James Pearl Thinks Blogging is Dead

So with the rain coming down, I am reconstructing the ZwiftArena, of Zwiftopia, or whatever I call it. When we cleaned up the house, we deconstructed the setup so the caterer could use it to stage the food. We talked about it this weekend and decided I would reposition the setup to better use the space. The bike is now sitting in an area that was previously full of junk. And the faux-kitchen area you see to the right is open to use. This is in the basement, where the previous owner setup a wet bar using some old cabinets. I'm waiting on the other fan to come because the black one here is not really adding much.




In regards to the Zwiftopia/Fan situation - do yourself a favor and get on Craigslist and look for a carpet Dryer like such:



What you need is volume to drive you and those regular house box fans won't cut it.

(Congrats on the Wedding BTW)
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
And with chapter 39, we are done with V1. I have listed out these stages of the Kubler-Ross Cycle of Book Writing:

1. Initial write
2. Wordflow edit, plus expanding thin areas
3. Consistency & research edit
4. Print it out and read it (then make edits)
5. Someone else (singular or plural) reads it. Then either throw it away, or make edits based on that feedback. Or become a coffee farmer in Venezuela.

I picked up phase 2 again today, and finished up chapter 14. Currently sitting at 90,735 words. I imagine it will go well into the 100k+ realm when all is said and done, then I'll need to start paring out useless shit when step 5 comes. I have picked out 5 people to potentially read this. 3 know it, 2 do not.

@taylor185 - the destination would be Kindle as a start. Once I bought into the Kindle then I saw it as a pretty easy path to go down. I looked into it, and it takes 24-48 hours to get your book for sale there, which is pretty fast. They also offer a print version with this program, so I may be able to do both. We'll see. My target is to have it into phase 5 by December. Ideally? IDK, early next year? I don't know how to answer this question in both an honest & realistic way. So I'll just say: tomorrow.

Today was a massive work hours day. Started back up on the endless task of removing & reloading the asset data for Delaware. While this happens, I also work stories. In all, I put in over 12 hours towards their garbage dump of a system today. This sets me up nice for the trip up to talk to @seanrunnette tomorrow morning. As I hit submit on this post, I still have a solid hour of work ahead of me yet.

Hopped on the Zwiftopedia and did a race late morning. This is the beauty of self-coaching. When you feel something, you just go with it. I wasn't in love with yesterday's workout and with a tempo set on the plate for today, I rejected it and did a race and slaughtered myself out there. The recap:

1. Make the selection
2. Pop off the A/B train when they pump up the jam
3. Sit in purgatory for a while by myself
4. Get gobbled up by the Pac Man Peloton
5. Work, stretch, spring back, hang on, reel in, etc
6. Stick with it until the end, all the way this time

There was a C who was 1.5 minutes up, who had a ~4.5 w/kg output which is silly. In all, I came in 20/70 total, and 6th in the Cs. We were in a battle for 2nd but when the last half mile hit, I was pretty burnt from not letting the Pac Man Selection Break get away. I stuck with the sub-selection until the end. So my race starts are better, and my race mid-sections are better. Now just need to work on the race finishes. Also slaughtered another Zwift segment PR today by almost a minute. It's more impressive than yesterday since the segment was less than 6 minutes. Summary: progress is happening. This coming offseason (I am always looking ahead with this stuff) I will focus a bunch of the KG part of the magic ratio.

@I Ride Bikes came by to check out the electricity problem and wasn't able to track it down. He needs to come back tomorrow with some sort of circuit tool thing to try and figure out where it's dying. Later in the day the downstairs air handler stopped working, and the AC double-pin breaker started popping. Things are spiraling downhill really fast. To summarize this: we are talking about outlets on 2 different floors and 5 different rooms, plus 1 ceiling fan. Whoever wired this made a total mess. @fidodie - if we can't figure it out this week, then yeah, maybe I can use the help. Update: Floor #1 air handler is back. D flipped a few breakers and wiggled them, and it came back on. Does not fill me with confidence. I am not a fan of the terms "electricity" and "wiggle" being used harmoniously in the same sentence.

I bought Murderbot 4 today. I had been holding off because I don't want to influence my writing too much. I admit I was motivated by this book in a lot of ways. But now that V1 is done, I'm itching to read it. Still not done with Cryptonomicon. I have maybe 120 pages left and it's honestly just dragging now. Plus I'm usually too tired at night to read these days.

