Sunday, August 31, 2008

Easy to please

Sunday, 31 August

I thought last Saturday was about the best day one could hope for: sunshine, 8 hours on the bike, and I was grinning from ear to ear. Well, today was a whole lot different, including some rain and not-so-warm temps, but I'm competitive enough (although I deny it 99% of the time!) and take enough satisfaction in doing things that are a challenge for me that in the end it was a pretty rewarding day.

Today is Day Two (stages 2 and 3) of the Eugene Celebration stage race. Stage 2 was a 7-ish mile TT, mostly flat with maybe a 1/2 mile of stairstep rollers up to the turnaround. I got to preride the course twice for a warmup, mostly just spinning leftover "stuff" out of my legs from the hard effort of stage 1 (a lot of getting pushed around in the wind and hanging on for dear life in the second half of the race went the tempo went up by about 4 mph). In the TT, I didn't seem to be making much progress in catching my 30-second person, which was not so satisfying, but I was consistently riding in the 55x11, so I figured my tempo was pretty good. After the turn, I started reeling riders in, which gave me something to focus on besides watching for the mile markers. And still I was in my 11, so the wind must've been a crosswind both directions?

When I finished, my husband confessed that he had loaned his aero wheels to Becka, who doesn't own such things and was just going to TT on her regular wheels. That was OK--better to get more use out of that stuff, right?--until we come to find out that she beat me by just 18 seconds to win the stage. I was second, which made me darned happy.

I had an extra race today. The promoter threw in a tandem crit before the stage race crits started, and I raced it with him. Sal is too busy putting on the race to get to ride himself, so this was his one effort of the weekend--and he decided to make the most of it. We hung in there with the other bikes (including one with a rack and a mirror on the handlebars) for about 1.5 laps, and then Sal took off. The other bikes responded, then didn't, then couldn't catch us, and we rode the rest of the race solo off the front. Thanks to Henry and Web Cyclery for putting up the prizes for this race (we passed ours off to the next bike in the race)!

Then the serious racing started. And the rain showers. Just before a shower it would get super windy, then dump, then the sun would come out, but never long enough to quite dry things out. The women 1-2-3 crit was on mostly wet roads but it didn't rain during our 45 minutes. Even so, I was chilled after the race and it took me a long time to get warm. I got dropped a couple of times in the first 6-8 laps, but got back on. I managed to hang onto the pack until the last 200 meters, which was better than I had expected an hour before the race (rain, legs tired from tandem race, etc.).

Then we got to put the icing on the cake, so to speak. Dinner at Laughing Planet: a burrito with black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes, collard greens, brown rice, and tempeh. It was divine. I mean, when you've just raced your bike, you don't really want some high-falutin' food over umpteen courses that always comes with slow service. This was tasty AND healthy AND fast. And across the street is the Sweet Life Patisserie, which I know I post about every time I'm in Eugene. There are always too many choices, and I think what I select is like rolling the dice: if the wait staff asked me 15 seconds sooner or later what I wanted, my answer would be different. Tonight I had a chocolate cheesecake tartlet with peanuts and caramel sauce on top and chocolate frosting around the edges (OAD had the strawberry cheesecake). Undoubtedly more calories than the preceding burrito! :) And a sugar buzz to keep me awake long enough for the drive to the hotel and unloading the car.

Tomorrow is the Wolf Creek stage. Just 42 miles, a bunch of climbing, including one 4-mile climb, and then lots of descending and flat time trialing to the finish, which is at the top of two more climbs at the King Estate Winery. We don't start until 2 in the afternoon, so it will be a late trip home!

Friday, August 29, 2008


Friday, 29 August

Those folks in Oregon get so caught up in the cyclocross season that they have to organize their 2009 road calendar before they get distracted by mud for a few months. The "very, very, very preliminary calendar" is posted at:

It already poses some heart-wrenching (for me) stage race conflicts: Willamette vs. DRVTT, and Elkhorn vs. Hood. Plus there's a new SR in The Dalles the weekend before Willamette/DRVTT. Steve Rapp is not going to be happy! (But what an awesome training camp that would be: SR, training rides in Hood River, then DRVTT--wow!) Plus there's a new amateur version of Hood. And notice that Cascade is at the end of July--in case you thought it couldn't be even hotter in Bend! Looks like they moved the TTT to the Peoria course, though, where there won't be 16 corners to navigate per lap, in a paceline: good call, IMHO.

