29 June 2006

#4, Happy 4th.

4 weeks.
4 pints.
4th of July next week.
4th consecutive 10k on the 4th of July?

Last year, Laurie ran the 10k in Madras; I had to sit out because of some injuries from a bike crash the week prior. In 2004 I ran in Madras w/ a couple friends. In 2003, Laurie and I were in Freeport, Maine and ran in a 10k, and had a pancake breakfast afterward. So it would be logical continue the tradition to return to Madras and run in the 10k. It's a small town, with a small town vibe, unlike Bend, which isn't really a big or small town, but it definatly doesn't have a small town vibe.

To my family at the lake in MN: We miss you. Hope you have nice weather at the lake like this:

The tour starts on Saturday (that little bike race in France). Lots of doping investigations and bad press for some high profile riders. Kinda makes you wonder. I think there are some pretty nervous racers waiting to see what's going to happen.

My jersey predictions:
Yellow: Landis (Ullrich and Basso will be close)
Green: McEwen (Boonen will drop out - Zabel & Thor will make it close)
Dots: Rassmusen (aka 'skeletor' - see photo below)
White: Gomez (who the crap is that?)

I'm rooting for these guys (in this order):

Landis (Floyd Rocks!)

Horner (Take some chances Chris)

Hincapie (Top 10 for Hincapie)

Leipheimer (Could be top 5)

Zabriskie (Repeat prolouge win in the works?)

McEwen (Green Jersey, if he can make it over the mountains)

Rasmussen (skeletor will be in polka dots in Paris)

Millar (what the heck, admitted doper - now apparently clean, so he definatly won't win)

Now all I need is OLN.

27 June 2006

This is Funny.


Natural Gas (and oh yea, it's hot out)

This is part 1 of 3 for the energy usage for us, here I'm analyzing the usage of Natural Gas, up next is electricity and then water, maybe Gasoline too, but I've only been keeping track of that since October of 2005.

So regarding the natural gas, I don't have alot to compare the data to, to see if we are efficient, compared to the average American, but I think we do OK anyway, especially since our house was not really built with energy efficiency in mind. I began keeping track of this when we moved into our house in Nov. 2004.

For the first 6 months of 2006, the Ness casa used 284 therms of natural gas. In the same period last year we used 292, so we used 8 less therms of natural gas. NG is used to heat our house, water and we have a natural gas stove for cooking. Unfortunatly we don't keep temperature statistics but here's a breakdown of gas used per day, grouped by month.
So in every month except one, we used less gas. In March of this year, it was MUCH colder this year than last year which explains the discrepancy there. It would be interesting to compare the average temp in each month. Maybe I can find that online somewhere.

Cost? Well the average cost (per month) of our first 6 months in 2005 was $51.43, and in 2006 the average cost was $55.13. The cost per therm of our natural gas only went up about 10.2% (according to my math anyway) . Not bad considering the big scare about high NG prices after the hurricanes last fall.

Ahh- ok, this is my blog so I can blog whatever I want, so if you are bored to death by my energy usage statistics, then wait until the next blog entry where I will return to blogging about who will win the Tour de France, or my blood letting experiences, or something cool like that. Did I mention that it's about 100 degrees here in Bend right now? Yea it's HOT. So this week would mark the official beginning of Summer in central oregon. Needless to say we're not using much natural gas nowadays.


23 June 2006

World Cup

Why does the USA suck so bad at soccer? Soccer is just not that popular here. It was pretty fun when we visited Ireland and England last spring, when there were some big games going on. We viewed a couple at some pubs, and dang I have to say it was pretty cool. I guess the average american sports fan needs higher scoring games.

Anyway, I don't think Jeff will mind, so I'm passing on a link to his race report for the Big Horn 100 mile trail run. It's pretty sweet. He really knocked it out of the park with the race. Definatly an inspiration. We celebrated this week by going out for lunch instead of the weekly Wednesday noon run.

Wish I was here.

That's all.