Went to see Zac play soccer late afternoon. They lost a tough game to Florham Park, 3-2. The other team was really athletic and pretty much ran a full-court press that eventually paid off for them. I admit I'm starting to get fired up a little bit. Was tempted to throw a chair onto the field when the ref missed a call, aka Bobby Knight. I held myself back though.

@Robin - here is the reality of how the towels get used:

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Is w/kg a less important (albeit still somewhat important) metric for cross than it is for mtb racing? This assumes that cx courses tend to have less elevation gain than mtb courses as a whole. I know that courses like Town Hall and the former Marty’s course aren’t typical in this regard.
 
It may have been on this very blog that it was discussed, but this is one those times Facebook make you feel involved/informed/whatever when that's not entirely the case. I'm all, " oh hey look Norm got married, click Like and go back to that later". Or maybe a wedding seemed so inevitable here that the ceremony was merely a formality but either way, official congratulations! You've put a lot of your life on this board, including the downs, and it's good to see Happy Norm.
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Kicked off the day with some editing which is going to be an on-again-off-again affair for a while. That wasn't as productive as I'd hoped and 7:00 rolled around faster than I was ready for. Got everyone up then did the family breakfast & made lunch dance and left when the family did, then drove up north to have some espresso and chat with @seanrunnette for a few hours. I banked plenty of time yesterday to afford the morning off. I think the podcast was productive and it will probably be up tomorrow morning (negative, it's here already). Aiming to do another in person next week but then we may need to get the Skype setup back to try and get this on a more consistent pattern.

Random: I wrote "Richmond" in my notebook for reasons I cannot fathom. On that, I have a notebook for random thoughts and ToDo items. I have always found that I keep on top of my shit better when I keep a notebook with me. I also try to "clean" it every day. Things that I meant to do for the day often get kicked to the next day, but after a few days they go on my main ToDo list (Trello) or get scrapped. I also keep notes about what to blog or write about. But what is Richmond? In hindsight I think I meant Northampton.

Got home around noon and did some work, then hopped on the bike for an easy working spin. 2 days before a race I try not to do anything too taxing. Got 4 story points done which was a productive ride but the client is insisting on some absolute bullshit functionality which is forcing me to write some code I am not happy about. As such, I have left the future me (or someone else) the following comment in the code:

Code:
// yes I know this is ugly
// I leave you with this haiku in honor of the below code
//
// we have much sausage
// but only so much casing
// stuff it harder, Joe
//
// -Joe Z (10/11/2018)
Mike came back today and was puzzled. He did point out that there was a double-pin breaker at 40 amps heading off into a metal-encased wire. This is usually reserved for wiring up an oven (or some such) or an auxiliary box. We racked our brains and literally looked in every closet and nook/cranny we could think of, and came up empty. And then the goddamn air handler wouldn't come on again even though it had power running to it. I am starting to lose my shit here. Was. Past tense. That's foreshadowing.

This bugged me for the next few hours. Maybe 5 hours later I was just standing in the laundry room, staring at the metal tubing running down the wall where the washer/dryer outlet is mounted. And I am thinking, I bet that was all part of this same circuit. And then I looked in the foyer right at the back door. And the massive mirror hanging on the wall that's always been there. Now I wonder, what's behind that mirror? Oh well would you look at that?

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So we are left with:

1. Downstairs air handler not working
2. A single outlet in the office not working. I am thinking this was the culprit in Saturday.

Notes From a Small Island

@vanseggern1 - It matters plenty still. Case in point. Which of the 2 men below will be able to get their bikes up to 20 mph faster, even on a flat surface?


@extremedave - thank you sir. I appreciate the sentiment.

@Mtbdog - it's 1920 and almost all the wiring has been replaced. I think the dungeon has the old BX wiring but very little of that (if any) is left in the house now.

@UtahJoe - that's the first version of the finished book. I think I'm done with the base.

