31 August 2007

Checkin in..

Real quick.. famous last words. I am as happy as a tornado in a trailer park. Fit and tan.. Even did a little test 3 mile TT today. Burdened with tons of water, two spares, a camera etc, I eeked it out in 7:00 flat, 314 watts average. I had gas left at the end, could have done better, and I was even delayed a touch by a bus.. Took lots of pictures and video of some ancient ruins this morning, on my ride, that is.. Aspendos. Many pictures to come, I think I've taken over 200 so far.
One thing.. and I hate to sound racist.. but the Russians who populate these resorts are bar none the rudest most ignorant pigs I've ever encountered. I may regret saying this later on.. but trust me, these people would sooner spit in your face than piss on an open wound for you, much less smile. Whatever.. No disrespect for Russians in general, just the few who can somehow afford to be here. Douche bags.

24 August 2007

Sunday: Turkish F1 Grand Prix

Hey maybe we can catch a glimpse of this as we land in Istanbul Sunday afternoon? -Murat
Ferrari Formula One driver Felipe Massa of Brazil enters the pits during the first practice session at Istanbul Park racetrack in Istanbul August 24, 2007. The Turkish F1 Grand Prix race will be held in Istanbul on Sunday. REUTERS/Max Rossi (TURKEY)
photo
photo
McLaren Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives during a second free practice session at Istanbul Park race track in Istanbul August 24, 2007. The Turkish F1 Grand Prix race will be held in Istanbul on Sunday. REUTERS/Osman Orsal (TURKEY)
photo
McLaren Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain takes a curve during a free practice session at Istanbul Park race track in Istanbul August 24, 2007. The Turkish F1 Grand Prix race will be held in Istanbul on Sunday. REUTERS/Osman Orsal (TURKEY)

20 August 2007

Atlas Jet Hijacked to Antalya

Photo
An unidentified man raises his hands as others stand under the Atlasjet aircraft being hijacked on its way to Istanbul from northern Cyprus, at Antalya Airport August 18, 2007. All of the passengers and crew from a Turkish plane hijacked earlier on Saturday have been released and the two hijackers have given themselves up, private television NTV reported.  
REUTERS/Handout

14 August 2007

Baby Fatima found in garbage in Iraq...

A time to weep?
Being an orphan is bad enough.. being an orphan of parents who were brutally murdered is worse.. If you have small children, imagine if you and your spouse disappeared, and imagine how your little ones would feel all alone. Our son cried for hours this spring during a flight to Turkey, one where I stayed behind in the US. "Where's Baba?!" "Ben Babami istiyorum!" rings in my ears, and I wasn't even there. So do the math. Fatima is too small to remember these days, but that doesn't mean she does not feel a huge emptiness. We feel it for her, this much is certain.

German teen Marco Weiss in Turkish Prison since April

"..German teenager Marco Weiss has been sitting in a Turkish jail since his April arrest on charges of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old British girl at a beach resort in Anatalya. On Wednesday, his lawyer suggested he'd have to sit quite a bit longer..."
Note to self: Avoid kissing and heavy petting with any 13 year old girls while I'm in Antalya. DUH! That's child molestation JACKASS! Lucky for you, you're also a minor, or else you're release would be a pipe dream.

09 August 2007

See you in two weeks, Antalya

Photo
People enjoy the slides in an aquapark in the Mediterranean coastal city of Antalya August 8, 2007. REUTERS/Fatih Saribas

08 August 2007

Andrey Kashechkin Busted in Belek, Turkey

Ha! He was no doubt there on holiday when the UCI tracked him down (?) Belek is a Mediterranean tourist trap populated mostly by Russians, Germans, and other Eastern Europeans. Interestingly, Joe Papp was also tested and caught in Turkey last year, where he competed in the Turkish Presidency Tour and won a few stages. Months later I purchased a new helmet on ebay, where the seller turned out to be none other than.. Joe. Weird. I had been chatting with him via e-mail to get his insight on racing with the elites in Turkey. My point is not to disrespect Joe. He's paying the price like a man and I find him to be a good person.. my point is that Turkey, while lacking any road racer superstars, is no slouch in the fight against doping. It's taken quite seriously.

