Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thought for 2009

Happy Kisses, Moveitfred.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Hi Friends! Fred and Heywood shared their holiday card with me, and I wanted to share it with all of you:

"Dear Al: a Joyous Noel to you. Felice Navidad! Heywood and I are doing well on our man-retreat. Today we made pemmican. Together. Tonight is the big drum ceremony. Tomorrow we're all doing a sweat. "Man-fun!" as we say. Just wanted you to know we're thinking about you.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Hello all. Long time no post. Here's the update. Today, I am 2 months out of surgery. I have very little pain except when I sit for more than about 5-10 minutes. When I do that I get a quick wake up call to stand and move.

I am walking 4-5 miles a day at a good pace. I do this 6 days a week. I am lifting lightly with a good deal of restriction. I am swimming with some regularity. I do a good deal of ab work, and overall I am getting stronger. But my flexibility sucks!!!!!!!!! I am not allowed to do anything where I bend my upper body over my lower body (bending at the waist activities are a no no). So stretching is tuff. I stand and put my legs up on things. I lay on my back and pull those legs in. I twist and turn on the floor. But I feel like I've got some painful, hard substance in my back when I stretch. I've made some progress, but flexibility is SLOW to improve. I have not really ridden the bike at all, either. I can't sit for long so the spin bike is hard. (I've done some 10-15 minute sessions but then I get real uncomfy.) Riding on the road is out until spring. I also have not run at all. I can start that in a limited fashion after the new year. BUT I AM NERVOUS.

My surgeon is a friend of mine. He and I were BSing about my spine last night. He explains the area as " a sick disk." The disk herneated as badly as it did because of this "sickness." It will always be a point of weakness, even though surgery remedied the immediate problem. I can build my core to protect it (as much as possible). But it will always be prone to injury, an area of reduced flexibility, a source of soreness etc. The nature of the "sick disk" is to spray that material out of proper position in the cavity whenever pressure is applied. As it stands now, I've got way less disk material than before. If a herneation happens again, I'm looking at spinal fusion. Spinal fusion is a motherfucker.

The plan...I've kept myself in the best shape I can. I have not allowed myself to gain any weight. (Still at 172, which is a good weight for me.) I am feeling fit. But I'm sure my CV fitness has diminished. I plan to start running lightly after new year. I'll begin by mixing a mile in here and there with my walks. I've got some well groomed trails near the house. The ground is softer than the pavement. That's where I'll work on building up a run base through the winter. Come spring, I'll take to the road and get back on the bike. This will get the CV Fit back up. I do not plan to go anywhere near my old running mileage. (I used to log 40 miles running each week.) I do not intend to do more than 20-25 miles per week running, once I'm back at it full bore. My plan is to increase the swim miles, increase the bike miles, mix in the fast paced walking, and stay with lifting. I also do not plan to do anymore long runs (nothing beyond 8-10 miles max). And I will not race anymore long run races. (No run races beyond about a 10k.) I'll also focus on the sprint tri category. I'd love to get back to Olympic Tris...we'll see.

For 09, I'll be VERY happy if I can get myself ready for a Sprint Tri. My goal (right now) is to get my ass in that ICE COLD L.I. Sound for the Ironclad Tri in May.

That's the goal....we shall see.

Oh... and enjoy this pic of my hairy, scarred back. It is truly amazing how much work they can do, now, through a very small incision. My buddy had a similar surgery 5 years ago. His scar is 5 times as long as mine.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Things to do

Moveitfred needs to rake leaves and kill a rooster.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Why me?

These last two months have been depressing for the competitor in me. After experiencing cross last year for the first time, I was eager to ring in this season with a new bike, new found fitness, and new excitement for racing. I was going to see Gloucester for the first time, with my pals Moveitfred and Meg racing next to me. Like always, things just don’t work out as Heywood the Great planned.

The bike was to be a Cannondale Cyclocross 2. SRAM Force and all. This is one of the brands that Auburn Bike Works carries and the only place I will buy a bike (I work there part time). Yeah. Cannondale missed the boat and did not produce enough bikes to fill the orders. But they will have some ready for purchase mid December. Nice timing!

Ok, the other brand Auburn Bike Works carries, Giant. I can ride a Giant. It is still a CX bike and I need one badly. Oh, they also missed the boat this year. According to Giant, they sold the same number of CX bikes in ALL of last year in only two weeks this year. So, here they are loosing out to there competitors and fucking the little guy like me. How am I supposed to get my ass dragged around the course if I don’t have a bike to ride? What the hell is up with these two companies?

I been forced to watch and cheer at races this year with a tear falling down the cheek. Reading about the races on VeloNews is not helping either. There is always next year, right?

Maybe I should reconstruct the white trash ghetto cross bike of last year?

Monday, October 13, 2008


Al gettin' all bunched because Freddo didn't provide any content to go along with the pic at Gloucester.


