Saturday, May 30, 2009

$2.3 Billion Should Be Used for Alternatives

Here it is, the Journal's article about the zoo interchange reconstruction:

I'm sometimes at a loss for words (not often enough according to my friends!), but this makes me speechless. A state legislator talked about how the interchange is not suitable for the "modern economy."

Maybe the modern economy needs alternatives to concrete. It's easy to sit back and deride the lack of progress on public transportation when people don't use it.

But if public transportation, including rail and bus, was cheap, easy, and available, you have to think people would use it more often.

And if gas prices continue to rise, as they will as demand increases and supply decreases, more people will look for those alternatives.

So why do we continue to invest in highways? Lawmakers, I assume, find it easy and safe. Build more roads. Why is it so hard to invest in light rail, more efficient buses?

I understand our cities, Milwaukee as an example, are laid out so that public transportation is a challenge. For instance, to get to my doctor's appointment at Froedert on Thursday, it would take a long time to get there using buses.

Why not change our mindset? Why not change how we start to look at transportation? What will we need in 50 years? Will gas be plentiful? Probably not, so let's look at the alternatives now.

Notice I haven't mentioned bikes yet. With fewer cars on the road (given more public transportation), Milwaukee is a pretty easy town to get around in by bicycle.

This is such a huge topic to consider. And I'm not doing it any sense of justice here.

But before this massive Zoo interchange project goes forth, I want to see a lot more discussion and movement on public transportation.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Not the Best

Surgery today not great. The bone went back in, but there was rotator cuff damage as well as some kind of tear behind the shoulder with soft tissue damage. Apparently when I crashed, there was some dislocation of the shoulder. Dr. Grindel essentially put a patch on it.

The surgery itself took twice as long as it was supposed to. I'll know more next Thursday when
I see him again. Needless to say, I'm not a terribly happy boy. But Chris Horner found a hairline crack in his tibia and still plans/hopes to ride the Tour. The guy broke his collarbone last August, again this spring, and now this.

Maybe we should form a support group...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Tomorrow is the last surgery: Dr. Grindel cuts open the shoulder with an arthroscope to clean up any damage and pin or sew the bone back together.

I'm totally not worried about the surgery itself. I'm dreading the idea of the recovery. I've broken the collarbone/shoulder enough to know what's coming, and it's a pain in the a...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Good News, Bad News

I figured it would come to this.

But good news first: Dr. Schmeling, the leg doc, said I was healing quickly, months ahead of schedule. He told me to ditch the cane, and go ride my bike a lot to strengthen the leg. Not a problem, doc!

So yesterday, I rode my cross bike with road wheels down the trail all the way to the Milwaukee Athletic Center. It used to be my warmup, but Tuesday it was a blast just to be able to ride. I was pretty tired this morning!

Today, I saw Dr. Grindel, the shoulder doc. I expected to hear bad news since the shoulder was simply not healing. It hurt often, especially with stupid quick movement when I forget I'm hurt.

At this moment, while I wait for Grindel's nurse to confirm, I'm getting surgery next Thursday. Grindel will either screw the loose bone back into my shoulder or push it back in and sew it into the bone. (If it wasn't my shoulder, sewing bone into bone sounds kind of cool.)

While it will heal as my leg heals, I probably won't be able to meet my goal of racing July 4 in Eau Claire. Grindel says these things take up to 12 weeks to heal. That means 8 or 9 weeks for me! And that means more weeks of riding the trainer.

Needless to say, I'm getting out tomorrow for as long as I can stand it. Same with the rest of the week until surgery day.

It'll be nice to put this all behind me. Except for the scar, and the limp, and the sore shoulder...

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Last night was a bit of a challenge. I wanted to go have dinner and drinks with friends. But by 8:30, I was sleeping.

I should expect that, I know. School and working out/therapy occupies all of my time during the week, and, as PT Kim says, my body is working overtime to heal.

Still, it's a bit frustrating.

Then I start thinking about perspective.

Only three weeks ago, the docs gave me permission to put weight on the leg, ride the bike, and begin more extensive therapy.

That Friday, I rode the recumbent bike at a gym for FOUR MINUTES, rested, then TWO minutes. I was wiped out and sore.

Yesterday, I managed to do my complete therapy workout AND ride 30 minutes on my bike (on a trainer in my living room) at a decent pace.

Three weeks ago, PT Kim told me to sit on the floor, back against the wall, and do leg lifts. I actually had to concentrate to lift my leg once, then again. Today I did that 30 times, along with sitting squats.

Three weeks ago, I laid on my living room floor with a theraband, trying to raise my leg. And I stood with my walker pulling the band front, back, and both side ways (is that a description?). Today, I pushed 60 pounds on the hip machine doing the same exercises.

Mom just sent me pictures from Easter when I was hobbling around on two crutches. Now I walk around, still hobbling, but I hardly use my cane at home. (Friend Lisa said I now have an awesome pimp roll walk with my cane. Time for the black cane with a silver death head!)

So there's measurable and consistent progress. That's good. I know when I've broken my collarbone or arm, it's taken six weeks to heal. And while it's now been seven weeks, this was a hell of lot more serious of a break.

I see the doctors soon. Schmeling (or his PA Jennifer) next Friday, then Grindel for the shoulder the following Tuesday.

In the meantime, friend Mike Heenan is keeping me focused on the big picture by sending my cyclocross schedules and challenges. It's going to be a bit of a challenge to recognize my limitations this fall, especially when I was hoping to seriously challenge at a state and national level. But 'cross is fun, and I can't wait for the road trips.

There better be some serious mud this season!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Beer Blog

On Sunday night, I took dinner outside in the fading sunlight and sipped a Bell's Oberon Ale, from Comstock, Michigan. Summer can begin.

We have three beers on review tonight. The first is Indica India Pale Ale from the Lost Coast
Brewery in Eureka, California. It's a good beer, but not great. It's full, strong, but not remarkable.

Second beer is Snake Dog IPA from Flying Dog Brewery in Denver. It's a tasty beverage with an odd after taste, or maybe odd after texture. I'm not sure. But I had a sense that something thick like caramel slid down my throat after the tasty hoppy beer. I'll have to try another one to make sure.

But the total, absolute star of this round of tasting is Double Trouble IPA, from Founders Brewery in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While it's not fair to compare a double IPA with regulars, this beer was amazing. It was highly hoppy, sharp and bitter, just the way I like it. Refreshing and alive. This beer ranks right up there with Tyranena's Bitter Woman, judged best of class in a blind taste test done by sister Teena and I some years ago!
The only issue is the 9.4 percent alcohol content. Yikes. I'm a lightweight now anyway, and one beer was all I could handle!

Clearly, a road trip to Michigan's breweries seems necessary this summer.