In other news it sounds like my peeps back in the Lou are gonna get hammered with more snow in one storm than I think we've had all year at almost 9000' while we, on the other hand, are gonna get blasted with some cold. How cold? Friggincold!!
Monday, January 31, 2011
I was supposed to go to my doctor today and get the results of my sleep study. I waited there 2 hours to get a fax. The sleep study place is a block away. I laid back on the table while I was waiting and Heather said I was out in 3 minutes and snoring away. My thyroid checked out fine. They're gonna check on the blood counts and the Vitamin D levels and get back to me. The results of the sleep study were borderline. I don't get it. My doctor is kind of against the CPAP machine. Instead, she gave me a sample packet of Nuvigil and wants me to take it. This is a Class 5 controlled substance. It sounds a hell of a lot like speed and it doesn't get to the root of why in the hell I am so bloody tired and it doesn't do anything to fix the fact that I only get a bit more than 50% efficient sleep.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
A big kangaroo in a chair.
This sculpture of Medusa was really intricate. I couldn't get a shot of her eyes but the pupil's were damn near floating.
This was probably my favorite one of the bunch. I don't know that it was any more detailed than the rest but the shark was only connected by the tail and the right side of its body.
Heather and I have been going through a bit of a rough patch lately. Part of it is because of work (which I don't ever talk about on here), part of it is geographic location (she misses home and I love the mountains), a good chunk of it is that my sleepiness feels like it's getting worse (I get the results of my sleep study tomorrow and I'm also going to have them draw more blood to check Vitamin D levels and see if they can check my thyroid). I'm so incredibly tired all the time and it's making me cranky. A few years ago a guy fell asleep during the Tour Divide (somewhere in New Mexico If I recall) while pedaling. He woke up in a ditch with some bad injuries and I think some old guy put him in the back of his pickup and took him to the ER. I'm always amazed that I don't take a snooze while riding or end up drowning when I go fishing.
Anyway...I love my wife. I know she loves me. I think that we love each other so much that we are willing to sacrifice our own happiness so that the other one can be happy. I'd move back to St. Louis tomorrow for her. I'd probably be miserable (wouldn't know for sure until I did it I suppose) but I'd do it for her. She'd come out here for me. As hard as yesterday's ride was on me, I really wanted to do something with Heather today that she would enjoy. So I made sure to get up and then encouraged her to do the same after I'd had some coffee. By 10 we were on the road to Breckenridge. We had been meaning to go check out this event for a few years and just never did it. One of the things we both don't like about the Colorado Springs area is that the art and music scene is weak and every time we get out to a funkier town, we enjoy ourselves.
These are not ice sculptures but snow and teams come from all around the globe (some from as far away as Australia and Austria) to make them. They had all week to get them done and the judging was last night. They were all incredible. This team had re-created a book and statue kind of thing focused on Jack London.
This castle was big enough to walk around on. They had built it on top of pipes too and the little ones could crawl around in them.
The weather was great. We walked around and did the tourist thing before stopping by to see the folk's at the Breckenridge Brewery for lunch.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
I'm not exactly sure what I was thinking for today's ride. I debated several routes last night and then pretty much settled on one before going to bed. I had no idea how long it would take me to ride the loop on my singlespeed but I was thinking it would be pretty long. I have not hurt like that in a long time and I don't think I've ever ridden that kind of a ride in January. This was the food I initially started with. I left the house at 10 and headed down the mountain to Colorado Springs and hooked up with the New Santa Fe Trail.
I didn't take too many pics today but here's one of the singletrack on the Air Force Academy. After this I hooked back up with the NSFT and continued on to Monument. I was struggling a bit when I rolled into town and decided to get a cup of coffee and a fat cinnamon roll. After about 15 minutes I realized I wasn't any closer to home. I was dreading the climb up Mount Herman. The last time I rode up it the Alma was geared and I was able to ride it in the middle ring and top few cogs. I had no idea how much I was going to be walking today with the 32x22. Shockingly, I rode it all except for a few areas near the top that still had some snow and it was either loose or it was ice if I was in the shadows.