Freakin' uncrosslike warm, dusty, dry John Wayne Kill 'Dem Injuns conditions at the venue, Moveitfred no racey cause his po wittle elbow sore, the usual fast-cats rippin' up the course, Sachsies always have the best bikes, JD killer course setup and remembered the effin' cowbells on day 2 (thanks a BUNCH JD!), Andrew at CX mag coming through with a stylin' T for our hero, Mo B-Roy looking dapper in the new kit, freakin' Orange Wookie Gewilli commanding a venue prescence, Trackrich manhandling a chain on day 1 and scoring spot 10 on day 2, Sisson twittering allllll day, Artist Formerly Known As Felt sporting the Giro-esque black kit on a PINK zank, Ctodd somewhere, Solo leaving early to get back to the foundry, awesome brauts, oh that runup on day 2, Richie and Deb and the Twizzlers, Beer Garden!, then there's Meg, and a lovely two days in the sun with the fam.

Moveitfred scored some comp housing out in Lexington with the smaaaties compliments of the neighbors who have a 3 acre plot and farmhouse. Beautiful little intellects in that area. Moveitfred hung out at the local Peet's in the a.m. and wanted to kill people on day 2. How many of you would like to go through life wearing your base-grey Haaavad T and debating theories of 18th Century Chinese language/character development in the rural disaspora? At 7a.m. on a Sunday?

Shit, ain't the Sox in the playoffs?

Hey, great weekend Gloucester. See yas next time.


Gloucester effin' rocks.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Al has returned from the world of the anesthetized better, stronger, faster.

On Tuesday, 9/23 I went in for spinal surgery. I had a very big piece of the L3 disc removed. This herneation has been the source of my problems, and it had reached a point where surgery was necessary. I was numb on my left side from my abdomen to my ankle. I would get strange, tingling / electric shocks down the side. My muscles were weakening, and I was having trouble controlling my leg function on the left side.

I had a laminectomy / diskectomy (microdiskectomy) done to remove the herneated disc material. The pic above shows the basic procedure, although the surgeon I used has a less invasive procedure so my incision was smaller than above.

Today is Friday, and I am up and walking about and doing well. I think this is because I went into the surgery in very good shape. Although I haven't been able to run since May, I've been biking and swimming and walking and doing some "modified" weight training.

The surgery was a long one (about 3 hours). I don't remember much from Tuesday. I do remember being up all night Tuesday with discomfort and NOISE. The discomfort is a common thing with spinal surgery. It is hard to sit or lay down. Walking about seems to be the easiest thing for me. So I just shuffled around most of the night/next day at the hospital. And, with all that time on my hands in the hospital, I came up with a few ideas to improve the hospital experience:

1) Hospitals are fucking LOUD. I guess if you're a rich fat cat you can afford a private room. Dude's like us get four to a rooms. Every five minutes (NO EXAGGERATION) a nurse or doctor or orderly was coming in to do something ALL NIGHT LONG. So my first improvement is a small hard plastic divider system I've devised. It keeps things quiet, keeps you separate...nice.

2) Signage is very important in the hospital, I noticed. I was in the "neurology" recovery area. Mostly, there were stroke victims and other neurological patients who were "recovering." I say "recovering" because they appeared to me to be going the other direction. Not pretty. Anyway, every patient had multiple signs over his/her bed:
Strict Monitor I/O s
Monitor / Measure Urines
and my personal favorite
Nothing by Mouth

I guess this all makes sense. You've got changing shifts, different nurses, different doctors, troupes of residents coming through. Clear signs make safe patients. So I got on board and made my own sign to post above my bed:


With all those pumps and hoses and gung ho RNs I figured I couldn't be too careful.

So now I'm just recovering. I don't have much pain, just the previously mentioned discomfort. My doc tells me I'll be lightly biking in a few weeks. I start weight PT about that time too. For now, I'm pacing and healing. All is well.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rumors of Al's Demise

have been greatly exaggerated, fyi.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Speaking of Train Wrecks

Our hero, Al, is currently dreaming up some sort of fucking Frankenbike that's going to be sporting a--better sit down for this one--Rohloff 14-speeder hub.

Al claims he's going to be The Master of Disaster with this new setup. He's going to take on the urban jungles of the north shore of Long Island, blast open a new aesthetic for travel, and kick the shit out of the lycramodel set now clogging the roadways.

Let us, too, send our heartfelt wishes for success and healing to the meritorious Al. The knife awaits him. The docs are going in. He'll be sporting a new chassis in a couple of days.

Godspeed Al.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


A few things to report...

First, the back injury is really progressing. The pain is mostly gone. I've still got some ache and some tingling down the leg at times, but none of the real agony I had after the injury. And much of my flexibility and strength has returned. I'm walking, swimming, biking, stretching, and doing light weight training to rehab and strengthen the body.

Second, I've broken 100 on the new bike. I'm happy to report that in 2 weeks I've logged 125 miles on the Sampson. These are not big miles, but I'm pretty happy with my progress. My standard ride is a 15 miler now, and I am moving along pretty well through a mix of hills and flats. Next week, I'm going to bump up to 20 mile rides and see how I feel.