21 June 2006

Big Horn 30k

So, before arriving in Dayton Wyoming, we set out for Jackson, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone. It was sweet, except it rained quite a bit. So, we missed the tops of the tetons (clouds) and we were almost dry when we saw old faithful blow (right about on time of course). Luckily though most of the stuff at Yellowstone is on the ground, so cloud cover wasn't a big deal. All the bubbling springs and gurgling caves are pretty dang cool. I'm quite certain that the area will blow up soon, after seeing it first hand. Also - we visited the park on like thursday, and then heard on the radio that a family from Michigan lost their mom after she stepped over the guard rail to take a photo, and fell off of a 500 foot drop off. Common smarts might have come into play there, but I'm not sure. All in all, the road trip was sweet, and that neat little digital camera that holds almost 300 pictures, was useless because we forgot the battery for it. Oh well.

The wild and scenic Big horn trail run is a challenging race, no matter what distance you do. (you can choose 100 mile, 50 mile, 50k or 30k.) Laurie and I choose the 30k, thinking it might be the easy way out. Well, it was still pretty dang tough. The start was at about 7400 feet, and the end was at about 4000 feet, so if you do that math, there's alot of descending. Some rollers before the drop off, but once you get to the drop off, hang on and if you have the balls, you will go fast, but this was some uneven moose trails that were very technical (bad footing). I was with the 2 leaders, (that turned out to be local guys, who probably train on the course) (big advantage) throught the first half where there were some big climbs, but when the down hill started they were like bowling balls going down that thing. I was out of control, and had to bag it, because I wasn't prepared mentally or physically to handle that kind of pace right there. I was thinking to myself, I'm never coming back to this one as I was suffering down that hill, trying to race it. I was wondering how Laurie would handle it, but she did great finishing in under 3 1/2 hours.

So I ended up 3rd overall. Some Bend Oregon friends of ours also kicked ass, w/ Jeff taking 1st in the 100miler (new course record), and Sean and Chris taking 1st and 7th in the 50 miler, respectively. I have not been this sore after a race for a long time, and it's because of the down hill. Well, I think I'll stick to the gentle Bend trails which are like freeways compared to big horn.

So, now what? With my 3rd 'reverse blood doping' (RBD) session yesterday, I'm feeling OK I guess. The day of the RBD, I become super tired afterward, but seem to recover good the next day. And I was able to compete at Big Horn after 2 RBDs, so who knows what the future will bring.

I continue to be a little bummed about the whole blood letting but I have to say I'm am glad I figured this disease out now, instead of when I'm 60, with a ferritin of 8000, a rusty liver that doesn't work and a bunch of other health problems.

word out.

20 June 2006


Well, here we are back in Central Oregon after a big road trip to WY. There are a ton of things going on here, so this is a short post.

Oh yea, we forgot the battery (opps!!) for our little digital camera, so there will be a delay on getting any pictures of the few disposable camera pics up from the trip.

Oh yea, 3rd phlebotomy was yesterday upon arriving back in Bend. That sucked.

13 June 2006

Heading east.

blood donation yesterday: check
haircut saturday: check
gas up van: check
pack up van: check
camera batteries charged: check

we're outa here.

10 June 2006

Bon Weekend

It's the weekend, and there's not much happening. Big off road 1/2 marathon tomorrrow in Bend. I'm not running, though, still trying to recover from my first therapudic blood donation. I was pretty much recovered after a couple days, I think, but I've been taking it pretty easy, in terms of working out. I go back for round 2 on Monday.

We're hittin' the road on Tuesday for a road trip to the big horn mountains in Wyoming. On the way, we'll go through eastern Oregon (yee ha), Idaho (maybe we'll see napoleon), and then Jackson Hole, WY, Grand teton national park, and Yellowstone national park. Oh yea, there's a little trail run that we are in too, the 'Big Horn Trail Run'. Laurie and I are both in the 30k, but they also have distances of 50k, 50 mile and 100 mile. A couple of our friends are running the 50 mile, and another friend is the defending champ in the 100 mile. Yea, that's right, 100 miles of running. Biking that is hard enough. I guess if you like running all night.

For now- that's all.

