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July 28, 2006

At least I'm eating well

Gino's EastAs I said, training on the trip left a lot to be desired. However, I did get to eat at Gino's East in Chicago the night before we left. Mike and I split a medium sausage supreme pizza. No crumbled sausage for us, we got the version with the giant sausage patty. Yummy!

The Gino's East story began in 1966 when two taxi drivers and a friend, frustrated with rush hour traffic, decided to open a pizzeria just off Michigan Ave. and Superior St. in Chicago. The Original Gino's East became an instant legend with local Chicagoans, national celebrities and visitors from around the world.

Our famous deep-dish pizza tastes the same as it did back then. Each pizza is made by hand and features its own unique look. Each legendary pizza is created with a secret, golden crust, fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, and loaded with your choice of fresh ingredients. Once baked to perfection these enormous pies are brought to your table in our well-seasoned pans.

In a city known as the "Pizza Capital of the World", The Original Gino's East is still the number one pizza restaurant where customers from near and far return year after year to scribble their names into the wood and stucco walls of our flagship restaurant in downtown Chicago.

Milwaukee Brewers game

Sausages up closeMike Sinelli and I had originally planned to have dinner with a friend in the Milwaukee area. When he called at lunch and said he would have to cancel, we decided a Milwaukee Brewers game would be a good idea. As we drove to Milwaukee from Madison, I used Google SMS to find out if there would be a home game, and to get the number for the box office. I love Google SMS!

We then had to decide on dinner. At first, we thought about going to Karl Ratzsch's for dinner, but ultimately decided to eat at the park. We grabbed bratwurst's at the TGIF's inside the park. We then went and watched batting practice and the ground crew prepare the field.

The game was Ben Sheet's first game back from injury. He had a terrific outing, but left the game in the 7th with the score tied at 1. The Pirates jumped on Dave Bush in the 8th for 5 runs and won the game 6-1.

On a more important note, Guido the Italian Sausage, won the Sausage Race.

Correction: Brett Wurst, the Bratwurst, won the race.

UPDATE: I also forgot to mention that the Brewer's lone run came courtesy of a Prince Fielder home run. I got to see Bernie Brewer go down his slide.

Running in Milwaukee, Chicago

Running in Milwaukee
Running in Chicago

Was on the road in the Midwest this past week. Training was severely hampered. Early morning meetings and small pools at the hotels limited my activities to running. And usually, the hotels were not in the most scenic locations. It has been over a week since the last time I was in a pool. I am going to try to get some laps in later today.

Nutrition on the road also affected my training. On the one hand it is good to let the body recover. However, the best thing for the body while recovering is good food. A bratwurst at Miller Park and deep dish pizza at Gino's East in Chicago, while tasty, is not the best fuel for the body.


July 25, 2006

Vestcor Bridges 5k

Ran the Vestcor Bridges 5k Saturday night. Not a very fast course, especially for us flatlanders here in Florida. The race starts in front of City Hall, does a quick out and back and then heads over the Main Street Bridge to the Southbank. Then it's over the Acosta Bridge back to the Northbank and finishes in front of City Hall. The two bridges slow folks down, especially the Acosta. I think it's around an 8% grade for a half mile. Of course, it can be quick coming down, but when you hit the bottom you still have a little over half a mile to go.

I started the race too fast. At the first turnaround, James yelled at me to pace myself. I wasn't too far behind him. I clicked off the first mile in 6:20. Yikes, way too fast. The second mile takes you over the Main Street and to the top of the Acosta. That mile was obviously slower, a 7:10 split. Going up the Acosta was tough. I haven't been doing much hill work recently, and it shows. The mile coming down the Acosta and back to City Hall was a little faster, around a 7:04 split. I tried to pick up the pace for the last tenth of a mile, but it was a :43 split. Finishing time was 21:17.

Actually, that was a good time for me in this race. Last year I ran it in 21:56. It was hot this year, but right before the race started some cloud cover rolled in to keep the sun off of us.

I did the Saturday morning Open Road group ride the morning of the race just like last year. It was a fairly up-tempo ride. I think everyone was inspired by Floyd Landis and wanted to get home to watch the time trial.

James finished 2nd in our age group with a 19:05. My friend Richard Fannin finished 3rd. I finished 4th.

Also running was Josh and Leigh, plus my friends from the Y, Bill Bishop and Leah Pust.

Next race: Tour de Pain.

UPDATE: Race results posted.

July 23, 2006

Saleen Mustang -- Very fast!

Saleen Mustang

Nunu is driving around right now in a Saleen Mustang. Apparently, there is a guy in town who is interested in buying it. After going for a ride with Nunu, I can see the appeal. We went for a ride and without shifting to 4th gear we were definitely in triple digits in terms of speed. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 115, but I was in the passenger's seat and cannot conclusively validate we were violating any laws.