Random picture of one of the flowers from the centerpieces. It's like a canary that spontaneously combusted:

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Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I slept until 7. With 38 hours in the books this week, today is mostly a pass. I woke up at 5:30, but was pretty much not feeling like getting out of bed so I didn't. Did a pop-quiz weigh-in when I did finally get out of bed and I'm holding at 201 still. Morning zoo follows, then I get to work and get 2 stories done which is all I need to do other than my 10:00 call. In between, I edit chapter 16, which was short but allowed me to beef it up a bit. After talking to @seanrunnette I'm worried I'm going to write a book he will hate. Also tried out a gift from @jShort which I've been curious about for years. Made 1 cup and it was good. Will report back when I learn how to make it better.

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10:00 call came and went then I hopped into the new command center. New fan on the left, old fan on the right, and mini-fan underneath for the grundle I guess. Laptop with Zwift, Zac's iPad with Netflix. Behind the iPad you can see the blue Ecoxgear for enhanced audio. Phone to the left of the laptop. This is like an Apple Cockpit. I think I need to put something on the wall in front of me. Maybe one of those "hang in there" cat posters. Why does that entertain me so much?

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Today I did something different for openers. Warmed up in London for maybe 30 minutes then hit Box Hill with the intention of getting a PR. Old time was 9:30 and hit 9:09 today. So my opener was 1 effort of 9 minutes. I have traditionally not responded well to short bursty stuff for openers and warm-ups. Going to try to avoid those this year and see if something else works better. Cut the ride after an hour. Do the work, then finish.

Watched Black Mirror, S2:E1 - Be Right Back. It was fine, a little weird. More of a stretch than anything. Still waiting for the mind-blown type episode(s) to hit. In all, I do enjoy the show even if they're all not home runs. The thing is, they're all pretty damn dark. I guess this is the black part of the mirror. So basically according to this show, the future pretty much sucks no matter which way you slice it.

@fidodie then came over and fixed the air handler. He found a loose ground wire in the breaker box. He ran out of time and wasn't able to figure out the outlet in the office but at this point, the only issue is a single outlet. I'll take it.

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Picked up Julia at school with the intention of going to Zac's soccer game but the rain was so bad yesterday, today was cancelled too. This probably doesn't bode well for the race tomorrow but whatever. It is what it is. Instead, I dropped her off at her mom's then went to Hilltop to get my MTB shoes replaced. @jimvreeland had them warrantied after the boa-thing ripped off. No questions asked. Gotta love that.

After the shop I went to Stop & Shop to get a few things for dinner plus tomorrow. Went home, packed up the car with the cross gear, then made dinner, which is that same fish recipe @Dominos sent us. It was awesome once again.

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After dinner changed the rear tire on D's bike, which speaks volumes for how much more versatile tires with tubes are as compared to tubulars. Sean thinks guys like us (not spies like us) don't need to extra edge that tubulars give you. I was able to change it faster than she made us a cup of tea, which I drank while I wrote this. I am doing this fast as we are leaving at 7:00 to see Disenchanted in Chester.

Ok we went, I am back. It was really good. Today was a good time to start the theater season. Temps dipped down into the 40s (48 when we got home) which means it's time to start seeing more shows with our free time. Tonight was a great one to kick off the season with. It's about 10 princesses that are "disenchanted" with life after the story ends. Great stuff, you can check it here: https://www.chestertheatregroup.org/. Highly recommend this.

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The canaries keep exploding. Maybe I should get them a hang in there poster?

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Santapez

Well-Known Member
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I've spent some time in Northampton and while nice, it doesn't have as much stuff to do as Richmond.

Northampton is really just a college town and the culture to go along with it. Not bad, just not great. It's a fine stop on the way up to VT, and there's enough good food to eat when there for a cross race. Richmond is a fine stop on the way to South Eastern destinations down 95.

I'm I'm still annoyed that the art museum at Smith was closed this summer.
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's

A mulligan is defined as such, on my first search:
  1. a stew made from odds and ends of food.
  2. (in informal golf) an extra stroke allowed after a poor shot, not counted on the scorecard.
Ok, #1 is a stretch but it's not entirely inaccurate. #2, however, yeah, that's what I'm looking at here. Remove the golf nonsense though. Actually, golf may have been a better idea today. I hate golf.

Gee, I wonder where this is going.

In the great game of "Norm Returns to Racing" this is what we would call a mulligan. The one caveat on this is the following. I don't want a do-over to do this race. I want a do-over to stay in bed and not do this race. What you see in the picture above is before the race. I felt ok, not great not terrible. My warmup consisted of 40 minutes or so on the trainer just breaking a sweat. I did not pre-ride the course. It was a total and complete disaster. Everyone I talked to said: don't bother. The 2 pieces of advice I got were to ride in the grass as much as possible, riding on the tape. And as soon as the bike slowed down, get off and run.

