Saturday, December 27, 2008

Race Report: Winter Grand Prix-2-Mile Road Race / Magnuson Park/Sand Point

I am awake.

I just woke up from a nap. 

A nap that I really needed after racing for two miles and slogging to and from the race through snow, over ice, and in slush over a very big hill, hoovering oatmeal and drinking a large bowl of Hot Chocolate (Frans). Good thing that The Met was broadcasting the family version of The Magic Flute or I may have fallen asleep sooner. 

Great race!

The short version:
The Blow-By-Blow:

My alarm jolted me out of sleep at 6:00 and I spent about 30 minutes lying in bed reading and NOT wanting to look out the window to see what was happening out there. The forecast was for wind and rain which, on top of all the snow and ice, would just make for miserable conditions. By 6:40 or so I was out walking the dog to the library, slipping and avoiding puddles as we went. It was warm out, only after a spell of weather in the teens and twenties would I call temps in the forties warm, and there was a light mist everywhere. The darkness did not stop a neighbor from being out and shoveling his walkway at that hour. Got home, fed the pets, geared up, and at 8:10 headed out the door to run down 2.87 miles from my house down to the start line in Magnuson Park. 

The run out there was slow going because of all the melting snow and ice which was warm enough to be really slippery in the paths that people walking through had worn. I ran along side in the snow that had not been much disturbed with the consequence that I had to lift my legs higher than I would have on a flat terrain. Going downhill was a challenge too. 

Didn't seem many people out this morning, surprising for a Saturday morning, but there was a couple that came towards me as I was running along the Burke Gilman trail. I was wearing my race number and one of them remarked that I must be winning my race because there was nobody ahead of me, or behind me. I also met Trevor the Poodle (TtP) who was goofing off on 55th. He came over to me and I stopped to pet him and also to find out where he lived. I think he was lost but couldn't really read his tag as it was very faded and TtP himself was quite wiggly. He was going to run with me but I told him to go home an he stopped, looking for all the world as if I had hurt his feelings.  Still a lighthearted way to start all of this off. I did start seeing more runners as I got down into the park and arrived at the start area with 13-minutes to go before the official start. It took me 35 minutes to run 2.87 miles. 

Spent some time doing some active stretching, high kicks and something not so fluid I like to call "striders". The wind was kicking off the lack from the south and, of course, we'd re running into the wind for the start and the finish. 

An air horn blew and it was time to line up at the start. I was up near the front this time and looked behind to see a fairly small crowd of people. A guy in front of me said to his wife and daughter that he was going to run nines, they said something to him and headed to the back of the pack. There were three really large (tall and wide) guys behind me cracking wise with the RD too (seemed a happy family). A woman in a kind of braids with dreadlock hairstyle (it was pretty distinctive so I'll call her BDH) told her friend that she would be drafting off of her. The air horn blew again and we were off. Nine minute guy dropped behind and BDH woman took off with her friend only to blow up half-way through the first turn (at .11 miles!!). I passed her and kept going. The pack, thin as it was at the start, thinned out even more and I found myself running basically alone, although I could hear heavy breathing behind me. 

I passed a man in grey running, he tried to speed up as I went past him, but couldn't. Actually I thought he was going to die. His breathing sounded really, really bad. Asthma attack bad. But he had a friend who was looking out for him and so I just kept on. There was a little girl all clad in pink running up ahead too and we soon caught her and passed on the second turn at .61 miles, then one of the big guys behind me passed me. 

I was amazed at how fast this first loop went. As I went through the mile-marker the timekeeper said "8:16". That is when I knew that people were close behind me, he counted another runner one-second behind me. I was not about to look behind me cause you never know WHAT might be gaining on you. 

The second loop was interesting both for how fast it went but also for what I saw. 

First, I came up on a really young, tall, skinny kid. Kind of knock-kneed with a body that he had yet to grow into. Big feet and brand, spanking, new shoes. He was plonking along and threw his gloves to his dad. His dad started haranguing him about going so slowly—"Come On! You can do better than this! This is you walking! Pick it up!" I thought, "Leave him alone will ya!" and could hear him wheezing heavily as I went past too. 

Question: Why would you race if you cannot breathe? 

Second, as I kicked it into sub-8 gear for the final sprint into the finish one of the tall guys (a guy wearing a rooster shirt with a bon mot on it) is standing there yelling at his friend (might have been me too): "You can do it. Kick it dude! There is a girl about to pass you!" I hear this and think "WTF!?" Why is it at all necessary to yell such a thing in this day-and-age? (No, I am not being PC here, merely considerate. How would I feel if someone else yelled at a runner in front of me, hey speed up you are going to caught by a Wildebeast? How would you feel?)

Crossed the finish line running a 6:20 and kept going until the end of the chute where I collected my card (61st place) and turned around to see what had been gaining on me. It was "a girl" wearing some kind of salmon colored jacket, at least a second behind. Recorded my information on the card, very carefully and clearly this time so there could be no mistake, drank some water, stretched bit, clapped for the runners coming in: both BDH and Asthma Attack Guy came in looking thrashed as did wife and daughter. I was feeling pretty done in too and still had to get myself home. 

Started to trot home, south along the promenade, and all I could really manage was something of a shuffle. My knees and feet were really sore and the wind was coming up. This was going to be a long 2.5 miles climbing up 65th and the View Ridge Hill. But even here there were things to lighten my day: a number of other runners had the same idea and we chatted a bit as we went along, and another racer stopped his car and waited for me to clear a puddle so as not to splash me as he went past. We waved to each other.

The sidewalks on the hill were quite slippery, more so than when I went out earlier as the temperature was much warmer, and running on the road was not really an option given the amount of traffic coming along (was everyone in Seattle out driving today?). It took me 36-minutes of slogging to get the 2.31 miles to my street. Another person who lives on my street (but whom I have never actually seen until today) was out clearing his walks and asked me if there was a race today. I stopped and told him a bit about the race and the series. He said, "Don't let me stop you!" (Too late. :-P ) I waved and trotted the last block to the corner where I started my running, thus closing the loop. 

DW opened the door as I mounted the steps and told me I looked like Hell. "Hot Chocolate" I rasped and started stretching . . .

