Friday, February 1, 2013

That's not bad for a quadraped.

Happy Ground Hogs Day!

Yes, tomorrow the worlds favorite and most famous weather forecaster Punxsutawny Phil will take a quick peek outside his hole, and decide if we're to have 6 more weeks of winter or an early spring. I'm voting he will NOT see his shadow, promising nice weather in the VERY near future. Of course, I choose this decision just like I choose the outcome of sporting events (such as football, volleyball, and yes, even cycling). I choose by what I WANT, not by what I necessarily BELIEVE will happen. And thus, my fortune-telling has VERY low percentage of being right.

But I REALLY DO want an early spring, and I'm betting you do too. I mean, who doesn't? (ok, maybe that little girl who doesn't want 50% more cash back, but THAT'S IT!)

Over the last week or so here in California we've had a rather strange weather pattern: a low pressure system had sucked the jet-stream to the west, and it was driving the cold arctic air right down over our entire area. Of course, we weren't cold like SOME of you were (are)...and I grew up in Wyoming and Montana, so have some idea of what COLD weather is like. And after I got out of the Navy I did 2 years in North Chicago (which I thought was even colder than Montana...however I had just moved from Hawaii, so my idea of  REALLY COLD might have been skewed just a tiny bit).

ANYWAY, as I was saying...we had quite cold weather lately. Nights were in the 20's and low 30's, days barely into the 40's...THAT is quite cold for us California folk (especially those who who've lived in Hawaii for 10 years).

I rode 4 times during this last week up in Sunnyvale (all road rides) and I FROZE on 3 of them. It was only by Weds that it had climbed into the 50's (which is pretty still chilly but not FREEZING COLD). Now I see we have a high pressure blob off the coast and it has pushed the jet stream back east where it belongs...and the REST of the country is now freezing as is normal. And I'm ok with that (in case you haven't figured it out yet, it's ALL about ME!)

I'm back home now from my work-trip up north, and today we had a high probably in the mid 60's which isn't too bad, and not too shabby at all for the beginning of February. Tomorrow is supposed to be a few degrees cooler, but I'm hoping to get out for a long road ride. It will be my first real barometer of fitness this usual weekend 61 miler. I've done this ride MANY MANY times, and based on my overall time I can tell where I'm at....which is determined by how much I whimper/whine and make lame excuses during the ride due to my poor condition...I call it my Suck Factor (SF). It's very much like sunscreen numbers, only SF25 is TWICE as good as a SF50. I strive for a very low number, but haven't been below an SF15 in about 2 years now.  I'm not really expecting great things this early in the year, overall I'm just hoping my SF has dropped a few points from the last two times I did this ride (on both of those I set new records for slow). Seriously. My SF number was off the charts. I'm hoping to knock off at least 10 minutes or more..but maybe that's just wishful thinking (much like my choosing for Phil to NOT see his shadow tomorrow).

And the time you read this we'll know if winter is about to release it's icy grip on the country. Logic and statistics say that Phil will indeed see his shadow and we are doomed for more winter. I just can't choose that...ever. I'm rooting for a blind groundhog.

The good news (no matter what Phil decides) is that it's getting a bit lighter every day as we move way from the evil Winter Solstice. We're now over a month past, and we've regained around another half hour of light in the afternoon...and before we know it March will be here and we'll be moving the clocks forward, which is the REAL indication that spring is here.

I'll leave you with a quote from the movie (one of my favorites):

Television really fails to capture the true excitement...of a large squirrel 
predicting the weather.
I, for one, am very grateful to have been here.
From Punxsutawney, this is Phil Connors. So long.


  1. I really liked that movie. I have been a Bill Murray loyalist since Caddy Shack, Stripes and all the Wes Anderson stuff.

    We seem to have similar weather, matt. Today, Saturday. it is 72 F at 10:23 AM. In a few minutes I will be out on twp wheels. These days I am riding every day...


    1. Hey TJ...glad to hear you're riding every day...that must be awesome! It BARELY cracked 60 today (stupid forecast!)...I did get out around 10am, and my SF was much higher than anticipated...I even turned around at the base of the climb as I felt terrible, like I had been injected with lead. Also I was quite cold the entire ride. I guess I shouldn't complain though, considering that most of the country is gripped in TRUE winter.

  2. From the official Ground Hogs day website:

    On this February 2nd, 2013,
    the One Hundred and Twenty Seventh Annual Trek of the
    Punxsutawney Groundhog Club at Gobbler’s Knob….