Third, Monday I go for my (hopefully) last round of epidur-AL steroids. I really hope it is my last!!! I can't begin to tell you how rough these are on the system. Maybe it is just me but I have been majorly side-effected (as I've mentione before):

My resting heart rate (usually at 48 bpm) is now about 74. I get these heart racing moments where, inexplicably, I feel like I've just run up a flight of stairs. I have trouble falling asleep, and I wake up, frequently, with my heart pounding away. I get hot flashes (to accompany the heart racing) where I'm suddenly bathed in sweat. And I am one moody motherfucker! Right now (at the end of a cycle of 'roids) I'm so edgy and irritable. And, frequently, I'm in these black moods. (I think of them as my "grrrrrr, FUCK OFF!" moods.) I'm willing to bet that after Monday (next set of injections) the emotional roller coaster will level for a while, and I'll feel great again...for a while. SUCKS!'s better than back surgery and better than the pain and debilitation I was going through.

I'm a doper. What can I do?

And speaking of dopers, how 'bout that TDF? What fun!

Here's an interesting essay that suggests that maybe the TDF should say au revoir for a while.

All for now...

Thursday, July 3, 2008


In which AL says, "Roids are rough."

I've got more chemicals flowing through me than the Festina team in '98. I've gone through 2 rounds or oral steroids and 2 epidural roid injections in the spine. The bad news is I am seriously side effected: irritable as hell, insomniac-AL, hot flashing all the time, anxious and jumpy. The good news is my back is doing much better. My symptoms now are intermittent light ache that travels down the leg, some weakness on the left side, and periodic numbness and tingling. This is a MAJOR IMPROVEMENT. 3 weeks ago I was essentially crippled on the left side and in agony. I've even started to get out and about a bit. I walked for a 1/2 hour yesterday. I swam a bit the other day (floundering mostly). And......


Like a kid on Christmas morning, I unpacked my new Sampson Road Racing Bike this morning.

Now I must thank Freddy for his help with customizing the build kit for me and with the wheel build specs. He advised me well, and I absolutely love the build:

The bike is a Ti frame with a Campy Centaur group (except Chorus brake/shifters). The wheels: Mavic Open Pros, Centaur hubs, 14-15 DB spokes.

It took me about an hour to put it together. I had a wee bit of trouble with a USE Alien seatpost. These big clumsy fingers weren't working well with the rail clamps. Anyway, got 'er done:

I got out for a nice easy 10 mile ride. WHAT A DREAM!!! I've just never ridden anything like it. Responsive, smooth, absolutely plush, but still rigid and really light. Just unreal road feel and control and response. I'm ecstatic. And, even more importantly, my body responded well. I had only some back fatigue afterward but no pain or numbness or return of symptoms.(I left the steerer long and stacked the stem up a bit. I am going to take it as easy as I can on the back for a while. I can always cut and remove the spacers.) I'm very psyched. a home shirt...all the way around.

The game plan from here: in two weeks I will get another shot in the spine. If the symptoms continue to diminish or remain as they are, no surgery. If they return/get worse, we'll re-evaluate. The good thing is I can start back to modified activity and muscle rehab.

Hey...anyone ever do any pool running? Not deep water running. I'm talking about the shallow water stuff. Any info appreciated.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Word Fun

From the Washington Post:

The American Family Association obviously didn't foresee the problems that might arise with its strict policy to always replace the word "gay" with "homosexual" on the Web site of its Christian news outlet, OneNewsNow. The group's automated system for changing the forbidden word wound up publishing a story about a world-class sprinter named "Tyson Homosexual" who qualified this week for the Beijing Olympics.

The problem: Tyson's real last name is Gay. Therefore, OneNewsNow's reliable software changed the Associated Press story about Tyson Gay's amazing Olympic qualifying trial to read this way:

Tyson Homosexual was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has.
His time of 9.68 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials Sunday doesn't count as a world record, because it was run with the help of a too-strong tailwind. Here's what does matter: Homosexual qualified for his first Summer Games team and served notice he's certainly someone to watch in Beijing.

"It means a lot to me," the 25-year-old Homosexual said. "I'm glad my body could do it, because now I know I have it in me."

This reminds Moveitfred of the time The Modesto Star Express ran a story on Heywood. Something about Woody single-handedly pulling a driver and his mistress to safety from a horrific I-5 raisin truck explosion.

Tired of jr. high pranksters always making light of "potty words" that appeared in hard news copy, the editors installed a similar software program that flagged the "blo" in our hero's name and turned it into JaFellatiome.

You go to Heywood's house these days and you'll see copies of the story framed all over the walls with the "fellatio" carefully struck out and the word "blo" neatly written in underneath.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Test 'Em

Boys, Moveitfred knows you two're still struggling to shed that off-season weight.

You might want to consider this, just as an approach to solving that annoying bounce (until, you know, you get it all taken care of).

Moveitfred suggests going big and hard, if you know what he means.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


The new Sampson I'm having built up. Doing it with a Centaur/Chorus group. (Fuck you, I refuse to say "gruppo." And I don't go to Starbucks, but if i did, I'd only say "large." )

Saturday, June 21, 2008


In which Al says, "OW! FUCK!"

