Dirt mining.

Breakfast: eggs, hamburger meat (free range even), mushrooms, steel cut oats, flax seed, honey, coffee, rice milk, water.

Objective: on the bike strength training (big gear hill repeats).  Then ride to work (late).

Legs: feeling goodish.  Not sure yet.

Stomach: feeling like sitting around some more and watching youtube videos of Fleche Wallone.

Finally, back to training!  And training means big breakfasts and large bowel movements.  I have accomplished both today, and may be accomplishing one more of those things in a short time to come.  There’s no better way to start the day then waking up, loosing five pounds, gaining five pounds, and then loosing three more pounds.  All within 30 minutes.  It gives you a great feeling of accomplishment and lets you know that the day is just going to keep getting better and better.

More time on the bike means a lot more food.  Which means a lot more food going to someone who doesn’t really need it–someone who is just riding around on a plastic/metal toy for hours on end, eating up precious calories that could be going to nourish someone who really needs it.  Some poor guy in a dirt quarry in Africa, taken out of his village to break rocks with a sledge hammer for 18 hours a day–against his will and for almost no pay.

Before they came and destroyed his life, he had it pretty good.  He and his family didn’t have much, just a few cows and a small thatch-roofed hut.  But no one else in his village had any more or any less than him, so he lived in relative wealth among his people.  There were plenty of yams to be had, plenty of cheep beer, and few rainy days.  Life was just swell.  Until they came.

It happened on one of the few rainy days that they had.  Three military trucks came and burned the small village down, shot those who ran, and tied the rest up to be taken to slave camps to mine for gold, diamonds, and in our friend’s case: dirt.

The unstable government of this African nation (well, stable actually sense it’s always so UNstable that it can be viewed as being stable), had many causes.  Overpopulated cities, lack of education, a poor transportation system, lack of free media, a non-democratic government that always seemed to be involved in multiple wars, ohh wait.  That’s the United States.  Uhh, well I guess all that stuff plus no money, and more powerful countries aiding terrorist groups to cause trouble so the richer countries can get at the African country’s oil, diamonds, and gold with ease.  And dirt.

Our friend was beaten, yelled at, and thrown in the back of one of the large trucks.  After a bumpy, 47 hour ride in the crammed truck full of 30 of his friends, the truck stopped.  They were kicked out of the back and handed picks and sledge hammers.  The handles of both were worn and splintery and immediately our friend got a big splinter right between his index and middle finger, right in the notch there–the worst place for a hand splinter, other than under your finger nail.  Just as our friend, we’ll call him Bob since I don’t know any good African names, thought this day (or week now) couldn’t get any worse, he got another splinter under his thumb nail.  Damn sledge hammer.

He and his fellow prisoners were taken down into a large pit or rock, 400 feet down into the earth.  There were forty or fifty other forced labor workers there already, hammering away at the rock and carrying it out by walking  up a large wooden scaffolding on the east side of the quarry.

They were told to keep a sharp eye out for dirt and or mud, and to immediately report any they found.  There was a penalty of death for smuggling dirt out of the mine, so they better not even try it or else.  The upside to finding the dirt, though, was that once a ‘worker’ found 1200 grams of it, they were set free and paid $6.50 for their time.  Only the first batches of workers had found any dirt though.  It was all during the first week of digging, and for some reason the mine had produced no more once they got below 20 feet.  The quarry company had lost some $2.7 million dollars during that first week as they kept their promise to the thousands of workers they had paid and let free after finding their 1200 grams.  Business was bad now, and they made up for it by cutting back on food and water for their workers.