06 June 2006

6-6-06 / Still alive.

(warning - contains graphic bleeding descriptions) I had my first session of bleeding yesterday. It went OK. I didn't have any problems, the blood came out fast, and I was out of there in less than 40 minutes. I was hoping for a smaller needle, but that was not possible, as they only have one set of 'phlebotomy' equiptment. I think the needle was a 17 gauge (isn't that a shot gun?). It might as well have been a shot gun, the thing was huge. I don't watch them put the needle in for obvious reasons, but what they do is stick a big needle in your vein, that's hooked up to a tube, and then hook that clear tube up to a bottle, and then put the bottle on the floor, so gravity helps the process. I did look at the tube (for about 5 seconds), with blood flowing in it, and instead of coming out evenly, like a leak in a water balloon, it was pumping out. I don't know why that suprised me, but I guess it was the heart beating pumping blood out. I think the unit of blood was supposed to be a pint, but the bottle looked more like the size a litre.

Also, the Doc has setup parameters on my hematocrit (HCT) and hemoglobin (HGB), and if they are below a certain point, they will let me skip a week. Initially my HCT was 43 (back in April), and my HGB 15.5. Well yesterday, they were much lower (39 and 13.9), and I'm thinkin it was because of the stage race I completed the day before, and if not, I need to get some blood back in me, not bleed it out!!! Or get an altitude tent or something. At this point (and this opinion might change as I go throught this process further) I'm pretty sure that pro cyclist do in fact dope, or do something to keep their HCT as close to 50 (the limit) as they can. (or maybe it's an altitude tent?) I don't know if the stage race caused me to dehydrate, and that's what caused the low numbers, but in any case, those Pro tour riders are racing twice as far as I did yesterday, day after day. Go figure...

Anyway, the nurse was pretty sure my numbers would be lower next week and I wouldn't need to waste another unit of blood. (I say waste, because that's just what they do, throw it out). I think she was full of beans, and it was very clear from the start yesterday, that I knew much more of what I was going through than she did. I had to give her a little information on exactly why I was in there, and what this thing called Hemochromatosis is. I predict my HCT will be back above 40 next week, and HGB over 14, that would lead me to believe that I'm depleting a little bit of iron.

Oh yea, the Nurse, was from Minnesota. What's up with Nurses from Minnesota? My wife is from MN; she's a nurse. When we first got to Bend, her first interview was a Nurse from MN. When I busted up my ribs last year, the Nurse was from MN. Our friend Melissa is a nurse, and she's from MN. My mom's a nurse (she's still in MN though).

The world did not end, even though the date is 6-6-6. I didn't think it was going to.

Hopefully the Oilers can turn it around. It's gonna be tough after Roli went down, but we gotta believe. The cup does not belong in Carolina! Period!

04 June 2006

Bike Racing 101 - some lessons learned at Mt Hood

Here we are back in Central Oregon after an action packed weekend of bike racing (and a few heated ping pong matches). The weekend started early Friday morning, when we decided that it would be better to take the car, instead of camping in the Van. This would require us to drive back to West Linn after the bike race on Friday to stay w/ Laruie's bro. Then I would make the trip to the time trial on Saturday solo. Worked out nicely; we got to spend a little time w/ Laurie's brother & fam. The accomodations were excellent, thank you very much.

We awoke to rain in Central Oregon on Friday. That can only mean that it's basically raining everywhere from Bend on west, because it's not common to have much rain. It rained through most of the drive to the race actually, where it was still raining. Needless to say it was going to be a wet race. (Soaking wet and cold too) It was a 2 loop circut for us w/ the race starting and immedatly descending about 9 miles, and then back up 9 miles. I was shivering and soaked at the bottom of the initial descent. There was hardly any attacking. then a guy starts slowly riding faster, and everyone just let him go gradually. Turns out he was a real strong rider, because him and another guy got almost 2 minutes on us. That's the problem with a cat4 race, is nobody really wants to work very much, and working together almost never happens. I stupidly didn't attack until about 1km to go to the finish, and ended up 8th. I should have attacked with about 5k to go. It would have split the field alot, and well, That was lesson number one. ATTACK!!!

