Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cycling Therapy

It has been a rough week at work. I'm struggling to get one of my projects in order before I go on vacation. At the same time, I've got other projects, special requests, and normal "run the business" type of work. Every one of these seems to be somebodies number one priority.

I left work today stressed. It was the first 75+ degree day we have had this year. This added to the stress level; needed to get everything finished up to get out of the office with enough daylight to ride. I managed to do so, and after a few miles on the road, the stress and worries faded into the rhythm of the pedals turning over and over.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


After dealing with two offshore projects, I’m frustrated to no end. The expectation is the developer, whether onshore, offshore, or employees should know the basics of how to develop software that:
  • Disposes all database connections, even when there is an error

  • Minimizes network hops as it is a known performance hit to make a remote call more than once

  • Isn’t optimized until optimization is needed (yes, I know you can throw all of business logic in a stored procedure, but is that the right thing to do?)

  • Demonstrates basic OO design and coding skills – objects are nouns, methods are verbs

  • Has objects, methods named meaningfully – wtf does ExternalVariable do? What are its responsibilities?

  • Demonstrates knowledge of simple things like transactions – Yes, that update needs a transaction, no, the select statement doesn’t (ever, and don’t argue with me about it, you’re proving your ignorance).

I know that every one of these developers is hardworking, conscientious and willing to learn. My frustration is being forced to teach each contractor that walks though the door. It’s a waste of time and money.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Catching Up

I’m aggravated, irritated and just a little bit pissed off because I have another sinus infection. Don’t you get an exemption from illnesses after near death experiences? It doesn’t seem to be the case, and on reflection, it occurs to me that I have a sinus infection every March. On the bright side, it gives me a chance to catch up on a few things, this blog being one of them.

I did the Lexington Circuit race week before last. It is a very easy course, good for the big guys that can push into the wind. The first race of the day was the Masters 40+ race. My team was a little bit undermanned, and we picked the wrong strategy for the race. As a result, we, meaning my teammate Marty and I, ended up chasing a 5 man break all day. The break was well defended by a strong Schellers team. I managed to get 2nd in the field sprint and 7th overall, so I felt somewhat redeemed.

The 2nd race of the day was the Pro 1,2,3 race. I was a bit worried about this race, considering I have not done 2 races in a day for a while, and the fact the legs were pretty wasted from the Masters race. The race started off hard and fast, with attacks lap after lap. I kept managing to make the splits, except for the last one, which left a group of 10 going up the road and bodies flying off the back.

I regrouped with 3 other guys. We settled into a good pace and soon we were picking up people shelled from the front group. Next thing you know we are 10 seconds off the lead and closing fast. We managed to close within 5 seconds of the lead group 500 meters from the finish, but just could not close it. I was cramped up, locked up, so I drifted in for 13th. I was very happy with this! This race was the hardest race I have ever done on this course, and one of the hardest in 8 months or so. Considering how my training has been way behind due to early season illness, the race was a resounding success.

The plan was to follow this up with 2 hard weeks of training followed by a nice vacation over spring break. Unfortunately, the annual spring sinus infection is disrupting the plan. C’est la vie.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

First Race and Old Urges

Last weekend was my first race of the season. I was quite surprised to be there, and even more surprised to be competitive! While I did not finish as well as I would have liked in the past, the race was a success. I have to thank God for even being on the starting line.

After watching copious amounts of short track speed skating during the 2010 Olympics, I find myself wanting to speedskate again. I haven't done any serious skating since a few practices in 1992, and have not competed since 1983. Yet for some reason it compels, and a few short dry runs sans skates feel natural, even practiced.

Regardless of speedskating urges, there are a lot of bike racing urges to be met in the next 5 months. Lexington is on tap for this coming weekend. Lexington was the first race I did after a 3 year absence from racing. It was also one of the last races I did before my 3 year absence began. I remember watching a break go up the road during that race in 2006. I thought at ther time, "It's just training, no big deal." Well. you never know if a race is going to be your last race, so it's best just to treat it as your last race.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Looking Forward to First Race

This weekend is the first race of the season. I registered tonight. If you had told me I'd be racing this race back in January I would have told you that you were insane. Fortunately, I have enough fitness now (thank God) to actually consider racing.

It's still going to be a painful experience! Racing always is, particularly the early season races. The body is just not quite ready, and it takes a while to adjust to the pain and demand on the body. Then there is the mental part, getting over the initial nerves, getting back into race mode, and relearning how to suffer and push through the pain.

It's going to be fun!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

5 Years, 50% Mortality

Upon diagnosis of DCM, the first thing most individuals are going to do is hit the Internet to do research. One of the first things they are going to discover is the Framingham study. This study states that 50% of people with DCM are going to die within 5 years of diagnosis.

This study is very dated. It does not take into account medical advances of treatment of DCM and heart failure. There are thousands of people that have beat this oft repeated statistic. When you read it, don't panic. Talk to your cardiologist. He should be able to tell you the latest information.

In addition, when you are home and alone and freaking over your 5 year death sentence, visit to read the accounts of all of the people that have made it past that 5 years. It will make you feel a lot better!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


The last few weeks have been a struggle.  I've been training hard despite a heavy workload at my day job.  Rides are done late in the evening, and dinners are done even later.  Sometimes it is a huge mental effort to swing a leg over the bike.  Sometimes I just want to kick back, drink a glass of wine and live a normal life.

When I start struggling like this, I make it a point to visit  I take a quick glance at the dilated cardiomyopathy forum.  This quick glance inspires me. There are so many people there that would love to be able to exercise, to live normal lives, to not worry about making it to the next day.

 There are many heroes at  Last year it was JimmyBoy.  Jimmy was a regular poster that encouraged and gave many hope.  He passed away last year from complications from a heart transplant.  He still lives on, however, on the site, every word of advice, every word of encouragement, is still there in the site.   JimmyBoy still lives!  This is awe inspiring!

Steve H is this year's inspiration. Every post has been positive, even in the face of dire circumstances. Steve H is struggling after a Left Ventrical Assist Device Implant(LVAD). The LVAD is supposed to help his heart rest, allowing it to recover and heal.

The operation to install a LVAD must be really tough. Steve H, with his wonderful sense of humor, with his toughness is struggling despite a lot of prayers, encouragement, and love from his family and friends. He is still having a rough go of it. It is heartbreaking, but awe inspiring at the same time.

I'm thinking of Steve H when I swing a leg over the bike. He's fighting for his life. Why should I be questioning a simple matter of throwing a leg over the bike and riding for 2 hours?

The rational part of my brain fights it. It's 7:30 pm, WTF are you thinking? Go drink a glass of wine and eat some dinner. Then it occurs to me that Steve H and JimmyBoy and many others would love to be able to ride a bike for two hours, or walk up a flight of steps, to live life normally. The ride is much easier upon this realization.