As the weeks and months wore on, Bob’s strength decreased as his fingers continued to get nasty splinters and his stomach remained empty, causing his ribs to protrude, his cheeks to go gaunt, and his arms to dwindle like small twigs.  He cursed the endless amount of boulders to be smashed, he cursed the guards with their guns, he cursed the hot sun, and above all he cursed the US based compost company that had hired this mining outfit to fulfill a large quota of dirt.  The composting company had been cutting their compost with dirt for years, and their profits had increased because of it.  They decided to move their dirt quarries overseas, since it would be cheaper, and now cut their product with 50% African soil (marked directly on the bag as a marketing technique), which allowed them to sell a bag of compost at Home Depot for $7.80, an unbeatable price for people that didn’t realize the point of composting is to ‘reuse’ discarded food scraps for fertilizing your yard.  They saw “Now with African soil and minerals” and couldn’t help but buy an extra bag of it.  Just think of the petunias that could be grown with THAT exotic compost??!!.  Most of the consumers didn’t realize the negatives of this kind of overseas operation, where the dirt was collected in Africa, the ‘compost’ collected in the sewers of India, and the mixing and bagging operation carried out in China.  They didn’t realize it was taking good American jobs and shipping them overseas, and they didn’t realize the minimal wages the workers were paid.  “At least they have jobs now,” was a common attitude for those who took any time to think about it at all.  But Bob would disagree.  He wanted his old life back.  A life free of constant splinters, being yelled at, and smashing rocks against his will for a half cup of rice a day.  Like a cyclist, he spent the majority of his day being hungry.  Except in a different way.  Maybe it would all be bearable if he could at least have an extra quarter, no eighth cup, of rice.  That would be do-able.  But no, greedy ‘ol Kennett needs it to ride up an extra hill today.  And the reason for riding up a hill on a bike is….uhh…

Well, this weekend was the first true weekend of riding in a long time.  Real riding, not sitting in groups drafting and chatting, but real base miles.  December is closing in and it’s time to start building up the hours.  Quinn and I did a cool 4.5 hours on Saturday.  Low points were getting screamed at by an old fat guy with a rifle to get the — off his —-ing property–for about five minutes straight while Quinn and I were on the edge of the road next to his driveway trying to get Quinn’s fender to stop rubbing.  Quinn called the police, and was politely informed by them that threatening to shoot someone while waving a rifle about and screaming obscenities is NOT against the law, and to please not call back until someone was shot and bleeding out on the pavement.  Other low points were when Quinn dropped his glasses and a car ran over them (most of the low points happened to Quinn by the way).  A semi truck almost hit us in an intersection where it failed to see us coming, or failed to care probably.  And last but not least I can’t remember the fourth thing but I’m pretty sure there was a fourth thing.

Anyways, I was pretty tired after the ride and woke up the next morning feeling tired too.  I had planned on doing three hours that day (sunday) and headed out the door deciding to just take it slow and see how I felt.  And for some reason I felt pretty good, and averaged over 260 watts.  Not bad considering last week was my first week of base miles.  Ok, time to go ride and eat some more food.  Sorry Bob, but humanity is messed up.

Sitting in Traffic

From the November issue of Sitting in Traffic:

Sitting in Traffic: So, Kennett, what was it like sitting in traffic on your commute home this evening?

Kennett Peterson: Well, it was pretty sweet.  At one point I think we went about 200 feet in five, six minutes.  That was the highlight I guess.  I think that’s when we got up to the slowest speed.

ST: How long was your commute?

KP: Oh, about 30 miles by bike.  Maybe 25 by car, although today we took some back roads because the freeway was so backed up, so maybe we did 30 today driving.

ST: So you ride one direction on your bike in the morning, and get a ride home with one of your parents at night, correct?

KP: Yeah, I do that to capitalize on the best traffic sitting conditions.  Generally traffic is the slowest and most congested in the evening rush hour.  Especially on a day like today when it gets dark before 5 and it’s pouring rain.

ST: Do you check the traffic reports before you drive home?

KP: Oh of course.  If traffic is fast and there aren’t any accidents, I wait to go home later when something good has happened.  There’s no sense in rushing home quickly and efficiently.

ST: Do you ever purposefully cause traffic incidents that will likely slow up traffic?

KP: In order to be comfortable in your environment, you must either adapt to it or make it adapt to you.  Humans have been using the second option for the last ten thousand years,  and I’m not about to go changing that.  When traffic is fast, I employ one of many tactics to clog it up.  Usually, I’ll attempt to cause a fender bender behind me somewhere by jamming on the brakes while on the freeway.  If I hear a loud crash behind me, I know I did my job well, and I’ll exit the freeway, take the freeway the opposite direction a few miles, then get back on the freeway going the original direction and enjoy the fruits of my labor.  Yes, I do enjoy a good old fashioned traffic sit, but I’m really doing it for the benefit of society.  Nothing puts a smile on someone’s face quicker than sitting behind a freeway pile up for a few hours.

