Tuesday, November 29, 2011

THE INTERNET, GOOD AND BAD

Krogg spend much time on internet, it true. Often, Krogg spend time good way, like when Krogg write e-mail to friend, or when Krogg write blog post. Last week, Krogg craft proposal to portable HD video camera company. Krogg think: gosh, wouldn't it be cool if Krogg could strap camera all over and take video? Imagine if Krogg could capture "Caveman Eye View!" Other good way to spend time on internet include: coordinate plan for travel with mother, lay out 2012 racing calendar, or write training plan for coaching clients. 


UNFORTUNATELY Krogg also spend time on internet in bad way. Krogg terrible! Like when Krogg get lost on TheOnion.com, or when Krogg decide: watch entire season of The Office on Hulu....AGAIN. Krogg identify very few benefits from this behavior. However, several minor, peripheral benefits exist:

Top 5 Minor Peripheral Benefits That Result from Spending an Inordinate Amount of Time on the Internet



1: I find awesome artwork, like this:

or this:


2: I learn amazing new things, like how much water exists elsewhere in the universe: 



3: I get all caught up on the best new stuff from Manual for Speed, like this:

Or this: 


4: I laugh my ass off at funny videos, like this: 


5: I read Hyperbole and a Half, and she reminds me that I'm not the only one who uses my time poorly, or finds myself awake, doing nothing on internet, in the middle of the night: 


Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Not Supposed To Be Easy....

Some years it's the financial trouble, 
Some it's the loneliness that gets me. 
Others years it's being broke beyond broke beyond broke. 
And others it's the temptation to do other things, 
To see other places, 
Or just be someone else for a while. 

But the constant is this: it won't be easy.
At least not for me. 
The trials might be different, 
From one year to the next, 
But one thing's for sure:
Getting ready to race bikes, 
Takes work and sacrifice. 
It takes, above all, persistence,
In the face of,
Adversity. 

I wonder sometimes: are there other types of guys out there?  
Men who never ever get frustrated. 
Or unmotivated. 
Or....
Men who never have second thoughts. 
Or get sick. 
Or depressed. 
Or hurt. 

This year, for instance, it's my knees, 
Among,
Other things.  
My knees hurt, and I don't know why. 
Well wait -- 
Of course I know why: 
Years of heavy use, 
A few nasty crashes, 
And a genetic predisposition. 

The point is, they hurt. 

And I'm scared for them,
(my knees), 
Because shit -- I love cycling, 

But how much damage am I doing here? 

But my dad, who's sixty, 
Moves around the racket ball court, 
More nimbly than I do. 

But imagine,
What I'll be like, 
When I'm sixty. 




It's really just another hill to climb.
And cyclists know how to climb hills. 
The best part is: 
I'm not solving this problem alone. 
I have people helping me, 
And caring, 
And who are every bit as invested,
 In how I do,
As I am. 
People who know more than I do, 
And are confident, 
I'll figure this out. 

I have yet to encounter, 
A human endeavor, 
That people respect, 
Because it's easy.
 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday is DUMB

People don't need to die or get hurt over Black Friday! What kind of world do we live in?

Just look at some of these headlines:

Man Dies After Wal-Mart Stampede

Black Friday Shopper Shot in Attempted Robbery

Pepper Spray Injures Black Friday Shoppers

Not to mention the tens of thousands of people whose Thanksgivings were cut short because they had to show up at work at 10PM, 11PM, or midnight on THANKSGIVING DAY -- just so retailers could get a head-start on their competition. What's next? I'll tell you what's next: Thursday Morning sales.

"Get your Black Friday shopping done a day early! Why waste your time gathered around a table with your family? Now you can spend Thanksgiving waiting in a line outside ShopCo being thankful for incredible deals!"

Fuck. Black. Friday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

DRUMROLLLLLLLLLLL PLEASE!

Alright hat fans -- here's your winner(s) from this weeks' Gliderbison Giveaway!


It looks like sixteen of you entered, so I asked the magical Random Integer Generator to give me three integers between the numbers one and sixteen.

Without further ado -- the winners are:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
15
2
8
Timestamp: 2011-11-23 01:37:35 UTC


So, that makes Alex the grand prize winner, Ian Crane (who gets extra credit for his haiku entry) the runner up, and rounding out the podium is VeryRustyBrown (Rusty, since Alex already said he wants the Exergy cap, and Ian prefers the Smith cap, you get to choose between the USA Pro Cycling Challenge hat and the Hammer visor).

E-mail me with your address, and I'll get those hats in the mail pronto!

