Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Rapha 500 Day 5 - Redemption and Recovery

When I woke up this morning my quads hurt and my ass didn't allow me comfort when standing. These feelings were not expected but not surprising considering I've done 5 good days of riding and even some jogging mixed with a lot of IPA and not a lot of real recovery. This morning I decided to go for a light 3 mile jog. Its such a tease, a 3 mile jog, around the block. Nothing really. Barely breaking a sweat. Maybe 7:30 pace, maybe quicker. Spending my entire life running has warped my perception to the point of no return. I accept 3-5 miles is all I can run now but its not training. It will never be part of the conversation. Just something that gets done in between bike rides. But it won't be insignificant either. I read somewhere that running will kill bike riding ability. It will slow you down is what I read. Where it came from I can't remember but I'm sure I can find it. Most likely its true, no arguments here, my lack of understanding with regard to cycling and the training that fuels it doesn't allow me an educated opinion. However, I did OK on the bike in my first year racing and I ran every opportunity I could. A sneaky 5 miler here or there. The only time it hurt me was when I raced that 5 miler in South Boston on a ridiculously hot and humid night with loads of wind. I raced Tour Of The Hilltowns the next day and was wrecked. Lesson learned on that one, no racing before bike races, or ever for that matter. Running however is something I'll never stop.  My love of the sport and the endeavor transcends my love of bike racing and fuels my desire to be great at bike racing. They are not exclusive, rather very much intertwined.

With the sore legs and the light jog in the AM I resigned myself to a day off. It lasted until after lunch when an easy recovery ride in the rain became very appealing. Rapha 500 is for sure getting me out. I don't want to miss a day! So into the elements I went for an easy 60km loop. No water, no food, no breaks. Just a quick 2 hour jaunt around familiar roads and some miles in the bank. Motivation was high because I was meeting Kevin Adams for a beer at the Publick House. That turned into several beers and great conversation. Torpedo Extra IPA was my tipple of choice. Never had it before, will have it again. The music, as per usual was excellent. Lots of The Smiths, New Order, and one song by The Church I haven't heard in ages. Made me feel great. Thats the song of this very good day.

Peace and Love,

Monday, December 26, 2011

Rapha 500 Day 4 The Day After Christmas

Wiiiindy day today. Give me the bitter cold of the last 3 mornings over what felt like a heatwave - 37F and a 25 mph wind. Riding solo everyday is tough. Running solo, easy, but riding for 3 hours and listening to the iPod is getting old. On New Years Eve my buddy Ciaran Mangan is organizing a ride over about 80 miles of rolling hills and there should be 10+ riders going. Needless to say I'm thoroughly looking forward to this one, and in the meantime its base miles by myself.

My legs felt trashed today. Even though I haven't done much training relative to those I'll race, for me 4 days in a row over 50 miles is uncommon. I wanted to get another 50 miles in today which will keep me on track for my Rapha500 challenge (even if I cheated to make it harder by introducing miles instead of km's). I doubt I'll do 500 miles but I know I'll eclipse 500km. Anyway, my glutes were hurting as I rode up Beacon street, past BC. But then, strangely, the soreness subsided and my Garmin told me that my pace was pretty snappy. And I was going into the wind, kind of. Super compensation? Maybe, I don't really know anything about cycling training but I knew my recovery day was probably gonna be more of a workout.. The wind really pissed me off though. I am not exactly aero on the bike so every gust was sending me sideways with spit coming out each side of my mouth. Then, a sharp turn in Weston and bliss. Tailwind for the next 30km. It was great. Barely putting out watts and flying along. I forgot to drink water and after 1:45 a savage thirst enveloped me. One area of improvement for 2012 is on bike nutrition. I honestly think that the frozen bottles of the last 3 days made me forget. Either way, the water was in liquid state but didn't prepare me for the next turn back into the wind. The last 20 or so km's I was riding at 15mph. On certain stretches (mapped out on Strava) I was minutes slower than usual. With all that said, I felt great. When I did finally arrive home after 82km I really wanted to do more but its either into the city which is not happening or back out into the headwind. A cup of coffee and left overs from Christmas day seemed a better option.

The Rapha500 continues to get me out the door. Its such a great concept that everyone can do. Most decent level riders cover the distance every week of the year but for an amateur like myself its enough to give me motivation through Christmas week when food, beer, and movies seem more appropriate. It is also getting me in the habit of consistently riding 2.5 hrs or more every day. In order to race Cat.1 in 2012 I'll need this volume and the will power to say NO to the trainer when its freezing outside. Additional motivation in the form of a good beer reward is always positive.

I met Tom McArdle and Tom Coogan, aka Thatcher Street Velo (even if I'm the only one riding much these days). We discussed my favorite topic, athletics. I could have stayed at the Beacon Street Tavern all night but the working stiffs I hang out with needing to prioritize we pulled the plug after a few pints of 60 minute IPA and headed home. Bedways is bestways. The bartender had a nice mix on the sound system. I've never been a huge fan of The Shout Out Louds but tonight I heard a song that was very Cure-esque. A lovely tune started playing and using Shazam to quench my musical thirst it told me the song was 'Normandie' by these guys. It could have been Robert Smith and it would have been perfectly natural. So thats my tune of the day.

Peace and Love

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Rapha 500 Day 3 Christmas Day

Another cold one this morning. It was about 26F with some light flurries when I got out at 10am. Despite the cold it was one of the most enjoyable rides I've done in a long time. The roads were very quiet which I expected on Christmas day but there were a lot of people out exercising and everyone acknowledged each others efforts. A nod of the head, a smile, and even a "merry christmas" which I couldn't hear because I had tunes in my ear. I headed out to Carlisle/Chelmsford area. My ride is on Strava. With such quiet roads even the drivers that usually act like your not there passed with plenty of space and often slowed down. Christmas spirit? It should be like this everyday. My water bottles froze again which is a pain in the arse. Fortunately there was a service station open right after the half way point in the ride and I was able to grab a drink and a clif bar. Half a bottle for a 117km ride is not enough so I reckon there will be some insulated bottles purchased from Providence Bike in the next few days.
I have a Zipp 404 wheel on the back because I punctured as soon as I took my bike out. With some snow looking like it was about to fall (you can't see but it but there were flurries) I opted to just stick on my racing wheel and deal with the tube change later. The ride was steady and it felt great. Just shy of 4 hours and another chunk of the Rapha500 done. Upon arrival back to my flat I rewarded myself with the finest of IPA, my favorite Dogfish Head 90 Minute. The first bottle went straight to my head given the lack of water throughout the ride.

So tomorrow is a recovery day. From now on Mondays will be a short ride or even off. Once my fitness comes round and my legs get a little stronger I will be looking to clear 210-220km every weekend. Not much for a serious rider but a lot for me. I can't foresee (with the exception of maybe a training camp) weekends of 250 - 300km which many of the Cat.1 racers I'll be competing against routinely do. Social life is important to me and I will always reward myself with a night out on the weekend.

Took out an older playlist for the ride. One I made for indoor sessions last February after my knee surgery. It really confirmed how much better 2010 was for music in my opinion. Tracks by Mew, LCD Soundsystem, Crystal Castles, Twin Shadow, Wolf Parade, Interpol, Four Tet. I played the list through twice and loved hearing the songs again.  Tonight I am putting together or at least attempting to, my favorite music from 2011. One thing I am certain of, "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster The People (a song I thought was catchy and enjoyable when it first came out) was completely ruined by the radio and its become perhaps the most annoying song of 2011.

One tune I did love and dropped onto my compilation this morning was Jai Paul - 'BTSTU'. Thom Yorke played this slab of plastic magic on his Radio 1 mix when he took over the turntables of Giles Peterson. Wonderful tune.

Peace and Love

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Rapha 500 Day 2 Christmas Eve

Got in 85k today and it was rough. The plan from the outset was 100k minimum but it was Freezing. I started out at 20F and ended at 25F. Once I warmed up I was fine and the cold really didn't bother me, except for my toes. But it froze my water bottles. The first one I was drinking from was slush after 45 minutes and I couldn't really get much out. After 90 minutes my second bottle was an ice cube. So 2.5 hrs in I knew I had to make my way home because I was very thirsty and starting to feel a bit of a bonk coming on. I got maybe half a bottle in and for a 53 mile ride thats not enough at all.

Right now I should be sleeping in my bed in Drogheda. I am not a big Christmas guy and the older I get the more I drift away but I do love going home and seeing the mates during the holiday. Ireland really embraces Christmas week and it turns into almost a one week national holiday. Everyone is in great form and the banter is first class. I really miss my friends during these times. Frankie is up in Canada and I can't go up there either. My visa status is changing which eliminates my ability to travel. I spent the night with at my friends place in Newton and it was great. I had a real moment of nostalgia watching all the kids buzzing about going to sleep tonight and anticipating the arrival of Santa and the riches he brings! But I also think about the NPR piece I listened to last year about the thousands of kids who don't get a visit from Santa and they don't know why. Really sad. At Dave and Sarahs I drank Creemore Canadian Larger. Good tack.