I have fucked myself good and hard. 2 weeks ago, while ripping up flooring, carrying in wallboard, moving in and out cabinets, moving appliances, I severely herneated 2 discs in my back. This caused severe impingement on the nerve and essentially crippled me.

I'm doing a lot better now. I'm still in a good deal of pain and am not moving well. I still have a lot of limitation on movement and numbness/tingling down my left side. My tri season is over. BUT...The good news is that I am responding well to steroid therapy (2nd round of oral right now). Next week, I'll probably have a process where a specialist will use a fluoroscope and go in and inject 'roids right into the herneation. This is supposed to be very effective. Then we shall see. I've got a lot of impingement on the nerve which is causing the numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. This is problematic as it can cause permanent damage. If the 'roids don't improve this, then I'll need at least one surgery. I'm hoping the AH-NOLD approach will work, and I won't need the cut job.

To make myself feel better, I just bought a nice Sampson Ti road frame, and I'm having it built up with a SRAM build kit. Pics shortly. I'm selling off the TT bike. Fuck it. My plan is to be well enough to ride in the RAC (Ride Around the College) with Fred at Summer's end.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Night Fiasco

Just a few fotogs from the friday night racing out on the beautiful east end of the island paradise.

Oh, and this is what happens when you "make boo-boo" at the end of the race. Free night in the ER, stunning neck brace, and a stiff bed. This is how Moveitfred's race ended, but Moveitfred was nowhere near the pavement dance. Moveitfred peeled off early because God told him something like this might happen.

And Moveitfred is going to keep his opinions to himself about that whole thing.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Apples and Als

Gwad recently asked the intriguing question: whatever happened to Fiona Apple?

Moveitfred believes the answer can be found in the catacombs and secret spots of Al's home reno project.

Recently Al has taken on the affectation of a disturbed criminal mind. Before leaving the factory he will often shuffle up to Moveitfred and quip: "Time to go home now and have a bite of my apple...." He'll then punch the clock and hump it out to his rusted-out, circa 1977 Dodge van.

It's all very creepy.

Moveitfred believes that if Ms. Apple is not spotted soon someone needs to call the authorities.


Al here, you there. al is feeling very battered from several weeks of labor on the home reno project. We're coming along. Pics soon.

Al has the Long Island Goldcoast tri this weekend, Father's Day. This is a Sprint Tri, and, after the week we're having here, I doubt the water temp will be an issue. 90s and 909% humidity for several days. Nice training weather...NOT!

Anyway, here's a little something for Yogi Fred. (Off to class tonight, Fred-o?) I Think I'm beginning to understand what motivates you...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pigs around Heywood's House

It has been a while since I have been on the road bike with the Chef. He has the pesky knee pain ever since Super Bowl Sunday which has greatly reduced the types of rides he is capable of doing. Yes, that is approaching four months ago and it still bugs him. An occasional ride with the local ladies club is about all he can handle without causing severe pain. By the way, all the girls in this club have a similar riding position to Al B so this should explain why they go so leisurely down the road.

Finally the two of us were able to get out on the bike together for a beautiful ride in the hills around town. First I should explain to the readers of this fine blog that we each were riding our own bike. For some reason with partners like Al and Fred, I feel I have to explain this. Anyway, I was planning to ride for 4-5 hours while the Chef only had a few hours before his shift started at the factory. After an hour or so, the Chef turned around and headed for home.

The area we were riding is not very populated. Most would call it rural. Few people, less cars, and even fewer cyclists. While the Chef is coming down the hill towards a three-way intersection, he glances around for the rare car and sees none. He then proceeds to run the intersection. What he didn’t see was the pig (California Highway Patrol) parked under a tree a few hundred feet away from the corner. What he did see was the lights of the pig’s car that were turned on instantaneously after he ran the stop sign. That cock sucker (the CHP guy, not the Chef) whipped out his ticket book and filled it out. Actually gave the Chef a ticket for running a stop sign in the middle of nowhere. What a freaking joke. No cars, no pedestrians, and he still got a $300 ticket.

In California, this ticket goes on the driving record just as if you were driving a car. What a crock of SHIT. His insurance will go up now plus he will pay the fine. One does not even need a license to ride a bike but if one possesses a CA driver’s license, all moving violations in a motorized vehicle or not are attached to it. BULL SHIT! I personally have not had too many bad experiences with the law but it sure is understandable why they are despised of by so many.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


FUCK! It was cold.

Al completed the Ironclad Triathlon this morning.(Sprint tri: The swim course was .5, the bike 13.5, the run a 5k.) Al jumped in the fucking LI Sound (55 degrees, fuck burr!) at 7:30 this AM. This was my first open water of the season. The new wetsuit was great. My trunk was fine; head, hands, feet iced over quickly and went numb, so there wasn't much pain there after the first minute or so. So all went pretty well with this leg. There were about 150-200 people in my swim wave. Things were a bit hectic at the start. I decided (since it was the first of the season) to be low key. I hung back and got in after about 1/2-3/4 were gone. This proved a bit ill-advosed. Conditions were awesome (not including the floating ice sheets), without chop or current, Al was cooking. I was up the ass of the group in front of me. It wasn't until about 1/2 way through the swim that I found clear water (after much pushing, shoving, jostling and passing) and a comfortable spot out ahead of the group I jumped in with.