Lessons?
  • I didn't think I had much power in reserve though and, even though I crossed the finish line running a 6:30. Hey, maybe I have more in reserve than I thought. Time to start pushing Wednesday night runs I think!
  • I need a goal race/event. Something interesting to focus my training around and to get me sharper than I am now
  • I ran in tights and that was a mistake as they restricted my movement a bit—shorts would have been more free-ing. Why tights? It was cold running on the snow and I have been feeling rather wimpy of late. Warm top should be OK in future but shorts are definitely the way to go in temps of upper-thirties
  • I need new shoes. There is a story to this involving mis-ordered sizes and snowstorms but I'll leave that for another day
  • Walking and running on ice and snow for week really takes it out of your legs
  • It takes more time to write up race reports than it does to actually run the races!



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Candy Cane Lane (2008)

A yearly happening in Ravenna made all the more special this year because of actual snow on the ground. 

Candy Cane Lane (2008)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Shovel Party on 34th


Even though the Puget Sound is an all-year outside kind of place (don't be fooled by that "Rains all the Time" rhetoric out there) in my neighborhood we tend not to see very much of each other during the winter months, an observation made one early spring day several years ago to me by one of my neighborhood "old-timers". 

Today was different. Quite a bit of snow fell last night and this morning it was topped by an eighth or quarter-inch of rather crunchy ice with more coming in today and possibly for the remainder of the week. Despite the massive inconvenience, I really feel for those stuck at SeaTac right now, our garbage pick-up is now scheduled for next weekend, and I am unsure when I'll be able to finish my Christmas shopping, the snow storms of the past week have turned us all into little kids, a little bit—sledding and skiing down Queen Anne Avenue looks like tons of fun. 

So what did we do in my neighborhood? 

We shoveled snow together until it was time for the kids to go sledding down the nearest big hill, 60th east of 35th. And what a thorough job we did too. 








Step 1: clear the snow with a motley assortment of shovels and spades (no snow shovels in evidence)















Step 2: melt the snow with a weed torch (quite a warm job)






Step 3: build a snow bank so that the kids can sled down a micro-hill and onto the street w/o going under a parked car

Step 4: follow the weed torcher with a broom to clear away excess water and scrape off icy bits

Step 5: salt liberally

Step 6: drink a beer (well, not me, I prefer hot chocolate on days like these)

Step 7: Enjoy watching the people gliding by on their cross country skis

Step 8: look up and see that it has begun snowing (again) and that, soon, all this work will be obliterated

Step 9: go inside to actually drink hot chocolate. :-)

Step 10: consult Cliff Mass's Weather Blog to see what will happen next . . .



The Sun? In Seattle? During a snowstorm?

You bet!

And here it is. Brave little sun trying its best to bring light to the world on the Solstice.



Friday, December 19, 2008

See Sam Run (for the libraries)

While I was struggling to get home from the airport yesterday Sam was attempting to visit all 27 branches of the Seattle Public Library. He made it to 13, it took me 5.5 hours to get home.

My day:

The 196 was jammed and we were lucky enough to get seats in the articulated section. I have no idea how long it took us to get to the bus tunnel, it seemed to take forever. The bus tunnel was so cold too and we had a good 25 minutes or so for the 71 which was on snow route and not going up 65th to 35th as it normally does. So, we waited for the 65 at campus parkway, freezing, which was also on snow routing and was not going to climb 35th (it ended up going up very slowly). 
Started at 10:30 am from SEATAC and got home just before 3:00 pm. 
<---- My view in the bus.





See Sam Run's day? So much cooler than mine!

Congrats!






Purr!

Some of us have a wonderful life don't we?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Race Report: Winter Grand Prix-3000-meter Cross Country Race Magnuson Park/Sand Point

Catching up on some race reports and other random entries. This one is long overdue.

On 12/6/08 I ran my first Cross-Country race down, a 3000 meter jaunt along the promenade at Magnuson Park put on by Club Northwest

OK, short story:
Time: 15:41.0
Overall Place: 114 out of 152 runners (Yay! A 75% or 2.0, I am "average-ish" if you are generous)
Sex Change: Yup. I seem to have been listed in the F40-50 gender/age group (I contacted them a while ago as per the rules but have yet to hear back from them). 
Name Change: Yup. I really have to be better at filling out post-race cards when I am tired and cold.

The longer story:

PuddleThumper did this series last year and had a blast and since I am looking for new experiences this year I thought that is would be a neat thing to do as well. 

Busy time at the Learning Factory, stressful too as we were all waiting for the Governor's budget shoe to drop AND trying to finish out the quarter (papers, exams, class wrap-up, student conferences, tenure committees, etc..) so I hadn't done too much running the week before. I was nervous, especially as this would be my first CC race and I don't know simple things like which side do you pass. Turns out that this was really different than a trail race. 

I ran down to Magnuson as a warm-up and boy was it a pleasant morning. I had my running pack (water and a jacket) and just trotted along taking my time. There were quite a few people out on the BG trail, more than I normally see—it must have been the sun that brought them out. My legs were a bit sluggish and my stomach was kind of problematic though and the nearer to the park, and the start of the race, the more I had to go. Nerves I guess. I went.

The scene down at the waterfront was surprisingly chaotic. There were so many runners down there doing all kinds of  warming up, stretching, and socializing. I could hear the "scritch, scritch, scritch" of cross country spikes on the pavement as people trotted by doing their warm-ups. The finish chute was being set up but I could not find the start line/area. I dropped my pack off at the registration desk and wandered around looking to see if I knew anyone (as is normal for this type of thing, I didn't). A race official eventually started sending people out to the start, "Just follow the other runners down towards the start." I did and ended up in a knot of people down by the bathroom/observation tower area. The same official came down with an air horn. We thanked all the course volunteers and sponsors, the horn blew, and the Cheetahs were away in an heartbeat.  

I had decided not to run all out on this race,  I would run hard but not race hard instead and just feel my way through everything because this was my first time, I had not done any kind of real speed work since August, and I was coming into this race fairly stressed. So off I went and . . . Running on slippery grass in trail shoes is a pretty interesting experience. My shoes were slipping in a way that they don't on the trails (the pair I was wearing are fairly new and grippy) so I just ran more on my toes and that calmed things down a bit. 