This was the top of Mount Herman. It was cold in the shadows. Freezing. Once I got to the top I had 7 miles to go til town. All said and done I was a bit over 7 hours of ride time. I have no clue what the mileage was. I really didn't wanna be out that long this early. It was nice but probably silly.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Would you believe that I am now flirting with 175 pounds? I haven't touched a weight up top but I know I've bulked up just a tad there. I can't seem to walk near a gym without gaining weight there. Most of it is down low. A few gals I worked with years ago joked that my wallet made my butt. I actually have some dress pants that are beginning to get a little toit back there now because of the extra junk in the trunk. I've also put weight on in the thighs and especially in the calves. 2 years ago at a race back in Missouri my friend Dan asked about my calf implants. Not sure what impact it will have once I start riding full time again but I figure I'll at least be able to cut off a piece and fry it up if I get stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
presents some challenges. Even in the summer the air can be cool at the higher altitudes. I've struggled with this during rides for a while now. Stocking caps are fine but I always end up with exposed neck, cheeks (not butt cheeks but the ones on my face), and ear lobes that can get uncomfortable. In my bivy, I tend to pull my bag/bivy over my face to try and stay warm and that opens the door for condensation and that's big trouble. Last week I ordered this Shemagh. The military has been using these for a while now and I thought I'd try it. Here's the positives: It's light, it was cheap ($15), I can wear it like this when bivying for the night to keep most of my face/neck area warm while warming the air I breathe in, I can use it as a towel, on the long hiking sections, I generally take off my helmet and this will be nice to protect my head from the sun, I can get it wet during the heat of the day and wrap it around my head to keep cooler, I suppose I could use it as a filter for dust if the need arises, I can also cut little pieces off it and use them for tinder. I suppose I could also use it as a bandage or sling but we won't go down that road.
Heather thinks it looks creepy but she doesn't know what it's like to be bald. I'm glad for that.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
My workouts continue to go really well. Friday I hit things pretty hard and because of it, all weights will go up this week by 5-10 pounds but the routine is going to stay 5x20. I had coffee with the coach last week and he said we're going to continue this 5x20 thing for a while now. He's pretty excited b/c he works with football players and wrestlers and has never done much for endurance. My plan was to finish up in the gym at the end of February and then try and start getting in more miles. It looks like things will stay the same until then and I'll just try and continue to increase the weights. I'm very anxious to see how this all transfers to putting in 8 hour days and, come August, seemingly never ending hike a bike.
The first event I have my sights on is the Durango Gravel Grinder on April 16. There's a 160 and a 110 option. I'm looking to do the 110 and I'll decide at the last minute on whether I run the Alma SS or use my old Marin 26" geared bike. I've been to Durango that time of year and it can be really nice or it can be blizzard conditions. Weather will be a big factor. This year I'm looking to throw myself deep into the hurt locker but I don't need snow to do that.
I watched a movie with one of my new students for his health class yesterday. It was called Food (I think). He needed help making sure he got all of the questions answered but I didn't know what I was getting myself into. At a few points during the movie I had to leave the room. I have a huge weakness when it comes to animals and them suffering. I guess I also feel strongly about animals at least having the right to live a justified life (even though Mother Nature can be cruel at times...it's still the natural cycle) and live and die with dignity. Some may argue that animals don't know what that even means and that's fine but I wouldn't know either way. I guess I feel that I know when my dogs feel ill and can tell when they feel better so they must be able to feel many things.
I've always loved the outdoors and animals and the thought of hunting and providing for my family and using as much of the animal as possible has always seemed romantic. I have never had a problem with any ethical hunter. I just don't know that I could ever be the one to actually pull the trigger. Yesterday and today I have been thinking about that quite a bit. Some of the graphic (for me) scenes from the movie included images of chicken houses, and cow and pig farms where the only purpose for the existence of that animal was to pump it full of steroids and scientifically engineered chemicals to fatten them up. Many of the animals they showed were too fat for their bones to even support them and many of them died or couldn't even move around more than a few steps before having to lay back down. Some died without even ever seeing daylight. I had a real problem with it.
