Scott is on his way

Spoke to Scott earlier today. He just completed his first 50 miles today, having left Key West in the morning. It's funny--his bike computer wasn't working, and I think, though it's hard to tell from so far away, but I think it's because he mistook the setting for circumference of his bike wheel for accumulated mileage and lowered it to 10. That means he basically reduced his speed by 200 times on a regular 700 x 23 road wheel. Take his 50 miles of riding today and it's no wonder it looked as if he was going zero miles per hour the whole way.
Or it's possible his bike computer just crapped out, which is entirely possible, because of all the advances in bike technology, almost all bike computers are still junk.
Anyway, I'm sure you'll all be able to read about it from him shortly, but in the meantime he asked me to pass along a big hello to everyone, and I know no other way to reach as many people as by typing and uploading. Scott is sore, for sure, and is planning to ramp up his mileage by about 25 miles a day for the next few days. Crazy stuff.
More power to him. I've only met a handful of people who've pulled off the Ride Across America, fewer people than have completed marathons, or climbed mountains, and other extreme things of that ilk. That's because riding your bike across this vast country is extremely long, hard, and occasionally, I'd imagine, boring and lonely.

Flavors of pain

I got a note from my pen pal bike coach from CTS (I'm giving this remote coaching a trial run for a short while) with some suggested off season lifting regimens to begin now that the weather in Seattle has gone to hell again. The spreadsheet contained different sessions and lifting exercises and suggested set and rep counts, but I couldn't tell if I was supposed to do 3 sets of 10 reps for each exercise in each session, or if each session counted as one of the sets. Anyway, to be conservative, yesterday I did the full 3 sets of 10 reps for each exercise in each of the 3 sessions. It all added up to some 60 odd sets of 10 reps, and it took forever.
I haven't lifted at the gym in a long time, but even when I was lifting, I never did that many sets in one workout. That's the territory of full-time bodybuilding beefcake meatheads who spend hours at the gym each day, lifting as an occupation. Well, turns out I did too many sets, according to an e-mail I received today from another coach on the staff.
That was the answer I was looking for, because I couldn't pull my socks on today or stand up out of my chair, simple things like that. Some 9 sets of squats will do that to you. If someone is reading this, please come to my room and lift me out of my bed.

Don't like that? Too bad, so not sad

One of the things I've learned this year is that I can't make everyone happy, and I'm fine with that. I didn't used to be, but I can only do what I can do, and sometimes it's not what others want, or it's not enough, or whatever. In fact, I've probably made more people unhappy this year than ever before, and I think it's a healthy sign because it's a terrible burden, the desire to please everyone. Part of it probably stems from the fact that I'm usually right, too. Wow, have I reached that inflection point where I've become a crusty, bitter, stubborn old codger who's seen and heard it all before?
Besides, I miss having a few well-cultivated enemies.

Basketball Prospectus

Faithful readers know I'm a huge fan of the guys over at Baseball Prospectus (not being sexist here; they really are all guys). Well, I picked up the Football Prospectus and was fairly disappointed. Where was the wit and insight that the baseball guys had established for the Prospectus brand? I finally got my copy of Basketball Prospectus and highly recommend it for any major NBA fan. It's the best objective analysis about the NBA and its players ever published.
I've only just started to delve into the brilliance of author John Hollinger's debut book and already it's revealed all sorts of interesting things, some of which I suspected, others which surprised me:
1. Michael Jordan was the best ever and still is. Most people know this, but recently everyone has been ready to anoint Kobe Bryant the new Michael Jordan. Kobe's a very good player, but he's not even close to Jordan in his prime, especially on defense. He's not even the best player on his own team. That would be...
2. Shaquille O'Neal. It's popular among basketball fans to deride Shaq because his free throw shooting is poor, or he just runs people over, or whatever. I've always disliked him because he's such a terrible interview. The fact is, though, that he's been the best player in the league ever since Jordan left, and he's one of the most dominant players of all time. Underrated defensively, a physical freak of nature, he's unstoppable when healthy. Free throws aren't everything, he has a variety of moves now which are amazingly effective, and complaining that he's bigger and stronger than all the other centers is like complaining that Yao Ming is too tall. Frankly, people push each other around in the post all the time. It just happens that Shaq is so much stronger and bigger than most his defenders that it magnifies the difference. In other players such physical prowess is called toughness. I still think Shaq is a terrible interview, but the Lakers struggles this season are just the latest evidence that he's the main reason the Lakers have won 3 titles in a row.
3. Tracy McGrady is better than Kobe Bryant. Younger, too.
4. Dennis Rodman is the best rebounder of all time, and it's not even close. I got to watch him play a ton his last couple years, when he was on the Bulls, and he just clearly had a sixth sense about how the ball would come off the rim and how to get his hands on it before anyone else did.
5. Allen Iverson is incredibly valuable for his team, despite his low scoring percentage, primarily because he can get off shots for himself that most other players could not.