July 22, 2006

Landis takes yellow jersey after penultimate stage

Heh-heh. I said "penultimate." How many times have we heard Paul Sherwen say that the last 3 weeks?

What a great race this was. Before the race started, folks weren't sure what to think with Ullrich and Basso getting tossed. It turned out to be a terrific drama. And while it is fun to wonder "What if?", I certainly don't think Floyd's victory should be tarnished or receive the dreaded asterisk because the pre-race favorites didn't get to compete.

I am anxious to see how many Phonak jerseys appear in the group rides. I for one will consider getting one.

Looking forward, it will be interesting to see if Floyd gets a chance to defend his title with the hip replacement looming. But, after watching Stage 17, I don't think there is any doubt this guy is a fighter, will never quit, and will be back. Go Phloyd!

Training in Birmingham, AL

Run in Birmingham, AL

Business trip to Birmingham, AL this week. Lucky for me my hotel was right next to a YMCA so I was able to do some swimming and running while out of town. Nice running trail along Lakeshore Drive. Lots of people out running before 7 am. I wanted to do a run through the Mountain Brook area on Friday, but wasn't able. Maybe next time.


July 20, 2006

Great quote by Landis

Active.com | le Tour de France | Martin Dugard: Personal Favorite

Landis often races like a mountain biker, elbows angled outward and totally self-dependent. That sort of independence pervades so much of his life. When he met John Kerry shortly after the 2005 Tour, where Armstrong whipped Landis soundly, Landis informed Kerry that they had something in common. "What's that," asked Kerry. "We both got our asses whipped by a Texan," chortled Landis. For the record, Kerry laughed.

Go Phloyd

Wow! What a stage! Floyd Landis was absolutely unbelieveable today.

I was really bummed yesterday when Landis blew up spectacularly. And then reading the stories and watching the video clips online, it was amazing to see him *smiling* while being asked dumb questions like "What happened?" He really is an easy guy to root for.

I was mildly curious to see how he would bounce back. Would he win the stage today? Could he cut into the lead? Answers: Yes and yes. Watching him tear the field apart like he did leaves you absolutely speechless. Martin Dugard has a terrific recap of today's events entitled Chasing Floyd.

I can't wait until Saturday's time trial!

July 18, 2006

Welcome to Bizarro World

Huh?

Israel Violates Law on U.S. Weapons in Mideast
Frida Berrigan, a senior research associate with the Arms Trade Resource Center at the World Policy Institute in New York, is equally outraged at the misuse by Israel of U.S.-supplied weapons.

"As Israel jets bombard locations in Gaza, Haifa and Beirut, killing civilians (including as many as seven Canadians vacationing in Aitaroun), it is worth remembering that U.S. law is clear about how U.S.-origin weapons and military systems ought to be used," Berrigan told IPS.

She pointed out that the U.S. Arms Export Control Act clear states that U.S. origin weapons should not be used for "non-defensive purposes."

The funny thing is, later in the article, the author of this article refers to the "'utmost restraint' that world leaders called for at the G8 Summit of the world's most industrialized nations, which just ended in St. Petersburg, Russia". Glad he's on top of the G8 Summit.

Apparently he missed this part of the summit (emphasis added):

G8 asks Hezbollah to end violence
The G8 leaders called on the Hezbollah to initiate a ceasefire and free captured Israeli soldiers.

The leaders put aside differences and issued a joint statement at the summit in St. Petersberg, Russia, on Sunday. They stressed Israel's right to self-defense, initially voiced by the US.

July 17, 2006

Testing the limits

060715_St_aug_bike

The Butler's and Cardozo's went down to St. Augustine last Friday for a weekend getaway. Really, it was an excuse for James and me to get in some training fun.

We stayed in the Edgewater Inn, which is at the base of the Bridge of Lions. The reason for staying here is it is at the 1/2 mile mark of the Bridge of Lions 5k. The race starts at the fort and ends in a neighborhood on the other side of the intracoastal.

My 5k wasn't great. It was really hot and humid, and I finished in 21:28. James finished somewhere around 18:50. Slow races for both of us.

Afterwards we packed up the family and went to the World Famous Oasis for breakfast. I love a big breakfast, and the Oasis doesn't disappoint.

With our stomachs full we headed for the beach. We spent about three hours on the beach playing in the sand, body surfing and losing my brand new Rudy Project sunglasses with prescription inserts. Grrrrrr. That really sucked.