Tomorrow is supposed to achieve temps in the high 30's which will feel like a heatwave compared to this morning. I want to get in 120km if all goes well. I switched up the iPod with some new tunes. Cruising through the year end lists is just confirming my feelings that 2011 was a below average year for music. Some of the blogs I really respect have maybe one album in the top 10 that I loved - PJ Harveys - Let England Shake. Otherwise its either stuff I thought was boring or hip hop that I don't know about. On my ride this morning I was thinking about this and it would be easier for me to compile 10 albums I listened too and wished I hadn't. For example, Beady Eye - Different Gear, Still Speeding. What a complete waste of time, and I'm afraid I had so many of those moments. A list of some kind will be produced but already 2012 is looking much better. I never thought I'd say that given Radiohead put out a record this year but its how I feel. Also, with feeling a little home sick I chose a tune that is in my top 10 all time and one that is speaking my language while I sip my 90 minute IPA.

Peace and Love

Friday, December 23, 2011

Rapha 500

I am back on the blog starting now. I had a few attempts but no real heart or reason to blog. Had nothing to say that was of any interest to me or anyone else. But now that I am committed to bike riding and racing again for 2012 I think it will be good to blog about training and racing and the music that fuels it.

I started winter base training about 2 weeks ago and its been moving along slowly. I am terribly unfit and looking for motivation I stumbled on the Rapha 500 challenge. Its not too difficult really, 500km in 8 days, but considering its on during the holidays, typically a time of bad weather and snow, the challenge can be great. Luckily the weather has been very mild and it doesn't look like its really going to get bad over the next week so riding the bike outside isn't difficult at all. On the flip side, I do hope for one or two gnarly days of snow just to make it feel like more of an accomplishment. 500km in 8 days while pretty straightforward is still more than I have ever done in that time period and it is something I hope to maintain over the next 3 months.

Today I rode a steady 84km loop. There were a few nice climbs and it is one of my favorite loops in Rhode Island. I really should've done more because the weather was great and it would have been nice to get some miles in the bank but I was hungry and my one water bottle was empty. I visited White Electric for fuel afterwards. Yes, I was actually wearing a Rapha cap. I wear it all the time! I also got a Christmas gift from my mate Joe Savic at Providence Bike, a book called The Jersey Project. Its epic.

So tomorrow I will hit up 100 or so km's. I really want to ride every day between now and New Years so I can bring some fitness into 2012 and the start of the real winter base training, with workouts and everything. I have a new bike team I'm racing for in 2012 and the lads on their are tough and already logging the hard miles. Out team is called Upton Bass Racing and I will post more about it soon.

The music in 2011 has been average in my opinion. Let down by so many albums its been the worst year for music since I started the blog. There were some highlights for sure, really great tracks and records but compared to last year where my top 10 albums could change on any day/mood it is tough to even compile 10 albums that I really loved. All that is ahead too. For now its IPA in the form of DogFish Head 90 minutes and some music. Frankie sent me a record by a Canadian new wave group - Austra. They are a three piece electopop group out of Toronto with Katie Stelmanis  on vocals. The album has a bit of a Metric feel and even hints of Fever Ray, not just because of the female vocal either. You could put Natasha Kahn or Zola Jesus in the same genre - you get the picture. I've been listening to the album on rotation over the last few days and its really satisfying.

Peace and Love,



Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ninigrit Training Crit

If this is a Training Crit for everyone else, fine. For me it was a race (and generally I think this was the case for most of the field) The positives of it being labeled a training race is the casual warm up, the friendly nature of the pack, and perhaps the controlled risk taking, particularly around bends. It was my first criterium and I was nervous. Not unlike the first time I raced cyclocross I had the feeling that I would be terrible and most likely cause a crash or disrupt the race with poor bike handling. That wasn’t the case at all. I was super comfortable in the pack, cornering with ease, and taking long and what I thought were very aggressive pulls at the front, particularly into the wind. A group of 3 broke away and I was in the chase group with many Arc-En-Ciel team mates. We chased hard but couldn’t bridge. I tried a few times myself but the effort was too much so I’d settle back into the pack. With 3 laps to go another guy broke and tried to bridge over, I caught his wheel after an all out effort but neither of us had the steam to continue the attack. In no mans land we tried to hold off the chasing pack and survived until about 50m before the line when 2 or 3 guys passed us. The race was a huge effort and I really enjoyed it. Like after a hard 5km on the track my stomach was knotted and I had lactate swimming throughout my body. This is a very blissful feeling but not being able to enjoy a beer after, not so much. Next week I am going to sit in a little bit more and take shorter pulls at the front. Learning the tactics and all that lark. It’s a great event to break up the week and it certainly replaces a solo interval session.

I’ve been living in Boston for 2 months now and only been to one show? Not great eh? (little Canadian there for my friends up north) I will be making this whole situation right soon but theres just not much happening. Frankie will come down for Moonface and before that a couple of gigs perk my interest. I would have liked to see White Lies but work commitments prevented that. Bell X1 is most likely the next gig I’ll attend and that’s in 10 days time. Explosions In The Sky  announced a Fall tour and I’ll certainly be attending that gig. They play the Orpheum in October and it’ll be fantastic.

Weezer is one of the last acts I'd expect to cover a Radiohead classic like Paranoid Android but they did. Being the purist I am, expectations were pretty grim, but I must admit they did a pretty good job. Staying very true to the original Rivers vocal delivery is spot on. He doesn't try and sound like Thom Yorke (impossible) rather he clearly sings a song he loves and does it justice. Check it out.

Love Kel

Friday, May 27, 2011

Lake Sunapee RR

On Tuesday of last week, still mulling over the race at Wayne Elliot I decided to contact USA Cycling and upgrade to Cat. 4. I had the win at Battenkill and leading the race last week showed me that I am strong enough to be a 4. It was approved and I entered the Lake Sunapee RR as a 4. Joe Savic and I traveled up the night before and given the stories of other people leaving at 5:30am I'm glad we did. The course was 2 laps around Lake Sunapee with some nice climbs. Certainly more up my ally in terms of course profile. The distance was 46 miles which is ok, I prefer longer. Learning my lessons from last week I opted to hide in the pack and feel out the first loop. After the two back to back hills on the opposite side of lake Sunapee I was pretty confident that I would win. Guys were pushing at the front and other guys were struggling while my HR was low and I was perfectly relaxed. Patience is not one of my virtues so it took a strong effort to focus on staying in the pack until the next time we hit these two hills. The pace was dropping all the time and I was getting very restless. Finally, after what seemed like eternity we arrived back around to the hills. The first kick is 11 miles out from the finish, I went hard and broke clear. Surprised that no one came with me the hammer went down and I pushed all out for home. By the second climb I looked back and I could see no one. I chased the lead car to the finish and won by 1:07 shutting down the last 1km. Bottomline is that when it comes to hilly courses I can compete with the cat 3 racers so I need to get myself in that group. Soon enough.

Other exceptional news this week includes the announcement of a Moonface tour. Frankie and I will be going to many of these gigs and I am certainly going back to Montreal to IL Motore for more good times. I imagine the show will be improved (not that it needs to be) and hopefully extended. Spencer gave us a tune to mull over. It was the second last track on the night I saw him and it was the song that Camilla joined him of stage for. He is releasing his album titled Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I'd Hoped (Great title I think) on August 2nd. Its 5 tracks and comes in at 37 minutes. More of an EP. The tune below is called Fast Peter and is beautiful.

Peace and Love,


Monday, May 16, 2011

Bike Racing

On Saturday morning I participated in a bike race up in Merrimac, MA. If Battenkill was a 10 in terms of course and performance, the Wayne Elliot Circuit Race was about a 3. The trip back from Montreal was pretty smooth and I thought things were feeling great. I mean, the buzz and energy from the show would surely propel me around the course to an inevitable victory in the cat. 5 race. Well that was not the case at all. The loop was 6.2 miles and we had 4 laps which is essentially an all out effort. There were no real climbs to break things up, just some bumps that even the most novice of climber can handle in a slipstream. I sat in for 3 miles and the pace was slower than training so I figured I'd hit the front, hammer and drop everyone. Lesson, don't ever be so cocky and arrogant and assume just because its a cat. 5 race that no one can ride with you. I hammered and hammered but couldn't drop the guys. Admittedly I was felling very off, no legs as they say in cycling. Despite pushing as hard as I could my speed was slower on the flats than many of my training efforts. I was clearly tired and dehydrated. Either way I continued to attack, settle, attack, settle all the way home. Eventually on the last circuit we were whittled down to a group of 8. Finally, my attacking and relentless pushing was breaking everyone (apparently a small crash took out 2 guys) so I grew in confidence that I would surge over the last mile and win. Not to be! I pushed up the last false flat but had no power and when I made a big push with 200m to go my right calf cramped and the 7 guys in my slipstream all came around me like I was in quicksand and beat me to the line. Horrible. But nothing more than I deserved. I wouldn't let anyone else lead because I wanted an all out effort and with bad legs and general fatigue I was never in a position to try and solo on a flat loop. The only positive take away was the fact that all 7 of the guys who swallowed me up before the line told me that it was great being pulled along. Being recognized for doing the lions share of the work was satisfying. That and the early am hard session I most likely would have avoided if there was no race to go to.

In the masters race my buddies Joe Savic and Eddie O both kicked ass and finished with the bunch sprint in a highly charged and competitive race. Kudos to both of them. I drove home and drank coffee, jogged 2 miles to remind myself why I must bike and not run, and finished off the day with some Pinot Noir. Very nice.