Experiencing the different surfaces was pretty interesting too—grass, a little bit of concrete, more grass, really spongy wood chips through the Sub Fins, a little more concrete, the grass of Kite Hill, jumping a ditch, a little more concrete, grass, a little more concrete, grass, a bigger ditch to jump on the uphill, a little concrete, grass, and a little more concrete, and grass (repeat this twice)—all the while running between tape marked chutes and flags. The Kite Hill climb wasn't too bad and I passed a few people there before pulling away at the summit and passing more folks on the down hill. At about 4:40 into the race the leaders came through on their second lap and I marveled for a second or two at how effortlessly they were moving. Not a lot of time for reverie though as I had to contend with some uneven ground as I passed some more people. Moreover, my shorts were bunching rather uncomfortably around my right thigh. Why, I found later that there is a long vertical tear in the fabric on the inside of the leg and this caused them to rise uncomfortably. Lesson, check your shorts before racing in them. 

Now, here is a question for you you. If you look at the map and locate the fish hook at the SE corner of the course. It is a pretty tight corner and I was coming up close behind another runner as we hit the corner. I dove to the inside and passed as we turned. Is this cricket? Should I have waited or passed on the right? There were no collisions. 

And then it was time for my second loop to begin after 7:26 of running. The second loop was slower (8:22 or so) and I could tell I was getting tired (you were right PT) but I still pushed on, using Kite Hill to gain position on both the uphill and downhill. Another runner was 1 second behind me, I had passed her on the downhill, and she poured it on as we came to the finish and passed me just before the chutes. Way to finish a race! :-)

Filling out a finish card when tired and dripping with sweat is not something I recommend (it is why my finish record is garbled I'll bet) but I did so despite fogging glasses. Collected my pack and went to stretch a little bit and drink some water before trotting home. Took the most direct way home but also the hilliest, up 65th, so I could have a loop (I hate out and back courses). Just trotted though and felt pretty strong. 

I needed a nap afterwards and fell asleep on the couch listening to the Met Opera Broadast of Tristan und Isolde, a fitting end to a grand morning. 

Such a cool experience, a good 7.6 miles with some speed work thrown in. I can't wait until the next run, a two-mile road race, on 12/20/08!



You know they want to. . .

make everyone strip don't they.

Welcome to the land of the free . . .

I know, I know, DW says "that is the way it is. Just over it."

The civil libertarian in me never will.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

More Cowbell




Headin out to the land of cowbells. Yep. You betcha.



Friday, December 5, 2008

Field Observations

This evening DW and I had the pleasure of attending Roosevelt High School's Jazz presentation of "The Nutcracker Suite" as arranged by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. 

Very impressive and quite a treat too. Everyone onstage and the better part of the audience was having a blast. There are reasons why this band is one of the top HS bands in the US and why they have won the Essentially Ellington competition two years running (not that I really know much about this). They were unlike any other high school band performance I've ever heard, a very professional sound and, well, they just all looked like adults up there who obviously loved what they were doing. Refreshing to see and hear.

Time to borrow a recording of Ellington's band doing this from the library. It is such a fun set of arrangements. Or, I could just buy the RHS recording

On a lighter note. Aside from attending the Learning Factory's graduation ceremony at the local VeryLargeHS (don't ask) tonight was the first time I have actually been inside a high school since, well, since I was in high school. DW and I took a bit of walk and almost got lost. Though generally larger college and uni campuses seem easy to navigate by comparison (are they trying to confuse everyone?). Pretty amazing building but permit the following:

Here is a statement of the obvious:



What would happen if I called this a "hallway"? Is there any mistaking this "Corridor" for a room? Or is this actually some post-Columbine labeling system for emergency personnel. The thought just occurred as I was writing this. If so, then this is deeply sad.

This explains a lot:



Every once in a while I notice many of the kids in the neighborhood going to school wearing pajamas. Indeed, sometimes students show up to the Learning Factory so attired. So now I know, Monday is Pajama Day. Do the teachers wear PJ's too? What would happen if I turned up to class wearing PJ's? Wait, I don't have any PJ's . . . 

I don't get Tuesday but I think I've got that covered as my normal teaching attire is some variation on jeans, t-shirt, and fleece. Got no school spirit though. I am just confused as there are too many schools in my past—bolts of lightning, the losing team in The Illiad, a former circus bear, a blue chicken,  some sinister Zorro-like guy peering out through the bushes of text, and now some old guy with a very large fork. 

Wednesday is a little scary. Kids. One day you are going to get old, have to live on something of a fixed income (especially if the economy continues as it is), and will probably resent being mocked for the purposes of fostering school spirit. But then again, what is more mockable than some old fuddy-duddy mockingly blogging about your mockery. “It's a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham" I tell ya!

I am all for Superhero Thursday though. Nothing like a little fantasy but let's rethink the capes shall we. Edna Mode had it right I think, tiz a safety issue:


Class Color Friday is actually a little scary too. What happens if a Freshman decides to wear Orange on a Friday? Do the Juniors beat them up? What if someone decides to wear all of the colors? Are they then out of class? Sigh, we spend so much time differentiating ourselves why do we need to practice this in the name of class or school spirit. 

As you can probably tell, I didn't really fit in during my own HS years. To wit, my favorite sign in any High School! :-P


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Winter Grand Prix


Signed up for the New Balance/Super Jock 'N Jill Winter Grand Prix Series this evening. 

Six short, speedy races, the first is a Cross Country Race this coming Saturday, my first such race. 

How do XC races work? Not sure.

Although most cross-country competitors also run distance events in track and field, the two are separate sports. The cross-country season is still the fall and events are run through open country, often over rather rude trails, not on roads or tracks (although major races often begin and end on a track inside a stadium). [hickoksports.com]

Hmm. "Rude trails" eh? I quite like the sound of that. 

No way in H am I even competitive over 3000 meters but this just might be the speed work I am after. 

Oh yes, got a spiffy new t-shirt too. Can never have enough of those. 

Monday, December 1, 2008

An Interesting Sports Ceremony

Now, what would YOU do if confronted by this?


The All Blacks perform the Haka during the Investec Challenge match between England and New Zealand at Twickenham in London, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

(December 01, 2008, SeattlePI)

Looks like they won. 

But what does this really look and sound like?


Great fun. Nothing like very large men (slabs of meat really) doing a war dance at ya. 

Perhaps it is time to  



without soiling one's armor?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My Winter Tan (or a muddy adventure on cougar mountain)

OY!

Can I say that again? OY!

Well, it isn't a trail run if there isn't any blood right? 

