It continues to go well. Last Friday, I spent the last nine miles in a torrential downpour during my ride to work, and I fucking loved it. Felt all Belgian and was all "HTFU!" for the rest of the day. A little squishy on the ride home, but whatever.
Yesterday's commute, I rode hard on the way in. On the way home, I was facing a headwind and sore muscles, but I buried it as hard as I could and didn't look at my data while riding. When I uploaded to Strava, I got a pretty pleasant surprise -- I'd claimed a KOM (king of the mountains, best time on a particular stretch), set 5 PR's on other segments, and even though I bonked like fuck on the final climb, I still managed to pull out my 2nd-best time on it.
The muscles are coming around -- the bottoms of my quads have definition again. The heart has definitely come around, too -- since starting this in June, my average heart rate on given segments at the same speed is down 20bpm, and my power output is up about 25 watts.
Since I'm really finally getting back to the riding thing as a regular task, I'm avoiding any real structured training for 2014. The goal is to just ride, and to tackle a few races.
I signed up (as part of a team) for the Powderhorn 24, a 24-hour road race in Minneapolis. Next month. Before then, I do want to get a couple of longer rides on my legs. I'm going to go out and try to get an 80-miler and a 100-miler on my legs in the coming weeks, just to help fine-tune my feeding intervals and get the sit bones accustomed to being abused for long stretches.
The other thing? Cyclocross season. If I can figure out how to get a CX frame under me. Basically, this would involve a tubeset. Which I don't have. I'd like to race CX anywhere from four to six times this season, just so I can wrap my head around the rigors of racing again. It'll also be great motivation to stay on the stationary trainer over the cold winter months.
Back on the weekend of the 4th, I also took a little trip to Duluth for some mountain biking, and had a great time. I'd like to do that again on Labor Day Weekend, revisiting Lester Park, but also hitting up Mont Du Lac, and Pokegama (Wisconsin). We'll see.
I'm finally ahead of the curve on my goal to tackle 50 books in 2014. That bus commute is helping, I guess. Currently I'm reading Some Remarks... by Neal Stephenson, which is a mix of his essays and short fiction. He left out some material because it felt "ponderous" and I was all like, "Dude, have you met you? Did you read REAMDE and Anathem? 'Cause you wrote 'em!"
Anyway. Yeah. So I don't know if you know how obsessive I get about tracking my books (2012), but I did post a short analysis of where things are at the midway point in 2014.
I've finally switched e-reader apps now that I have a new iPad (thanks, mom, for the "congrats on a new job" gift). I've ditched the Kindle app for Marvin, which is fucking amazeballs, and interfaces directly to my Calibre library.
On the creation side of the house, The Blackjack Runner is semi-stalled. I have some good ideas, and I've been getting them onto magnetic substrate, but it doesn't seem to want to jump off the page just yet. So, been stepping back to do some brainstorming. I think the world surrounding the characters needs more fleshing out.
Max was not euthanized -- we found a local vet who has a small no-kill shelter in it. They took him in, but because of his outstanding personality, they made him one of the office cats.