A little after 2 pm, the girls were ready to head home. James and I changed into our cycling gear and it was time to make the 60 mile bike ride home. On the hottest day of the year so far. We rode up A1A from St. Augustine Beach, went through St. Augustine and hopped on US 1. We took US1 to Racetrack Road and cut across into Julington Creek. From there it was around Mandarin Road to Scott Mill, then onto San Jose for the ride into downtown. At first we took turns doing 3 minute pulls, but after a while this Tour wanna be cracked. James was an animal pulling my butt down the road.

We stopped twice to refill liquids and comment on how salty, crusty we were. The ride was completely uneventful which is a very good thing.

Overall, a good training day in very bad conditions.

UPDATE: Bridge of Lions results.


July 13, 2006

Cars aren't the only danger on the roads

On this morning's ride I rode through an unbelievable amount of broken glass. It is a miracle that I didn't flat. Brown glass, green glass and clear glass. It really is sickening to observe the litter problem we have in this city.

And it's not just the citizens making a mess.

As I did bridge loops across the Acosta Bridge, it became obvious that our city is convinced that the cardboard shells from the fireworks display on July 4th are going to magically disappear. Brown shells and streamers covered the emergency lanes of the bridge.

What a disgrace.

Good week so far

Good training this week. This morning there was alnost a kink in the armor, but I overcame the temptation to hit the snooze button again (or turn off the alarm altogether).

Here is a rundown for the week so far:
Monday -- 11 mile run
Tuesday -- Spin class, 2000 yards in the pool.
Wednesday -- Track session (1600 at 5k pace, 4x400 at mile pace, 4x200 at sub-mile pace). 2000 yards in the pool.
Today -- Ride bike to Y. 2000 yards in pool. 2 bridge loops on bike and ride back home.

The weather has been interesting this week. Monday morning was unseasonably cool. Yesterday we ran in the rain on the track. Today was just hot and humid.

July 10, 2006

BFAST #3 turned into BFASD #1

No triathlon, but a duathlon instead. Really rough ocean conditions forced the race organizers to ditch the swim on Saturday. I didn't go down to the beach, but apparently the strong winds from the northeast were really churning the water. When this happens, we typically start the race with a 1-mile beach run. Not this time. The tide was so high from the strong winds, there was no place to run on the beach except for the really soft sand near the dunes. Instead of turning the race into a miserable sufferfest, Charlie O'Brien mercifully had us run a mile on the same road used for the run portion of the race.

My wave started second, and I decided there was no need to wear out my legs at the beginning of the race. According to the results, my mile split was 7:18. I don't think the run through the parking lot to transition 1 was taken into account, making the mile a bit long. I yanked my shoes off and was getting ready to take off on the bike when I noticed that my inserts were bunched from taking the shoes off. I quickly straightened them out so I wouldn't have to do it in T2. Now or later, it was going to have to be done. T1 took 57 seconds.

Having a run at the beginning of a race instead of a swim appears to cause some bunching. A huge mass of guys were all leaving T1 at the same time. Most of those guys decided it would be a good idea to stick together for the entire 11.5 miles. It was like a stinkin' peloton. I passed a bunch in the first 2 miles and then came up on the pack of offenders. I muscled around them but couldn't maintain enough speed to stay in front. They all passed me again. I decided I would ride 3 lengths off the back on this stretch of the course that heads north into a headwind.

As we approached the right hand turn for the 2 block section that takes you back towards the ocean I jumped in front again. As I was making the turn, another rider passed me and was actually griping at me about the pack. "You know you have a ton of guys behind you?!?" Like it's my fault. He then griped at the volunteer waving the flag at the last right hand turn before the home stretch. Like he can do anything either. I was disappointed I didn't see ANY race officials on the course. With a tailwind at my back, I was able to get up to 30 mph while just spinning. It was awesome. Unfortunately, I didn't get enough of a lead and a small group passed me again. The packs were nuts. The didn't just pass on the left. There were some yahoos passing on the right as well. What a @#$%! goat rodeo.

I saw my friend Jay Millson up ahead and tried to surge to catch him but couldn't. Needless to say there was another lovely pack of guys all trying to get into T2 at the same time, and one guy wiped out. My bike split was 27:07 for an average speed of 25.4. Very happy with that. T2 took 48 seconds and it was off on the run.

Grabbed a water on the way out and tried to pick up speed. My legs were cursing me. Jay was just ahead of me, as was another friend of mine, JB Long. The bike had taken it's toll and I didn't have much left for the run. I finally got into a rhythmn just before the half mile mark. Running into the headwind was tough, and the group slowly pulled away. I passed Tony Boselli at the turnaround and with the tailwind, was able to start picking up some more speed. I passed a fair number of people, but none from my age group until a half mile before the finish. I thought about blowing past him, but wasn't sure if I could hold him off if he did have something left. I hung on behind for a while, but it meant I had to slow down. I did this for about 50 meters and then I decided I had to pass him. As I did, I started to pour it on, and as I was making the left hand turn into the final stretch, I began my kick. The announcer at the finish commented that #82 was finishing strong and didn't mention anyone else. I ended up beating the other fellow by 3 seconds. That was good for a single digit place in my age group, lucky number 9.