T 1 was interesting. There was a STEEP hill up to the T area along sand then grass then pavement. Everyone was bitching about this because it really was a long steep haul (3/8ths of a mile, I'd guess). Al expeditiously got out of the wetsuit but had some trouble using hands and feet. This T was definitely slowed by numbness. C'est la..

Bike route was 2 loops of a rather uniform almost 7 mile course--downhill out, uphill back. I moved better on the second loop. First loop was all about getting some warmth back in the bod. (And this is not done easily when you're in a skimpy shirt and shorts and biking quickly in 60 degree temps). Only one really interesting note. Al did go down. Right before the last turn into the T area, Al was pumping hard and out ahead of a pack. The douchebag copper who was supposed to be working the intersection was yapping on his cell phone. Al came into the turn hard and found a car coming in from the other direction. Dick-head cop was supposed to stop traffic. Al assumed he would. He did not. He was too busy with, "can you hear me now?" Anyway, Al went full lock to stay clear of the motorist. I stopped with room to spare, but my shoes slid on the pave when I foot dabbed, and I went down. No harm though. I popped up and went on (with a yell over the shoulder of, "thanks asshole" to Johnny-Law). Al, after-all, is a rebel.

T2 was better for Al: the transition run up in bike shoes was short and on grass--easier than paved run up. I slapped on a cap, stamped into the kicks, and I was outta there.

The run was powerful cool. It was a trail 5k through Wellwyn preserve in Glen Cove. This is a lush foresty setting with a good deal of twisty-turny up and down. Big old or second growth trees abound, and there is plenty of shade. (Just so you know: Al is middle pack in the agua and mediocre, at best, on the bike, and marginally respectable on the run.) The tight trail run made passing interesting, but Al made it happen. I slammed through the run holding, I believe, sub 7:30s through the trails. The finish was a bit crowded, but Al pulled down a 1:38 hi and finished 13th in his age group.

Some pics:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Al cannot take the blame for Fred's problems. Fred is paranoid.

And gay.

The gay thing I completely support. I understand that Fred wants to keep it "in the closet." And I'm ok with that. (I don't like the ass slaps, the 'hey big fella's, the crying 'hold me's, and the curtains he hung up on the office window, but I support his rights, man.)

The paranoia is a whole other thing, though. Fred. Fred. Listen to me...

I'm not Mr. Lebowski; you're Mr.
Lebowski. I'm the Dude. So that's
what you call me. That, or Duder.
His Dudeness. Or El Duderino, if,
you know, you're not into the whole
brevity thing...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Al Is Persecuting Moveitfred

This is a public service announcement. Al Bangorhard is persecuting Moveitfred. Al is relentless, cunning, and deceptive. This is premeditated madness.

Al is not to be trusted.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Moveitfred knows that every cycling brain donor in blogosphere is linking this clip of Millar tossing one off in the Giro, yet what's yawking Moveitfred's chain (so to speak)is all the douchebags splurking on and on about their "disappointment" and "outrage" at the dopey Brit.

Moveitfred would love to see these douches pecking away at the keyboards in their little cubicles. "Millar has no respect for the sport or his sponsors...."


Moveitfred once tossed his Davidson across the yard and against a tree because the fucking brake pads were rubbing. Moveitfred is such a badass! Moveitfred wanted to toss the piece of shit up into the tree and let it rot, but the combination of old-school steel (circa 1980's) and his limp-wristed physique left the bike kind of skittering across the grass and into the maple's root system.

Moveitfred, however, made his point loud and clear.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Kicking some ass in Los Angeles last week.

Moveitfred pussed out riding his bike around the secretary's desk at the factory. Sheeet. Al, we's got some work to do.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

indestructib-AL etc.

This is one of those posts that has a lot of shit in it. I'm sitting in a Greenwich, CT hotel lobby drinking a pot of coffee while the mrs. does a spa treatment. (Weekend away for Mother's day, y'all.) So I've got some time on my hands...

1) Al K. accompanied me the other day to Runner's Edge for our new Wetsuits. We both got QR Ultrafull's. Cold water training will commense ASAP.

2) Related to #1, I've got the Ironclad Tri in Glen Cove on the 24th. This is a sprint tri, so the swim is only a 1/2 mile. BUT current avg. water temp is 56 degrees. I'm told it will climb a degree or so over the next 2 weeks. Awesome! I'm very glad I've invested in a full suit. prior to this, I only had a John (sleeveless) suit. No way a big pussy like me could do this tri in a cut suit.

3)I just finished kitting out my commuter bike. My trip to work is from a park and ride that's about 1/2 way to the factory. The trip is about 17 miles each way. HOWEVER...the roads SUCK. Pitted, potted, debris strewn etc. So I converted my MTB to a bomber commuter. I slapped on a Surly rigid fork and some killer armadillo slicks. A few other tweeks here and there completed the project. I'll put up pics at some point.