Here's an early shout-out for what will probably be the best new road race of the season: the Twickenham Road Race on 2 May. If you like empty roads and long climbs, this is the race for you. It's time for a new generation of racers to make post-race memories at the Shamrock in Fossil. :)

I'm off this weekend for the final SR of 2008, Eugene Celebration. The anticipated excitement at this race is in the cat 4 women's field. It's the final race in their cat 4 women's series, and a Veloforma road frame goes to the series winner. Added to the mix is the rumor that some WA women are headed south in the hunt for upgrade points to finish off their season. With two road races plus crit and TT, there should be a lot of good racing. And I might get to race the crit twice, if I can just find a tandem partner with a bike....

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Trial and...not for me

Thursday, 28 August

As I've done the last two years, I'll close out my season with a time trial. It has a lot of climbing, so you don't want to use your TT bike, but it has some descending too and one nice flat stretch along the Deschutes River. So I thought I'd try clip-on TT bars to see if they would offer the best of both worlds. Lots of people have suggested this is the way to go. This morning was my test drive.

Because the clip-ons and the arm rests take up most of your handlebar area, you have fewer choices for positioning. You are limited to riding on the hoods or riding on the aero bars. There's no changing your hand position to shift the load on your shoulders and back.

Because the bike is still fitted for the regular bars, the aero position is awkward. My pelvis rotates forward, which changes how my hip flexors engage and changes how my quads and hamstrings work together. It also changes the pressure points on the saddle. And it keeps you from using your core muscles to support your back.

I can see that if you trained with these, and this is the position your muscles were expecting when you got on the bike, they might work for you. But they are not something I'll be changing to for a race in 8 days.

Oh, and two other detractions: they weigh almost 1.2 pounds. And they did not make me go any faster. So what's the point?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Introductory women's rides

Tuesday, 26 August

These rides really are intended to show interested non-racers a little bit about the women's side of bike racing. The rides are for women only, and the goals are to help women feel more confident riding in groups, to introduce them to local women racers (from the long-time cat 4 to the national-level racer), and to give them the opportunity to explore the possibilities that bike racing offers. Please do send this information to anyone you know who might be interested.

Intro to Women’s Cycling and Racing Teams
Sundays: September 21 and 28, October 5 and 12

Join us for the third annual Intro to Women’s Cycling and Racing Teams! In late September and early October, a combination of women from many of the local racing teams will host Sunday rides similar to the Saturday Meet the Teams rides, with the exception that this ride is for women only, and each ride is hosted by women representatives from multiple teams. If you are new to the racing community, looking to strengthen your riding skills, thinking about racing in 2009, or looking to speak with other women about local racing teams or riding opportunities, this ride’s for you!

Here are further details:

Dates: September 21, September 28, October 5, and October 12

Time: 9:00 AM at Pert’s in Leschi. Prepare to be on the road by 9:10 AM. Please don't be late!

Route: south end of Lake Washington

Skills: pacelines, riding a straight line, and racing tactics/techniques. Depending on turnout, we'll break into groups no greater than 10 to keep it manageable and go over the basics, making sure to keep things fun and not stressful.

Bakery stop: Pert’s either before or after for scones & coffee.

Please join us, pass this message along to any who might be interested, and feel free to contact Gina Kavesh with any questions: gina [at] rentonww [dot] com

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Sunday, 24 August

idyll n - a work in poetry or prose that deals with pastoral scenes or suggests a mood of peace and contentment

This piece of bloggery deals with an experience that brought a mood of great peace and contentment. Yesterday we did one of my absolutely very favorite rides, and it was absolutely perfect. I dropped Old As Dirt and his trusty Marcroft steed in Marblemount, drove to Newhalem, and set out on my bike for Mazama. If you've never ridden over the North Cascades Highway, I can only wonder why you are afraid of heaven on earth.