I checked through the fridge and freezer this morning after I woke up from another nap and was happy to see that all of our chicken is USDA Organic. In order to meet this standard the animal has to have a multitude of things, including a bit more freedom and, in my mind, some sort of a life other than standing in feces all day in a dark house crammed with other chickens. We don't eat beef hardly ever but the same applies to that as well. Still though, I have been thinking about this stuff and hunting. I do believe it would be emotionally hard for me to kill an animal. Even if it's one that the Department of Wildlife has studied and said needs to be thinned out or is an elderly animal that is going to have it's life ended humanely and quickly after living a long, healthy life and prior to it getting sick and dying slowly. I have friends that hunt and every time they sit to a meal it's a celebration of that animal (as stupid as that sounds). The Native Americans would celebrate an animal before even quartering it with a series of rituals and prayers.
I don't think I could do the vegetarian thing and I don't know that I want to. Heather and I do talk about wanting to get into gardening when we move back home (perhaps not at the level that these two do). We think it would be fun and a nice lifestyle change. I'm also going to give more thought to the idea of learning more about hunting. I know that all of the reading and talking will give me absolutely no idea what it would be like to look through a scope at a deer or elk and I may not be able to carry through with it at that moment and that's ok too. Maybe it's something that needs to get to that point in order for the question to be answered? I do think that I want to find out the answer though.
Last night was the BIG night. I arrived at the sleep study place (which was actually here in our fair little town) at 8:30. I felt like I was going to a slumber party. I had my PJ's, my pillow, and my favorite action figure. I was pleasantly surprised when I got there. I ride by this place all the time and never knew what it was. It's basically a small cabin that is wonderfully decorated on the inside. Really nice bathroom with slate floors.
This was my room for the night. The pictures are horrible because of the lighting. This was basically set up like a hotel room. After a bit of education on sleep studies and sleep disorders, I got settled in my room and suited up in my Underoos and the technician came in to start hooking up the 20 leads to various points on my body. Most of them went on my head and chest but there were some on my stomach, legs, hands, and butt. Actually there were none on my butt I just added that.
Here I am all hooked up. I was gonna read for a bit before turning off the lights but a second patient arrived just after this photo and she was a talker. I couldn't help but here the conversation and it was interesting. She was talking about how she sleeps and the fact that she has dreams that are in 3D. She loves to go to sleep because it's like going to the movies. Then she went on to talk about some of the meds she was taking and it all started to make sense.
I finally decided to try and fall asleep but it is incredibly hard to be natural and get comfy with all this hooked up to you and knowing that big brother is watching the camera just outside the door. I tossed and turned for a while. I actually felt like I was up all night long. At 5 this morning, they saw that I was awake and came in to tell me it was over. Now I won't know exactly what the results are for a week or so but they said I did have some apnea issues (particularly when sleeping on my back). It's winter up here but my snores would have kept the largest of bears at bay. I still find this odd. I've stayed in hotels with other dudes all the time when going to races. Were they really pissed off at me the next day for keeping them up all night and just never said anything about it? I always thought Heather was full of crap when she said I snored. The average person has about 5 apneas each hour in their sleep. For a while, I averaged 9 until I rolled to my back and then that number jumped to 17. I turned in at 10 and woke up at 5 and only 65% of that time was spent in good sleep. I guess all this stuff gets sent off to someone that analyzes these things all day long. I'll be interested to hear what they have to say. I have a horrible pain in the neck today from probably being stiff and trying not to knock off any leads through the night. Did I mention that this little trip costed $860? I'm so glad I have a decent sense of humor or I do think my wife would leave me with all of the medical bills we've induced lately. She's surely not with me for my good looks.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
For a while now I've thought that something was wrong with me. Well....that's obvious but I'm referring to the fact that I'm generally always sleepy. I normally take a nap every day. It can range from a quick 30 minute cat nap to a 4 hour mini-hibernation where I get up to grab a quick bite to eat for dinner at 8 and then go right back to bed for the rest of the night. Even on the weekends I will bed down for a bit. Pretty much at any given moment during the day, I could lay down on the dirtiest of floors and be out in a few minutes if I had to. I never wake up feeling recharged. My doctor thought it was low iron. I took supplements. I'm tired. She thought it was low vitamin D levels. I started those supplements. I'm tired. My diet is excellent.
