Short haired gawddamned bike hippie…

So despite coming from a staunch conservative family and the gas consumption state of Texas (where the number of suburbans to people is astonishing, especially considering the number of miles the folks drive*), the love of the outdoors and the proverbial writing on the wall have made me into quite the evironmentalist/hippie.

Composting? Check

Veggie garden? Check

Commute by bike as much as possible? Check

CSA member? Check

The list goes on. But this week, I came across something that really is a microcosm of the problem(s) with this country as a whole. I live in an neighborhood were most people have a “yard man” that takes care of their lawn.**

The problems with this country can be wrapped up with the tool you see below…

When was the last time you saw someone using a broom? When was the last time you saw a “yard man” using one? They don’t people don’t. By my estimates, it would take about 50 calories to sweet up the trimmings from mowing and edging a yard. Personally, I sweep, scoop with the mega dustpan and add to the compost heap.

But for most people, and most of america, both homeowners and “yard men” alike, the tool of choice is the leafblower.

So every week, these people pay someone to mow their lawn. Then they use this highly inefficent leafblower to blow the detritous from their yard. And the yardman blows it. Into the street. Into the wind, into the neighbor’s yard.

And then the next day, the yardman comes back and does the neighbor’s yard and blows it all back.

How many kilocalories are burned by these gas powered, 2-stroke leafblowers that do little to clean the neighbors yards but do significant work to secure the yeard man’s job?

When a simple broom and dustpan would suffice?

* I remember back when I lived that that the idea of an 8 hour drive was trivial or commonplace. The number of mile I put on a car in the name of bike racing boggles the mind.

** To the point, I have considered making t-shirts “SOPWAMTOL” for the friends I have in the ‘hood that care for their own house – Society Of People Who Actually Mow Their Own Lawn

| Posted in Uncategorized | Print This Post Print This Post

Coming soon…

I have it working, but I need to do a bit of a write-up before posting futher….

But I built a beehive datalogger that I would like to share.


| Posted in Uncategorized | Print This Post Print This Post

On the pursuit of Happyness

The past two weeks has been excellent.

I have found my happiness again.

It has been lost for some time.

I guess the clear desert air and miles in the legs can help do that to you.

That and the company of people that are positive influences in your life.

I rode hard in southern Utah over the 4 day weekend in the sun.  Perhaps not as far or as hard as some.  But enough.  Enough to feel good.  Enough to suffer some.  Enough to flow the downhill singletrack and feel connected with the desert again.

A stay with a friend and a sharing of home-brewed beer.

A long ride overgeared with the group.

Unexpected guests one night, a pleasant surprise.

A nice ride solo with a new friend.

A fun ride with the girls, that reminded me to turn off the “training” mentality and have fun – stop, turn around, do it again until you make it – stop, turn around, ride down it for a picture.  These things I haven’t done in, well, some time.

A cool, neh, cold solo ride before home and a subtle reminder to keep it under control alone.

All in all, an excellent trip.

Straight into spending some extended quality time with a friend.

Family coming to visit and having a great time, despite inclement weather.  Smiles all around with the wind howling in your face.

An invite out of the blue from a good friend to share in a special evening for his family as his cousin performs with an outstanding jazz orchestra.

And more time spent with someone I really like.

I was reminded recently of a film I really liked, “The Pursuit of Happyness”

That is the climax of the movie, when everything he has been working so very hard for works out in the end.

But what I really like in the movie, it that he is very in tune with the idea of the pursuit part:

Christopher Gardner:

It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking how did he know to put the pursuit part in there? That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue and maybe we can actually never have it. No matter what. How did he know that?

Truth is, I have been unhappy for a while.  Perhaps unable or unwilling to admit it.  But unhappy.

These two weeks have reopened my eyes.

Happiness is about a choice.  To be in the moment, to be content with what it brings.  And to continue to pursue it.

Outside of Chris’ situation in the film/book/real life, the stuff isn’t going to make you happy.

Your outlook is.

And my outlook has shifted.

But I would also like to point out one more thing…

When you surround yourself with others, others who are good to you, good for you and are happy.  There is definitely some symbiosis.  The happiness is shared.  There is some element of connectedness that makes it better for all who are involved.

So choose to be happy, to embrace it and to pursue it.  And choose you company wisely, for they can make it all better.


| Posted in Uncategorized | Print This Post Print This Post

Life is a do-over



Today I sit here perplexed.

My life is a do-over. That idea as a kid that whatever happened before, doesn’t count. That you can go back to the point in time where something changed that you didn’t like, and do things differently. And hopefully have a different outcome.

As some (of my few reader) know, my wife of the past 9 years and partner to me for the past 13 decided over the past 15 months or so that she no longer preferred to be married.

And all manner of planning, of sense of determination, of knowing what the future held disappeared in what felt like a moment, but in reality took months.

And aside from the sadness, the hurt and the anger, I am left with a sincere problem.

The problem of too many choices.