I have fallen behind on what is new and exciting in music. Kind of got in a bit of a same old rut, listening to the reliable music and revisiting old albums like Interpol - Turn On The Bright Lights, Blur - Think Tank, and a lot of old Techno. I need to check out some new DJ's too. Its been a while since I stood in the middle of a dark room listening to a DJ play minimal techno to a clued in crowd. Boston's not the best city in the world for that action but it does exist here and I need to find it.......

Peace and Love,


Sunday, May 15, 2011

J'aime Montreal

On Thursday I drove up to Montreal. Its not the first time I've been to the city, in fact over the last number of years I've visited a few times, including once to do some passport/visa stuff which involved Frankie, Hamish, and I missing a summer school exam and writing a bit of a bullshit excuse in the lobby of a McGill University Dorm building. Happy days they were. Radiohead played Montreal a couple of times over the last number of years and I caught both of those gigs. Every time I came away from Montreal the city failed to live up to the hype.......until this time.

Since I was going to see Moonface (Spencer Krug) on my own I figured a cheapo hotel near the venue would suffice, and given that the venue was about 5km outside of the city the place could have been in any type of neighborhood. Either way it didn't bother me. The trip was about the music not the place I'd be resting my head for 7 hours. As luck would have it, the area was AWESOME. Located on the opposite side of the hill that McGill sits on, away from the city and the tourists, this was real Montreal. Wine Bars, Pubs, Coffee Shops, Restaurants, and great shops littered among apartments and low budget lodging, all inhabited by students, artists, transient folk, hipsters, locals and everyone in between. No one chose to speak English but they were cool if you said you didn't know French. It was like being in Europe and only the money told me I was in Canada.

Terry and Carly Shea suggested a pub to me. It was a place they visited when they traveled to see Sunset Rubdown in the same venue. I got the address, typed it into Google, and its location popped up around the corner from my hotel. 5 minutes later I am sitting at the bar drinking a Double IPA explaining to the bartender how important it was for me to travel up to Montreal to see Spencer Krug perform a solo show. He was totally into it (or at least let on he was) and welcomed me in with open arms (and lots of beer samples). I was the only person in a packed bar that wasn't speaking French.
A few pints later and it was off to IL Motore for the gig. The venue is located about 2km up the road and the weather was beautiful so I strolled passed the numerous bars and coffee shops in the Latin Quarter and wondered why in all my times in Montreal I stayed down town. Il Motore was not what I was expecting. The Paradise Rock Club or at least the Middle East was the kind of place I was looking for. What I found was basically a store front of what may have been a clothes shop at one point. Inside the venue had capacity for maybe 150, a small bar and no seating anywhere. Awesome. I felt like I had just been invited to a private party. And I thought to myself that I really wished Francine was here because she would have been in her element. Spencer and Camilla mingled with the crowd like they were fans of a band about to take the stage as opposed to being the band that I traveled from Boston to see. I chatted to both of them briefly before the gig.

Moonface is one of the many side projects Spencer Krug is involved in. It is his "solo" moniker.  However for the live show he had a Percussionist named Mike Bigelow(formerly of Wintersleep) who rocked. He reminded me of the dude on percussion for Jonsi,  completely in control of so many sounds and loops, making no mistakes. The opening act, Sean Nicholas Savage were a lot of fun and created a really nice laid back atmosphere before Spencer took to the stage.

Anticipation levels were very high when Spencer started setting up his gear. After the last Wolf Parade show in Austin I wondered when I'd see any performances by the guys again. I've was treated to a Handsome Furs show in April and now this. Spencer is my favorite of the Wolf Parade singers and his style of music and lyrics really do it for me. I only wish I had Frankie there to experience it.
The music is amazing. Lots of synth and baseline loops played by Spencer mixed with Mikes percussion which included marimba. Everything was looped and sampled over each other creating a very intense, primal, and truly emotional mix finished off with Spencer's voice, the most important 'instrument" in the show. Only 6 songs were played, each lasting about 10 minutes. The closing song was a track by Swan Lake called All Fires. Camilla (Sunset Rubdown) joined Spencer on vocals for the last 2 tracks including All Fires and it was beautiful. Some reviews from the previous Brooklyn show were really down on this version but I was completely taken away and I begged for it not to end. Alas, one hour after it started the show was over. Epic and powerful. Like sitting in someones apartment watching one of my favorite singers perform new music that makes me so happy. The lights came on, the bar was still open and most people left. I had a beer and chatted to Camilla. She gave me a high five for being an enthusiastic customer. I've never been one to hide my emotion or feelings when seeing my favorite acts perform so it is nice to feel appreciated. I told Spencer that the experience was incredible and very moving. He joined his hands as if in prayer and bowed with a very gracious thank you. We spoke briefly about a potential tour but he was reluctant to say for sure, opting to smile, take a deep breath, and say maybe. Good enough for me. I floated down the road, had a nightcap at a dodgy bar housing a few dodgy characters speaking French, then retired to my very comfortable bed in the 11/2 star hotel. A near perfect night.

Peace and Love,


The video has really bad sound. My kodak couldn't handle the mix coming out of the speakers but you'll get the picture.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Brookline MA

Thats where I live now. Decided I needed change and more importantly decided I wanted to stop driving so much. I can't help but think 2 hrs a day in a car is not good on the old body and that the time would be better served on a bike (or running if that was possible) So thats what I do now. I ride to work and ride home with an add-on. Tom and I found a route to work that is pretty decent and runs about 15 miles. So either in the morning or afternoon I can add-on and get a nice double day. Hopefully it helps me get fit for the bike. The three days I've done it so far have left me feeling like I'm training hard. This morning I rode up the Blue Hill access road. I kept my backpack on and riding my old bike I still managed sub 5 minutes. I guess that is a benchmark although the record on the climb is about 3:45 or something like that. Brentacol will let me know but I want to attack it for real on my current bike and not at 8am and not with a backpack containing a change of clothes.

There are some good people left in the world. On Sunday night I went out planning to ride a steady 40 miles. The route took me out Beacon street, past BC and through Newton and Waban. After 8 miles Beacon connects to Washington (Boston Marathon RT) and a left takes you across 128 (95N) toward Wellesley. It was while crossing 128 that I hit something in the road and blew out my back tire. Not a puncture, I actually tore through my tire so a new tube was useless. A couple of quick calls to Tom and got me no answer so I started walking. After a mile I took off my bike shoes because that was getting silly and strolled in my socks. Just as I was loosing hope and planning on calling someone who would have to go WAY out of their way on a Sunday night to pick me up a mother named Sharon and her daughter invited me into their home, gave me water, and told me to wait while some veggies were thrown in the oven before they would drop me home. Awesome. In a fear monger time when its taboo to just invite someone into your home (there was no dad present) they had no issue. She rode a bike herself and they happened to live in a house once occupied by Ted Williams (a big deal if your a Boston Red Sox fan which I'm not) I plan on sending some Reebok shoes to say thank you.

So the best bit about living here, even better than riding to work, is that the Paradise Rock Club is across the street. I plan on attending so many gigs that my concert ticket book is going to need a partner very soon. Speaking of concerts, Thursday night sees me drive to Montreal for an intimate show with Spencer Krug. Excited doesn't even touch what I'm feeling. Francine's absence will be very noticeable since she would give anything to see Spencer solo in a small venue but  a loosely planned summer tour should appease her. The solo drive to Montreal will be good for clearing the head and catching up with the many phone calls I need to make.

So a good start to the week of cycling kicked off with some serious Mt. Bike thrashing by John Lawlor during my last 5 days in Ireland. There is talk of a race on Saturday and if its not a crit I'll jump in and hammer. Hammering is awesome. So is Spencer Krug. And I plan on thoroughly enjoying being in his company on Thursday night. Camilla from Sunset Rubdown will be joining him. Its all a bit too much to take really.

Peace and Love

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Out Of The Cloudburst

Spent a little over 2 weeks back home and it was great. The trip was only supposed to be 10 days with 4 of those spent in Geneva with Frankie. However, the horrible place that is the US Embassy decided to hold onto my passport for a week rather than pop it in the mail when they said they would. It sickens me, the lack of accountability and the fact that you can't even call up, only email. I had to not only change my plans to travel to GVA but had to change my flight to BOS. The delay was not because of a backlog or anything like that, its about control. They had my passport and my visa and rather than give it to me they said the protocol changed and they had to mail out passports. Obviously to someone this process makes sense. To me it makes no sense. The security risks of a passport with a valid visa going out in the mail surely must be pretty significant. Not to mention the cost and general extra layers of work. Anyway, I told the dude I was going to GVA and then back to USA on Tuesday. He assured me I would have my passport by Friday (a day after my planned trip to GVA) "Nothing I can do about it sir" is what he said. Fair enough, Frankie flew to Dublin and it was all good, even though deep down inside I really wanted to ride the mountains as planned. And the Tour Of Romandie was finishing outside Frankies house on Sunday. Either way the weekend was wonderful and far too quick. My Passport was still missing so I had to change my flight. Since the flight back is in the AM I couldn't fly out until the following day so eventually it arrived on Thursday, almost a week late and I flew out on Friday. There will be no getting the $275 off the embassy for my troubles thats for sure.

