Sunday, 1 February 2009

Tastes Like Pavement

There's an interesting article in today's NY Times about the lifestyle changes that will happen as a result of our new recession. Short version: death rates decline in recessions, and people exercise more, become less fat and go out less. Spa visits and all the kind of discretionary stuff goes down. All of this is intuitive, and I would have liked to see the article go a lot further. One of the topics I want to see researched is how times of extreme wealth concentration distort production. When you have the caste formerly known as the i-banking super elite earning zillions of dollars a year, they have a tendency to spend money on what I'll call distorted things. Helicopter trips to the Hamptons, $10,000 shoes, etc. The infrastructure of supplying these niches will need to be transformed or mothballed.

The housing landscape of the last ten or so years reflects this, although that was predicated on easy access to credit/debt and inflated home values rather than extreme wealth concentration. But home size grew at a really fast and steady clip over the last several years, ceiling heights grew synchronously, luxury finishes became standard, etc. Unsurprisingly enough, all of these changes run counter to the ideals of sustainability. Now, when people eventually start building housing again, it will be interesting to see what happens with that stuff. Will we get smarter?

So the first trip to the ground of '09 is in the books, thanks to a really dumb little situation that all of a sudden just happened. Good thing it happened at about 3 miles an hour. The whole ride was kind of tough like that, the way people were arranging themselves in the group didn't make a lot of sense to me. Evan E evidently felt the same way, as he ensconced himself at the front and just murdered it for who knows how long. That guy's fast.

The time I showed up late for a 10am ride is of course the only time in recorded history that it went off before 10:15, so my day started with a bit of an interval. Drew told me they were at the Park Police station when I called him from the Broad Branch gate, then later told me they had beenpast the Park Police when we spoke. I guess he wanted to make me think the chase was possible, which was a good thing since I rode my behind off to catch them, which I did at East-West. They got stuck in the light and I caught them there. Memories of last night were filling my mouth the whole time. We behaved badly, and I had a bad case of the bourbon burps, backed up by some tasty (well, they were tasty the first time) morsels from Georgia Browns. The DeKonicks I drank (in honor of today's CX Worlds) to end the evening also made a little guest appearance. I don't want to repeat that performance anytime soon.

It's no surprise that I felt like hell for the rest of the ride, and had to try hard to keep it together a couple of times. Although it was nice to be out on such a great day.

Yesterday was a pretty good ride too, if a bit short. I was just psyched to get out of work in time to get a ride in. Normally I feel good if I get at least 100 miles in on the weekend, but that didn't happen this weekend. I did a hard interval from west of the one lane bridge on Macarthur to the top of Angler's, went down into the park and did another hard effort on the climb out, then rolled tempo for the rest of it.

We're just getting to the point of the season where the fitness level you've achieved to date counts. If you're not on the ball, you're behind it. You start to look for signs that your fitness is okay, and that you're on track for a good year. During some of today's ride I had my doubts, but I think that's more due to acting like a putz last night and not indicative of where I am. In fact it's reassuring to know that I was able to put an okay ride together despite my blood values being better described in terms of proof rather than haematocrit or something more clinical. I've got a few pounds to lose, not very much, but I am a lot stronger in the core and upper body than I was last year.

It's 5:40 and still not dark out, so that's awesome. Back to reality on weather tomorrow and the rest of the week. Uggh.

Friday the 13th will be an awesome day for me this time. Won't it be sweet to have a life again?

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