    Punxsutawney Phil, the King of the Groundhogs,
    Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of Prognosticators,
    Weather Prophet without Peer,
    was awakened from his borrow at 7:28 am
    with a tap of the President’s cane.

    Phil and President Deeley conversed in Groundhogese
    and Phil directed him to the chosen Prognostication scroll.

    The President tapped the chosen scroll and
    directed Phil’s Prediction be proclaimed:

    My new Knob entrance is a sight to behold
    Like my faithful followers, strong and bold

    And so ye faithful,
    there is no shadow to see
    An early Spring for you and me.

    I can't believe it! An early spring predicted! I WAS RIGHT! (I'm NEVER right!)


  3. And it's SUPERBOWL SUNDAY! Of course, I'm 'rooting' for the San Fran (I'm a Raider fan, but we haven't had much to cheer about in a LONG might as well root for the other CA team). We've got tons of snacks n wings, artichoke dip, french onion dip/chips, and some other things. Oh, and BEER of course!


  4. And that is that...the GAME is over, and football season is done...(except for the Pro Bowl I mean, which isn't really a game at's recognition for the players and vacation for them and their families in Hawaii). I've been to a number of them when I lived in Hawaii...always a great time in person...pretty much it's a gigantic party with a bunch of the best players all together on one field, but it's actually quite boring on the tely.

    Thankfully, it's CYCLING season! The end of football ALWAYS means it's bike racing time, and the end of bike racing means it's football's a good system for me...I don't need any other sports! (well, I do love volleyball, but we don't get much of that on TV, and as Jeannie's not interested it's not worth driving the 40 miles one way to see Cal Poly play in person).

    As to the Superbowl today...don't really recall any commercials that I thought were awesome like in other years. I was rather taken by the lameness of them all this year. Considering how much they cost, I'd think they'd do MUCH better. The only one I thought was decent (brought a tiny tear to my eye) was the Budweiser...where the guy raised the little clydesdale, only to see it go off to pull wagons, and then 3 years later the horse got out and ran down the road to see his friend...they are SUCH beautiful horses!

    As to the GAME, the first half was pure tragedy from a niner standpoint.

    It was only after I transferred all our money to 'a friend of a friend of a friend' down in New Orleans (who then successfully killed power to half the stadium, taking 33 minutes to recover) that the Niners finally got their act together and made a game out of it.

    I had not actually planned on going thru with the ol' lights out was just an idea in case they came out looking terrible. But then when the Ravens ran the opening kickoff of the 2nd half back for a TD, I figured there was nothing to lose and made the call. Of course, he (or so said my friend of a friend of a friend) said he'd make it look like an accident...and so far no police knocking on my door (I'm not home..go away).

    And so much for my retirement...and the stupid Niners lost anyway. But it was CLOSE! That penalty/non-penalty on 4th and goal near the end for the Niners could have gone either way. If you're rooting for the Niners it was OBVIOUSLY holding/Pass interference (he did have his arm around him impeding progress towards the ball). If you're rooting for the Ravens then the receiver pushed off and it was possibly even OFFENSIVE pass interference. That was a tough one quite the big spirit of football though I'm glad the ref didn't call it...I think it's best to let them play, and only call the more flagrant ones...that one could go either way. But I was sad still...that TD would have been quite exciting! But hey...if you can't go 5 yards on 4 plays, then you don't deserve to win. It's that simple. Having a game result changed on a questionable penalty call is worse than no call. But now it's all done, and we're crying over spil't milk.

    And thus, just like that, I'm done with football talk for another many months.

    I did get out for a ride Saturday morning, and my Suck Factor was near, actually I'd have to say it WAS 50 (as bad as it gets). I felt so weak that I actually turned around at the base of the canyon and limped home, logging only 30 overall miles (which is only half the ride) and skipping almost all the climbing. I sure hope I feel better this idea what was the problem. I guess there are just days when I don't have it in me to ride...I'd have been a lousy pro..."hey guys...I'm feeling kind'a slow today, think I'll just start with ya'll and then stop and get into the team car after a pathetically slow 10 miles or so...but good luck though! I'll be eating donuts while I wait."

  5. uhm, wow..that comment got kind'a LONG...should have been a post of it's own I guess! That's what happens when I type into a 1.5" x 4" comment box!