to last 3 hours. What a great ride. Finished the very windy very chilly and VERY hilly 50 miles in under 3 hours and nothing left in the tank. After the ride I went home and fought off a nap by doing some landscaping. The nap nearly won, but the landscaping looks nice. Sunday was another day spent getting things done around the house while Kandy was at work.

I think (hope) that I am feeling better now. I really think I had a touch of the flu or something on top of emptying my recovery tank. But, my ambition is coming back and I actually want to go ride again. Tonight is a longish slow ride on the MTB priming for group rides this week and a club race at Maskenthine next week.

May 9, 2009

The Rest Week That Wasn't

Remember that training plan I talked about? The one that had me peaking last week and recovering this week? Yeah, well, that didn't happen.

It all started according to plan. Finished out last week with a good ride at Maskenthine and took Monday off. Tuesday... was evening spin class combined with the commute by bike and a little off-road riding, followed up with Wednesday morning class and a gym session in the afternoon. After that things sort of fell apart.

This guy IM's me Thursday morning: "Hey, you riding tonight?" Well, with that kind of pressure, how can I not?

Thursday evening spin class, then a quick change and off to the shop to catch up eith the ride. Nine riders in blue, with one tri-geek thrown in for good measure, took off on the Pierce loop to avenge last week's crushing defeat on the same loop.

Anyway, I hung on most of the ride. It was hard work made even harder when, after I took off south through the hills ahead of the group, I tried to drop Devin and company after they caught me. It was truly like Kirk asking Scotty for more power and getting the "I can't hold her sir..." speech when I asked for more from my legs.

Friday, walked a ton at Maskenthine doing trail work followed by two very chill laps. Lifted again today doing an upper body and core workout with ultra-high reps.
I am quite a bit above the total hours of my training plan at this point.

If I was smart, I'd lounge around the house tomorrow and do a few things. More than likely I will sack the lounging, do the few things, and go ride. Cycling is just too dang much fun. No wonder Lance couldn't stay away.

May 2, 2009

Great Week on the Bike

When I set up my training plan early this year I had a thought of peaking for the Swanson race that was held today. I was getting close to having my bride comfortable with the idea of racing again until Redemske crashed at Le Tour de Husker. Still may have pulled it off until Thursday. I still peaked this week but no racing.

Thursday? Where should I start? Let's go back to the beginning of the week first. I took Monday off, with intentions to ride hard Tuesday on the group MTB ride. Well, several things kept me from joining the group after spin class but I still cranked out the fasted lap I ever rolled at Maskenthine - 0:29:30. Others do it faster but I was damn pleased finally getting a sub-30 minute lap.

Wednesday I did a early AM spin class. Then went to the gym in the afternoon for weights and core. (I have decided I need to stay with the weights for work reasons. I am getting older but the crooks are getting younger as evidenced by the scrap I had in the courthouse last week.)

Thursday. I taught my spin class and bombed down to the shop for what was supposed to be a butt-kicking group ride. I was ready for the challenge. Everything started off good - the ride plan was a paceline into the wind up the flats to Pierce with a return trip with the wind through the hills back to Norfolk.

On the flats, two go off the front. The paceline formed giving chase and catching them a few miles up the road. Once the break is caught the pace at the front dropped, fast. Those of us at the back didn't see the slowdown fast enough and wheels were rubbed. Lots of wheels. Lots of rubbing.

I was toward the back with John S and Richard H behind me. I rubbed wheels and veered left to avoid plowing into the pack. John rubbed mine but went down. Hard. Then Richard used John as a lauch ramp doing his best Evel Kneivel imitation, including the crash landing and broken bones.

We regrouped, made some calls for someone to pick up the injured and tried to abbreviate the ride. The group splintered, then partially regrouped when Cody flatted then turned around for the trip home.

Todd J and I put our heads down and dropped the hammer. We dropped two who eventually bridged back at Hadar, and we all dropped the hammer again back to Norfolk. The last of the group, Nick and Devin, turned around about a mile farther down the road and had to kick it up to 30+ to catch us before gettting back to the shop. They caught us but barely.