06 August 2007

Cow Parade in Istanbul

Photo
A woman looks at part of an exhibition titled "Cow Parade" in a shopping district in Istanbul August 4, 2007.  REUTERS/Fatih Saribas

04 August 2007

Random Pointlessness: Unclogging the drain

Ever find the shower drain blocked by hair and other debris while you are trying to bathe? You have a few choices. You can jab at it occasionally with your toe to clear a path for the soiled water to exit, or you can stoop down and remove it with your hand. Are you a jabber or a stooper? Or do you jab all through your shower and then stoop down to remove it at the end? Do you use protection such as a wad of TP when removing? Or maybe you're a wader.. you don't care that you're standing in soiled water that is ankle deep and causing a ring around the bath tub. Gross. I think that the answers to the above tell us a lot about a person.. Today my mind feels like a shower drain.. blocked with debris and restricting flow. I will now remove the blockage.. An otherwise happy day has been ruined with the most trivial issues. But when there's a lot of little disappointments, it may as well be one large catastrophe. This will all sound lame and foolish when I'm done.. but hey unclogging a drain isn't exactly a glamorous pasttime..I'm on a serious training program developed [just for me] by a successful coach. This weekend the plan was scheduled to be disrupted due to some required traveling. So we adjusted the training plan, moved three of my work-outs up by one day to accommodate. Sunday would end up being a day off the bike, a rest day. The new plan included getting up super early this morning to execute an extrememly difficult workout. This didn't happen because I was out until 2:30 am with some friends, one of which I hadn't seen for two years. So in order to travel today, I was supposed to do a very early training session, and I failed to do it because of my galavanting last night. Okay no problem.. I get up at 10:00 and soon discover that our travel plans are cancelled. Part of me is disappointed, part of me is excited about having the chance to do the workout after all! Everything would have been fine if I had just gone out and done it, then and there.. but it was hot out and only getting hotter. So what do I do? I decide I'll go training later in the afternoon when the heat dissipates. Very well.. Here's where I fucked it all up. Since my red car is in need of new belts and brake shoes in order to get a valid inspection sticker (which is expired since December) I resolve to do the work on my car before going out training on the bike. Seems like a smart plan (?) So I get into an old bathing suit and head for the garage (figuring the less clothes I wear, the less I will ruin) Changing the three belts of my Hyundai took three hours working under the scorching sun. Supposedly I positioned the car to be in the shade. No. I'm an idiot. Part way through this project I grab the umbrella from our patio set and position it where I'm working. It helped a lot. After painfully lying on my back (on top of a moving blanket), stooping and crouching over the engine, pushing pulling straining and twisting in order to get these new belts in place, what do I do? I decide to change the front brake pads! In the process I discover that the old pads aren't really all that worn, but why wait? New pads are better, right? So I change them out, again stooping and straining and groveling on my bare knees to get it all tightened up nice nice. I make an attempt to change the rear brake pads- no can do.. The calipers are frozen solid and require replacement. Pads are worn to about 2mm thickness though and this needs to be done or no inspection sticker for me.. After about five total hours messing with this depreciation nightmare called a Hyundai, I'm sweating like a pig, dehydrated and done fixing my car. I put the rear wheels back on and decide "Okay! Now I'm ready to go riding and thrash myself with this highly intense training program!" What a dumb fuck I am.. I take a shower.. (let's just say that I am not a wader, okay?) Man was I filthy. I suit up and hit the road, resolving to take a favorite route of mine which I've often used to test my fitness. I drill it for the first 25 minutes to the top of Tunk Hill Road, where I note my time and reset my computer. 