Great, running.

In the end I guess only 9 of us started out of 12 who registered. Race starts, and after not long, I find myself in the back with Ryan. We are occupying the 8/9 spots. I had made the decision not to explode out of the gate on this one. First of all, the way the race started did not lend itself to that. Second, with the race being a mud slog for 45 minutes, it didn't make any sense to me.

Lap 1 was as stated, Ryan and I just holding down 8/9. I said to him at some point, the guys are going to pop at this pace. He agrees.

Lap 2 I pass Ryan, and someone else, and someone else. Sorry I don't know the names of people out there anymore other than Ryan & Charlie & Vic & Brian. I feel great on lap 2, and this is what I was waiting for. The bike is doing fine. The running sucks. But I have jumped from 9 to 6 in no time. This is what I was hoping for on lap 1.


Lap 3 it all falls apart. My approach was to ride more and more of the mud pits, because I mean...well fuck it, because I can. I am riding past people as we approach the mud, because they are getting off way earlier and sometimes I am able to ride sections entirely where they do not try. I am good with this. Just take in on directly. I see this mud, I smash into it. This was all well and good.

Until it wasn't.

The problem with this, as I soon found out, was that I was coming out the other side with more and more shit stuck on my bike than anyone else. So I would gain a few seconds here and there. But as some point on lap 3, my bike was starting to get to the point where it refused to move forward anymore. I had seen Ed King break from the 50+ group because his bike just wasn't moving. I jumped off and just pulled out blobs of mud from the brake calipers and the bottom bracket area where it is just loaded with gobs of mud.

And this is where Ryan passed me back, and some other guy. I got back on the bike but any momentum I had was gone. Now sitting in DFL+1. At the end of lap 3 I ride up the gravel to get back into the main area. I had not seen anyone else do this in forever. This fact, plus like $2.50 will get me a coffee at Starbucks.

At the end of the lap, I see 3 laps to go. Fuck this race. I cannot do 3 more of these.

Lap 4 is more of the same. I cannot ride the gravel, and come out of the downfield area and Sean (on the mic) says something, and I wave, and he laughs and says I am checked out like a library book. Yup, I sure am. This course plays to everything I do not do well. As I named my Strava ride, the only way it would have been worse is if there had been a Thermal Physics midterm in the middle of it.

Lap 5 I am, by the grace of god, lapped by the front of the cat 3 field. Technically I was still on the lead lap of my race, but they pulled me anyway. I was passed by the 9th place guy at the bottom of the field, which tells you all you need to know that I got passed on the downhill-then-technical area. Sorry @vanseggern1, I know you said that you would keep reading if I was DLF and I gave it my all. But I had no all to give. I was done, did not give a single fuck if I was DLF, and Joe Sailing lapped me doing cartwheels with a pogo stick stuck up his nether region. I. Simply. Did. Not. Care.

And the race ends. I accept my fate and cool down. Don't check the results because I am 100% I have lost.


Here is the big concern that I had running through my head the last 2 laps, and I still have as I sit here. What if I do this whole season and get to Louisville and nationals are like this? I don't mean bad weather. That happens and Lucky had a fair share of mud. This course, plus the weather, was beyond awful for me. There is no reality in my past, present, or future where I will excel at picking up my bike and running 50 yards, then riding 100 yards, and the running another 50 yards. And then running another 50 yards shortly after. And then running another 50-100 yards again all in the same half lap. Nothing I can do from now until the end of 2018, 2019, or 2099 will make me good at this stuff. When being able to pilot your bike better in the total slop is actually a disadvantage, I start to question the sanity of what I am doing.

As my late Uncle Bill used to say, this too shall pass. I know I'll bounce back and be ready to race again in a few days but right now I'm less than stoked about everything I have lined up for the rest of this season. On the bright side, I got to hang out with a bunch of my friends today and they actually trusted me with the mic to announce while @seanrunnette was out on the course. I was told that we need to refer to the children as "juniors" and not "children" to which I reply: Did Whitney Houston sing that she believed that juniors are our future?