I had a great ride, one of my best of the year. But, it ended up at the hospital checking on John and Richard. John - concussion. Richard - broken collarbone. Not good squared.

I did an easy spin on the trainer Friday. Saturday morning I went out for a quick ride before a family road trip and had another awesome ride. My north loop around the north side of Norfolk includes a couple hills I use to gauge my fitness and strength. usually on those I am down close to or in granny gear and topping out my HR while grinding to the top. Today I spun 2-3 gears higher at 100+ RPM without hitting zone 4. For a change I was smiling at the top of a hill.

Again, there are lots of guys locally who can just rip my legs off, but I am waaaay ahead of last year. I have ways to go before I can hang with those guys but its getting closer. Yay. I may not be racing yet but its still fun to go fast and ride well.

Apr 28, 2009

New Week, Still Random

Had a great weekend (mostly) at home with Kandy. We both forgot how much we enjoy each other's company and it was nice remembering. Didn't do much: lawn maintenance, house work, dinner. Just nice.

Rode quite a bit last week, even though I wimped out of a TNR. On Friday I let it rip at the Secret Training Ground, laying down the fastest laps I have ever done there. Hmmm. Is there racing in my future? Kandy says it makes her stomach hurt when I talk about it. We'll see.

Not much new to report. Work is the same, spring is still playing peek-a-boo with us. Emphasis on the "boo" there.

Armstrong, Liepheimer, and Horner riding the Tour of the Gila this week. So is Landis. Although, after watching Landis' Twitter feed I am not much of a fan anymore. So much so that I don't watch it anymore.

The Norfolk Classic weekend should be a doozy - two great days of racing on great venues. But this year, riders need to bring their families and stay. After the road race there is a circus in town; that night there is a car show, BBQ, and beer garden with live music; and the Christian Cross Festival after the State Crit. The car show, BBQ, and beer garden will be on the crit course so those from out of town won't have too many places to look for. Should be a great time.

Apr 22, 2009

Random Bits of Information from the Last Week

I acted at Chief Referee at the Le Tour de Husker in Lincoln this last weekend. I had a good crew working with me - Kevin, Nancy, and Cheryl - so my job was easy. I could focus on some of the issues during and after the race, concentrate on keeping things moving, and work on my scoring without any pressure.

It was a good weekend, even though the weather was very up and down. I went from looking for more clothes to wear because it was cold to stripping down to short sleeves and wishing I had wore sunblock. Really really burned my face but its better now. Live and learn.

Even though I didn't ride over the weekend I was still exhausted. Officiating is mentally challenging and standing for 8-10 hours isn't something I am used to.

When Monday rolled around I was still tired but braved the 45mph winds and got a good ride in on my mountain bike at Skyview. The course there is all grass with quite a bit of climbing. I am starting to be able to roll up the hills without taxing my system much so I feel my strength is improving. Continued work on climbing is still in order though.

Did another trifecta-plus last night and this morning. Last night I lifted, taught a spin class and went on a MTB group ride. This morning I got up and taught another spin class. If the weather holds out I may try to get another very low intensity ride in tonight, or I might fertilize the lawn. Depends on my ambition level at 5PM I guess.

Want to know something? No? Too bad - i am going to tell you anyway. In the late eighties and into the late nineties I started to develope some minor high blood pressure. Nothing that required medication but definately something to watch. It was getting close to 150/100 most time, and my parents and brother were all already taking medication for their high blood pressure.

Then I started cycling. Over the years my resting heart rate has dropped from the 70's to somewhere around 50, and when I checked my blood pressure this morning it was 122/64 with a HR of 61. After teaching a spin class earlier in the morning and walking around for a bit. Thank you, Mr. Bicycle.

My youngest daughter Kristin made Pink Panthers, again. For those who are wondering - the Pink Panthers is the Norfolk High School dance team. She will be a junior this fall and follows in the footsteps of her older sisters who were all Pink Panthers as well. Dance, dance, dance. Seems like it has been forever a part of our lives but before we know it dancing days will be over.

I guess this is getting long, so I'll stop.