ST: Back to today’s traffic sit, how long did it take for you to get home?

KP: I’d say a little under two hours.

ST: Wow, that’s longer than it takes you to ride to work in the morning, correct?

KP: Yeah, it was a good one this evening.  They’re usually not this slow, but when they are, that’s when you have to enjoy it and soak in the moment.

ST:  Any words of advice for our less experienced readers?

KP: I try to get right behind a large semi that takes longer than all the other vehicles around it to get up to speed.  Usually that’s the lane farthest to the right, which I never leave anyways.  But I really do make an effort to find  the slowest semi truck and tuck right in behind it while all the other cars to the left lanes pass me.  I also enjoy texting on my cell in between creeping forward when I’m in stop and go traffic.  That way you get a good chorus of cars honking at you while you let a large gap open up in front of you, at which point I’ll look up from my phone, accelerate way to fast and slam on the brakes before I hit the semi in front of me, and then start texting again.  I really enjoy that.

ST: Thanks for your time today, Kennett.

KP: My pleasure.

Hagens Berman

This weekend was the meet and greet for the 2010 HB elite team.  I got a ride up with Sean on Friday and we stayed at his friend’s house for the next couple nights.  She owns horses and trains them how to slide, spin, and run backwards in competitions.  Here’s a link to what I’m talking about.  Reining.  The room I slept in had stacks and stacks of American Quarter Horse Quarterly.  I think I added in that last Quarterly, but it might have been there.  Anyways, I read a magazine each night before going to sleep.  Basically the entire magazine (all 321 of them) was filled with advertisements for ”Peppy Go Go,”  “Ridin’ N’ Rockin’,” and “Fredy’s Bang Wagon” and other horses with multiple first names that didn’t seem very practical.  Imagine the announcer at the rodeo: “And our next rider, number 317, is Samantha Brighton on Fredy’s Bang Wagon.  Looks like it’s gonna be a bumpy ride…”  All of these horses, for some reason, had bought advertisements for themselves in this magazine to sell off their sperm.  If I went to the sperm bank and gave them some product, I think I get $50.  Not that I’ve done it, but that’s what I’ve heard.  Great, for some reason the computer had decided to underline everything I type.  But back on topic, these horses are selling their semen for $1,500 to $5,000 bucks a pop!  For that price, I’d expect some bang for my buck, hahah pun intended.

As I flipped through the magazines, each page would have a picture of a horse with it’s main blowing in the wind, it’s competition palmeres, how much it had earned in comps over the last year or it’s lifetime, how much it’s offspring had earned, and the price of it’s precious product.  It wasn’t great reading material, but it’s all I could find.  I had strange dreams…

Other than my bizarre nightly readings, the week was packed full of team presentations, dinners, and activities for us to get to know each other.  Adrian Hegyvery (a Hagens rider last year who just signed with the pro Team OUCH) gave a talk one night that I thought was very well thought-out.  To sum it up, it (and the whole weekend in general) made me want to start training harder than ever before.  I began dreaming of 35 hour weeks in Tucson, but quickly put a rein on my bad side and rememberd my new mantra, which I can’t remember right now but it’s something like “don’t be stupid,” which I’ve obviously paid no attention to over the last 20 minutes while writing this.  Yes it’s taken me 20 minutes to come up with this.  Not including time spent on Youtube looking for horse vids.  That last one, in case you didn’t realize it, has an amazing song about a guy who must have eaten a midget hillbilly.  It will surely be suck in my head for days.

I was very impressed with the organization of the team and I’m very exite about making great glory for teams Hagens of the Berman!!  I like!

Hagens Berman elite roster:

Director: Joe Holmes

Sam Johnson

Phil Elasser

Nick Clayville


Lang Reynolds

Sean Passage

Chris Daifuku

Spenser Smitherman

I’ve got a little hillbilly in me, I’ve got a little hillbilly in me, I’ve got a little hillbilly in me–just in case that song wasn’t stuck in your head.