For over the past 8 years, I have not held, in the traditional sense, a job. Certainly I did work daily. I raised my boys, I ran my house, I elevated our nutrition and cared about all goings on domestic. I even coached some cyclists to success in my personal time.

But what that look like on a professional resume, a gaping 8 year hole of not recieving a W2?

If I came to you, would you hire me? Would I get even past your HR department’s initial screening?

So, I have to take another tact.

Look at the possibilities and were to go from here. As I mentioned to a very good friend just this past week, I desire to do something that is not merely vocation, but a marriage of vocation with avocation.

I want to do something with my life whereby I make something that adds value to this world.
I want to do something that is cognizant of the environment and courteous to it as well.
I want to do something that I have a passion for and makes me happy.

In the words of Llyod Dobler:

I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.

So, where do that lead me?

I feel there are several paths for me to chose. None of them easy, none of them clear right now. None of them that doesn’t require me to invest a significant amount of my time and resources to make happen.

And none of them can be done simultaneously. Soon, very soon, I will have to pick a path and commit.

And that is terribly frightening.


| Posted in Uncategorized | Print This Post Print This Post

the dude abides

no #30daysofcontent

just a definition and a personal pledge:

Main Entry: abide
Pronunciation: \ə-ˈbīd\
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): abode  \-ˈbōd\ or abid·ed; abid·ing
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English ābīdan, from ā-, perfective prefix + bīdan to bide; akin to Old High German ir-, perfective prefix — more at BIDE
Date: before 12th century
transitive verb
1 : to wait for : await
2 a : to endure without yielding : withstand b : to bear patiently : tolerate <cannot abide such bigots>
3 : to accept without objection <will abide your decision>


Pronunciation: \ə-ˈbīd\

Function: verb

transitive verb

1 : to wait for : await

2 a : to endure without yielding : withstand : to bear patiently : tolerate

3 : to accept without objection

The dude abides.


| Posted in Uncategorized | Print This Post Print This Post

#30DaysOfContent Day 9

Well, I had day 9 in the bag.

I wrote a nice homebrew article and saved it. Went to go to beers withNeil an started itunes on an update.

Come home and it is still running (bogging everything else down – the price for 65k+ songs I guess) and I cannot post.

So iPhone post will have to do.

Ironman2 movie and beers at the bayou.

Tried EpicBrewing’s offical offerings tonight. The pale ale had Ali Goulet’s pic on the label. The Belgian was good, but hot on the alcohol. I think Monday I will get a case and lay it down.

Moved on to the Boulevard Saison Brett which was low in Brett flavor despite a 2009-2 date stamp. My comment was that my Brett Saison from Feb had more Brett flavor.

Finished off at home with a Bock Off. The bubbles of which intro a a topic for later on chaos theory.

More back in the traditional vibe tomorrow…



Dummy Up!

Where to start?  Still shooting for over 140 characters, and so an update of the weekend.

Friday was the 5yo’s birthday. I opted to celebrate it for the weekend with him and the rest of the fam instead of chasing fitness at a race I did not have enough of that commodity to do well in.

But the race proved fortuitous as there was a friend of a friend of a friend (really!) who was coming down to race from Boise. I had been looking at a bike that was listed in the Boise Craigslist* that had been on my mind for about 18 months. I first got interested in a Xtracycle when the privateer pointed me to them. He didn’t have one yet, but was thinking of building one. He eventually made one out of his Stumpjumper and I got to ride it at training camp last year. Last Interbike we spent a fair amount of time looking at the Xtracycle booth… and the surly booth. Surly makes a bike with an integrated Xtracycle called the “big dummy”. I was in love.

I have aspirations of building it with a rohloff and son hubs on large marge rims… but all out the door that is an almost $5k proposition. And with two little boys who may or may NOT be too keen on being schleped around town on it, seemed a big nut to crack. I bided my time and looked and looked for a good deal on a used one.

        *Tangent – how to find what you need when your local craigslist doesn’t seem to have it? well CL does a nice favor for us all in the way they localize the site to a city. instead of craigslist.org/<your city name> they choose to use the city in the prefix of the url ala <your city name>.craigslist.org. What does that mean to you? It means that you can do a google query over all of the indexed craigslist via the following search term “big dummy site:craigslist.org/bik/“ returning results of “big dummy” within all the CL bike listings. Cool eh? I digress…

One racer was kind enough to pick up the bike from the owner and another was kind enough to haul it down to me, all for the low, low fee of some beer.

Bike people rule. The price of the dummy in Boise was in the sweet spot, but I just couldn’t bring myself to drive both directions to pick up a bike that would help me not drive.

So, to Josh, Uhl Kai and Jake, Thanks to you all for your part.

So what does any self-respecting bike dork do with a brand new (to them) bike? Take half of it apart! I pulled the bars, stem, grips, seatpost and saddle off and put some stuff I had around (kinda waiting for the dummy) on it. I still have some other immediate changes, but I didn’t want to tear into shifters for wont of a desire to actually ride it this past weekend.

