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Saint Paul Downtown Criterium

The 2010 Nature Valley Grand Prix got underway on Wednesday, June 16 in Saint Paul.

The morning Time Trial event started with nearly 300 men and women riders competing in “the race of truth.” That evening, the first criterium races were held in downtown Saint Paul.

While a new venue, downtown Saint Paul drew several thousand spectators and provided the pro bike racers with a longer, more challenging, course. The end result proved to be exciting with a sprint finish in the women’s race, with HTC Columbia rider Chloe Hosking grabbing the win. Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling) and Shelley Evans (Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12, finished second and third respectively.  The men’s race was dominated by Kelly Benefit Strategies for the first 37 laps. In a shake down during the last three laps, United Healthcare p/b MAXXIS grabbed the front. The international finish included Australian Hilton Clark and Kiwi rider Karl Menzies (riding for United Healthcare) finishing 1 and 2; and Italian Luca Damiani (Kenda Pro Cycling p/b GearGrinder) finishing in third.

Thursday night, the racers traveled to Cannon Falls where they met with unfavorable weather that included National Weather Service-issued tornado watches, hail and high winds reaching 60 miles per hour. The men’s race got started as planned at 5 p.m. Central time, but by 5:35, officials decided not to start the women riders on the 66-mile road course; and the men were called back in with the race being neutralized.

Friday night, the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis will once again get the Minneapolis Criterium along the popular sections of Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street. The one-mile-long course is pancake flat and includes plenty of turns where the anticipated crowd of 15,000 will be able to enjoy all the racing action.

Full race results are available here: http://www.naturevalleybicyclefestival.com/Grand-Prix/Results/2010-Results/St–Paul-Crit-Men.aspx

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In Shakespeare’s “Loves Labours Lost,” Don Adriano De Armado found himself wondering about the colors of love. Moth schools him on the nuances between women who display the obvious sea green of envy and those who hide between the white and red of fear and humility.

If she be made of white and red,

Her faults will ne’er be known,

For blushing cheeks by faults are bred

And fears by pale white shown:

Then if she fear, or be to blame,

By this you shall not know,

For still her cheeks possess the same

Which native she doth owe.

A dangerous rhyme, master, against the reason of white and red.

Whatever your color, show it. Be real.

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It’s heeeeeeeeeere: 2009. Well almost here. It’ll be here when we’re all kissing our sweethearts on New Year’s Eve and falling into bed at 12:06 a.m.

I’m not a resolution guy.  Perhaps it’s because resolutions like, “I will exercise more,” only focus on the “do” in our lives and not on the “be.”  And the “do” we do is done for all the wrong reasons. We “do” something so we can “have” something so we can “be” something else. When we fail on the “do,” the wheels of the plan come off entirely.

So instead of resolving to do something, I’m focusing on being.  It starts with  finding the one area of life you want to positively change, then selecting a word to guide you through the year. Pick a word to remind you to live life on the “be” level.  Instead of “get fit” (do), perhaps you choose the word “health” and focus on making healthy choices the entire year.

My word? Bold.

Short back story: Through the past couple of decades, I got rutted in letting life happen to me. In that time many positive and wonderful things did happen. But I didn’t necessarily play a hand in carving the path with my own machete. No, the path was mostly pre-paved leading to a glass that was just three-quarters full when it should be brimming. My word “bold” will enable me to top off the glass each day – living life intentionally at work, in relationships, at home, in my desire to be fit and happy et al.  With this in the forefront, I’ll change behavior, live more purposefully and take myself out of life on the periphery.

I’ve already practiced using my word in recent weeks. It’s presented me with challenges and  anxious moments resulting in sleepless nights, like any shift in life presents. Being bold has risks, but it’s a step in a direction I must take. Plus, it’s exhilarating to hear my own voice when I say out loud the things that would have previously gone unsaid or take action on something I would have only thought (mightily) about.

I’ll kick bold into full throttle in January and post on my successes and failures during the year.

In the meantime, I’ve picked this John Mayer cover of “Bold as Love” by Jimi Hendrix as my theme song. We all need anthems in life.

Happy New Year. Make it a bold one.

Lyrics

Anger he smiles, towering in shiny metallic purple armour
Queen jealousy, envy waits behind him
Her fiery green gown sneers at the grassy ground

Blue are the life-giving waters taken for granted
They quietly understand
The once happy turquoise armies lay opposite, ready
But wonder why the fight is on

But they’re all, they’re bold as love, yeah
They’re all, they’re bold as love, love, love
They’re all, they’re bold as love
Just ask the axis

My red is so confident, he flashes trophies of war
And ribbons of euphoria
Orange is young, full of daring
But it, it’s very unsteady for the first go round

My yellow in this case is not so mellow
In fact I’m trying to say it’s frightened like me
And all these emotions of mine keep holding me from
Giving my life to a rainbow like you

But I’m, I’m bold, I’m bold as love, yeah
I’m bold, I’m bold as love, love, love
I’m bold, I’m bold as love
Just ask the axis

He knows, he knows, he knows
He knows everything

I’m, I’m bold, I’m bold as love, yeah
I’m bold, I’m bold as love, ohh
Been talkin’ to ya
I’m bold, I’m bold as love, yeah.