J went out with me to Cougar and turned green just as we turned onto Cougar Mtn Way. Almost there. What is it with this mountain, the drive, and this dog? Yep, she blorped onto the towels on the back seat. I actually pulled over to comfort her. Dogs are so gross too. She tried to eat it again. Ick! Ick! Ick!

So, that meant that I spent the first few minutes at Cougar cleaning towels off by dragging them in the grass and submerging them in puddles (it helped only a little). 

As I was doing this a guy came in from his run, covered in mud and muck. He looked pretty tired too. He asked how far I was going and I told him I was shooting for 8. My plan was to combine some of the AR routes with the SRC course to come up with something. Once geared up I trotted off. There was a very slight drizzle but it was pretty nice up there. Not a lot of wind, although it was obvious that there had been a wind storm or two up there recently as there were downed branches everywhere. Pretty muddy too right from the outset and footing was dicey in places. 

I wasn't hammering at all, just trotting along, both of us getting nicely and happily dirty. Ran up towards Coyote Creek and then up Lost Beagle before heading down on Anti-Aircraft to Tibbets Marsh and Creek. Took the Tibbets Creek trail down towards the erratic. Things were fine. Lots of things to go over. Pretty slippery and I was thinking that I would have to be a bit careful of my footing. Then, at about 2.71 (you can see it on the map) I stepped on a rock that was under some leaves and in the mud, the mud surrounding it shifted down and my right ankle rolled. I said something like "Oh No!" and sat down on the trail for a time. I could feel that some of the tendons on the top of my foot had been stretched out. I've done this before but this time it really felt bad and I wondered if I had broken something or torn something. So, I sat there and then got up, reversed direction and trotted/walked up the hill. I knew that if I got back to the Tibbets Marsh area I could catch a trail up to the road if needed. Things got progressively better as I went along although I was also pretty gingerly with it. By the time I got to the road I was thinking I'd be alright and so continued on with my plan. The ankle is/was sore but not swelling and I was able to get to the car, put a very, very muddy dog into the back seat, and head out. 

It was pretty nice to be out there by myself sort of reliving the races during the summer. Nicer also to know that I knew where I was and what I could do to get myself out of trouble if I needed to. Note to self: Two more things to add to my pack though,  ace bandage and temporary ice packs in case there isn't a handy stream of snow melt handy.

As I was unable to find a big body of water for J to swim in, and thus clean herself off, I decided to go straight to Rub-A-Dub Dog for an industrial strength scrubbing. The place was packed when I got in there and I had to wait. The attendant took one look at us and asked which of us needed a bath worse, J was covered in mud all the way up onto her back. My shoes were caked in mud and there was dirt all and up and down my legs (the photos I took of my "winter tan line" do not do this justice). She was not happy with this turn of affairs but submitted nicely and now we have a lavender-smelling poofy dog lying on the bed in the living room rather than the mud-caked stink monster than ended the run (Oh wait, that is me! :-P )

Ah, what an adventure. :-)

And where was the blood? I noticed a thin trickle of blood coming down from a scrape on my right knee. Hard to discern under all that filth. 


Ahh!

OK, now I have to go work. :-/






Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Musings on a "Friday" Night

It gets dark early. Good for movie double-features. 

You might be asking, "Friday Night"? What are you talking about? It is Wednesday.

Yep, you're right. It is Wednesday night but, really, given the Thanksgiving Holiday tomorrow, can't we just admit that it is, for all intents and purposes, Friday? 

It is that time of the quarter where I, along with my students and colleagues, am generally brain fried. So here, in lieu of sustained thought, are some random moments. It is all I can manage:

Fenders? 


Got fenders put on my bike this afternoon. Doesn't it look nice? Very Seattle, yes?

Take a mean-assed cyclocross bike and put fenders on it. Aren't I man enough to take all the spray on my face and up my back? 

Apparently not . . .

Immediate changes in riding characteristics too. The fenders catch the wind in strange ways and the added asymmetrical weight reduces overall maneuverability. Not sure I like that aspect.

Bombing through puddles is another matter . . .

Movies?

"Sex In The City" is just NOT a good movie. I am as manipulable as they come but even I had had enough of the maudlin trials of  "The Girls". They, and the film, just seemed tired. And why is it that all these films have to have some sort of redeemer character, who also happens to be black (Jennifer Hudson), to provide hope, advice, and wisdom? Why? Why? Why?

"In Bruges", on the other hand, is a wicked, darkly funny, and well-acted ensemble piece. 

What?

Student: "Dear Officer, I would like to know more about the Honors program. Hope can know more information from you . . .  Hope can hear from you soon!"
Me: "Thank you for your inquiry. All Learning Factory Students are are welcome to apply if they meet program requirements and have strong letters of recommendation that indicate an ability to successfully complete Honors level work . . . blah, blah, blah!"
Me [thinking]: Umm, there is something missing here . . .

Ideas?

How do you help cut a Learning Factory operating budget? 
  • how about having faculty clean the bathrooms? [talk about fecal matter]
  • how about faculty volunteering for leave and taking roughly a sixth of their salary in exchange for a year's working sabbatical? [not all of us have the financial wherewithal to do that, eh, but thanks for the suggestion]
  • how about not talking speculatively about what might happen (insert a sarcastic tone here especially when there has been little leadership or organized conversation on these matters)
Alright, time for the day to end. 

A bright cold morning in the mountains awaits on the morrow . . .

Happy Thanksgiving!






Friday, November 21, 2008

RIFfing on RIF-ing.

Happy, Happy Joy Joy!


28B.50.873 Reduction in force of tenured or probationary faculty members due to financial emergency--Conditions--Procedure--Rights.

Pretty odd to see this displayed in a budget meeting. 

We are in for an interesting ride. 

Friday, November 14, 2008

Grey Skies are Gonna Clear Up!

Nothing so forlorn as a pep band trying to rally student spirit for the following day's football game (UW v. UCLA) and finding that they actually outnumber the people who have turned out, half of whom drifted in after watching the UW Opera Program's production of  Haydn's "il mondo della luna" (a very goofy story, goofily staged, and promisingly (and, yes, goofily) cast). We were among that crowd and certainly enjoyed their antics, quick though they may have been. 

Given the dismal state of the Husky's season such optimism was refreshing to see. 

Can they pull of a win tomorrow against UCLA? 

We've turned a corner in this country? Think again.

Obama has more threats than other presidents-elect

http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_7731/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=Tebm1Y2o


Go figure. 