24:45? Is that any better than my personal best from last fall? I fret about this for the rest of the ride. That was just a warm-up. A very intense all-up-hill warm up where I basically time trialed the whole way. Thinking I could handle the prescribed training plan after my little fitness test, I motored on. There were still about 18 miles in which to perform my intervals. But after recovering from the first effort, I realize that my lower back is screaming in protest. Was it the sprinting I did over those hills? or was it the groveling on the ground fixing the car? Probably both. One thing was certain. I picked the wrong day to try for a personal best. (It turned out that I did in fact set a new personal best, but only by about 15 seconds.. should have been more like a minute, in my mind.. so this is one of many little disappointments of my Saturday) Going up the steepest hill on this route, I am in so much lower back pain that I give up. I put the bike in it's smallest gear and do my best to get over the hill with minimal wattage. It isn't long after I crest this climb that I resolve never to use that Accelerade mix ever again. It turns your water into a soupy mess, doesn't taste that great, and does the opposite of quenching your thirst- it makes you yearn for crystal clear water to wash down the slimy feeling in your throat. Half way around my route, before I've even done my first interval, my bottle is empty. I'm parched. The nearest store is about 20 minutes away. So I resolve to just suck it up and buy some fluids.. I can resume the program afterwards and do all of my intervals (back pain was subsiding a little bit) I buy regular water, Propel fitness water and Gatorade. I suck about half of it all down right at the store. I put what's left in my bottle, and what's left of the Skittles I also bought, in my back pocket. I call dear wife and tell her I'll be late. My training ride wasn't going as planned so I needed more time. I head out west on Route 117, which is all uphill. Fluids swishing around in my belly felt good, but I suddenly felt very heavy. F-it, do a damn interval! "Begin, the rest is easy" as the saying goes. I need to do three intervals at 135% of my FT watts.. that's 370 watts for two minutes, separated by one minute recovery. Half way through the first interval, I fall apart completely. I don't make 370, more like 300 or so. Damn. A second chance to make things right, and I blow it. That first 25 minutes was a mistake, going so hard, so was the Accelerade, and bringing one bottle, and working on the car.. My mind is flooded with this bad attitude, so it's little wonder that I can't do a friggin interval to save my life. (In hindsight, my first 25 minutes contained numerous intervals of 350+ watts, for varying durations) I decide I must at least do my 30 second intervals at 200% FT (that's 550 watts, and not easy) As luck would have it, I nail all three intervals, separate by one minute's rest. Didn't quite hold 550 watts, but I was happy to be able to do 510, 496 and 481.. End of the ride, I need to simulate the last few minutes of a race.. 30 second attack at 550 watts, followed by three minutes at FT (275 watts) and topped off with a 30 second sprint at 550 watts again. Another failure. Only 454 watts on the attack and then five minutes of intermittent FT due to traffic lights and then a miserable sprint at the end at only 475 watts.. What a bummer.. Much later I discover that one of the front wheels of my car did not seat properly on the rotor and that the wheel was slightly crooked, the high speed wobbling we experienced was the giveaway- another disappointment. Does all of this sound ridiculous or what? People are going hungry and dying of disease.. and this is the worst misfortune I can describe from my perfect life.. As I said at the beginning though.. it needed to be written and understood in order for me to realize how foolish I am. Now at least the drain has been cleared and normal thinking can resume. Thanks for reading.

02 August 2007

This is not a stunt artist

At first glance, I thought for sure it was a stunt.. nope.. another execution in Iran. Let me add that Iran's record of executing minors is horrific and barbaric. Is Islam out of control? Is Iran going off the deep end? I feel less and less connected to the faith of my elders with each passing day. Explaining such issues to our four year old is going to be difficult. Later on of course.. Frankly, I don't care what faith he chooses in adulthood, no worries at all. A good clean heart means more than anything else.. But when I'm asked one day why Iranians and other like minded sick fucks kill their children for silly [and natural] hormonal crimes, the answer is most certainly NOT going to be "because G-d commands it". Fuck that.
Majid Kavousifar waves to the crowd before his execution by hanging in Tehran August 2, 2007. Iran hanged Majid and Hossein Kavousifar, the killers of a judge who had jailed several reformist dissidents, before a crowd of hundreds of people on Thursday.