The rain we had in western Washington last week had scrubbed the smog away, and the skies were blue blue blue. Diablo Lake where you cross the bridge at Colonial Creek was a sheet of blue-green glass, broken only by a few kayakers. The view to the north over Ross Lake was crystal clear. After the road drops down to Panther Creek, the unrelenting climbing starts--but yesterday there was enough tailwind that I did the first part of this in my big chain ring. I finally passed another cyclist a few miles before Rainy Pass, and then another as I started the final climb up to Washington Pass. The peaks were breathtaking. The descent down the east side of the pass usually makes me...uncomfortable, but yesterday there was a solid (not swirling) headwind that kept the speed from getting out of hand, and I just cruised those seven miles down to Lone Fir. I rolled into the Mazama store thinking (nay, knowing) it was the most perfect ride I had done all year. Whatever happened on the way back--headwind, bad traffic, rain--I would just tell myself that the first part of the ride required that I pay a price.

But where the heck was OAD? How could have not caught up with me in 60 miles? Was the price of a perfect ride for me some misfortune for him? Fortunately, I was too busy enjoying my blueberry zucchini muffin to let panic encroach too far into my blissful state--and after about 10 minutes he rolled in. It was 82 in Mazama, a perfect temperature for an afternoon nap. But we had to retrace our tiretracks back to Newhalem and couldn't linger.

He gave me a 6-minute handicap, and I rolled out to enjoy the stiff tailwind that blows from Winthrop to Mazama and into the mountains. The only problem with a tailwind up a climb when it's 82 degrees is that you get pretty toasty, and there's no water along this route. But I kept picking off the landmarks that break up this part of the ride. A couple of times I nearly rolled into the ditch when I tried to take pictures of peaks to the left (I'm right handed, and somehow the crossover just doesn't work). I searched for the mate of the armwarmer I found after the Cutthroat Lake trailhead two weeks ago, but no luck. And before I knew it, I was at the base of that hairpin switchback just before the top of the pass. I stopped in the switchback and looked back down the several miles of road that cling to the side of the canyon, but I couldn't spot OAD (only the guy I'd just passed who sounded less than convinced when I assured him we were almost there). The last half mile between the hairpin and summit is cliff-dweller terrain, but I stopped and peered over the edge, and then behind me, and there he was in hot pursuit. He caught me just after the top of the pass. It was perfect timing because then we rode together all the way back to Newhalem.

The biggest bummer of the entire ride was a dead deer in the road going up to WA Pass. There were a lot of miscellaneous car parts along with her. The worst traffic was two pickup trucks that didn't give me a whole lot of space. For a 121-mile ride, that's miraculous. The weather could not have been better: temps in the 70s for the whole ride, thin cloud cover a few times, but no sign of the heavy weather moving in from the Pacific. Shorts, jersey, and armwarmers were the only clothes I had. The hurricane-force winds that often pick up in the afternoon above Ross Lake were just a moderate breeze. You gamble when you ride in the mountains (as we did two weeks ago, when it poured and we chose to bail and drive east to sunnier climes), and yesterday we were lucky winners. I thought I had the most perfect day ever on a bike, and my husband wondered how many other cyclists have wives who think a perfect day involves 8 hours on a bike. :)

Friday, August 22, 2008


Friday, 22 August

One of my tandem partners is leaving town. :( Like so many bike racers, PruDog thinks he's found greener grass and is moving on. Whether you agree or disagree with his politics and economics and race tactics, you have to admit that he has done way more than most to support bike racing in these parts. From Ohop to optics, he truly helped "grow" the sport. Even if you don't know it yet, you're going to miss him. Come say goodbye and good luck to the PruFamily:

September 18
7:00 p.m. - ??
Pied Piper Ale House
2404 NE 65th St
Seattle WA 98115
(206) 729-0603
"kid friendly"

Bring your roasts, toasts, and PruStories.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Planning for 2009?

Thursday, 21 August

OK, all you folks all eager about your new teams for 2009, have you seen the super ultra tentative Oregon calendar highlights yet? New road races, new stage races...should be good.