Since I no longer run and since no one on the planet can tell me what is wrong with my knee I've turned my hand to a spot of coaching. I never thought I'd be into the coaching game, I tried it before and while it is awesome to see people do well, I was simply not ready. My own running came first and I think when coaching, the athlete must always come first. Fortunately for me I am not working with an ordinary athlete, I am working with a good friend and extraordinary talent in Martin Fagan. We have ben working together for 3 months now and its been great. I never thought I would feel the anxiety of racing again but when Martin races I get those same feelings. I could barely focus on my Battenkill warm up because of my inability to find a cell phone reception that would provide me with the results of the Bupa Great Ireland Run In Dublin. Martin finished 3rd, out kicked by two sharper athletes. Not a bad first race and very positive for him. Last weekend he ran the Broad Street 10 Miler. This was originally on the schedule but we decided against it because of the travel/financial commitments etc. A bout of spring wind however destroyed the training and Martin thought it prudent to go to Philly and race anyway. So in the midst of some hard and frustrating training he went out and ran 46:42 for 10 miles, 17 seconds outside John Treacy's Irish record. Excellent stuff. Next up is Manchester 10k and I have no doubt that if Martin deals with the travel he will run another great race. This is a really strong field so no pressure on Martin to do anything except race. After all, the running game is about racing, not time trialing. Its about getting out there and enjoying the spirit of competition. Some of that has been lost given the focus on times. Everything is about the perfect race and hitting the time. Qualifying standards are very important, no doubt, but running happy and with a sense of enjoyment is more important. Thats the way Martin will race from now on. Fitter, Happier, and More Productive.

Peace and Much Love

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Tour Of The Battenkill

I rode the tour of the battenkill a couple of weeks ago. It was my first bike race but everything about it being a race ended when the whistle blew. If that sounded cocky it wasn't meant to be. I was wrecked at the end but I am better than Cat. 5 so I found the early pace woefully slow and after an hour of what felt like a warm up I asked Donny Green - another Providence bike rider who is much better than Cat. 5 - to go on a break with me to get something out of the day.

The tour of the battenkill is awesome on so many levels but none more so than the fact that the route is littered with dirt road sections, some of which are very steep - both climbing and descending. Fortunately we had a dry day (although part of me wanted some bad ass Belgian rain, lick of Belgian toothpaste would have only enhanced the experience). It was on one of the early dirt road climbs that we broke away and within a few miles we were gone. Again, no disrespect to the Cat. 5 racers but Donny and I are certainly Cat. 4 level and perhaps even Cat. 3 on a course like that. So we belted away and took 2 min pulls each for the next hour. I felt so much better riding hard and had to remind myself that there was still 40 miles to go, after all I put the A in Amateur when it comes to bike racing. But still, I felt really good. Donny was stronger than me on flat road sections, this was evident in that his pulls on the flats were faster than mine. I was stronger on the hills for the same reasons. Everything was shaping up nicely for us to race in. I wanted to get an idea of what it was like to spring finish (although Donny would have destroyed me in a sprint) With 18 miles to go Donny lost his chain and I waited. We are not team mates but it made more sense to wait because we rode hard for the previous hour. On the next climb a few minutes later I was doing my turn at the front and I didn't notice that I dropped him. I just kept pushing hard (a little adrenaline from stopping maybe) and after my 2-3 minute pull I turned and there was no sign of him. (Donny actually punctured soon after which is why he disappeared) So I put the head down and slammed it home

In running - especially the marathon - we talk about "hitting the wall". Cyclists call it bonking. I thought I bonked on the bike a few times but with 5 miles to go in Battenkill I realized what I thought was a bonk was actually exhaustion, and that bonking is a different level altogether. I rode the last hill and suddenly my quads stopped working. My HR was dropping and I could not generate power. I got over the climb which left me with 6k downhill and flat to the finish. I tucked aero as I could on the downhill and put everything into the pedals over the last 5km flat. Everything meant about 21 mph and rather than make sense of the information on my bike computer I felt like I was on acid (double dipped strawberries is what I believe they were called when we were teenagers) Not that I ever took acid. I couldn't read it and actually started laughing. I was so happy to be bonking knowing that I was going to finish in a few minutes. When I crossed the finish line the town started spinning and nothing mattered to me except fluid - any kind of fluid. I lashed down some water, then Dan Action gave me a beer which I took down in a few minutes and followed that up with the best chocolate milk I ever tasted.

I've no idea why I bonked given the race was only 64 miles and I ate a huge breakfast. I'll put it down to a big effort out front, lack of muscle strength specific to biking, the fact that my training heading into the race was weak at best. The four weeks before Battenkill looked like this:

March 14th to March 20th
Monday: 60 Minutes Trainer w/ 6 x 5 min very hard efforts
Tuesday: 60 Minutes Trainer recovery ride
Wednesday: off
Thursday: 2HRs Scituate Rez - Tempo Loop 35:40 95% effort - solo
Friday: off
Saturday: 3:15 Northern Hill Loop - With Dirt Roads - Joe and Pat T. - Knee Dodgy
Sunday: 90 min Trainer Ride easy spinning to save my knee.
Total: 8:45 Hrs

March 21st to March 27th
Monday: off
Tuesday: off
Wednesday:Trainer Ride 75 Minutes
Thursday: 90 Minute Trainer ride with reps
Friday: off
Saturday: 41 Miles Very easy hilly ride. Mid Atlantic Multi Sport Group 2.5 hrs
Sunday: off
Total: 5:15 Hrs

March 28th to April 3rd
Monday: 80 Minutes Trainer Ride w/ 5 x 5 minutes Hard efforts
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: off
Thursday: off
Friday: off
Saturday: 3:00 ride with 2 laps race effort around Scituate Rez - 1:13:20 - Joe + Pat
Sunday: 4:00 Hrs slow riding - solo - about 75 miles
Total: 8:20 Hrs

April 4th - 10th
Monday: 60 min spin on trainer
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: off
Thursday: 60 min spin on trainer with 30 min tempo
Friday: off
Saturday: 75 minutes on Battenkill course
Sunday: Tour of BattenKill 3:01
Total: 6:16 Hrs

The training was minimal at best. I used to run more when I was just keeping fit. So I have to admit my confidence got a boost because if I can ride well off 4 days a week on the bike I will be able to ride very well off 6 days a week. I fully intend on getting on the hunt over the summer to get back into great shape. My constant stop/start will hopefully turn into consistent training. Biking is not bad.

Big shout to Dave Kellogg, Joe Savic, Dr. Brad M, and Eddie O (who has the best blog on the internet for biking - Fast Eddy's Flandria Cafe) Read that site often and it will make you happy. These guys rode Battenkill with me and all had great efforts. Dave K was on his way to winning the 50+ race but crashed on some very soft sand at the base of a big climb 20km from the finish. She still finished 12th but missed the break off the front. He is an animal. Joe Savic had an excellent day too, finishing 35th. He was hanging on to Dave's group but lost touch on one of the mid way monster climbs. Missing the break cost him a top 20 but he achieved his pre-race goal. Eddy snagged 54th to round out the three 50+ guys in the top half of the field. Awesome. Brad finished 12th in his section of the 45+ cat.5 race. Again, top half of the field and a great performance over the awesome climbs. A great weekend.

Peace and Love

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Diamond Skies

I am still alive, I think. Writing on the blog was something I looked forward to every night and its not like I don't enjoy it anymore. Its just that the information is somewhat irrelevant on a blog about running and music. Perhaps the blog needs revamping. Running will still be a core focus but cycling has become the sport of choice these days. Music is always present, it never hurts, and only offers happiness. A lot has happened in the last month and continues to happen today. Change is inevitable and can be very positive if the happiness is real. Problems follow but fortunately so does joy. I am feeling the joy again and coming to terms with not being able to run anymore. So new days and a better outlook moving forward.
Peace and Love

Monday, March 28, 2011

No More Hanging Around

This song is essential listening. The band is essential listening. For all those who love their dark, nu-wave.
Love Kel

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Let Me Take Control

Thom Yorke is releasing a new single, the first hearing of which apparently took place tonight but I have yet to find both sides. Just Ego which is below and is amazing.

Radiohead's Thom Yorke has released several singles over the past years and, again out of the blue, another one set for release on Monday March 21st on Four Tet’s Text label. Rough Trade have a 12″ vinyl listed by Burial (‘Ego’) backed with a Thom Yorke and Four Tet collaboration entitled ‘Mirror’.The 12″ is available for pre-order starting Today, but the last time we checked the black label single was out of stock. According to Bleep.com, the tracks will get their first airing tonight (Tuesday 15th) on Rinse FM during the Four Tet vs Floating Points 2hr back-to-back.

While I am very happy to hear EGO and its on repeat I'll still spend all night waiting to hear MIRROR as well. I find it interesting that Thom is releasing a single right after the release of TKOL and that he is still in LA, showing up at random club nights as a DJ. Could it mean they are still in the studio recording or does it mean nothing and I am just a looser for spending so much time trying to figure out what these guys are doing rather than figuring out what I'm doing!Its important to note that I am very pissed off about not getting my copy of this record. It sold out in minutes. I am loosing my focus and should have been on this much earlier.