Apr 15, 2009

Back After 7 Months

Finally rode some singletrack last night for the first time since September 19, 2008 - almost nine months ago. I love singletrack. I love riding with everyone out on the road and being in a group and trying to hang with the group, but for me nothing is better than dirt. I like being out in the trees being a part of nature and riding my bike.

Even though I had a mechanical issue the made my riding a little less productive ( new chain was too long so lots of skipping on a worn cassette - both got fixed last nght ) it was still great. This is supposed to be a rest week after a hard couple weeks prior but I still stayed on with the group for most of a lap until I popped. Then I backed off, rode my own pace, and had fun.

Even with the mechanicals, and the long time away, my fitness and my riding skills are right where I left off last fall. Not as good as some, better than a few, and good enough for me.

For now.

Apr 11, 2009

Friday Recovery

Set out after work Friday for a quick recovery ride but once I got into it I didn't want to stop. Ended up just south Wee Town before I had to turn around to get home in time for church.

Legs felt great: constant spinning at 95-105 rpm with HR steady in Z2.

So, it wasn't the 130 miles that Dan had, but it was a good after work spin.

Apr 10, 2009

Whirling Spots

Since I couldn't partake of this week's Thursday Night Ride and my workout and bodily rhythms were in sync, I opted for letting it all hang out on the spin bike in class.

Compressing the subtleties of a 120 minute TNR into a 45 minute spin class was no easy feat. But, after seeing whirling spots in front of my eyes after the last threshold interval, I think I accomplished my goal. Legs were fried, lungs were burned, and every last bit of extra sweat was on the floor.

So, the rest of the week for me? And easy spin tonight and nothing but rest on Saturday while at work. Sunday will be an easy day as will most of next week. I am hoping that Tuesday finds the Maskenthine trails dry so I can see how my MTB legs are feeling.

The Psycowpath opener is May 2.

Apr 9, 2009

Not much to report

Things have been pretty uneventful lately waiting for the Easter Bunny to show up. Last night The Vicious Poodle woke us up at about 3AM barking at someone down the street. He thinks he scared them away preventing a burglar attack on our home and I haven't told him any different.

Training in coming along nicely. After hanging on by a thread for most of last week's Thursday Night Ride I am a bit more inspired to train hard. Since then its been intervals, hill repeats, and more intervals and hill repeats, with a double header of recovery rides yesterday. I am feeling much stronger and lighter than last year, which helps keep the motivation fueled as well.

I weighed in at 194 this morning and that got me thinking that I haven't been below 198 since 2006 (I think) when I was powerlifting. I bulked up to 200 and beyond back in 1991 and never went back down. My weight in 1987 was ~170 before I started lifting and eating heavy. I am not sure I ever want to go back to that but it feels nice to need to look at all my "too big" clothes filling my closet.

The first big race of the Nebraska season is next weekend and I have assembled a pretty good crew to work it with me. Should be a lot of fun seeing folks in race form.

Spin classes are going good - full classes with motivated and loyal participants. I stay with my current schedule until after Memorial Day when I take over M/W/F 5:45AM classes and give up evening ones. That will be great for summer activities.

Otherwise, not much new. Where are those Reese's PB Eggs?

Mar 30, 2009

Official Upgrade

I spent 14 hours on the road over the weekend traveling to Blaine, Minnesota for a USA Cycling Class "B" officials seminar. The course was held at the National Sports Complex which is also the home of the NSC Velodrome.

Having never been to a velodrome this was a special treat. Its a hard thing to photograph and capture the true feel. Even video doesn't do it justice - you just can't grasp how banked the corners are. I walked around it and standing on the banks is like standing on the steepest roof or slope you can imagine. It gave me a whole new insight into riding track.

So did the classwork. I had read the rule book numerous times but without talking about the nuances of track racing with experienced track folks, it was hard to put in perspective. And, being responsible for a working knowledge of it gave me a good reason to get familiar with track.

The course was taught by International Commissaire Bruce Brasaemle a veteran of various aspects of officiating. The course is quite compressed, with a ton of information given in a short amount of time. Bruce did a fine job of keeping the course on track and getting the information out.