Congratulations winners!

BRING ON THAT COLD! THAT WIND! THAT RAIN!

COLD? WIND? RAIN? Pshhhh! More like SCHMOLD! SCHMIND!!!! SCHMAIN!!!!!!

I am not afraid of you cold! You know why? Because I know how to beat you, that's why! Whenever you try to get me, what with your icy fingers and your frigid breath -- I JUST GO HARDER AND YOU ARE VANQUISHED!

I'm not afraid of you wind! You know why? Because I know how to beat you, that's why! Whenever you try to get me, what with your blustery gusts and your persistent puffs -- I JUST PUT ON MY JACKET AND YOU ARE VANQUISHED!!

I'm not afraid of you rain! You know why? Because I know how to beat you, that's why! Whenever you try to get me, what with your shoe-soaking showers and your perilous puddles -- I JUST PUT ON MY FENDERS AND YOU ARE VANQUISHED!!!!


Cold, wind, and rain, I slice through you like this guy's legs slice through the air:


Saturday, November 19, 2011

SOUR POWER

When I was a child, I had a humongous sweet-tooth. I'd eat as much candy as my mother would allow me to, (which wasn't very much, despite my constant begging). Halloween and Easter, with their unrestrained candy gluttony, were my favorite holidays. Once I grew older however, and gained the agency necessary to bike down to the store on my own, things changed drastically. I would buy ten dollars worth of candy, and eat it all in one sitting. My favorite kind of candy was without question, the sour gummy. Sour Patch, Bright Crawlers, Sour Punch, Sour Coke Bottles, Gummi Peach-O's, you name it -- if it was soft, chewy and tart, I loved it. Well it turns out, some of that stuff is actually hazardously sour. As I just learned on Gizmodo, some sour candy is almost as bad for your teeth as battery acid.

I undoubtedly did permanent damage to my tooth enamel eating mass quantities of super sour candies. I remember puckering so hard I couldn't see straight -- and I loved it. It looks like the sour candy arms race has only escalated since I was a child too -- just look at this: 

Yes, that's right: Toxic Waste Candy. Their slogan is "hazardously sour candy." Their website is themed like a nuclear power plant, and they feature pucker-videos where people try the Toxic Waste Challenge on camera and record their reactions: 
You know, we live in a crazy world: feed your toddler battery acid, you're going to jail for child abuse. Feed him Toxic Waste, and that's some funny Youtube right there! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WIN WIN WIN, HATS HATS HATS

I returned home from my splendid introduction to night biking feeling generous, and thus decided to offer up a GliderBison Giveaway. I looked in my box of swag and found an abundance of hats. Look at all these hats:

 The funny thing? I don't even wear hats! At least not billed hats. The kind of hats I wear do two things:
Billed hats on the other hand, have never agreed with me.
Hammer Nutrition visor (with sweat-wicking brow)
See what I mean?
Exergy hat!
 Believe me yet?
Smith Optics fat-billed hat.
 Pretty awful, huh?
Official USA PRO CYCLING CHALLENGE HAT

I don't like billed hats for two reasons:


So you shall profit from my dislike of billed hats. To enter:  simply leave a comment on this blog post with your name (NOTE: FACEBOOK ENTRIES DON'T COUNT!). Leaving your name is enough, but feel free to leave an actual comment, an anecdote, or a haiku too. You will be assigned a number based on the order that you commented, and I'll draw a winner using a random number generator one week from today (11/22/11).  One entry per person please. I'll draw three winners, so your odds are good. GOOD LUCK!

Night Mountain Biking

Last night was hoot! A trip! A doosie! I went mountain biking, which by itself isn't too out of the ordinary -- only this time I did it at night. It's crazy, but even though I've been mountain biking many many times, and I know the nearby trails well, I felt like I was tying something completely new. During the day, mountain biking is a wonderful way so survey the countryside and enjoy the scenery. At night, mountain biking feels like going hyper-speed through an asteroid field in a blizzard -- it's disorienting, it's challenging, and it's awesome. I started down World Cycle: 

 The NiteRider rep was in town, and was offering their full range of lights to demo:
 I chose a modest 600-lumen helmet-mounted light...
...which was more than enough to turn night into day out on the trail. Now I said modest, but that's only in comparison to the rest of NiteRider's product line (they offer a 3,000-lumen model, which is brighter than any car headlight). I'm used to commuting through town with a much smaller 90-lumen light, so by comparison I felt like I had a piece of the sun strapped to my head. Night biking feels kind of like riding through a tunnel -- you can see what's ahead with perfect clarity, but you have no idea what's above, below, or to the sides. It can be nerve-wracking: is that a small drop-off to my right? or the edge of a bottomless crevasse?
 Finally I returned to World Cycle freezing and tired, and was greeted with a sandwich spread and a keg of nice beer. What a swell way to finish off a swell night.
 Despite being cold, I give the thumbs up:


Thanks World Cycle and NiteRider for the splendid introduction to the world of night biking.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Email Gold!