So, riddle me this? How can a hanging noose ever be a "joke"?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

RIP Tuba Man


"Seattle's most visible, beloved and melodic sports fan -- Tuba Man -- is dead." Murdered. . . 

Who the F***K DOES THIS!?


I never met him, but I always enjoyed his musical stylings outside the Opera House. 

Mr. McMichael, Seattle is a poorer place today. 


Monday, November 3, 2008

Buried in the Bailout: The Bicycle Commuter Act

Starting next year, employers who provide bike parking, bathing facilities, tune-ups, or other support for bicycle commuting, can deduct up to $20 a month per participating employee from their own taxable income!

Now, how do we do this?


Will the Markets Predict Correctly?



Listen

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Longing

Today, as I do every Tuesday and Thursday, I drove into work—a reverse commute that generally takes me about 20-25 minutes. Traffic generally moves well and at speed even though the road is crowded. 

But today, despite the foggy chill in the air, I found myself thinking that I would rather be on my bike. 

I was missing the quietness and openness of the bike and the exposure to the world. 

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Quintessentially Spectacular Weekend

According to the weather report the sunny days are numbered. 

My Oh My, but what a weekend! (I am channeling my Inner-Bing Crosby)

Saturday morning I decided not to push pumpkins (I ran it last year dressed as a white board complete with pens but nobody understood what I was doing even when I let them write on me) and headed up to the Lake Tradition Plateau on Tiger Mountain for a trot through the woods. 


It was very pretty and I went along exploring trails and things I haven't really seen before. Found a trail (top and right on the map) that became a very over-grown forest path near to which could be found an illegal camp. There were a lot of people out there and I was stopped to help some hikers determine what the "Connector Trail" actually connected to. J, the dog, had a blast poking her nose around and getting pet by little kids on occasion (this was a fun run only). 

Ever hear the sound of a dog starting to puke? That is the sound that I heard about two-minutes from home as we returned from the run. She moved the towel and hit did a number on the back seat. It took me an hour to clean it all out. The smell? Oy! We'll see. Sigh. Thanks J! At least you are cute. 

Home for some grading and then it was time for THE OPERA!

But first dinner at Asian Breeze (nicely presented food with wonderful service but the food was under-spiced (really so) and fairly bland so I am not sure we'll go back). 

Ya gotta Love the old Human Sacrifice theme, eh?

Second time at Elektra for me and wow was it fun. A much different performance than when I took students last Sunday. I appreciated the nuances of the various voices better and enjoyed the performance all the more. Janice Baird is pretty interesting although a number of people I have talked to were a bit put off by her general twitchiness in the role (is this the way she always is OR is she just inhabiting the role of an erratic, revenge crazed young woman)? She can sing. The fastest 100-minutes I have ever gone through, and not  single wasted moment. The orchestra was magnificent and did not sound muddled at any point (even with 99 players in the pit) and did not overwhelm the singers (for the most part, although Orest had a couple of moments which were difficult to hear). Irmgard Vilsmaier's Chrysothemis was a pleasure to hear. 

After an unsuccessful cupcake hunt at Cup Cake Royale (how does a cup cake place run out of cup cakes?) it was time to call it a day. 

Early start on Sunday. 

Met PT at AR for a 37-mile tour of the city in which we saw a sunrise, rode an elevator, saw a very large DNA Helix, and someone's lunch room. It was great ride. Very, very windy and chilly but also a lot of fun. PT is in much better cycling shape than I and I had to work a bit to keep up sometimes (she also has really, really skinny little tires compared to my "knobby" 700 c's and can roll more easily but, frankly, it is the engine that matters here). I came home with a big smile on my face and in an insufferably happy mood. 

Then, into the car to go look at the fall colors on Highway 2 out to Leavenworth (DW has never been there and it was such a spectacular day to drive out there for some fudge). I've usually been going too fast to stop but we did stop in a place just before Leavenworth that has captivated me since the first time I saw it (remember, GVB, that conference in Spokane we drove to? I don't but I sure remember the drive and the tour de Spokane you took me on—gotta love Boo Radley's now don'tcha?). Even better, on the way back we stopped, briefly, at the Iron Goat Trail Interpretive Center so I could see the map. Yep, the 1910 Avalanche disaster took place near this site and I cannot wait to get back there for a run

Here are the pix for the day. 



Then home, then walking the dog and talking to the parental units, then dinner with W&H at Gorditos Healthy (and big) Mexican Food, then cupcakes and conversation, then and exhausted sleep. 

I'll be paying for this weekend at least until Wednesday. :-)


OH, and I found this protocol for mounting a rear rack on my Poprad. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wait, I didn't really mean it . . .

No, really. I wasn't aware that I said it! And now that I hear what I said you gotta know that that is NOT what I meant. No really, you must believe me. Please. It sure is uncomfortable being hoisted by my own petard.

Puzzled? Read








As an aside, I am so happy that I can finally come out of the closet as a real, live "Fake American." This means I no longer have to say I enjoy Lee Greenwood and venerate the Mid-West as the exemplar of goodness (like any "place" it has its finer points and those that one could easily live without). I can finally admit that something like 81.4% (see page 72) of the people in the US reside in urban areas and that they are no better or worse and moral or immoral than those small town and rural folks. I can celebrate Constitutional Patriotism rather than Flag Patriotism and think that speech, thought, and belief ought not be determined by the exigencies of electoral politics. I can acknowledge that rational political discourse ought be a goal to which all citizens aspire and recognize the weakness of emotionalism in politics. Moreover, I can honor the notion that citizens ought really to know something rather than relying on folk-wisdom without sounding like an elitist. 

Gosh, I feel so very free. 

Free enough to donate to Tinklenberg and Kissell?


Monday, October 20, 2008

Allegory of the Cave and . . .

Interesting conversation with my students today. We were discussing Plato's Allegory of the Cave and the notion of essence. They weren't gettin it (at least they didn't seem to be). So I asked:
"Who is more Sarah Palin? Sarah Palin herself or Tina Fey?"
That got things going, fer sure, you betchya!



The Undecided

Ah, the undecided. Who are they, how can they be undecided at this point in the campaign, and why are we so concerned about them? 