Banana Belt Series 3/1/09 3/15/09
Scio Road Race 4/4/09 4/4/09
King’s Valley RR 4/11/09 4/11/09
Cherry Festival Classic Stage Race 4/17/09 4/19/09
Willamette Stage Race 4/23/09 4/26/09
Deschutes River Valley TT Festival 4/24/09 4/26/09
Twickenham RR 5/2/09 5/2/09
Mount Hood Cycling Classic 5/13/09 5/17/09
Cirque du Cycling Criterium 6/13/09 6/13/09
Elkhorn Classic Stage Race 6/19/09 6/21/09
Oregon Pro Cycling Classic (NRC) 6/22/09 6/28/09
Salem Fairview Circuit Race 6/28/09 6/28/09
High Desert Omnium 7/11/09 7/12/09
Cascade Cycling Classic 7/22/09 7/26/09
OBRA TT 8/2/09 8/2/09
OBRA Crit 8/9/09 8/9/09
Swan Island Criterium 8/15/09 8/15/09

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Team BARR winners

Wednesday, 20 August

The webmaster is apparently away from the web, so I'll scoop the WSBA site and bring you these latest results from the WSBA's 2008 BARR competition. Team BARR prizes only go to the cat 1-2 men's and women's categories, but here are the team BARR winners for all categories:

Men 1-2 Hagens Berman
Women 1-2 Team Group Health
Men 3 Garage Racing
Women 3 Team Group Health
Men 4 Old Town Bicycle
Women 4 Valley Athletic
Masters Men A BRI
Masters Women A Wines of Washington
Masters Men B Avanti
Masters Women B Fanatik
Masters Men C Cucina Fresca
Masters Men D Fanatik

There were some really close competitions!

You can challenge my spreadsheet skills as soon as the full details are posted:

Monday, August 18, 2008


Monday, 18 August

For all of you who missed Northshore yesterday (and there were a lot of you who did), you missed out on a great race! It is an awesome course, and WA ought to use it for a state road race championship some year. Good climbing, a couple of flat stretches, and a super fast downhill "bend" that I must say was absolutely screaming fun in the lead car. :) I suppose the stairstep climbing would take its toll (I did the team thing and drove instead of racing) and cause painful suffering, but there was some good tactical racing yesterday along with just plain ol' attrition. The course also features some really picturesque barns and some trouses (a term I learned at the Mt. Hood stage race for trailers that have been house-ified). Oh yeah, and yesterday there was a giant clap of thunder at the end of the masters/women's race but only a few rain drops all day long. Kudos to Phil & Co. for putting on this race again after the snow day at the end of March!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Gettin' ready to roll--slowly

Thursday, 14 August

My rain bike came home last night from summer rehab. I wish it was as easy to get me prepped for riding in the dark and the rain again! The notes from the mechanic said I had been riding the bike too much, simply wearing out key parts. The little pulley wheels in the rear derailleur were so broken down he wasn't sure what exactly had been holding them in place or how I had been able to shift. While it was good to see Dean, having the bike on display was a harbinger I could do without. I'm definitely not letting anybody put 28mm tires on it this year!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My summer vacation

Tuesday, 12 August

Last weekend was my summer vacation. I think it was the only weekend all summer to involve travel and not involve participation in a bike race. In 2007 we missed out on our usually annual trip to Winthrop, and we wanted to make sure we got one in this year. So our plan was to drive to Newhalem, ride to Winthrop, hang out, spend the night, and ride back to the car. Because of the quantity and quality of the scenery and the great road, it is probably my very favorite ride.

The plan didn't look quite as appealing on Saturday morning as we drove through the rain on our way north on I-5. It stopped raining, mostly, in Marblemount, and the road was dry in Newhalem, so we chamoised up. But by then the rain had crept east, and it was raining before we got underway. Oh well, "it's a warm rain" and all that. Three miles up the hill, we decided that it wasn't so warm (it was maybe 60 degrees), that it was going to get wetter and colder before it got warmer, and that there was a Plan B. So we turned around, got absolutely soaked on the descent, piled into the car, and drove to Winthrop. There were lots of other cyclists on the road who apparently thought riding in the rain was a whole lot funner than we did.

Things cleared up a bit by Rainy Pass. That's a reflection of my sock, which I was trying to dry on the defroster on the dashboard. I forgot that I also needed to dry the shoes to do much good. :(

And it was 85 degrees and sunny in Winthrop--who could ask for anything better? After too much lunch, we had to seriously think about riding again.

Instead of doing hill repeats up the east side of Washington Pass, we decided to head south to Twisp and then east over Loup Loup Pass, which was new terrain for us. It is a nice road, not much traffic under normal circumstances, and a long steady climb (but no panoramic vistas).