I love it when a real zinger lands in your e-mail inbox. Like this morning for instance:


From: Drew 
Subject: D&D 

Any interest in getting back into it?

To which I quickly responded:

Dear sir, I can only assume that, given your choice to send such a brief message via e-mail, you take this matter seriously. Were this but a passing whim, you would have used the informal txt or facebook message -- but your e-mail, second only to carrier pigeon and telegraph in the weight it wields as a mode of communication, shall be treated with the utmost respect. Therefore, it is with no small amount of schoolchild-like giddiness, that I formally respond YES to your query. Your memo lacked certain points of clarity, but fear not, regardless of particulars, you can count me in. I advise us to acquire a copy of the latest edition of the Dungeon Master's Handbook, Players Handbook, and Monstrous Manual post haste.
Cordially yours, 
Krogg 
Level 1 Barbarian. Buffalo familiar. Two-handed double-bladed battle axe.



My Day in Pictures....

So few days ago, Krogg harvest pears from tree. Krogg proud of harvest method: shake tree with all caveman might, and pears fall to ground. Then Krogg have dilemma: what Krogg DO with all those pears? Well, now you see. KROGG MAKE GOODIES!!!!





Krogg very proudly make one pie. But pie lots of work. Much rolling sticky dough. So Krogg choose to make cobblers with remaining pears. Krogg deliver pie to Dave -- Dave own pear tree, so he get the fruit of Krogg labor. Then Krogg eat part of one cobbler. Then Krogg drop one cobbler off at Occupy Boise. Krogg curious about Occupy Boise anyway, and besides...those cold campers probably HUNGRY FOR COBBLER! 



Krogg halfway expect to get tear gassed or hit with riot baton, but Occupy Boise very calm and quiet. Krogg have short conversation about Occupy Wall Street, and then offer cobbler. Then Krogg go. Maybe next time, Krogg cook lasagna. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

IT BEGINS

November is a special time of year. Boise is magical all year round, and the Fall is no exception. The trees that give Boise its name are taking turns changing colors and shedding their magnificent plumage. Our famous football team, the BCS-busting-Broncos, suffer their annual stinging loss at the hands of a lesser foe, thus smashing our collective hopes of a championship title. And for me, it's November when I start preparing for the upcoming season in earnest.

The transition that takes place in my mind is subtle and gradual. Usually after I finish my final race, I don't even want to look at my road bike (or any bike for that matter), let alone ride it. I embrace my off-season with reckless abandon, and satisfy my craving for all those indulgences I just spent the last nine months resisting: I eat unhealthy food and drink alcohol. I stay up late and dance til dawn. I travel places (gulp) without my bike. However, it isn't long before I realize the weather is still quite nice, and the foothill trails look quite appetizing. I start messing around on my mountain bike when I feel like it, but still flippantly neglect my road bike. I get my ass back into the gym, eager to banish the pathetic weakling inhabiting my body. I attend cyclcross races purely to spectate (and eat waffles and drink beer). Slowly, as my previous racing season fades into the goulash of my long-term memory, thoughts of training begin to creep into my head. I feel like a bear who feels a bitter chill in the morning air and knows deep down that some day soon, inevitably, it will be time to hibernate. It builds for weeks, and preparations (both conscious and subconscious) are made. I change my worn tire. I charge up my Garmin. Then finally it hits -- I get on my bike, and I'm no longer in 2011. I'm in 2012. That's where next season starts. That's where I say: my success in May is earned today; it's not too soon to prep for June. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pear Harvest

I shook the pear tree
Pies, tarts, cobblers, and chutney
Fine fate for Fall fruit

Thursday, November 10, 2011

November Cricket

I just had to share this e-mail from my mother. She lives in Kansas, and does a fair amount of bicycle riding out there. I wouldn't go so far as to say she's a "cyclist" because that implies things like spandex, clipless pedals, and/or high speeds -- all of which my mother wants nothing to do with. She does, however, share my fascination with animals crossing the road (I suppose, as her offspring, I share her fascination, but I digress). Here's her account of the November Cricket:

I forgot to tell you about my ride on Saturday. It was ridiculously windy (35-40 mph), and I could barely keep the bike going forward in 1st gear. It was mostly cloudy. And it was cold (I wore my earmuffs and mittens). On my way back I saw a cricket on the bike path. It was so pathetic. It was creeping slowly along the asphalt, and then the wind blew it over. There was something tragically heroic about it. After flailing in slow motion on its back for a while, it did manage to right itself and trudge onward. Onward to inevitable oblivion. November cricket.