Finishing time was 59 minutes and 8 seconds. I did the 5k in a pitiful 22:59.

While this race can't be used for apples to apples comparisons with my other races, I was very happy with the performance. I finished 50th out of 442 participants.

After the race, chatted with a bunch of friends and even won a jug of Hammer Gel in the drawing. James won our age group and Josh finished third in his. Josh beat James by 6 seconds, abit of vindication after losing to James by 38 seconds in the last race.

Good race, fun series.

July 7, 2006

Woo-hoo! Cars now have to give cyclists 3 feet when passing.

Bicycle lanes safer for motorists, too: South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Effective Oct. 1, a new Florida law will go into effect protecting bicyclists. HB 7079, recently signed by Gov. Jeb Bush, will require that "the driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle must pass the bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle."

Now let's make sure it's enforced.

Coasting in to tomorrow's sprint tri

For the most part, I've taken it easy this week after three hard weeks. A short 20-mile ride on Monday, an easy 45-mile ride on Tuesday, an easy interval session on Wednesday, and 2000y in the pool yesterday. I'll go for a run or maybe a swim later on today.

Tomorrow is the last race in the three race BFAST series. At the beginning of the year, one of my goals was breaking 1:05:00 in a BFAST race. I achieved that goal in each of the first two races, with a 1:03:39 and a 1:04:44. Of course, the goal for tomorrow is to break 1:05:00 again and the stretch goal is to break the PR set in the first race.

That being said, here is how I see tomorrow unfolding:

Swim (1/4 mi)

0:10:00

T1

0:01:20

Bike (11.5 mi)

0:29:00

T2

0:00:40

Run (3 mi)

0:23:00

Total

1:04:00

That would be a happy medium between the first two races. The wildcards for the race include rough water and hot and humid conditions. When we went to the beach this past Sunday, the ocean was pretty rough. With the storms rolling through, I'm sure they will be less than ideal tomorrow. The positive is the temperatures may be down, but I'm sure the humidity will be stifling.

Whatever happens tomorrow, I am very happy with my race series so far.

Looking forward, next week will be the beginning of a new four week cycle that will feature a lot of time on the bike as I continue to prepare for the HOT at the end of August and the Florida Challenge the end of October.

UPDATE: Rumor has it we may have a duathlon tomorrow. Blah!

July 4, 2006

4th of July and baseball

4th of July and baseball

The Butlers went with the Cardozos to watch the Jacksonville Suns play tonight. The Suns won 2-0 on a 2-hit complete game shutout. Big fireworks display afterwards. More pictures to post later.


UPDATE: More photos posted.

July 3, 2006

Sprint paid up

I sent an e-mail to the Sprint corporate offices after my horrific technical support call. I received the standard e-mail reply, and then they sent me a survey that asked me how satisfied I was with their follow-up. Huh? A survey to see if an auto-reply e-mail makes me happy? I enjoyed the open response questions on that survey. So today I receive a phone call from Sprint. They were very sorry for the inconvenience. I reminded them AGAIN that their technical supprt staff are incompetent. To make up, they agreed to credit my account $40. Fair enough.

Trip to the beach

Emily and Maggie getting ready for fun

We picked up Karen's Dad yesterday afternoon and went to the beach for a couple of hours. The girls had a great time playing in the surf and building sand castles. Plus, we had a front row seat for an entertaining soccer match. By the end of the day, the girls were wiped out.


I know it's an old joke by now. . .

Thor Hushovd had his arm gashed at the finish of yesterday's stage, resulting in the loss of quite a bit of blood. I wonder how hard the Tour doctors had to look for some fresh blood?

For those who may not be familiar:

Police searching apartments and clinics used by members of the doping ring reportedly found anabolic steroids, human growth hormones, the endurance-boosting substance EPO and about 100 bags of frozen blood, many marked in a secret code that identified professional cyclists.

The blood doping reportedly involved drawing oxygen-rich blood at high altitudes to obtain a concentrate of red blood cells, then injecting them back into riders before a race to boost endurance.

My only question is if the bags were marked in a secret code, and one of the bags was marked 'Jan', either these guys suck at creating secret codenames, or the Spanish police weren't given the memo that secret codenames are being used and someone is letting Ulrich take the fall by using his name as the codename.

July 1, 2006

Saturday long ride

060701_bikeride

Rode 47 miles this morning with Mike McLamb, Kevin Cofran, Erik Carlson, and Tony Maniatis. Lots of traffic on the roads. Must be holiday traffic. Slowed us down a bit, but overall a very good ride.