I also had found the stoker stem on CL for a deal @ $25 and with the old mtb bar, the kids had a place to hold on – for now. I few trips around the block and the neighbors wanted to try it out:


Sunday, I took the 6yo to the park with basketball, picnic lunch and toys on the back. Today we ran our sole errand on it, a 6.2 mile jaunt that was made into an adventure and almost spoiled with the weather. Sorry, no pics. I chose not to dilly dally on the way home and potentially get wet/cold/snowed on on the first real task given to the dummy.
I doubt that tomorrow will be car-free with the weather forecast and the kiddos (sorry, I am not hard core), but the rest of the week looks good.

The kids love the bike’s name “Dummy” and today there was already a request to be picked up from school on the Dummy. Dunno how long that will last, but if they are still into it after the newness wears off, I will be ecstatic.

I guess I should write about P-R* and the #reasonsGeorgeDidntWinParisRoubaix context, but I will save that for another 700+ words another time this week.

        *And an initial tasting of the Saison that is bottle conditioning… a little flat, but as to be expected 6 days after bottling…more later.

Thanks for reading,


| Posted in Uncategorized | Print This Post Print This Post

A lengthy update…

Since I have been kind of challenged by the Mop, I thought I would take the time to write a longer than 140 character update.

What is it about the spring classics that find me making Belgian/Flemish style beers?

Last year, around this time, I made a Belgian Golden Strong called “Duivel de l’Arbre” or “Devil of the Arbre” in honor of Boonen’s decisive move at Paris-Roubaix in the forest of Arbre.

This year, I rebrewed the BGS as well as made a Saison, another beer that comes (generally) from that area on the French/Belgium border.

Let’s start back at the beginning.

March with the passing of a new anniversary for me. My “brewversary”. It has been more than one year that I have been making beer.

In 12 months I brewed 14 5 gallon batches of beer (Ok 13 batches of beer and 1 batch of hard cider).

Here is what I made (in order):

  • IPA
  • Belgian Golden Strong
  • Kolsch
  • Helles Bock
  • Coffee Stout
  • Oktoberfest
  • Schwartzbeir
  • Irish Red
  • Dry Hard Cider
  • Brown Porter
  • Saison
  • Summer Bock (2nd batch)
  • American Pale Ale
  • Belgian Golden Strong (2nd batch)

Not bad for a year’s worth of work. 70 gallons of full strength alcohol in a state where they charge an arm and a leg for it at the liquor store.

This year, I have designs to almost double the amount I do. The goal of this is to improve as fast as possible. I am redoing most if not all of the batches I did last year (you can see above that I have already started that process in the bock and BGS).

I want to correct technical mistakes of certain styles that I did incorrectly last year (wrong fermentation temp of the bock and kolsch). I want to do split batches to see the differences yeast make. Already with the Saison, I have split the batch and bottled half as brewed and bottled half with wild Brettanomyces (more on wild yeast another time).

Tangent: The Watcher has a guest week going on and the latest guest posted about yeast today. Kinda stole my idea. More on that later, with the wild yeast.

        Nested Tangent: I stole the Tangent/Nested Tangent idea from Watcher.

And I want to get to a level of consistency whereby I can make a style of beer to the guidelines and know what I am doing.

Here is my brew calendar for my sophomore year:

February        Saison / Summer Bock* / APA
March                BGS* / Kolsch
April                Wheat / Cal Common – Jason’s Yeast / Pilsner
May                Oktoberfest* / Coffee Stout* (split batch) / Sarah’s Pils / Sarah’s Stout
June                Sarah’s APA /
July                Nut Brown Ale / Schwartzbeir*
August        Dunkelweizen / Xmas Beer
September        Shiner Clone
October        Irish Red*
November        Porter*
December        Pilsner

And I have published it on google docs here if you want to see it be update:


I had originally planned to do 24 batches and brew 2x per month. But my family asked me to make the beer for my sister’s wedding in July so I added 3 batches to make 27 this year.

Now. All that is great, but without pictures, it is all a little drab and flat, no?


First Temperature controlled batch.


Yeast Washing


First batch in the kegerator


Active yeast starter

More to follow. And you can see in the schedule that there are openings for new styles, so feel free to make suggestions.

I think I am going to make a Flanders Sour in honor of George at Paris Roubaix: #ReasonsGeorgeDidntWinParisRoubaix

There mop 601 words for you.


| Posted in Uncategorized | Print This Post Print This Post


resolution post.

I am stealing mine from Flahute with one edit on #6:

  1. Ski more.
  2. Bike more.
  3. Sleep more.
  4. Shoot more (photos).
  5. Write more.
  6. Eat better.
  7. Drink (more or less, depending).
  8. Work wiser.
  9. Save more money.
  10. Lose more weight.
  11. Piss off fewer people.
  12. Survive and thrive another year.


| Posted in Uncategorized | Print This Post Print This Post

I thought I would segregate

Some of my life.  Remove the beer and other non-bike content from the wattagetraining.com homepage and move it somewhere else.

If you wanna know what is going on around here, I guess I can sum it up with this word:



| Posted in Uncategorized | Print This Post Print This Post