4) Fred staged a duathlon out East yesterday. I missed this, being away. But Al K told me it was a kick ass success. I'm looking forward to the next one. Fred makes things happen. He's a do-er. In that spirit...this vids for you, Freddy.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Al intervenes...

Sorry Fred. But the image of that big bastards balls blinding that poor chick was causing me to taste bile every time I entered the blog. I had to take it down.

Please forgive me.

Monday, May 5, 2008


To be, or not to be, that is the question...

Al has some thinking to do...

So, today I did a little research. and what I found sent my mind spinning a bit.

First, a little background: as I told you in a recent post, I'm back to (or close to) my best 1/2 marathon times. Though my best times were 10 years old (when I was 29), I'm matching those now. This got me thinking and looking about. Like any marathoner, I'd love to run Boston. Many people run it (they just jump in and run in the mix unofficial or they buy a number from an injured party or they do a fund raiser and get special access). Only a select number qualify and run it "officially." It is considered the premier marathon event.

Now back in the day, my marathon PR was a 3:16 and change. I wanted to do Boston, but my qualifying time then was 3:10. I just couldn't get there. But, on the next running of the Boston (4/09), I'll be 40. My qualifying time for that is 3:20. Back in the day, I ran a number of marathons at sub 3:20. I ran 7 or 8 in the 3:17-3:19 range.

So here is what I'm asking myself: self, if you can get yourself back to almost PR time for your 1/2 marathon...can't you do the same for your marathon time? If I do that, or even close, I'll qualify for Boston. Wouldn't it be cool to do Boston on your 40th? The voice says.

Here are the problems with that thought line:
  • I'm jumping into the tri season with both feet this year. I'm booked up for tris through late August. I'll need to qualify for Boston in a Fall marathon, if I hope to do it in my 40th year. That doesn't leave me much time.
  • Even if I decide to cut short my tri season (say...skip the last tri I'm signed up for?) I have no way of knowing if I can whip these bones back into my past-best marathon shape.
  • I'm in the NYC marathon lottery. If I get into that one, I'll be psyched. I haven't gotten into NYC since 02, though I've done the lottery each year. BUT...NYC is not a fast course. I'm thinking that I might need every bit of help I can get. One usually chooses a flat/fast course to try and bag a PR. But the little voice says, grow a bag. Think how great it would be to qualify in a tough marathon on your home turf.
Oh decisions, decisions...

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Al is very healthy. He is very into tea. Especially in the office.

Good for Al.

Just keep your used teabags off Fred's desk, m'kay buddy?


If you ain't laughin', you cryin'...


Al and Fred may now rest...

It was an eventful weekend for Al ... and for Fred too (to a lesser extent).
Al and Fred were responsible for putting together the first annual Acme Mechanical Equipment Tool and Die Festival: A Celebration of Tool and Die Manufacturing. This event was a rousing success, bringing together the best in tool and die manufacturing from our region. It took a good deal of planning and work to pull off this event, but we did it.

Al also ran the Long Island 1/2 today, 5/4.
I ran the race in about 1:37.30. The exact time has yet to be posted. I had 1:38 at the finish, but my adjusted time will be about 30 seconds or so took a while to get over the start line with all the racers starting at once. I'm happy with this time. I was doing about 7:30s or a few seconds faster for the race.

Last year's LI Marathon time for AL = 1:38.39

I looked back at some more of my times from 10 years ago. I'm happy to see that I'm still in the same zone I was: Brooklyn 1/2 in March of 1998 = 1:37.33; Bronx 1/2 in July of 1998 = 1:36.19 ; Grete's gallop (a 1/2 in Central Park) in 10/99 = 1:39.36 ; Staten Island 1/2 in 10/99 = 1:35.06.

A lot happened for me in those 10 years. I got married. Became a dad 2x over. Moved 4x. Put on 35 pounds. (And boy was I slow as shit when I put that weight on...Brooklyn 1/2 in 03 = 1:56.07.) Lost 35 pounds. Changed jobs 2x. Aged from 29-39. Started triathloning. And a lot of other silly shit like this. Anyway...the gist of all this is that I feel pretty good about finding my way back after losing it in my mid 30s. That's all.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Story About Al and Fred

A few weeks ago at the factory Boss-man came out from his windowless office (pulling up his drawers while the new hire from the cafeteria beat a hasty retreat back to her station at the soup counter), hit the stop button on the line, and barked out an announcement:

"Attention, Pieces of Shit. Corporate threw a few bucks our way for you scum to do what we like to call 'retraining.' This means you fuck-nuts can take a little R&R at a hot spot like Camden or Bridgeport, pick up some tips on streamlining the assembly line from another factory, try not to get yourselves arrested, and then get your asses back to work here."

Boss-man is such an asshole. Al once lost his cool and called him a "fat fuck" right to his face. Nearly got himself canned.

Later that day at lunch, Al and Fred broke open the Black Domes and hatched a joke. They'd apply for Boss-man's "retraining" offer, but construct an argument for something completely absurd and irrelevant--some sort of "program" that would would have nothing to do with the assembly line and amount to a paid vacation of greed and debauchery for our heroes. Stick it to the man, so to speak.

