New and Improved!!!!

I was sitting in an old-fashioned burger joint with my wife today when the song "uphill battle" came on the soundsystem. As I sat there, I started thinking about how the lyrics of that song relate to my own experience with climbing mountains on bicycles. Then I had an epiphany of sorts: "Wow, this DOESN’T describe how I feel when I ride AT ALL." It suddenly sunk in that I needed to rename my blog.

So what’s the deal behind the new blog name? Well, honestly, I’ve come to believe that racing a bike is selfish. In fact, I’d argue it’s anything BUT heroic. You take time away from your family and your job in the name of personal fitness. Where’s the heroism in that? So why do I ride at all? Because I enjoy it. It’s an indulgence. Really. If it were just about staying in shape, I’d be spending a lot more time with my weights than with my bike. If it were about winning every race, I would’ve quit a long time ago. I do it because I enjoy it; I enjoy riding my bike. And I enjoy being "the bike guy" in my circle of friends and acquaintances. Heck, I enjoy the feeling of my legs turning the pedals over and over. I enjoy seeing the places bikes take me—the summits, the valleys, the vistas, the greenery. I love what I see when I ride.

So does that mean my competitive fire has died? I don’t know about that; I still plan to show up at a race or two next year. But I realized that when I ride—even uphill—it isn’t a battle. It’s an experience. It’s fun. And that’s really the only way I can justify it.

Let’s hope that YouTube lawsuit gets dropped …

… so I can keep watching my latest favorite free internet video.
 
On a tangent from that, I think it’s possible for running to be as cool as cycling. They just need to hold marathons up mountain passes and do the TV coverage in fast forward. Yeah, that might make it entertaining. Thank heaven for cool TDF videos. They keep me sane.
 
I swam more today than I ever have in an entire week previously. My bike shoes are in getting repaired (I found a shoe repairman about 30 minutes from here–thank heaven), so I decided to spend some time working on my pool power. 2,100 meters later, I can’t get the stupid chlorine to wash off my hands. Just four weeks until my multisport debut.

Be Very Afraid …

Oh yes, the Caloi household is back to having internet again … albeit dial-up. Free dial-up, which shows you where my priorities are.
 
All apologies for being anti-social (notice I have to apologize almost every time I write a blog entry anymore?), but life does tend to take off with me. I’m looking at graduate schools. I’m looking at getting out of Idaho. Unfortunately, I’m looking pretty far into the future for both.
 
On the fortunate side, however, it looks like Spring isn’t that far into the future. We’ve had a few sunny days here. We even had a couple of rainy days, and if it’s warm enough to rain, that means it’s too warm to snow. The only downside was that it rained the night I decided to store my mountain bike outdoors. Heck, I was due in to switch out that chain sometime anyway, right?
 
But yes, my mind has turned to the summer, to the season, to time trialing, to Teton Pass, to hitting the trails, to getting off the trainer, and you know what? I’m pumped. It’s going to be a blast this year. It was a blast last year. When I look back on my season last year, I didn’t take a single race I did seriously; they were all just a bunch of weekend fun. Y’know, I could use some weekend fun again. I’m getting a little tired of my cycling video library (which currently consists of two Tour DVD’s, Off Road to Athens, and VHS recordings of the Ironman and Xterra world championships), and I’d like to get out and write some of my own stories–on the road and in the dirt.
 
So here’s to cycling in 2007!

Denouement

I thought it might come to this (sigh!)
 
Alas, after all of my stupid internet trials, it sounds like our apartment complex is discontinuing internet service, leaving my wife and myself to make a decision about getting stupid AOL again (never in a million years) or paying the $30 a month to get cable internet ourselves. This might be a good moment for me to stand on the moral soapbox and just ask that people use the internet for good reasons (I guess I have a neighbor who’s in trouble with the FBI for something related to internet crimes–so I can’t blame our apartment owner for trying to avoid going to jail) so the rest of us can still use it without having to suffer the consequences of someone else’s ill-advised actions.
 
Anyway, since my stupid internet issues (AOL, internet restrictions at work, etc.), my blog popularity has been waning in the extreme. My lack of riding and therefore writing lately might also account for some of that. I still have the option of continuing to write blog entries by e-mail publishing, which would mean that I wouldn’t see you guys’ responses to my entries (and I wouldn’t catch all of the moronic mistakes I usually make while writing these things).
 
In fact, I think I’ll do that, but I wanted to make it clear that my blogging will likely continue to be sporadic rather than regular, and that I won’t be offended if y’all stop reading regularly (because, hey, I won’t be able to read your comments anyway).
 
That said, let’s get on with today’s entry:
 
The Bet’s Off
 
I have two co-workers who are trying to work out some kind of bet about who will win in the upcoming football game between their alma maters (I’ll give you a hint: one team’s uniforms are predominately red, while the other’s are predominately blue, they’re both in the intermountain west, and it’s a big ugly rivalry that used to be called ‘The Holy War’). In the process of this discussion, they’ve come up with a few different ideas for how this bet will be played out. I, personally, have graced their discussion by contributing a few stupid bet ideas.
 
Here, in case you’re betting on a sporting event, is a list of (in my ever-so superior opinion) appropriate and inappropriate ways to carry it out:
 
1. Painting one’s face or dying one’s hair the color of the opposing team. This is a consequence for the loser, in case you didn’t already know. The idea isn’t just that you paint yourself the opposing team’s color, but that you show up to work that way. If you work at a place similar to where I work, you won’t get fired. Just tell the boss you lost a bet. If it’s anything like my workplace, your boss will have likely lost the same bet for much higher stakes.
 
2. Chanting the opposing team’s fight song repeatedly in the workplace cafeteria during a previously established time so everyone can come and listen in. This is good because fight songs are already stupid, but they’re even stupider (yes, that’s a word, because I said so) in front of a bunch of people you’re too bashful to talk to in the first place–people you’ll keep seeing for months and years to come who will always remember you as the idiot who lost the stupid bet and sang the stupid song in front of the whole cafeteria. Stupid.
 
3. Going to the opposing team’s next home game dressed as a supporter and supporting them–from the "guest" side of the stadium. Nobody likes the doofus who apparently bought the wrong ticket and still won’t shut up about his team even though he’s parked right in the middle of your cheering section. Why not force the issue? How much less uncomfortable can it be? Maybe the boss will be there and see your bravery under pressure. Maybe it’ll earn you a promotion. Maybe … you’ll realize how stupid it is to bet on college football games …
 
Okay, so those things are appropriate. Stupid, yes, but they’re also fitting for the stupidity required to bet on college sports. Nonetheless, some people insist on being even more stupid about the whole issue. Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know. They totally wussed out when I made the preceding suggestings, and the stupid arrangement they have going isn’t even going to involve entertaining the work crowd. How lame is that?
 
Anyway, thanks for reading.