Lesson Number 2 came at the time trial. I was going to get all nostalgic and wear my old school sleeveless NDSU cycling jersey. For one it's really tight, so less wind, and also it's a cool green color. Well, I got to the starting line about 3 minutes before I was supposed to start, and this big official guy says (in a very mean voice) 'you gotta find sleeves!' I'm sort of dumbfounded by just how mean he was, and lipped off a little bit, but he was not nice at all. He said "this ain't no triathlon". I know there's a sleeves rule in road races, but I figured that this was a time trial, so it would fly. Give me a break this isn't the freaken tour de france here. I sprinted back to the car, and got my Team jersey and numbers, and then almost missed my start (I had 15 seconds when I was clipped in ready to go.) I finished a crappy 28th losing over 2 1/2 minues. Lesson number 2: Gotta have SLEEVES!!!

So I wasn't super happy w/ the TT, because I knew the race really happened on Sunday (73 miles of climbing and desceneding.) It was pretty rainy again, but the sun came out a few times during the race, so not a complete wash out. We got to the race and there was a slight break in the clouds, so it was possible to warm up a bit out of the rain. I rode a little bit and then made it to the start about 5 minutes early. At stage races you have to sign in. They close sign in 15 minutes before the race start. Lesson Number 3: SIGN IN EARLY!

Unfortunatly the gal (probably a volunteer), was mean to me also, I'm sorta new to this whole program and I guess I was supposed to bring an extra set of wheels, because they have neutral support at these races, where a van follows the pack, and if someone flats they can get you new wheel. So they drew my name and as the gal was telling me that I had to be there 15 minutes early and sounding not nice at all, and then she notices that I was drawn to have a set of wheels, she get's even more angry. I didn't have time to find a set of wheels that I didn't even bring, and it was too late to try to find any. I think I was supposed to get a penatly but so far it hasn't shown up on the results. what ever. Lesson Number 4: Bring Extra Wheels!!!

The first of 3 summits was probably the hardest, for whatever reason. After that, the descent was down right scary. Wet roads and very twisty. I think I wore almost all the way through my brake pads this weekend! Then the same two guys eventually got out in front again, gaining minutes on the field. A group of about 10 riders emerged on the second climb, and I was in it. About that time (w/ 5k to go to the 2nd summit) I notice a slow leak in my rear tire. and no wheel car in sight!!! So I roll as long as I can and at the last moment the van shows up, and I got a new wheel, and then I had to CHASE my ass of to try to catch up. I chased for a long time. But I did catch back up. Another Super fast descent but dry roads this time, thankfully. If you're a fearless descender, you could really make time up in a cat 4 race anyway.

On the last climb, I started to do little attacks, because nobody would carry a sustained pace at the front (except me, and everyone was on my wheel). So I let someone else by, and he pulled for a while, and when he stopped, I'd attack. I think it worked a bit to tire people out, but again, I should have started it sooner. It was a grind to the top, but I made it in 7th place for an overall place of 7th in the GC (General Classification). I was super happy with the overall result and had such a great time that I hope to race at Elkhorn in 3 weeks. (We'll see how I feel) Sorry about the long post.

Blood donation #1 tomorrow.

01 June 2006

Mt Hood Preview

Leaving tomorrow for Hood River, nice little town on the Columbia river. Looks like it might be wet. 38 mile circut race for Friday, 10.5 mile time trial on Saturday and a 75 mile road race on Sunday.

As for the bike, I borrowed the bontrager race lite wheels off of my wife's trek wsd madone. They are freaken fast compared to my old mavic open pro rims, w/ ultegra hubs. I'm pulling out the rear disc for the TT as well. Also pimped out on my ride is a ritchey compact crankset I got a couple weeks ago. It is very sweet. Best upgrade I've done to my bike in a while. I could have got a 12-25 or 27 cassette, but the compact crank (50-34) with a 11-23 in the back is working pretty sweet for me so far.

time for sleep. Stage race coming up.

for results.