The Daily Show's Samantha Bee and Jason Jones pranged the undecided the other day: 



I don't generally meet the Undecided and, frankly, have a hard time understanding how someone could be truly uncommitted at this point in the campaign. There really are clear differences between McCain and Obama from which to choose. I do, however, get the sense that the Undecided are not all that undecided in the first instance, just unable to articulate what they want or, rather, what they want to hear about. 

A case in point is a recent exchange I overheard while visiting my favorite local donut establishment:

Hipster Doofus Donut Slinger (HDDS): Yeah, I really don't know who I am going to vote for yet. I would have voted for McCain in 2000 but I just don't know what happened to that guy. 
Hipster Doofus + Baby Makes Three in a Running Stroller (HD+BM3): I know what you mean. I am not happy with either candidate. 
HDDS: Are you going to vote for the Nader and Gonzalez
HD+BM3: No, are you kidding me!? I hate those guys! I am kind of libertarian.
NDDS: Oh, how about Bob Barr then? I would vote for Ron Paul because he is the only one who is talking about "real" issues. Too bad he is not running anymore. 
HD+BM3: I thought about McCain but Sarah Palin is really frightening to me. All that "God's Will" stuff bothers me and there is no way she is ready to be president. 
HDDS: Yeah, I know. God's Will but what, Palin, are YOU going to do? 
HD+BM3: I think I am going to vote for Obama and simply hope for the best. There is not much else I can do but I still don't know . . .
HDDS: I'll probably do the same thing.
At this point my hot chocolate was ready and I left this interesting conversation to its own course. What struck me clearly is that neither of these two actually knew what they wanted beyond a kind of abstract libertarianism and certainly were not sure they could find what they did not know they wanted in one person or party. It was plainly obvious that they were also frustrated by our wonderful two-party dominant system that marginalizes third parties. Neither of them wanted to waste their vote, both seemed to want what was best for the country (what that may be is open to interpretation), and both were getting ready to hold their noses and "hope for the best". 

I walked away thinking that Americans have no problem choosing what to buy (what flavor donut for example). Why, then, are they so very, very unpracticed in the art of choosing leaders? Perhaps Shenkman is correct in his critique of the Consumer's Republic as it undermines the notion of the Citizen's Republic. 

Come on 8% of the Electorate. Account for yourselves!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Powell Endorses Obama

This is interesting and exciting news but one wonders if Powell, once described as the "most respected man in the nation," will matter all that much to those currently on the fence. If the recent experiences of Parker and Buckley are any indication, I also wonder how many hate emails and death threats he will receive from the Joe Six Packs out there.


Personally, I have to respect the man.  His cautious realism was eventually bested in the knife fight that made up the decision to invade Iraq and his Security Council presentation is a "blot" (as Powell describes it) on his service. But is apparently the case that he did his best to slow things down and he has had the courage to own up to the role he played in taking the country to a war which, if Stiglitz is to be believed, will have severe consequences for the nation going forward. 


His call this morning for unity, fairness, inclusion, and (yes) fair play? Wonderfully and powerfully said. 


But again, will it matter?


Is the process of American politics, that toxic mix of hate, rumor and innuendo, likely to change any time soon such that notions of unity, inclusion, and fairness become central? Powell seems to think so and, this morning, I share his hope. 


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Err!

Well here is a story a female student just told me:
"My brother and I are both in college and my parents have decided that his education is more important than mine. They are giving him most of the money so he can go to a 'good' school and I have to work and go 'here'".
A story I hear way too often. Pisses me off to no end. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Staring at . . .

I went to the dentist which meant that I spent an hour looking towards the light. :-P

Seriously, did anyone out there in the Seattle area see the moon this morning?


Monday, October 13, 2008

Alaska Independence Party

Hmm, we are hearing so very, very much about Ayers. How about something about some associates of the Palins? 

Blumenthal and Neiwert. "Meet Sarah Palin’s radical right-wing pals." Salon.com 13 October, 2008. 


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Runnin with the Dawgs



Raced the 23rd Dawg Dash this morning!

The Bottom Line:
Distance: 10K
Garmin Time: 54:22
Chip Time: 54:2 [Official]
Overall Pace: 8:46/mile
This may be a PR for me (but I am not sure I have run a 10K before so . . .)

The Story:

I don't have 10 things to say about this race (not that creative) or a sore butt (wasn't sitting down much) but I do have a full tummy and a very tired body after a long day of trying to meld being a weekend warrior with being a working professional. 

Two months ago I wasn't even thinking of running this race. GVB asked me then if I'd be interested in forming a team and running it. I demurred based on the problems with my hip. I didn't know what was wrong or how long it would take to work itself out. That injury is in the past now and I am slowly building mileage. Last week I decided to run it and registered. 

"So, are you going to just run this or race this?"

This question always comes up and I always answer "Nah, this will be a training run. I just ran an 8-miler in the woods yesterday and so I'll just be running easy" and then run like hell because there is just something about being in a race environment that gets me all fired up. 

So predictable. :-P

GVB and The Colleague were loudly heralded by J the Dog as they came up the walkway just after 8 this morning. I grabbed my kit and we headed down to Husky Stadium via the Union Bay Natural Area. It was cool out with clear and sunny skies, a perfect day for a run. Ran into one of the new AR clients and we chatted for a bit about yesterday's running in circles out at Saint Edwards and Big Finn. Checking in was easy and I was surprised that there were not more people doing the run. There were lots of yellow numbers (5K) and a lot fewer purple numbers (10K).  We went down onto the field and saw Mel, also from AR, who was running the 5K and then intended on running home to get more miles in. Nice chat too. Here we are waiting. 

Things were a little slow getting going because there were so many people checking in and also doing race day signups. We had to wait for the 5K runners to go out and, after a mangled rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" on a trumpet they did. Then it was our turn. 

I lined up with the 9:00/mile area because I was just intending on running (not racing) and my confidence about speed has not been so high these days. Saw BareFootRunnerMan lining up there too, the ugliest feet I have ever seen. Soon enough it was our turn, the horn blew, and off we went. 

I was passing a tall guy on Walla Walla Drive when I felt a hand on my shoulder and heard "Hey!" Turns out it was my neighbor, S, and his running partner, also S. They are training for the Seattle Half and this was part of that. I ran with them for a few minutes but then they just disappeared behind me in the crowd. 

It was taking a little bit for the pack to thin and for me to warm up but that was done by the time we got to the big parking lot to the North of Husky Stadium. Not the most inspirational part of the run but necessary if the organizers were going to get us through 6 miles in the confined space of the UW Campus. 