The next thing I wanted to share also comes from Kansas. A nutrition professor at Kansas State just lost 28 lbs. on the Twinkie Diet. He ate doughnuts and Hostess cakes and Twinkies all day long, and by most measures, got healthier. The trick was, he limited himself to a total of 1,800 calories per day, while his caloric needs were probably more like 2,600. His work isn't groundbreaking in any way -- eat less than you burn and you'll lose weight  -- but it raises the question: what is health? Is it better to look healthy or to be healthy? As a cyclist who consumes an extremely high-calorie diet, I often struggle with the apparent lack of consequences regarding my dietary choices. Overall, maintaining a low BMI, and exercising a lot is probably healthier for me, regardless of my diet, than obesity. But simply because I can consume 3,000 calories of sugar per day without getting fat doesn't mean I should

Now, to make you sad, the Western Black Rhinoceroses has officially been declared extinct. Nice work, humans. 

Now, to cheer you up, watch this awesome commercial about what happens when you slip muscle relaxants to the football team: 






Wednesday, November 9, 2011

BUNNY!

I HEREBY PROCLAIM TODAY TO BE:
RABBIT AND BUNNY AWARENESS DAY


FACT: Rabbits are different than bunnies.

Rabbits are mean. They bite, they scratch, and they go STRAIGHT FOR THE NECK!:



Whereas bunnies are really cute. They deliver chocolate eggs in the night:







FACT: Rabbits (and bunnies) are NOT rodents. They're lagomorphs. So are pikas. 

Ahem. From Wikipedia:
Lagomorphs differ from rodents in that:
  • they have four incisors in the upper jaw (not two, as in the Rodentia) 

  • they are almost wholly herbivorous (unlike rodents, many of which will eat both meat and vegetation) 

  • the male's scrotum is in front of the penis (unlike rodents', which is behind)

  • the penis contains no bone (baculum), unlike in rodents
However, they resemble rodents in that their teeth grow throughout their life, thus necessitating constant chewing to keep them from growing too long.
Clearly, the differences in teeth and genitalia warrant an entirely separate order.



FACT: Rabbits are superb hoppers.

I mean just look at these photos from the 2011 European Rabbit Hopping Championships. Special thanks to Chris Wingfield for sharing.

Here's a sample:



Monday, November 7, 2011

The Off-Season Job

These days, finding a good job is harder than stalking a jaguar through thick jungle in the dead of night with nothing more than a rusty compass and some dowsing rods. Personally, I'm fortunate enough to have a fantastic job starting on January first of next year. Until then, I'm looking for work! This isn't the first time I'm found myself looking for work, however; if you've followed my blog long enough, you've seen me go through all sorts of job-search related contortions. Here's a quick run-down:


In 2007 I got a job as a carpenter by posting a "hire me!" ad on Craigslist. 
In 2008 I got a job (albeit not a paying one) in the Obama campaign in Santa Fe. 
In 2009 I applied to work at Starbucks...on the very day they laid off 6,700 people. Much hilarity ensued. 
Later in 2009 I learned some lessons about life, liberty, and the pursuit of paychecks -- and kicked off my very fruitful stint at Cycle University. 
In 2011 I finally got my first job racing bicycles, and oh, what a glorious job that was.

However, just because I'm a "made man" in the cycling world, doesn't mean I'm immune to the same down economy that we all are. In fact, despite earning my first pro card, I've found myself in very familiar territory for this time of year: out of money, almost out of bike parts to sell (anyone want to buy an XL road bike? or some Bont shoes?), and growing more and more discouraged by my failure to convince someone to hire me. I've been trying to sweet-talk my way into being a salesman an outdoor retailer of some sort or another. "I'm articulate, accommodating, and artistic," I say, "not to mention flexible, friendly, and foxy!" (I don't mean foxy attractive -- I mean foxy clever and somewhat furry (it is Movermber after all.).) But my resumes have laid idle, my phone unringing. "I've actually been to the outdoors," I say, "like on purpose -- all the time." But apparently so have all the other applicants.