To touch briefly on my knee - its getting a bit better since I saw the doc and he injected me with more cortisone. He actually mentioned maybe doing another surgery, this time a fascia release. I hate to speculate but I think because my leg is short on the right side, all the cycling I have been doing may be contributing to the tightening at the back of the joint. I did get out for some 3 mile runs and while I feel fit I am totally protecting my knee and running slow. Slogging in fact.

So back to listening. Check out the tune, its really beautiful. Maybe better than 6 of the tracks on TKOL? I shouldn't say that. My energy is all over the place, and my knee is hurting, and I'm tired.

Love Kel


Sunday, March 6, 2011

And Now I'll Set You Free

Where did the last three weeks go? Nothing really happened, nothing out of the ordinary anyway. Blogging, like most things, has its ups and downs. One of the downsides is when a few days pass and those days turn into weeks and so on. Given a new Radiohead album I assumed I'd be on here everyday sharing discussion and opinion. But life takes over, persistent knee injury, work, travel, bike riding, socializing and some sleep in mixed in. I've also been reluctant to discuss The King Of Limbs without listening to it 20 or 30 times. So without getting to philosophical or deep I am going to share my short opinion on the record.

Despite only being a few minutes shorter than some other Radiohead records The King Of Limbs has more of an EP feel to it than the long player I expected. I know Radiohead stated that the LP was something of the past but In Rainbows felt like a long record and coupled with the B-Sides their was so much joy. From the off I was disappointed by only 8 tracks. Its not a slight on the band, rather just me being a selfish fan wanting more. This view had me take a look at myself and the other Radiohead fans that have complained about the record. Sometimes, because of our devotion perhaps, we expect nay demand from our band. But really its our choice to follow Radiohead. No one told me it was cool to like Radiohead (although a few years later it seems that is very much the case) I just do. I loved The Bends, I loved OK Computer more. After Kid-A it was a case of fanaticism. But Radiohead don't make music to satisfy me, they make music they want to make, and they put out records and EPs that they are proud of. Who are we to say we want more, or question why certain songs were left off. That was my initial reaction. Where is Present Tense, Open The Flood Gates, Super Collider, Judge, Jury, and Executioner, The Daily Mail? Me Me Me. Its not about me its about a band who are so comfortable in what they do and the direction they are going that with no fanfair they released 8 tracks that they obviously love and while it may not be In Rainbows its still very good. In fact if I knew nothing about Radiohead I would think this album is better than I do now. I suffer from expectation and hope. Expectation is fair, hope is a lost cause.

I remember when many of my friends ripped on Kid-A. Lots of Radiohead fans found the album to be very divisive and ended up turning their back on the band. For me the albums affect has been monumental. And I continue to look back and wonder why so many fans disliked it. I am seeing that same series of events happen right now with The King Of Limbs, and I for one am not going to take some disappointment and let it overshadow the fact that this is still a great record. Coming in at 38 minutes it sees Radiohead in leftfield like never before. Even tracks such as Like Spinning Plates or Worrywort had a melodic feel that was very Radiohead despite the limited instrumentation and more experimental sound. A new sound is every evident on the track Feral which is like a dubstep tune with chopped up and looped Thom Yorke vocals. Something completely different but still very beautiful. See what I'm saying about hearing this album as a neutral. Morning Mr. Magpie is a let down for me, only because I loved Thoms acoustic version on The Most Gigantic Lying Mouth Of All Time. For years I wondered if we would ever see this song see the light of day so naturally I was buzzing when it was listed as one of the tracks. It starts off amazingly but then the loops get too much and I feel it looses its greatness. It may be the first time that I am genuinely disappointed in a recorded version of a Radiohead song. If that is as low as the album gets however its not a bad thing because the track is still decent.

The second half of the record is exceptional. Its only 4 tracks and I have addressed that so looking at it as the second half of the album its as good as anything Radiohead have released. Lotus Flower is magnificent. It will be in contention, along with Codex as my favorite track this year. I have included the video of Lotus Flower below. The parody videos are actually quite funny but for me its one of the best videos I've ever seen. Some people think Thom Yorke is an egomaniac and I think they're nuts. This is how he dances at every live show. His expression of love for the music reminds me of everyone from Kate Bush to Ian Curtis. These are artists that couldn't control the beauty they create and Thom is an excellent example of wearing the passion. The video makes me smile. Codex may even be better. A straight up, melancholy Piano number that harks back to Pyramid Song and Videotape. There is no one that won't like this song unless Thom Yorke sounds to you like nails on a chalk board sound to me. The lyrics are sorrowful and very beautiful. An epic track. We've heard Giving Up The Ghost a few times before. Thom banging his microphone and looping the sound to create a drum loop. The recorded version pays tribute to his live version and unlike Mr. Magpie captures the beauty of the live stripped down version and takes it to a new level. Separater closes the album. Thom is very soulful and four tet sounding drums loop provide a very jazzy soundscape.

The internet has been rife with theories about the closing song "separating" this collection of songs from a King Of Limbs part 2. I bought into it but deep down inside I don't suspect we will see anything soon. Maybe it will be a Kid-A/Amnesiac thing and those other songs I mentioned will be released in a few months. Or maybe its completely coincidental. Either way I have decided not to have expectations or hope.......

Pitchfork Media gave this album a 7.9/10. I like the site and respect some of their reviews and while I didn't agree with everything in the review I did agree with the writer when he said; "A trawl through message boards and social networks leaves the impression that many disappointed fans are still struggling to make sense of the gap between the greatness of the thing they got and the genius of the thing they thought they might get. It's in that gap, when assessing the album overall, that it's easy to get tangled up". This is exactly how I felt. However, The King Of Limbs is a great album and if Radiohead want to go in this direction, shorter records, more experimental, more Thom Yorke, its fine by me. I can't wait to see how the full band perform these songs. Lots of good stuff to look forward to.

Only Pablo Honey is worse than this for me but when dealing with Radiohead something has to be worse than the other stuff and that is not a reflection on this album as such, rather its a reflection on how great the band is. There are very few artists that can produce an album like this so when I say 8/10 after saying its one of my least favorite Radiohead albums you get the picture.

Peace and Love,


Monday, February 14, 2011

The King Of Limbs

This morning Radiohead exclaimed to the world that they are releasing a new album titled 'The King Of Limbs'. The album, the bands 8th studio, will be available in digital download formats MP3 and WAV from this Saturday, Feb 19th. You can also go here and pre-order a Newspaper Album with 2 clear 10" vinyls, a CD, artwork, and obviously a digital download. I Pre-Ordered the Newspaper album, and will also purchase any other limited edition releases that may follow. Word around the campfire is that the album will have 8 tracks. I suspect they will release an EP later in the year given the material they have. Some sites/blogs have started to speculate what the 8 tracks will be but I am trying to avoid playing this guessing game because I don't want to be let down. Although, I really, really, really hope Present Tense is on there. It's my favorite of the new songs played over the last 2 years. I've been on a high all day. I even ran 30 minutes at 80% on the alter-g and my knee bothered me after but I wasn't really fussed. I hammered through a hard bike session tonight and overall I am counting down the hours to Saturday. Radiohead certainly don't follow the norm with their recent album release methods and this is no different. The group has such a cult following that the announcement this morning stating the album will be available in 5 days literally crashed Radiohead sites. Some of the messageboards are still not available. Crazy. Its amazing to see how big the band is given the lack of promotion they do. The album will be released on Radiohead's own Ticker Tape imprint by TBD in North America and XL for the rest of the world outside of Asia. Hostess will take care of that release.  Its going to be a truly magical album, I have no doubt about it.
My knee is improving slowly but surely and my mood is obviously buoyed by this news which helps, I think? This week I will do another 3 runs on the Alter-G and bring my body weight to about 85% of normal. I don't want to pretend I am getting better If I'm not. Likewise I don't want to hurt myself so I'll be very careful. What about Kim Smith running 67:36 for the half marathon? Its a little depressing to think I may never run that fast again! Kim and the Guru Ray Treacy (who had another athlete go sub 4 this weekend) are doing something right. I believe she will win Boston if her training continues to improve over the next 8 weeks. OK, off to the Big Apple tomorrow morning so time to chill.

Love Kel

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Lets Exchange The Experience

Can't believe its been a week since the Boston Indoor Games. The meet was pretty good highlighted by an unbelievable Mens 3k. Mo Farah is one of the toughest runners I've ever seen. As I progress through the years I become less and less interested in the sprints. I'm not talking about the 100m Olympic final, I'm talking general sprints like the Indoor 60m. It was the case once that I stood up for everything track and field but at the indoor games I was dead bored during the sprints and engaged in conversation while watching disinterested. Sorry if I offend any of my sprinting buddies but the distance races make the meet. The 3k really saved the afternoon athletics from being a lackluster affair. The mens and womens mile races take 2nd and 3rd respectively in my picks of the meet.

It was an intense week of rehab on my right peg and we finally made some progress. I managed to coax Mike into letting me jog at 75% body weight on the alter-g. Progress has been slow and I wanted to test it to see if the pain was any different. I walked for a couple of minutes before breaking into a jog for 10 minutes. It was awesome and the first pain free run I've had since March of 09. Of course it wasn't a real run but thats irrelevant, its progress and I either have to loose 45 lbs or more realistically take the positives and keep using the alter-g with slightly more weight added each week. Yesterday I ran 25 minutes at 75% and it was magical. I understand the false hope that the alter-g can present however false hope is better than no hope and no hope is where I've been for the last 2 years.