The test was interesting. I wasn't fond of the way the questions were written but it made me think and that was the point. I didn't do as well as I would have liked but I passed comfortably and got to head home. I was one of the two highest scores, even passing the track portion of the test.

My new license should arrive soon with the "B" upgrade noted. I am hoping that I can score some officiating jobs around the region, if not the nation, and get some more experience and opportunities for travel. There is talk of a possible to trip to either Downer's Grove (Chicago) or the Nature Valley Grand Prix (back in Minneapolis), but we'll see. I am hoping to get a gig or two back in Blaine for some track races as well.

Minneapolis is a nice place, but still resembles Nebraska quite a bit. After a couple days I was ready to come home. I like to travel but with out my lovely bride or some close friends or family it just just isn't as much fun.

Mar 27, 2009

The Great White North

Finally done with a marathon session of spin classes. A double on Sunday, two Monday, and one every day since. It was supposed to be a rest week but I managed to keep my exertion levels mellow.

Off to the Great White North today - Blaine MN specifically. I am going to a USAC Class B officials seminar at the National Sports Complex. That is where the velodrome is and I am anxious to lay eyes on it.

The seminar should be interesting and the test somewhat brutal. But, I am looking forward to the possibility of working some bigger races outside Nebraska.

I will be on the road most of the day so tweet me if you like - jon_downey

Sent from my BlackBerry Smartphone provided by Alltel

Mar 16, 2009

Latest Mix

General workout, actually did this last while working on LT intervals.

01) Aerosmith - Sweet Emotion 05:03
02) The Bravery - Believe 03:46
03) The Caesars - Jerk It Out 03:18
04) Garbage - Push it 04:02
05) Buckcherry - Rescue Me 03:13
06) Foo Fighters - I'll Stick Around 03:52
07) Flyleaf - Breathe Today 02:55
08) Rise Against - Re-Education (Through Labor) 03:42
09) Amberlin - The Feel Good Drag 03:28
10) Thousand Foot Krutch - Falls Apart 03:36
11) Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker - You Wreck Me Baby 03:22
12) U2 - Its A Beautiful Day 04:05

Mar 15, 2009

Full week of spinning

It looks like the spin bike and I will become very close this week. Five classes plus a double class on Sunday.

Been reading Jennifer Sage's blog at She says that there should always be a profile for a class, instead of just winging it. Might be some repeat profiles if that is the case.

2008 vs 2009

On Saturday I did nearly the exact same ride as I did the same time in 2008. Its a loop south of Ames, IA. Actually the 2009 ride wasabout 15 miles longer than the 2008 route. Same weather, same wind.

I purposely didn't monitor my speed the entire route, focusing on cadence and heart rate the entire time and keeping both in a predetermined range.

When I returned, I compared results: Same average HR, with an average speed 2 MPH higher than last year! Wahoo!

Pleased, very pleased.

Mar 11, 2009

Respecting the Process

Slowly, very slowly, learning to apply the phrase "Respect the Process" to my training. And actually do it.

This week is threshold work. Not 4-5 threshold workouts like I would have attempted in the past, but a measured approach.

Monday - recovery from a long ride Sunday and the previous week's endurance/climbing work.
Tuesday - Cruise intervals.
Today- recovery.

I feel surprisingly good, and ready to tackle another day of cruise intervals tomorrow.

Mar 5, 2009

A Spin Class Rookie

This post came to my attention about a newbie at a spin class. Hillarious.

Feb 23, 2009

Came up a little short

As is the story of my life, I came up a little short last week. This time it was training, but only by about 15 minutes.

I hammered the climbing all week, with 4 workouts consisting of 4x6 minute climbs per session. Yesterday was the last climbing workout for a bit with 4x8 minutes climbs. All the climbing work was solidly done is Z4 approaching Z5a. The rest of the week consisted of either base aerobic or tempo work and a really good weight workout.

While my total volume is nowhere near that of a Joe or a Jeff or this guy my 2-week-on, 1-week-off system seems to be working. I can get the intensity that I need while still being able to recover, something that I have always struggled with.

Repeated power and recovery will be the focus this week, with several workouts geared toward crit or MTB race type work.