So, a winter of austerity it might well be. Friends, family, significant other...I apologize in advance: my diet shall probably consist largely of pinto beans and rice until further notice. Let's hope my Beano ration holds.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

THEY'RE DONE!

Remember that simulated mission to Mars I mentioned nearly a year ago? Yeah -- they finally finished their "journey to Mars," and were released from their capsules. They made it, and not only that, nobody lost his mind and tried to blow his buddy out the airlock. Apparently, they had access to the internet the whole time, which, when you think about it -- sitting in a tiny room watching Youtube all day for 18 months isn't too far from the life that many Americans already lead.  Here's an article about the mission, and here's the video showing when they opened the doors for the first time (fast forward to timecode 2:00 to cut to the chase).



Friday, November 4, 2011

WHAT IS GOING ON HERE

Sometimes you just scratch your head, you know?

It's like Napoleon Dynamite from another dimension. My favorite parts include:
0:31 "hold my beer grandma -- I gotta get in there"
0:58 "Jesus I almost sliced the dog in half"

While that was a real head-scratcher (thanks for that Sterling), this next video should be a much more recognizable format at this point:


I truly hope for all the reptiles and amphibians out there have gotten themselves all tucked away in a nice burrow somewhere to sit out the winter -- it snowed today in Boise. SNOWED! WINTER! COMING IN HOT (or cold rather)!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pure Gold

Gold is a cool and all, but I simply don't understand humankind's fascination with the stuff. All this fuss over shiny metal? I just learned a little bit about the alchemists, the "scientists" in the times before we discovered the periodic table of the elements who thought it was possible to transmute one substance to another. Everyone was rushing to find a philosopher's stone that could convert any metal into gold. Because urine was yellow, it was assumed that gold must be in some way an integral part of the human body. The alchemists boiled gallons of urine, and in turn discovered phosphorus. Gross but cool.

Our culture is no less fascinated with gold than any other. Financial annalists squawk about the price of gold, jewelry companies try to convince me gold is the only way to express my love, and there are numerous companies that try to buy or sell gold from the public. In general I am extremely wary of any offers I see on either TV or the internet regarding the gold market. Some businesses want to sell me gold, others want to buy my gold -- all of them seem shady. Truth be told, some of them are! Just gross.

Well, I must say, in the spirit of those Hilarious Antagonistic Email Exchanges I commented on some time ago, my hat is off to this guy. Just cool:


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I GOTTA CLEAR SOME THINGS UP!

ALRIGHT, THAT'S IT -- I GOTTA CLEAR SOME THINGS UP! The internet is filled with bent truths, incomplete truths, inconvenient truths, and downright untruths. Normally I'm fine with this, but when these less-than-the-whole-truths are about ME, that's where I draw the line! By now, you've no doubt seen the latest installment of the Manual for Speed. It's entitled "Nutrition for Pros," and features yours truly. I gotta say, the video is pretty funny -- see for yourself:


A Manual for Speed: Sam Johnson on Nutrition for Pros from manualforspeed on Vimeo.

And yes, the recipes utilizing Hammer Nutrition products are mine.

But I TAKE UMBRAGE at the notion that I still resort to such desperate measures! NO. Not true! I mean there was a time, sure, when my bin of Hammer Products held a significant caloric advantage over my bin of actual food. 2007 was a had its ups and downs. But I haven't made Perpetuem pancakes in years (at least not out of necessity). YEARS, YOU HEAR ME? My quality of life, and quality of diet has risen steadily since those days (no offence Hammer Nutrition), and things have gotten downright plush by comparison after making the jump to Team Exergy.

And therein lies the bent truth -- domestic pros, most of us at least, aren't exactly rocketing our way to being millionaires -- but we still get race our bicycles for a living. We aren't really fighting for survival. Let me repeat that: we race our bicycles for a living! I don't care how meager that living may be, or how many sacrifices we make in order to keep this job, in the big scheme of things we're extremely fortunate to do what we do. Not only that, I felt the exact same way back in 2007 when I was an amateur eating Perpetuem for dinner. You know why? Because it was worth it! I chose to live that way: the satisfaction I extracted from my life as a racer more than made up for the occasional discomfort I had to endure. I didn't feel sorry for myself -- I felt privileged! I had the freedom to chase down my dreams. Not only that, I had the support of my family and friends in doing so. And, most importantly, I wasn't preoccupied by bigger worries. It's hard to complain about eating Perpetuem pancakes while others on this planet are struggling just to eat.