Mike let me borrow his Game Ready machine. I find icing to be a bit of a pain but the Game Ready has changed that. This thing is awesome and has definitely helped. I might be over doing it but it works great. It ices such a large area and also compresses leaving my calf, hammy and quad feeling like I just took them out of the Boulder Creek after every use. I am using it about 4 times a day for 20-30 minutes. Colleges and Universities all over the NCAA have these machines by the boat load. Kids in college don't know how good they have it. My injury woes didn't really start until after college (with the exception of a stress fracture my freshman year) so I never needed to use the trainers room. Now PC has an awesome facility with these machines and other gadgets that help with healing. College athletes have no excuses and its certainly showing with faster and faster times being recorded every year.
I got the new PJ Harvey album and I'm listening to it now. Just getting into the second half as I write this so I have to reserve judgment until I get through the thing a couple of times. Thus far its very good. More of a low key affair despite the album title the some of the songs seem to reflect sitting in a cottage on a damp, gray afternoon. There is also a lot more melody compared to her earlier records. Her voice sounds excellent and even though I don't get the references to English history which have been regular so far the songs are lyrically rich and deep. I am eager to read about the songs. I came across another band yesterday called Minks. I know nothing about them other than they hail from Brooklyn. There are only a few songs floating around the intertubes but the ones I've heard are brilliant. I'm hopefully going to see them play with Dum Dum Girls in March. They have a Joy Division sounding baseline to their tunes and a post wave thing going on that I love. Check it.

Peace and love

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Good Old Fashion Streaking

I had mixed feelings at the Terrier Classic last Saturday. The fan in me loved watching the 3k and 5k. Especially and very specifically the seeded 3k. David McCarthy ran great and did the lions share of the pacing. He ended up 3rd in 7:53 behind Masters and Korir who ran :53 and :51 respectively. Great racing, and its fantastic to see a Friar on the brink of really big things. And then there is the bitter old man in me who wishes desperately to be out on the track racing in the 3k (or 5k or mile) . It is difficult to separate the two. I work in running so I am around it all the time and believe me that doesn't make it easier. Neither does watching great track races. I'm subjecting myself to more torture this weekend at the Boston Indoor Games. Reebok no longer sponsors the meet so I will try and be a fan and just enjoy it. I know I'll get down, especially given the distance races for men and women are the highlight of the meet with 2 3ks and the mile making up the last 3 races of the program.

After Terrier there were no mixed feelings. Mixed drinks maybe, but only very good + positive feelings. Thom McArdle had a housewarming party and it was awesome, even if it did get a little crazy. I will be moving to Boston to live with Thom in April so it was great to see my new digs, even if I didn't leave my intense conversations in the kitchen all night. I don't really remember mingling at the party, rather I took up residence speaking with one of my new neighbors Tom Coogan about life. It was a great laugh and only went downhill when we hit up An Tua Nua, a dodgy college club on Beacon Street. Even if I can't remember the music there was no stopping me throwing shapes to top 40 music. This is something that everyone who knows me knows I don't do. But there was something in the Whiskey or maybe some demons from the Terrier that resulted in too much energy and I found myself dancing with the many great people from the party. A horrible walk home mind you. And then I passed out and on Sunday, with a headache to beat the band, decided I was never drinking again.

I had a dogfish head 90min IPA last night because I was hanging with Joe Savic and talking cycling. It seems that all I do is talk about training and racing while I get fat. However, the all clear to get on my bike has been given so I will jump in head first and start jamming. Bar Biking this Sunday morning will be a nice launch pad.
The problem with Dogfish Head 90 min IPA is that its simply too nice. I really struggle to only have one. After drinking these and developing a taste for them, anything under 8% kind of tastes like water. Next week the Wild Colonial is celebrating their Birthday with some Dogfish Head Burton Baton on tap. The Burton is 10% and is my favorite beer. To call it beautiful is a disservice. Drinking one pint gives you a buzz and drinking one pint and stopping is literally impossible. I can't do it, and don't want to. I always have a minimum of 2 of these bad boys. At the Colonial next week I'll be upping that so hopefully I can punish myself on the bike before hand and develop a thirst........

I have been really diligent with treatment on the tendinopathy in the back of my knee. Its slowly getting better but I am weeks from attempting running. The eyes are still very wide and very much on the prize but in the meantime its back on the trainer and lots of one hour + easy spinning to wake up the legs and maybe reduce the bloating all over my body.

Memory Tapes is releasing a new album soon. It has no title that I know of yet but he gave us a sneak peek by allowing one of the singles to appear on an anniversary compilation for the London based label Something In Construction. It sounds good.

Love Kel

Friday, January 28, 2011

Happy Happy

I read tonight that Giles Peterson on his Radio 1 show said that the new Radiohead album is DONE. Thats according to Thom Yorke. All pretty good resources I'd say. This kind of news of a Friday night makes me a happy camper. Cold is slowly lifting. My knee is loving the rest. And I am listening to electro pop and drinking tea. Only thing missing is some taxi bars but that I can deal with. My lack of activity has left me feeling fat. Which leads me to beg the question, how the fuck do people not enjoy a little bit of exercise? If that sounded angry it didn't mean to be. I am just very excited at the news. Fortunately the Millrose Games are not even getting me down, but that has more to do with the fact that Tim Hutchings is commentating. He is vastly superior to Dwight and Lewis.

The Tune below might sound a bit cheesey but I could care less. Its lovely Friday night music when there is no wine to share. Sometimes the uplifting sounds hit the spot. Christoph Andersson is from New Orleans and even though his name and music suggest he is a mature French dude, he is in fact just turned 19 and making music thats catchy, sexy, and full of feel good vibes. Only in a world as tragic as the one we live does this guy not even factor and muppits like Justin Bieber are mainstream.

Love Kel

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Nothing A Head Cold Won't Fix

Fortunately my desire (which boarders on insanity at times) to try and workout has been completely squashed due to a brutal head cold I came down with. I haven't had a cold in years. I usually get sick once a year and I'll get some allergy attacks during the spring but right now I have a good old fashioned head cold. The kind that makes your ears hurt and the skin beneath your nose raw from too much nose blowing. I hope its gone by the weekend. The good thing is the fact that I truly have no desire or energy to do anything. That said, the lack of desire to improve is rapidly disrupting my ice schedule. Who wants to put packs of ice on various body parts with a head that feels like its about to explode? Not this guy. I choose to listen to hours and hours of music.

Knee progress is slow. We have kind of figured out that at this stage the surgery was not necessary.  We also know that I should have been treating this like I am now, one year ago! The tendons are inflamed and in order for new collegen (sp.) to develop I need time off, and a lot of it. So far its been three weeks of zero activity. Starting tomorrow I will move into an eccentric loading routine for my calves and hammys. Even though it will hurt, or at least irritate my knee, it is the right thing to do. The pain is down significantly but if I don't do the strength work I'll be back where I started.

Whether or not I get back to running this spring is moot because I am going to focus on getting fit on the bike first. With some big races in the pipeline getting the legs used to riding again is certainly the first order of business. I am not attempting running until sometime in April. We'll see what happens then. I am not holding my breath. But I am accepting what ever happens. The thing is, I can't remember what it is like to be pain free. Thats when you know you've been chronically injured. I literally can't imagine running fast with an effortless stride and NO pain! So if it happens again it will be very welcome.

The snow in Providence has been off the charts. We get a solid foot of snow every other week. Last night the storm was "only" 13 inches and no one seemed really bothered. Thats the sign of a bad winter. I'll be braving what ever snow is around this weekend to check out the Friars run the annual Terrier Classic followed by a gathering at Tommy Macs place. Should be lovely.

Because they are touring NA again and because the quality is really good I need to share a few songs from the Interpol video footage shot at The Williamsburg Music Hall. It up on the Matador website. Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down, such a great tune. A couple other new ones too. Enjoy.

Love Kel

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

We're Not Scaremongering, This Is Really Happening.

Its been 11 days since Surgery and I am no better. In fact, without being dramatic, I'm a lot worse. The swelling after surgery fueled the already damaged tendons in the back of my knee. Now everything hurts. My calf, my hammy, and my popliteus tendon are all screaming at me. I am trying to pull a Jens Voigt by screaming back at them to shut up but its not working. There is another underlying problem that I cannot get to the bottom of. Obviously there is the messed up pelvis and the leg length discrepancy but thats been part of my current make up for years. Another issue could be all the biking. I have not addressed all the biomechanical issues I have while riding the bike, rather I just use pain as a guide. Nothing hurts riding, everything hurts running. Right now after some treatments I should feel improvement. And yet all I feel is more pain and inflammation. I am seeing Dr. McKeon tomorrow but its in the hands of physiotherapy now. Being an orthopedic surgeon his job is to go in and look around. He said my tear was not bad and that the knee itself is in good shape. That means the tendinosis is worse than I thought and I am in for a long PT journey. I'm really trying to stay positive but over the last few days I've lost some hope. Being around running can be very difficult at times. Not that I'd change it but I can see why certain individuals I know have become bitter towards the sport. It does not reward on an even plane. Lots of luck is required. Some of the most talented and hardworking people I know get let down by their bodies while some of the most selfish runners I know (not to mention the drug cheats I don't know) seem to thrive. I don't believe in Karma so I shouldn't focus on this aspect of life but right now I am. Tomorrow I'll wake up and I won't be in a downer mood and I'll fight hard and stay positive, I'll be motivated to fix this knee. Until tomorrow all I have is some wonderful music to listen to, a healthy bag of ice, and an almost full heart.