Feb 19, 2009

MMmmmm Beeer.

Maybe a new favorite - Stella Artois. Belgian. Tasty. Good in big glasses.

Not as heavy as my previous fav, Blue Moon. Looking for an opportunity to try Beck's Premium Light.

Feb 17, 2009

We're Climbing

Starting into a new cycle, after a week of tempo work, this week is dominated by climbing work. Yesterday, battling a case of the stomach flu, I eased into some shorter high intensity work.

In class tonight we did 4 6-minute climbing intervals with HR solidly in upper zone 4. I was feeling strong and powerful and had a good workout. I am having a hard time getting up into zone 5, but that will come. Traditionally, racing and fast group rides put me in that upper Z4 range. Under the added pressure of being in a group, I have a hard time mentally holding that HR for any extended periods. I am hoping that putting myself there while teaching will acclimate my body and mind to this level of work and get rid of that nagging worry.

Now I am anxious to see how all this inside work translates to being outside. I have seen it go both ways - some spin instructors take that fitness with them and translate it to the bike. Some apparently fool themselves into thinking they are working hard inside and fall flat when they get outside. Time will tell.

Feb 8, 2009

Reaching my Goals

My workout plan calls for 2 weeks on and 1 week off. Today was the end of my 2 weeks on, thankfully.

Finished off the week by teaching a viscous spin class that I went into with very little motivation. Ended up the 90 minute session with a good 40 minutes of tempo and some steep climbs under my belt, and a giant puddle of sweat under me.

As class was starting I downed a Celsius drink. It wasn't bad but its no Monster. It did get me out of my energy funk and help me cap a good week of training. I ended up 12 minutes shy of my allotted training time. Easy week coming up and I am looking forward to it.

Dance competitions start this weekend and last until the middle of March. - two in Omaha and one in Ames, Iowa. Then I go to Minnesota for a USA Cycling Class B officials course and after that race season kicks off.

Feb 5, 2009

Joe Savoie on Rahpsody

One of Joe's workout mixes

Feb 3, 2009

Building the Base

Moving on with the same theme as last week but adding in some steady hills. Workouts are dominated by steady state work with some hilly endurance thrown in.

Had the entire class so fired up at the end of Sunday's 90 minute spin that they were exhausted but wanted more. We did a standing sprint holding it until everyone but one sat down leaving a "sprint winner." Didn't work - no one would quit.

Adding another class this week - filling in Friday evening. Works into my own fitness plans quite nicely as this was to be a bigger week anyway.

Jan 27, 2009

Shifting Gears

Last week's workouts were dominated by hills and sprints. Great for developing muscle and power but very hard on the body. This week is dedicated to steady-state high-aerobic work.

With the exception of one long hill in the middle of the workout, the first section of class this week will be tempo and the second will be at or near threshold. The entire class will focus on higher cadence with resistance set to achieve the desired heart rate.

For my personal goals, last week was a low volume high intensity week. This week shifts to a lower intensity but increased saddle time. After these next two weeks I will need a week of low intensity, low volume.

This week's new playlist:

Moby - Southside
INXS - Pretty Vegas
Smashing Pumpkins - Tarantula
Pearl Jam - Worldwide Suicide
Nine Inch Nails - Discipline
Paramore - That's What You Get
ACDC - Thunderstruck
Gravity Kills - Guilty
POD - Alive
Seether - Remedy
Velvet Revolver - She Builds Quick Machines
Edwin Collins - Never Met a Girl Like You

Jan 26, 2009

The Year of the Ox

Its my year. I was born in 1961 so according to Chinese Horoscope lore, I am an Ox. This is also The Year of the Ox, and today is Chinese New Year.

"People born in the Year of the Ox are patient, speak little, and inspire confidence in others. They tend, however, to be eccentric, and bigoted, and they anger easily. They have fierce tempers and although they speak little, when they do they are quite eloquent. Ox people are mentally and physically alert. Generally easy-going, they can be remarkably stubborn, and they hate to fail or be opposed. They are most compatible with Snake, Rooster, and Rat people."

Well, anyone who knows me would say that is pretty darned accurate.