P.S.  Be sure to wait an extra second on New Year’s Eve before planting that first kiss. A leap second has been added to the clock by the U.S. Naval Observatory. This will be the 24th leap second added since 1972. Thanks U.S. Naval Observatory clock watchers.

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Seven Imitable Skills

In all my glorious insomnia-filled thinking, I’ve IDed a passel of skills needed in order to co-exist in the world of relationships. Some more important than others, clearly, but the following appear relevant and necessary if one hopes to find and maintain a relationship with a member of the opposite sex.

  1. Confidence. (I repeat, confidence, not cockiness. Big difference.) It doesn’t have to ooze from every pore, but if you lack confidence you will find yourself keeping the bartender company. Women smell its antithesis from across the room – maybe from across the street.
  2. Smarts. Sports trivia and alcohol percentages of various beverages may roll off your tongue, but they’re just one leg of the three-legged stool of intelligence. To survive on the planet as a couple, not a single, make a legit attempt to read the headlines (at least) in Sections A, B, C, and E of the New York Times.
  3. Self-deprecation. Look it up in Webster’s. Find the ability from within to poke fun at yourself and laugh at your gaffes (because you will have your share). If the serious mask never comes off, you’ll sink like a brick of Velveeta on Late Night’s “Will It Float?”.
  4. Grooming. Toenails yellow? Elbows sloughing skin? Does your blackened front tooth, loosened during a pickup ball game last spring, remain your badge of honor? Fix yourself up, man! Try deoderant then work yourself toward, say, flossing. Seriously, groom EVERYWHERE, not just the obvious…ahem…locations.
  5. Rhythm. This might be a tough one for some. But take note, if you’re dating you will be required to dance at least once. It won’t be optional. Learn to keep to the beat. Do NOT feign a torn ACL mid-way through an R. Kelly song.
  6. Conversant. You can’t risk that the girl you’re with will be the talker. There will be times when you’re required to start and carry the conversation – or at least articulate your thoughts and insights. (Helpful Hint: Keep three or four timely “talking points” in your head to fall back on if the convo lulls awkwardly.)
  7. Aware. If your world centers squarely on you all the time, you may have stumbled on the root cause of all your short-term relationships. Take off the “me” blinders and pay attention to the words coming from her lips. Then graduate to discovering, through osmosis and the telepathy, the things she never says but really means.

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I’m a seemingly “nice” guy. At least that’s the feedback I receive from those who know me. Family members, friends, co-workers, and even fellow bloggers have described me as “nice.”

Gag! The Pilver likens me to the character, Paulie, from the popular movie “Juno.”

For a divorced dad who is nearly 43-years-old, being nice isn’t the worst thing I could be. However, in my rarified dating and post-divorce relationship experiences, the adjective nice doesn’t seem to make a lot of women swoon.

So I’m asking you, my female readers (all two of you…that’s an approximation), what adjectives do you prefer to think of when thinking of the man who is most likely to make you breathe a little shallower, feel a slightly dizzy when you catch his eye, or make you weak in the knees when he brushes up next to you in the proverbial checkout lane.

I really want to know. Enlighten this “nice” guy, won’t you?

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Serial Daters

I do not want to be a member of the Serial Dating Club (SDC).

Serial daters really never make progress in relationships. They’re too busy dating multiple people, thus giving those they’re dating the idea that they’re a player, or not able to commit, or secretly wishing that someone better may come along.

In the past 48 hours, I had three dates with three different women. Seriously, I needed my Sunday to relax and recover from being “on” from Friday night through late Saturday evening and it became clearly problematic when I found myself unable to remember what I had told to whom. Fortunately the stories are all the same, but I don’t want a woman to think I’m crazy when I start sounding like a broken record.  So I preface stories with the standard, “Stop me if I told you this already.”

The goal here is to keep it simple and not complicate the dating process. That’s proving to be a hard task to accomplish.

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Hips

Hip

He rested his cheek on her hip. The warmth of her soft skin radiated through his face, and with his eyes closed he could swear he heard her smile.

As he thought about how they met and how their relationship unfolded, quickly but not so dangerously fast that they’d lost their good sense, he realized something profound. Her hand touched his shoulder and she stirred, rolling slightly to her side.

She was not normal and that suited him just fine. The normal ones eventually focused on material things, bored easily…true colors exposed. They quickly transitioned their compliments into complaints once settled into a relationship. The similarities that first served as a connection became disorders of the highest order.

Not this time. For weeks that turned to months, she stayed herself just as she was when they were introduced. Steady. Uncompromising. Collected. Confident.

In her own subtle, exogenous way, lying there simply breathing, she embodied all he ever thought he’d require in life.

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Photo: “Hip” by imemgee.

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