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July 26, 2006

At the Kinetic Sculpture Museum in Ferndale, Calif.

I'm feeling like a rusty relic myself. I've barely ridden since Superweek, and I'll barely ride again before Downers Grove. It's a much-needed rest, to be sure, and the cycling has been replaced with other joys and adventures, but I am disoriented. I rode 90 minutes Monday and the legs felt like brickwork. And I look at my training log and note with awe all the 12- and 15-hour weeks I put in this spring. "I did that? How?"

Since March I've helped lead a small group ride every Wednesday morning. I haven't gone in more than a month. I'd hoped today would be my return, but when I checked the weather radar at 7, a huge green claw was poised to pince Chicago. I txt'ed my regrets and went back to bed.

The claw has yet to snap.

The only thing worse than riding in the rain is not riding in the not rain. Now I sit at the window, looking on the dry streets as forlornly as I will surely be looking on the snowy landscape come January, and I'm willing the sky to open open up, just as you will a stock to collapse the day after you have liquidated. "Rain! Rain! Let it rain! Cruel gods, make not this rest be for naught!"

Photo taken: July 17, 2006


July 25, 2006

Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.

Photo taken: July 22, 2006


July 22, 2006

Family portrait.

Photo taken: July 17, 2006


July 18, 2006

My nephew is not yet talking, but he has a large vocabulary of signs and gestures. Drawing a circle in his palm is for cookie, and that's good enough for me.

Photo taken: July 15, 2006


July 13, 2006

Seems like yesterday I was layering up to race the crits at Parkside, and now my Superweek has already come and mostly gone. Three days, three road races, three mediocre results: 12th, 19th, 26th.

As usual I wasted too much energy on early breaks -- "Never again!" I promised after each attack, 24 hours if not 24 seconds before launching or chasing one again -- but in at least two of the races some late sacrifices helped teammates get well-deserved placements in the top 10, so I'm not totally disappointed.

The feelings of burnout I wrote about earlier haven't receded. When I finish one race I'm not immediately counting the hours to the next one. It could be related to performance: I had five top 10's by Memorial Day but have had only one since. Maybe I peaked too early? Maybe I loaded the early season with easy races? Maybe I was never as good as I thought I was?

I have probably done the season's last road race. All that are left are the criteriums of August, where because of upcoming travels and my longstanding aversion to crits, I expect I'll be racing mostly to keep teammates company.

Lately I've been having flashbacks to all the base training I did this year. Riding the fixie to Highland Park in the dead of winter. The January alley cats. Watching the entire Super Bowl on the trainer. Riding the lakefront one Wednesday morning and seeing trees burdened with icicles. That epic 5-hour ride through the rain with Ed and Bob.

All that hard work, and I can't do better than 26th? And in four months I'll have to not only do it all over again but, if I hope to improve, do more of it?

The chatter in the carpool this week has been about when we should upgrade to Cat 3. I can't do it on points, but I can on virtue of having 20 pack finishes, sort of like the booby prize for someone who has bought 20 losing lottery tickets.

I don't think Cat 3 will be significantly harder, but Cat 4 is fun. I'm enjoying lining up and knowing I have a decent chance at success, recent results notwithstanding, and I want another crack at winning certain races, Baraboo and Snake Alley in particular. I also like having as many as 20 teammates in a race; I'd be lucky to have four in any given Cat 3 race. On the other hand, Cat 3 races would be smoother, and, I am told, the teamwork is more organized and consequential.

Be a good Cat 4, or an average Cat 3? Good thing winter will be here soon. I'll need all that trainer time to meditate on my decision.

Photo taken: July 11, 2006


July 10, 2006

Photo taken: July 7, 2006


July 5, 2006

Maxwell Street Market. The taste of Chicago.

Photo taken: July 2, 2006