Al and Fred would apply to...ready for this?...become students at UCLA out in the warm Cali sunshine for a year. Freakin' nuts, right? Who is their right mind would....

You ready for the punchline?

Boss-man bought it. Every bit of it. Hook, line, and wiggly slab of bait.

Here is Boss-man:

And here's where you'll find Al and Fred next year:

Al and Fred have already signed up for this. Oh Sweet Mary, the boys have really pulled off a coup this time!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Today, Fred and Al were sent to a "training" session at the factory. The training was designed to teach us how to use new machinery and maximize our worker-energy microwattage. At about 3 PM, I had had my fill of being trained. I did what any red blooded American would do. I faked a groin pull. I lay writhing and moaning on the floor while my co-workers debated whether ice or deep tissue massage would be appropriate. Now normally, I'd be all for the deep tissue. But Fred had his sleeves pushed up and was jumping up and down yipping, "I'll do it! I'll do it!" So I screamed, "for the love of god, get me ice!" My fellow cogs ran about like rats from a sinking ship looking for cold compresses to ease my discomfort. In the chaos that ensued, I made a hasty exit.

After high-tailing it out of there (leaving my co workers holding the ice bag) I went for a nice 6 in the woods. I did the 3 mile loop at Bethpage SP 2x. It was wet but not too sloppy. In all, a nice easy run where I held 8:15s for the 6.

Part II: Performance Enhancement revisited

If you've paid attention to the sports headlines, you've seen that since Speedo unveiled its new Fastskin suit, the LZR Racer, in February, 6 world records have been broken by swimmers wearing the suit. The Fastskin suits create a slippery and impermeable layer that dramatically reduces drag, compresses muscles to improve performance and efficiency, and improves buoyancy. Controversy surround this sort of enhancement and has been there since these types of suit were first approved for competitive swim. Another major issue revolves around licensing. Certain teams--countries--can not use these suits because of licensing agreements. Many argue that this gives some teams an unfair advantage. We all know that this sort of equipment "upgrade" causes controversy in any sport: baseball, cycling, golf even Tennis. But the limited availability of the technology may be the source of even deeper controversy than is typical. Thoughts?

Part III

This equipment reminds me of the wetsuit "issue" in triathlon (only tangentially but...) I won't say it is really an issue. It is more of a point of discussion. There are many weaker swimmers who rely on full wetsuits even in warm water swims because of the buoyancy enhancement that wetsuits give. Tri suit manufacturers play to this and build the most buoyant wetsuits out there; and, not surprisingly, the most popular tri suits are the lightest and most buoyant suits. In short, BUOYANCY SELLS when it comes to tri suits. The ITU (International Triathlon Union) has set guidelines for tri wetsuit usage. These revolve, primarily, around the water temp (taken 1 day prior to race). Essentially, there is a temp range for each tri length within which it is permissible to use a suit. If it is warmer than the range, technically, suits are not allowed. The thing is most trithlons, this rule is not applied. Anyone can use a suit regardless of temp. Only in the most competitive USAT races is this rule enforced. The reasons for this revolve around "performance issues." Many swimmers would perfomr poorly (and probably wouldn't compete) without a wetsuit. Organizers might worry (legitimately) that some swimmers would get into trouble and need rescue without a wetsuit.

I'm not sure of my stance on this. I can say that I don't enter a tri if I feel I can't "do it" without enhancement. I can swim the length with/without a suit. I am not fast, but I can "do" all three legs in any race I enter. I guess I feel that this should be the approach of all competitors. But I understand how equipment may mean access for some. It is an interesting topic. Thoughts?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


This is just a brief post to wish you, those of you who are observant, a happy and healthy holiday time. Al is always sensitive to the beliefs and traditions of his audience. And it is in this spirit that he shares this message.

Now to "switch" topics...

Al will soon head south for an important moment in his childrens' lives: the viewing of the rat. Al's head is full of important questions about this momentous occasion:

Will the hotel have a decent gym?
How many pairs of running shoes should I carry?
Do I bother to rent a bike to get in a ride if we're only gone 5 days?
Will my son spew chunks if I take him on Space Mountain?

Wish me luck.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Wood is down.

The poor fuck, Heywood, found out he's got a torn meniscus. After having 3 knee surgeries myself, I can sucks. (In my experience, a tear in the meniscus=certain surgery or no more athletics.) I'm sure many of you out there can offer your thoughts to Heywood on this. Knees ain't built to last, it seems. So here's my list of thoughts. You add yours in comments:
1. Get well soon. Don't'll come back. I've done many tris and marathons since my last surgery. You will too.
2. Find the best knee guy you can. Don't just go with an orthopedic surgeon...find one who specializes in knees. I was young and dumb with my first knee injury. The local guy "did me." I wound up needing that redone 3 years later. The other knee came later: a friend got me in to see the guy who scopes the NY Jets, for that knee. He was awesome. Really knew his stuff. And he was much more aggresive / intelligent with rehab than the other two times.
3. Start PT ASAP after surgery. Because you're an athlete, you're apt to think you can do your own rehab/PT. Resist this urge. Get going on PT ASAP.