The descent down the east side of the pass into Okanogan was so long and progressively windier (as in more wind, not more winding) that I was having flashbacks to 2007 Elkhorn stage 1. We finally found the town of Okanogan (a mini-Wenatchee....need I say more?), stocked up on water and sugar (coke, ice cream), and braced ourselves for miles of uphill headwind on the return.

We were surprised to see how much a wildfire on the other side of the river had grown in the short time we'd been in town, and then were even more surprised to see a new one had flared up just over the ridge south of the highway. Three fire trucks passed us, and we could hear them lumbering up the dirt roads in the brush. A reconnaissance plane flew over, and pretty soon a helicopter was making fly-bys. I felt a wave of compassion for a family standing in their front yard, watching the activity for a fire less than half a mile away that could potentially threaten their home.

All in all, though, the climb and the wind were not hateful. Again, it's a long climb up to the top of the pass, which summits in pine forest just over 4000 feet. The descent back into Twisp was worth the price of all the toil and suffering: I rode 7 miles without pedaling, and my average speed over the first 6 of those miles was 30 mph. I think I touched the brakes once. And then we meandered up the back road to Winthrop, scoping out some bizarre architecture, including a house that looked straight out of Santa Fe, a giant geodesic dome with green tarps in lieu of siding that looked like something out of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and some more standard million-dollar Methow homes. The ride turned out to be 88 miles with probably 6500 feet of climbing, so it was a good day's effort.

On Sunday morning, we drove to Mazama, rode to the top of Washington Pass, checked out the rain squall just west of the pass, and rode back down to Mazama. Along the road, I found the WSBA frame number that belongs to a cat 3 from Duvall; maybe the WSBA should include the state's fine for littering in the replacement fee for frame numbers. It's certainly not good for our image to be dumping bits of plastic along scenic highways, especially not ones that other cyclists care for under the Adopt-a-Highway program.

Also in this stretch of riding came one of the scarier manmade experiences I've had on a bike recently. There were a couple of hunter-types sitting on the embankment above one side of the road, taking potshots at something across the narrow little canyon. That meant they were firing their guns directly over my head as I pedaled past on the road. And these were no BB guns. The concussion when they fired was enough to make me involuntarily blink. At least they were gone when we came back down!

After a long coffee pause in the Mazama store and a surprise visit with half the Bowmer family, we had to pack up the bikes and endure the long drive back to Seattle, in plenty o' time to watch the Kirkland crit!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Weekend report

Monday, 11 August

Wow! What a weekend of ups and downs. I took a couple of days away to "train" for next Saturday's state hillclimb championship, but more on that in my next post. Other highlights from the busy weekend:

Get well soon to Tricia and Carol and all the other crash victims from the Kirkland Crit. Too many bike racers got up close and personal with restaurant chairs and tables, shrubbery, curbs, metal barriers, and other hazards. And good luck to Dustin for surgery on his hand after his crash at the crit in Portland on Friday night.

BIG congratulations to Hilary on her fifth place finish at national road championships. Focus and determination go a long way in this sport--especially when they're added to fitness and natural ability! :)

And more team gossip: those Garage boys are in the news again. Jason and Heather are parents of a newborn son, and Mike and Kele are newly expecting. Congratulations to both families!

All the excitement from north central Washington--including a WSBA member caught littering on a state scenic highway--coming soon.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Keeping up

Wednesday, 6 August

Y'all need another post to attach comments to so no one has to scroll down thru 18 comments to say something pithy (or pissy) about teams or sandbagging or whatever. So here's tonight's picture from the pea patch:

It takes a long time to pick a couple pounds of green (and yellow and purple) beans and a half a pound of snow peas! But it's great to put them in the freezer and have really local veggies for wintertime stirfries.

Another lightbulb clicked on in my brain today after I got an email about a new local team and recalled a seemingly odd carpool combination at the TT on Sunday; suddenly things made a lot more sense. And of course now every time I see people together in unexpected groupings, I'll be trying to read as much as possible into who's suddenly bonding.