Speaking of good music. I've been on a techno kick lately. All weekend I listened to minimal and very melodic electronic music. Its been a joy. A friend recommended the artist Oneohtrix Point Never, an ambient electronic music producer from Brooklyn who before Saturday I'd never heard of. His music is stunning. Despite me referring to him as ambient, the music is much more original than that. Synths and strings layered so deep and shrouded in random vocals. The opener is a big chaotic and terrifying but then the album reaches an equilibrium and truly takes me on a journey. My favorite song is below.

Peace and Much Love,


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Days

Some people love Snow Days. I can of course relate to this because I remember once too liking snow days. Maybe I still do, but given the fact that I've been laid low for the last week today really sucked. I am beyond bored. Liverpool got manhandled by Blackpool. My knee is sore from trying to move snow so I could get my car out to attend PT. In the end I didn't even go to PT because more snow came down this afternoon and I couldn't deal with more shoveling. Furthermore Mike was having his own issues keeping the parking lot clear at Foundation Performance. We thought it better for everyone if I put an ice pack on my knee. So I did, and I continue to. Boring. I need to start exercising or something.

I visit youtube more than any other website. Today I listened to about 50 songs, all live versions, all on youtube. I love how I can type in a song name and put live on the end to reveal an endless list of versions. Go to most viewed and more often than not its a great camera and great sound. What did we do before the internets? Read? We all know TV is shite so thats not an option. Although outside of watching the Reds embarrass themselves I also watched Obama speak on the campus of the University of Arizona. I thought he did a remarkable job. The cheering was a bit bizarre but by the end it was appropriate. I also youtubed Sarah Palins response to the shootings and I realized that its a mild form of torture to listen to her speak for 8 minutes. Hers was the opposite of Obama's, empty, insincere and all about herself.

Wolf Parade performed an in-studio session with CBC's Q Live. I posted the only available song here a few weeks ago but now the whole show is available. What Did My Lover Say was the song I was really looking forward to hearing/seeing. The performance is awesome and really displays the musicianship of the group. The video has 188 views right now and I think I contributed in a significant way........

Back to treatment on these tendons at the back of my knee. Tomorrow I will get more deep tissue work and hopefully some gentle spinning on the bike. I need to sweat, I'm literally bouncing off the walls here.

Peace and Love,

Monday, January 10, 2011

Strange Scene It Is

Good first day in with Mike Silva at Foundation Performance. Mike reckons my range of motion is way ahead of where it should be. I actually walked a brisk 10 minutes at 80% body weight on the Alter-G trainer. A lot of my issues come from some really bad binding up on the lateral side of my calf, right where it inserts into the back of the knee. I need a lot of deep tissue work. I am going to go as much as I can - so if anyone knows a trainee therapist who wants to work for tips, my calf and hammy is all yours.
When I complain of still feeling that familiar pain, Mike thinks its just the inflamed tendon but the root cause is taken care of so all I need to do is get my calf and hammy nice and long/loose, and get into a strengthening routine with minimal running. I'll do Alter-G this time. I kind of blew it off last time because I was on the road so much. Good first day of treatment. More of the same tomorrow. I am listening to The Radio Dept a lot tonight and Never Follow Suit has become a bit of a favorite right now. Its lovely.



The Radio Dept. "Never follow suit" from Labrador Records on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lets Sing A Song On The Way Back Home

I've been caning the Twin Shadow record Forget all day. And he did a daytrotter session that fills me with joy. You should check it out. Its been a tough weekend as I am not one who sits around doing nothing. In fact I struggle with it more than most. But it had to be done. I start PT tomorrow and I can't wait. The swelling has really subsided which for a notoriously slow healer like myself is a real positive. However the lingering and all to familiar pain I feel in the back of my knee is a big negative. I don't want to get down on this before I start rehab but being honest I can still feel the same ache. Dr. McKeon, in all fairness, did say that he is pretty sure that the tear was only one part of my pain and that the tendons behind my knee were inflamed and that tendinitis is another issue I need to sort out. So back to Mike and the crew at Foundation Performance for a gallant and committed effort to get this right. I am lucky to have Coxy as my boss because he is allowing me the freedom to get the therapy. Not that I'll be shirking my work duties.

Another huge positive is that Moonface (Spencer Krug) is touring this year with one date announced for May in Montreal. I bought a couple of tix and I am already beside myself with excitement. I have no idea how the show is going to work out. Is he going to have a band or is he going to be behind a bunch of looping keyboards? Whatever way he chooses to bring us the music I have no doubt it will be very special.

A nice live session from Twin Shadow below. Check it.

Love Kel

TWIN SHADOW "SHOOTING HOLES" from Yours Truly on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Small Tear, Big Pain

The operation was, at least according to the Dr., a success. The tear was small but very central and the flap was irritated during all weight baring activity. That explains why it was so sore during expo's or any long periods of standing. In fact it was worse when standing than running! The days prior to surgery I ran 5 miles on the treadmill and it explained a lot to me. Day one, 5 miles wasn't too bad. A dull pain that got worse when I stopped. Day 2 I made it to 4.5 and really hurt during the last .5 mile. Afterward my knee, calf and even my foot were all very sore. A minor tear can be dealt with but when irritated it can create a lot of pain. I just happen to keep irritating it so I'm happy its gone.

So the plan is to take it VERY easy over the next month. I am treating this like an ACL injury. I want to get better and the only way is to take it slow, do all the rehab and focus on biking as my primary exercise. I believe that by summer I'll have the top off and the split shorts on (or half tights more likely) and I'll be doing tempo runs around the Coogan loop on the east side. At least thats the small dream.

Might have to reward myself with a Burton Baton at the Colonial tonight. We'll see.

Peace and Love,


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

General Anesthetic

Tomorrow I am going under general anesthetic for the 5th time in 4 years. And once again I am getting more parts of my knee removed so that I can function and run occasionally. I developed another tear because I did not rehab correctly after my last surgery and decided that hammering on the bike was completely normal. I now have another tear near the center of my knee. Some people get nervous about surgery but I have actually had more knee surgery than visits to the dentist in the last 4 years. Its pretty easy and comfortable. Couple of celebrex first. A bed to chill out in and get wheeled around in. A quick chat with the doctor in the O.R. then you wake up thinking it hasn't started yet but in fact its been finished for an hour. No dreams just a blink.

What has me somewhat concerned is the question of whether or not I should bother with trying to be able to run. Obviously my body is telling me something. 12 stress fractures, 5 knee surgeries, a blocked nerve in my back that kept me out for a year? Maybe this machine is meant to do something else. But then there is the addiction. That is the challenge because none of the injuries I've sustained in  he last few years would have happened had I accepted that I no longer tolerate hard training and that I should just enjoy the running subculture for what it is. I should just run local races and dive headfirst into the craic afterward. That is what I intend on doing this time. If my knee is fixed its only one part of the problem because my left knee, as anyone who reads this knows, is forever cooked. BUT I can tolerate small running loads and my right knee is the one preventing me from even doing that.

So the plan of attack is to finally get my right knee fixed by removing the remaining meniscus. Take full recovery time, as in pretend I have no interest in running. Ride the bike and compete on the bike. Then as the summer approaches build up to running 40 miles a week in 5 runs and run local 5ks to show the new upstarts that it takes more than fancy running gear to drop the old folks.

It should be good but then again it could also be a big waste of time. Either way I am fired up to finally fix this knee because running aside its been a kick in the balls for the last year. Every expo, every event, and every time I wake up dehydrated it hurts bad. This shouldn't be the case. The doc will give me video of the surgery which I'll post here. Technology = awesome. They can stick a camera in to record the process, I love that stuff.

Peace and much love,


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Albums Of The Year

I've had this list done for a week now but laziness prevented me from putting it up here. Better late than ever. So, like the song list for the most part this list is very interchangeable. I read top 100 album lists and can't fathom how someone puts it into order. I have 15 albums with some honorable mentions. It is important to note that some of these albums are obvious but that my favorite album made hardly any lists this year. Music is exceptionally personal and can speak in many different ways. The live experience alone can take an album to new heights, something that happened me this year with many albums. It was a very good year  for music and with 2011 hopefully bringing a new Radiohead masterpiece to the world it looks like the good times are going to keep rolling.

Honorable Mention
Working For A Nuclear Free City - Jojo Burger Tempest
Stars - The Five Ghosts
Superpitcher - Kilimanjaro
Xiu Xiu - Dear God I Hate Myself

15. Beach House - Teen Dream

Beach House - NORWAY

I got into this album late in the year after so many people suggested it to me. I wish I listened more this summer because the lush vocals and arrangement are really bright and complex. Polished from start to finish. This album will take Beach House from opener to headliner in 2011.