Here are some funny things I found...
Running on road doesn't really hurt my knees. Any sort of cutting motions and trail running kill me. 10 miles on the problem. So I still run, but I don't play Bball, football, racqetball, or trail run, really, anymore. Funny thing is you'd think trail running would be easier than road because of the soft turf. Not in my experience. My last surgery was 10 years ago...I seem to be doing ok so I just accept that some things are not "for me" anymore.

Some other things I do that help me...
Warm up well all the time. Easy spin, easy run, easy swim FIRST. No matter what I'm doing, I get blood going and build. I never go right at it.

Here's one that helped me a lot with running: shoe rotation. Shoes need gas recharge time. If you run in the same shoes each day, the cushioning is seriously compromised. I buy 3 pair at a time and rotate. They last just as long if not longer and provide better cushioning the whole time.

Smart weight training (well after you're fully rehabbed!) to maintain musculature around the knees. I never do heavy leg weight training nor radical motions anymore. (In college we did heavy squats, leaps, 1000 lb leg sleds etc...DUMB.) Now I do no-weight SLOW & BURN squats with a fixed range of motion--I never let my quad go below parallel to the floor and I take a 10 second pause/hold/fucking burn at the sit portion of the squat then come up SLOW. I also do low weight extensions in a similar manner--slow and burn and hold. Again, I wouldn't even think about this shit until well after you're fully rehabbed.

My father-in-law swears by shark cartilage and glucosamine/condroitin (or whatever the fuck it is) for his knee injury. I think this is bullshit and will wind up fucking up your liver/kidneys in the long run. Others can weigh in on this one.

Hang in there, brother.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Both Al and Fred have been subjected to American Idol by wives/kids this season. It's certainly had a negative effect on us. I've followed my natural bent and spun off even further into sickness and depravity. (I've been thinking that little miss Kristy Lee ain't as wholesome as she lets on. I'm waiting for the underground porn tape to surface. I'm picturing a vid phone mpeg, all jumpy and grainy and shot from dick level. Kristy Lee is all teary eyed and make-up smeared at the center of some truck stop bukkake circle.) Fred, too, has followed his natural bent. He's fantasizing about long walks and deep talks with Brooke White. He wants 7 grain veggie sandwich picnics and zinfandel beside a stream. He's all misty eyed, snapping his fingers and singing along with her.

So, in that spirit, I thought I'd offer this to Freddy: (And Fred...think of what she could do with your hair.)

Here's one other point I'd like to have considered--only tangentially related. What do you think of a broad who writes a song FULL of specific details about your life

Well I hear you went up to Saratoga
And your horse naturally won
Then you flew your Lear jet up to Nova Scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun

and then kicks you in the ass for vanity because you knew the song was about you? I mean what the fuck?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Just Confirms What We Already Knew...

Mary Ann's a super freak, super freak, she's super freaky--YEAH!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Farrar Taps Pavement

Farrar gambles and loses on the tight line in the Paris-Nice prologue. FFFFFFFF....uck!

Warm up, Stretch, Race

Today, the mountain bike season officially started for us out here on the west coast (for me at least). First off, I would like to throw huge props out to Lisa (owner of Auburn Bike Works) and Sean Allen (local MTB rider) for making the 16th Annual Cool Mountain Bike Race a spectacular event once again. Year after year, these two, along with the help of many volunteers, do a magnificent job. This year three bikes were raffled off along with thousands of other bike stuff. The organization, location, and great prizes will usually draw huge crowds that include some top pros.

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect along with the trail conditions. Cool typically floods when anyone within a mile takes a leak in the bushes causing a muddy mess for all participants and spectators. Not the case this year due to the sunny skies that have blessed us the last two weeks. Riders had to navigate just a handful of water crossings and a few muddy sections. Fast is the way to describe this year’s course.

My goals for this race was to treat it like a hard training ride, whatever place that puts me in I would be happy with. From the start, I pushed hard to get myself away from the bumping and grinding that seems to happen until the riders get separated. Soon, I found myself all alone and not really knowing who was in front of me or who was behind me due to the large number of riders at the start. Shortly, I was picking off riders from the previous wave start with ease. At this point I was feeling really good. It wasn’t until after the first lap that I realized I might be near the front of my class. So I kinda threw the whole training ride to the curb and started pushing myself to the point of nausea. When the race was all said and done, I got a podium finish even after bumping up a class this year. Twenty minutes off last year’s race. Finally starting to see a marked improvement come from all the training put in this winter.

One very cool part of the race is the tiny bike class. This class is filled with local freeride/dirt jumping/down-hilling/urban/non-racing riders who would rather goof off than put on Lycra and race. The rules, bikes must have 16 inch wheels and cost no more than $40. They ride ½ lap and try to consume as much alcohol as possible in that short time frame. I hope to participate in this class soon if I could just convince my breathtaking wife to drive me home.

The Chef and Big Cat were unable to race this year due to some nagging injuries and a few nasty crashes. I hope to see them out on the trails soon.