The Burke Gilman was empty save for runners—no bikes, casual walkers or runners to be seen. Ragged breathing, pounding footsteps, the occasional grunt of effort. Running in such a pack is a decidedly odd experience one that used to be quite thrilling but whose luster has faded the more time I spent out running in the woods. 

The UW Campus is hilly. Did you know that? Up some sustained but not-so-steep hills onto North Campus and around Denny Hall before the long-ish drop down towards the stadium. The Fountain was running as we went past on Rainier Vista and the UW Alumni Marching Band-let was playing as we went past (this must be what I was looking at in this picture). 

Then, I picked up someone I am going to call "The Horse Fly". THF was a woman about 5'9" wearing black tights and a long-sleeved shirt with glaringly white iPod earbuds sticking out of her ears. I know this because, frankly, she kept on buzzing around me and I do mean "buzzing". 

OK, I have rabbits in races too. People I use to speed up and push harder. In this race it was the guy in the Husky Purple basketball shorts and Gold Lame' Husky shirt (I beat him). Hell, I don't mind being a rabbit either. Aren't there rules for this sort of thing? Like you can get close, but not potential collision close, and you should pass with enough room and maybe a bit of warning. At least this is what I do. But THF, she was bordering on dangerous. Her approach was to orbit me—pulling up on my left, pulling just a little ahead, and then cutting in front and to the right to end up on my right. She did this four times, each time cutting closer and closer, and would have crashed had she gotten tangled in my boots. Twice I felt the wind of her passing and had to divert to avoid a collision. Finally, we hit the final stretch on the Burke Gilman and I had had enough. She orbited again and with about a mile to go I just kicked it into sub-8:00 gear and held it. I have no idea where THF went after and I did not see her again. I was too polite to say anything and doubt she would have heard me given the volume of her music. 

Started tiring by the time we got to Hec Ed but kept going and swung into the stadium going like mad. Almost had a Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang Moment when a little kid ran in front of me as I entered into the stadium running at something like 11.5 mph. I could swear I heard someone yelling my name as I came into the finish (was it Mel? GVB? The Colleague?) and I crossed the line running a 6:50 covered in sweat and feeling really happy and bouncy. 

Happy and bouncy for the rest of the day too (ask GVB and The Colleague about the walk home). Lots of fun. 

The pancakes, eggs, and bacon I had for brunch was just the ticket. :-)

It felt so good to move and to move fast again as I'd forgotten how that felt. 



Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Refrigerator

Welcome back refrigerator! 

Today was that first real day when it felt like winter:
a record low temperature of 43 degrees was set at Seattle WA WFO today. This breaks the old record of 45 set in 1991. [wunderground, 10/9/08]
86% humidity with a dew point of 42 and cloudy.

A chill that settles in the bones. Shocking at first but I suppose I'll get used to it, pining all the while for the summer when my bones finally dry out.

Makes me miss the desert and causes me to want to eat more dessert. :-P
 


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

How to spend a Wednesday Afternoon

An interesting afternoon, not the way that I expected it to turn out but, hey, I can't complain (OK, maybe a little). What happened?

I've now done three commute rides on the Poprad and have been enjoying the bike very much. But there have been some irritating things:
  • the brakes really scream, especially when wet
  • can't shift into the big ring anymore (this happened on my first ride)
  • riding on the hoods is really, really uncomfortable. It feels as if they get further and further out the longer I ride
None of this feels right and so after I finished teaching for the day I called Montlake Cycles to ask questions and to find out if they had time to take a look at things and to make adjustments. "Sure, come on down!" So, I rode straight down and rolled into the shop. 

Me: "I've got some problems here, can someone look at them for me?"
Mech: "Sure. This will take about 40 minutes. Is that OK?"
Me: "Whatever it takes."
Mech: Pulls out a bottle of Rubbing Alcohol to clean off the brake rotors, spins the wheels, and discovers that the pads are not properly aligned. Apparently I have been riding with the brakes ON! Has me holding brake levers closed as he backs the pads off, explains how they work, and then resets them. Cleans the rotors with the alcohol and says "They may make some noise at first but then should be quieter. Did anyone tell you about what to do with these?"
Me: "No.  Cool, and thanks for the explainer. There is a problem shifting into the big ring as well."
Mech: "Are you aware of cable stretch and that you probably have to lube the chain?"
Me: "Yeah, but I bought this bike on Friday and I have only ridden it about 90 miles."
Mech: "Oh!" Starts looking at the front derailleur and readjusts the set screw. Spins the crank and shifts smoothly onto the big ring. 
Mech: Look at bike, very hard. "You want your handle bars at that angle?"
Me: (surprised) "No, it is pretty uncomfortable. I ride on the hoods and the longer I ride the further out things feel. There is a lot of creaking when I torque on the bars when climbing too."
Mech: "It looks like these bolts have not been tightened all the way." Unscrews them, rotates the bars up a little, tightens them down again, and asks me to sit on the bike to feel the new position. 
Me: "That is much better! Can you adjust the interrupter brake levers too?"
Mech: "Sure thing." Adjusts and tightens the bolts. 

This takes about 1.5 hours and one Clif Bar mostly because the Mech is really thorough, it taking his time, and seems genuinely interested in making sure I know what is happening. While all of this is going on Mr. Two Bicycles comes in with two bikes to have some work done on them. One is an all carbon road bike (pretty cool and light) and the other is a 2007 Poprad. He has had it for a year and loves it—it has become his main bike these days. No real problems although he has had a new set of wheels from Bontrager because the originals kept on coming out of true. Two Bicycles suggests that I put road slicks on to improve traction. Mech agrees with this recommendation. 

Rode home in the sun and the bike felt better already. Not a lot of time to walk the dog before heading out for the AR Wednesday group run—Bryant School Loop. Fun stuff.

Word to the wise. Make sure that your bike goes through a thorough final inspection BEFORE you accept it. Though I am really happy with the bike and also the fact that I had access to these necessary adjustments it is also the case that the bike should not have left the shop with these problems in the first instance and I should not have had to bring it back so soon. 

