Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tuesday night bike time trial

The last bike time trial of the season was Tuesday, and team "Lost Faculties" did pretty well. I did the 8 miles in 17:43 (27.1 mph) and my training buddy Jon did it in 18:17, which were good rides for both of us. Next up for me is the Longhorn triathlon on October 5th.

Results of 8 mile bike time trial
(I'm 5th place)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Investment comment

The recent stock market ups and downs have caused me to think about our investments. I've decided not to make any changes for now. So this means that we remain invested in a fairly diversified way, but with an overweighting in international stock mutual funds. Because of the rules of our 401K and 403b retirement plans, we are mostly restricted to Fidelity mutual funds (largest holdings are FEMKX, FSIIX, FICDX, FSTMX), but we also have a Vanguard REIT index fund (VGSIX) and some CREE stock, which is a semiconductor company involved in LED lighting. With our regular (non-retirement) savings, we are "rate chasing", taking advantage of various promotions and bonuses at a variety of banks and credit unions scattered around the US. This gets us a high and safe yield on our short-term savings.

A good source of information for rate chasing can be found at the Bankdeals blog. This is where I found out about the Wachovia way-2-save accounts (9% yield for the year if opened last Feb.), WaMu savings-for-success (6.5% yield if opened last March), a Patelco credit union 7% CD special, and several others. I check Bankdeals a few times a week, the web address is

Its been a pretty rough ride lately, but I am cautiously optimistic that if we just stay the course and don't sell into panics, then things will eventually work out.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Anoli lizards

Our yard is almost filled with native plants, with very little regular grass. So we have lots of butterflies, spiders, bees, anoli lizards, and the occasional possum and raccoon. I particularly like the anoli lizards, which hunt insects. The males sometimes display pink skin on their necks.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Prairieman half-iron triathlon

After a couple of good races in a row, I had a tough one that did not go entirely as planned. The 1.2 mile swim and the 56 mile bike went fine, and the 13.1 mile run started out OK. But I wilted badly on the last 9 miles of the run, I think due to not coping well with the heat. I struggled to finish in 4:59, 15th place out of about 175.

Positive things about the experience were I had an excellent bike ride, doing the 56 miles in 2:25, riding easy and finished the bike with fresh legs. Also, I was first in my age group. I am realizing that it is not easy to put together a good half-iron triathlon on a hot day. So I will be sure to appreciate it when I do get it to work next time, hopefully at the Longhorn triathlon on October 5.

Results of the Prairieman half-iron triathlon