14. Pantha Du Prince - Black Noise

Pantha Du Prince - STICK TO MY SIDE

I had to put an album full of the techno sound on my year end list. The turntables might be gathering dust and I don't hit the tiles like I once did but forever dance music, dark clubs, and hours rocking out to DJ's will be part of my life. I loved this album because it incorporates the minimal techno I've grown to love (thanks to the label - Kompakt)  but more than that it blends the classic techno sound with house music and layers upon layers of melodic strings and synths. An album that will appeal to a wider audience, and so it should. Fantastic.

13. The National - High Violet

The National - CONVERSATION 16

Lots of my friends don't understand why I don't LOVE The National. It can get annoying, and while I shouldn't take it out on the band it does at times make me not want to like The National. So in all honesty I listened to this album through a lot over the last few weeks to really give it a true opinion and the truth that I found was solid. Its a very good album and very immediate. One listen and the songs make sense and are memorable. The album is stripped bare and disjointed yet is huge in production. Infectious hooks are layered over thundering drums, sweet strings and keys, and the vocals carry it all. Matt Berninger does melancholy very well, his baritone lending itself to this style. But he can still come across warm and very sincere. I've read that he is America's Morrissey, a comparison I disagree with but I can see his uniqueness and even appreciate it. That said, The National will never be a favorite band of mine. The music reminds me of Coldplay in many ways. I can see The National continuing to make bigger sounding music and reaching stadium levels.  

12. The Radio Dept. - Clinging To A Scheme

The Radio Dept. - HEAVENS ON FIRE

A straight up romantic, bittersweet pop record. I never got bored of it and the twists and turns in music style kept me going back. Not to mention the lyrics which run like a social commentary on the loss of communication and increased corporate control laced with hypocrisy. The Swedes have been churning out fantastic music over the last few years and long may it last.

11. Glasser - Ring

Glasser - APPLY

Just like the first time I listened to Bat For Lashes, Glasser immediately made me stop what ever I was doing, take a deep breath and the find out more.  I listened to Ring straight through and loved it. There are no bad moments on the album. Tribal drums, chanting, swirling pads, and a magical vocal. The music is mysterious and for me very uplifting. A beautiful record.

10. Warpaint - The Fool

Warpaint - COMPOSURE

Apparently this band has been around for a long time but this is their first full length. The Exquisite Corpse EP had some highlights and I imagined that they had a few starters prior to that, I was wrong. I guess it was worth the wait however because The Fool is magnificent. I was hypnotized by the song Undertow when I listened to it on a blog a little while ago. I downloaded it and swiftly followed up with the album (who says blogs don't encourage the purchase of music?) The vocals are haunting and the music infectious. Mesmerizing.

09. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

Arcade Fire - SPRAWL II

I really like the highlights on this album and only because they are so good does the album sit in the top 10. I believe that they could have removed 4 or 5 filler tracks and still got the concept/theme across in a more concise and immediate manner. When the British journos tried to tell me that this album was better than OK Computer I nearly lost it. In fact the suburban sprawl imagery with subdivisions and malls was already covered in the Ok Computer accompanying EP Airbag - How Am I Driving.  The theme is where the comparisons need to stop. Anyway, the album is still very good. I loved some of the songs and I get it, everyone will. This is a brilliant and very talented band that keep it real. Epic live show and to produce when the expectations are so great is a true testament to the song writing.

08. Four Tet - There Is Love In You


One of my most listened to albums this year. Kieran Hebden stripped his sound down, keeps the jazzy drum loops low and layers repetitive vocals and synths on top. He simplified the music and delivered for me an album that I can listen to while killing myself during a bike workout or while drinking a beer in a dark room. The production crisp and polished. The songs swirl and carry the mood. Even if house music is not your thing this album will strike a chord because it has so much more to it. You'll forget the mundane and travel to a place much more colorful.

 07. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening

LCD Soundsystem - I CAN CHANGE

The last release by LCD Soundsystem so James Murphy decided to go out on a very high note. One of my big regrets was missing this album tour. Dates didn't work out but I imagine the performance was mighty. The opening track, my favorite Dance Yrself Clean encompasses the best of LCD Soundsystem, soft vocals roll along until a synth is looped in and the song turns into a rave. From here the album rolls along with highlight after highlight. It is very sad if this is indeed the last we'll see of LCD Soundsystem but if it is we have been left with great memories, and a final release thats simply a class apart.  

06. Interpol - Interpol

Interpol - ALL OF THE WAYS

This was a very unheralded release and I have no idea why. Maybe I love Paul Banks voice and it blinds me from the rest of the music. But that can't be it because I love the music, the arrangement, the lead guitar  and the dark swirling sounds.  This album explores those dark sounds better than the last release and harks back to the amazing first album. We are brought on a melodic journey through orchestral crescendos and hypnotic, looping lyrics. Moody rock music that lifts me up. And while I thought by now that Interpol would be huge it seems like Paul is content with their popularity.  His live performances were magical this year and he was more playful to the crowd than I'd seen on any of the previous album tours. I think this record should have fared a lot better.

05. Future Islands - In Evening Air

Future Islands - INCH OF DUST

This is from-the-heart post nu wave pop music at its very best. Despite the strong influence of 80's sounds this band has delivered a unique and very fresh record. Sam Herring has one of the original stand alone voices in pop music today. He cuts up the post wave synths with everything from heartfelt whispering to all out thunderous wailing. Emotive and inspiring this album may encourage dancing or thinking but for sure will encourage repeat plays.

04. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles 2

Crystal Castles - NOT IN LOVE

They might be difficult, they may have an unusual relationship with fans, and they may have been too lazy to name the second album but I don't care. In fact I am not sure where they will go next because they have mastered the 8-bit sound and at times on this album I can't imagine it getting any better. The sound of Alice Glass shrieking over pulsating synths and drums makes me so happy. And especially on songs like "Not In Love", we are seeing more of the vocal side of Alice Glass and it gives me hope that there is an evolving sound. Whether the sound be ferocious or deeply emotional it belongs to Crystal Castles, there is simply no one like them.  They have their style and its magic.

03. Twin Shadow - Forget

Twin Shadow - FORGET

This album took me by surprise. I never heard of Twin Shadow but read that it captures the nostalgia of the 80's high school dance better than M83's Saturday = Youth did. Big claims. So I listened and fell in love. There is certainly a part of me that regrets not listening to more music when I was growing up. Obviously I was too young to appreciate the 80's but by the time I got into music it was the Rave sound or Brit Pop. However, a lot of that music has become dull and I love the wave of 80's inspired music that has been hitting the shelves over the last few years. While many albums have hit the spot, this has hit the bullseye. Twin Shadow is George Lewis Jr. and he uses a difficult childhood and his inspirations from 80's nu wave pioneers to create his masterpiece. Because of how catchy the songs are its easy to overlook the depth of lyrics but don't. They are honest and very telling. He is the breakout star of 2010. Someone on a blog somewhere said this needs to be a soundtrack to a Brett Eston Ellis book, and I couldn't agree more.

02. Jonsi - Go


As each of the Sigur Ros albums evolved, more color was added. Its almost like Jonsi deliberately penned the albums in this way. Med Sud introduced the most color, it was Sigur Ros summertime album.  And then when it couldn't possibly get any sweeter Jonsi gave us this. To appreciate this album you have to let your guard down and accept that Jonsi does moody atmospherics brilliantly and does up beat, overly happy brilliantly as well. He literally tied a knot around the sun and brought it a little closer. However to further appreciate the album one needed to see the live concert. I was fortunate enough to witness the magic on 2 occasions. Coupled with the B-Sides Go is a collection of work that truly inspires. The tears of joy could be seen all throughout Terminal 5 in New York by the end of the show. I know that at times there is almost a cheesy element to the album, Animal Arithmetic for example, but thats ok. The album is supposed to be happy. Even on the atmospheric tracks, bliss over powers darkness. Everyone needs a little color and happiness. I certainly did and I found it here. I'm ready for some new Sigur Ros, but 2010 was the year of Go.

01. Wolf Parade - Expo 86

Another album that didn't make any of the lists I read and enjoy so much. I tend to become obsessive about bands and albums. I try to go to as many shows as I can and I listen relentlessly if it hits the spot. Wolf Parade were that band this year. I was lucky to see them in concert 7 times and I will forever regret missing the opportunity to sit on the tour bus and travel from Austin to Dallas to see them again.
Expo 86 is not a flawless album it just happens to be the album I listened to more than any other this year and the highlights are exceptional. The concept of the band is difficult with 2 singer/songwriters splitting up the duties. I prefer everything Spencer Krug does and on Expo 86 its no different. However, Dan's songs on the record are really strong too which gives the album a more complete feel. Wolf Parade embrace the big sound and it really packs a punch from start to finish. It's most likely not everyones cup of tea. Spencer takes a different approach to song writing with obscure lyrics and lots of layers that build and build, along with his wailing voice. Dan on the other hand builds his songs around infectious hooks and the songs play like straight forward rock songs. Together however it seems to work, at least for me it does. In a live setting its really joyful and they play off each other really positively. Expo 86 is catchy, extravagant, dancy, and full of drama. A listen straight through will leave you needing a nap. Much like the live shows they pour their heart and soul into the performance. So much emotion and power. One of the most underrated bands on the planet.