Addendum 10/13/08: Commuted today, my first ride since last Wednesday. The bike flew. :-)












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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Randomness

Question: Do boiled eggs mix well with beach sand?
Answer: Not really as I found out this morning when I unpacked my breakfast from the plastic bag I randomly picked up in the kitchen. Turns out it once held rocks from Tofino. Yum. Crunchy.
Question: Are rainbows beautiful?
Answer: Yes, especially when the sun is smacking right into a very dark cloud band.
Question: Is Juan García Esquivel's "Cabaret Mañana" the most perfect way to start a morning (aside from a rainbow)?
Answer: Yes! [Insert very large and whimsical grin here]
Question: Did yours truly forget to bring his copy of Quest for the Holy Grail to use in class today?
Answer: Yes, he did and hoping that YouTube can come to the rescue.
Question: Who is going to "win" the debate tonight?
Answer: 


Monday, October 6, 2008

Commuting: Swim, Bike, Run


Today I commuted by bike for the first time. A very busy and active day. 

Got up at 5:45 to go run an easy three miler in the neighborhood. I don't really like getting up this early and often have a hard time getting moving but that wasn't a problem as I was so excited for the day. The run went well and felt good. The pre-dawn calm was eerily quiet and the air felt soft. J had a blast. This was slow but at least my HR was lower than it has been.  http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/6921508

Then at 7:30 I headed out on the bike for the Learning Factory. I had a pretty heavy backpack which slowed me down a bit. Dropped the hill from my house and then headed up a very windy Ravenna Blvd to get down to Green Lake. Around the south of the lake and then more climbing. The traffic as not as bad as I had imagined it would be, a pleasant surprise. It did start to mist on the trip up but not too badly either. The bike felt comfortable although I was still not able to shift into the big ring and the hoods began to feel very far out the longer that I rode (can this be adjusted easily?). Riding through Shoreline and into Lynnwood was also no problem and I rolled onto campus just before 9 after 1:18 riding. A little slower than a test ride I did on Sunday but not too bad. I fully expect this to improve as I get stronger or, as Puddlethumper puts it, as I get into "biking shape". 

Got to show my bike off a bit too—took some guff about the bike not being yellow (you know who you are Mr. Post-It Note)—and then had to figure out how to get cleaned up. Baby wipes work although I had to put my riding clothes outside on a balcony otherwise my office, indeed the entire area around my office, would become rather pungent. :-P

I had so much energy and was annoyingly bouncy. So bouncy that one of the staff told me to calm down. That Americano I had before class might have made things worse. Taught (had a great conversation with my students about basic concepts in Political Science), had a meeting, got changed (putting on damp riding clothes is such a joy), and around 2 headed out for home. It was dry and a little windy as I went. At Puddlethumper's suggestion I was decided to modify the return route to head around the north of Green Lake rather than the south, a decision that would cut at least a mile off the route. 

Here is where the swimming part comes into my day. 

It was dry as I took off from the campus. Within a few minutes of riding it started raining and by the time I got to Mountlake Terrace my supposed waterproof running jacket was letting water in. It was warm and windy though and I did not mind too much although I began thinking how nice it would be to have some foul weather gear. Too bad I already spent my birthday and Christmas and mad money. :-P

The rain and the wind got much heavier the closer I got to Seattle, seeping through my helmet and running down my scalp. I REALLY started thinking about foul weather gear and worrying about all the stuff in my pack that might be getting wet because I forgot to put them in the plastic bag. Some sort of waterproof carrying device is needed, yes? 

Then I hit the hills. That is, I started descending the hills. Wow! Those brakes, they work. But OH DO THEY SCREAM. These things were so loud that small animals and babies fled at my coming. Grown construction worker people cringed but at least held their ground. Drivers startled. It was bad (and embarrassing). Something must be done! But what?

I also started noticing this white soap-sudsy stuff on the streets (anybody know what this is) and more and more standing water around Green Lake that I had no choice but to ride through, soaking my feet even more. My legs were covered in road dirt which was going to require some real scrubbing (did I mention that I need fenders yet?).  The final climb up to my house is quite steep and it took a bit of doing on the slippery pavement but I did it and rolled into my garage after an 1:12 of riding. http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/6927837

Showered, went back out in the rain to walk the dog (I just wanted to be warm), went to the store for dinner stuff, and then to my stretchy bendy class. 

Though tiring, this was a lot of fun and I can't wait until Wednesday where there is only a 20% chance of rain.
 
Quite an adventure swimming, biking and running but nothing like what Les is going to be doing this weekend

Me? I'll be trail running in Saint Edwards Park on Saturday and running the Dawg Dash on Sunday (runner #2570 on the Dash page only marginally looks like GVB. :-P )

The adventure continues. 

Friday, October 3, 2008

Poprad's First Ride

It is here! In my garage. Sitting there, looking pretty cool! 

It was a pretty busy afternoon. Division meeting day at the Learning Factory and this time we got to see a DVD about how to survive a workplace shooting. These meetings are not particularly joyful (something tedious to get through on a Friday afternoon) but this brought things down quite a bit and I don't mind telling you that it was quite upsetting. No one likes to think about such things but I suppose these things must be considered and prepared for. Mental preparation actually seems to be the key. 

Meeting over I headed off bound for REI to get some biking shorts (now that I have a bike I suppose having more than one pair would be helpful). Got a mounting bracket for my Garmin too.  

Heard from Greg at Montlake Cycles who said that it was ready except that they didn't have the fenders I wanted and the rack is no longer made. He did have something else I could use though and I should come down to pick them out. Driving down there would be a problem. Taking a bus would take too long. So, I put on my boots, got a pack, and ran the three miles down there with my riding shoes and helmet. 

Got to the shop only to find that the mechanic that I had been working with was not there (he was off at the warehouse) and they could not put the right stuff on. SO, I have to call tomorrow and figure out the rack and the fender situation. Everything else is good. I bought a spare tube and a rear light (which they mounted) and headed out into the rain. Discovered a few things along the way:
  • I need fenders. Oh boy do I need fenders. The spray of the tires was not as bad as my Gecko but still
  • The stem might be a little too long for me and I might need to come up a bit (I can talk about this with the mechanic tomorrow)
  • Wet new disc brakes make a hell of a squeal until they dry off. I wonder if this is a setting issue? A newness issue? 
  • This bike climbs really well and with a triple it is very nice, although the easiest gear is still not as easy as mtb gearing
  • Running clothes are great for running but even a short ride in the rain, well . . .

So far I am pretty happy. Wiped it off when I got home. :-) 

Tomorrow? I'll mount my cages and stuff. Sunday I'll take it for a real spin.