Jan 24, 2009

Sunday Sweat Fest

This Sunday's 9o spin spectacular starts at 3PM. Last week there were a few open bikes but make your reservation now!

Think hill sprints and tempo.

Jan 14, 2009

My Life As An Idiot

This pretty much summarizes how my life goes. To see the original post, and others, go here.

Jan 12, 2009

Full Spinnin Slate This Week

My spin class schedule is filling up rapidly. This week's schedule:

Tuesday 5:45a 6:30a

5:30p 6:15p
Wednesday 5:45a 6:30a
Thursday 5:45a 6:30a

5:30p 6:15p
Sunday 3:00p 4:30p

The Sunday exact time is subject to change, there is some discussion as to what time it will start, I will post updates.

Jan 5, 2009

Spinning vs Cycling

* Sam Murphy
* The Guardian, Saturday 10 May 2008
* Article history

Cardiovascular fitness

Spinning: A study by the American Council On Exercise found spinners worked at 75-96 % of their maximum heart rate - far exceeding the minimum requirement.

Cycling: Not quite as good as spinning . Still, research shows the average amount of oxygen the body can take in and use each minute is 73.5ml/kg in pro-cyclists - compared with 42ml/kg in non-cyclists.

Perceived effort

Spinning: The fact that there’s no respite in spinning - no change of scenery, say - can make spinning “feel” harder than cycling outdoors. However, the music and group motivation can help to off set this.

Cycling: The varied intensity of outdoor riding - freewheeling, uphill inclines, etc - can make it feel much more satisfying and spontaneous than fi xed cycling in a closed environment.


Spinning: Once you get to the gym, you can work at your own personal level, while still being part of a group - in a dry, temperature-controlled and safe environment.

Cycling: Since you can cover a lot of miles in an hour, you need to plan your routes - and watch the weather. There’s also an inherent risk from being on the road . And, if you do get hooked, cycling can be expensive.
Lower-body strength

Spinning: Spinning uses the same muscles as road biking. However, the weight of the fl ywheel ( 14-18kg) increases the number of pedal strokes per minute, forcing the hamstrings to work harder.

Cycling: Cycling uses all the major lower-body muscles - the glutes, hamstrings, quads, shins and calves. The thighs, in particular, are worked incredibly hard.
Calorie expenditure

Spinning: The fixed wheel of a spinning bike means you can’t “freewheel” - so your muscles work the whole time. This makes it a pretty high-intensity activity, burning a lot of calories.

Cycling: Cycling has the potential for high-energy expenditure - particularly when you’re covering high mileage or taking in hilly terrain. The average Tour de France rider burns 124,000 calories during the race.

Jan 3, 2009


View my playlists online at Thanks to Ryan @redbone14

Sunday Spin Classes

Sunday 90 minute spin classes start tomorrow at the YMCA. The dates I am leading are:

Jan. 18
Jan. 25
Feb. 1
Feb. 8
Feb. 22
Mar. 22

Bring two bottles of water and don't forget to call in to reserve your spot.

Jan 2, 2009

Filling in Tonight

Filling in for another instructor tonight 5:30-6:15PM. Call 371-9770 for a spot.

Jan 1, 2009

OK fine. My list for 2008

Since everyone else seems to be posting up best and worst lists I feel left out. Here are my highs and lows, kept to the point:

Best Things:

My wife.
Katie's wedding
Merrit and Kayla's graduations
Jacob's confirmation
Kristin's recovery from back surgery
Spending time with Mitch, Nicole and Kaytlin (Florida family) and cari, Anthoney, Sam, and Zane (California friends)
Racing the Dakota 5-o
Putting on some successful races
Officiating races, and getting to know lots of cycling folks
Remembering old friends and discovering the kindness of new ones.

Worst Things:

Watching my finances go to pot (See Best Things)
Having our Jeep take a giant crap on us halfway across South Dakota. On a holiday.
Not training hard enough and not racing well at all
Breaking my shoulder.
Getting estranged from someone, with no resolution in sight.
Spending more time in doctor's offices and hospitals than I'd like.

Here's hoping 2009 finds you all well and treats you with kindness.