And on a more important subject, what's up with the results from nationals? USA Cycling doesn't have 'em, VeloNews doesn't even seem to know that nationals are on; I've only gotten a third-hand report that Alison Powers won the women's TT by 30 seconds over Mara Abbott.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Rumors and secrets and gossip, oh my

Monday, 4 August

I knew I'd find a link between today's title and today's picture, which are really about wholly different topics....
Today's picture features the latest crop from my garden: potatoes--and dirt. If you come home next spring from a race, along about TST time, and find some sprouted spuds in your cupboard, (assuming they were organic) chop them up with a sprout ("eye") to each piece and go stick them in some dirt. Keep mounding the dirt on top of them as the leaves sprout above the ground until you have a heap that's maybe 8-10 inches above the rest of the garden. Water them occasionally, maybe put some composty stuff on top to keep the moisture in, and voila--you'll have spuds by the state TT championship. (Scrub before cooking!)
As for rumors and secrets and gossip, 'tis the season for dirt on what's up for next season. This is about the time of year when everyone ceases to be excited about this season and starts to get amped up on plans for next season. Rumors abound. New teams. Riders changing teams. Handwringing over what decision to make. People proving the old adage that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence (or, in this case, in a different jersey). It's great stuff. You find yourself saying the wrong thing to the wrong person but not figuring out it was the wrong thing to say for a day or two when you learn some new tidbit and about a gajillion pieces fall into place.
If I neglect to say it before Wednesday's time trial and this weekend's road race, good luck to everybody who's going to nationals in Orange County. A bunch of Northwest women are headed south: Allison, Dana, Hilary, and Suz come to mind. I hope you are all have great races!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

More sweetness

Sunday, 3 August

It was a pretty sweet weekend. I converted some of my summer raspberry harvest into part of our winter's supply of jam. We went to a post-wedding party and listened to the happy couple say sweet things about each other (congratulations, Paul and Kit!). I bought 23 pounds of Gravenstein apples, which are absolutely the best cooking apples in these parts; much applesauce making is in my immediate future, and the apple pie I made tonight was even better than what I had at the Sweet Life last Sunday.

And to top it all off, I set a 40K PR by more than 2 minutes at the state time trial championship today. I squeaked out a gold medal in the old ladies category by a mere 14 seconds. Turns out that Old As Dirt and I crashed the results software because we have the same WSBA number; there are hundreds of such pairs, but we happened to be the first to finish. If we had also raced tandem, the officials would probably still be trying to reconstruct things!

Friday, August 01, 2008

I'm scared

Friday, 1 August

The State of Washington Voters' Pamphlet for the August 18, 2008 Primary arrived in our mailbox yesterday. I started to browse in its pages and found out that a little information about the candidates is a scary thing. For example:

One Congressional candidate lists as his family: "The life of Spaceship Earth is his family."

Another opens his Candidate Statement with: "I rise to defend the moon and stars, the air we breathe, the oceans and the rivers, the plants, and all living things upon this our Mother Earth...and you...and your children...and your sacred poem...before the salmon die, before the birds stop singing; before the bees forget how to fly." (Those are his dot-dot-dots, not places where I've dropped stuff.)

Moving along to candidates for governor, we find one whose Candidate Statement says: "Because I feel Washington State should be leading the Nation in promoting a Spiritual Civilization based on holistic medicine, alternative energy, affordable housing, relevant education, a dynamic economy, bio-diversity, world development and meaningful access to justice, I respectfully propose my 'FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS' PLAN OF ACTION."

Another gubernatorial candidate lists his occupation/employer as "retired." [Has nothing to do with his time, so he's running for office?]

Another lists websites of interest and includes Aljazeera. [Yeah, maybe it's an interesting site, but given what else he says in his profile, this is just plain scary.]

Still another lists 1 cat and 1 dog as part of his family. [I'm all for dogs and cats, but I'm not sure I'd list 'em in a space where most people list children or deceased spouses.]

Then we move on to lieutenant governor and the people--or at least the statements--seem closer to "normal." I might conclude that the higher the office, the weirder the weirdos, except that one of the candidates for state representative opens his Candidate Statement with (the caps are his): "I INTEND TO EMPOWER PEOPLE TO SOLVE THEIR OWN PROBLEMS." He goes on to list two reasons he's running for office, one of which is "to promote my campaign theme of 'Compassion for a Republican.'"

I guess the bottom line here is if you want some scary entertainment, you need look no farther than government-published material in your mailbox. I know I won't be answering the phone until after the primary.