A while back my doctor asked if I snored. Heather says I do. She says I also gasp sometimes too. So now my doctor is worried about sleep apnea. So I'm going to have to do one of those sleep studies. Looking forward to that. I'll be sure to grab a few pics. I don't know how the hell I'm supposed to sleep at a strange place with all kinds of things hooked up to my bald head. I hardly ever sleep in hotels. Wonder what happens if I have to pee in the night? How long are the chords they hook to me? I'll tell you in a few days. The place will probably smell like bleach. If nothing comes of this then I've decided to go to Denver and get some serious testing done on my thyroid and see if I can get to the bottom of this. I like naps but if I didn't sleep as much I could have a better shot at taking over the world with Bodhi as my sidekick.
OK....gonna curl up on the couch now with a blanky.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
So today is my birthday. Again...I always refrain from work related banter here as it's really not appropriate but I'll say this...I was going to take off work today but, instead I went in. I actually recall saying this morning, "Naw...it's been a long weekend and my students don't do well with change so it should be an active day". I shoulda taken off. I got hit with several big things right off the bat and none of them were fun. The rest of the day went ok I guess. I had a staff meeting after week and my workout was subpar. It was the first workout I haven't been completely psyched for this winter. Heather had a nice dinner ready to go and I stopped and got a Belgian style Quadruple Ale from the folks up at Avery. It's DAMN god. I'm just gonna sip it tonight and watch the snow come down. Cheers everyone. We miss you all back home.
Monday, January 17, 2011
If you get the opportunity to check this film out do it. Very touching and thought provoking. It's a documentary about one of the deadliest assignments in the middle east (the Korengal Valley). Sebastion Junger (he did the Perfect Storm) spent a year with this platoon. There is some incredible footage. There are some scenes that really capture the power of the weapons being used. Right after I moved out here I took a very thorough concealed weapons course. On one of the days we got to go to the range. I was primarily interested in a .357 Magnum revolver and so I got to spend all day getting to know one quite well. I've shot all kinds of guns (black powder rifles, pistols of .22, 9mm, .38 special, and .45 flavor, AR-15 assault rifles, Ak-47's and your usual hunting shotguns and rifles). One of the neatest things was simply shooting a .357 at a gallon jug of water and seeing the carnage it can inflict. The hole that goes in the front is no bigger than a pencil eraser but the entire back of the jug disappears as all that energy is transferred to the water and out the back. When learning in a class like that the instructors always tell you to shoot for the center of mass. On 4 legged critters, that would be the chest. Taking that class was definitely a learning experience. At that time, I was spending a good amount of time in the wilderness at dark and was a bit concerned about bears and mountain lions. I was the only one in the class with those concerns. The rest of the people were building safe rooms in their homes and worried about government conspiracy.
My father was/is a big gun/hunting guy. I remember going hunting with him as a kid and seeing him drink Jack Daniels while we were waiting for deer to appear in the abandon fields. Even at a young age I pretty much knew it was irresponsible and always felt strange. I always felt some degree of worry while my dad was "teaching" me the ethics of hunting and handling of a firearm.
Ohhhhhh.....I digress.......anyway...some of the footage is pretty intense with regard to the destruction that the weapons can create. There's also some scenes where they're shooting .50 caliber tracer rounds across the valley and it's pretty incredible.
Today was the first of my 5x20 workouts. Although it was tough, I got through it and I'm moving just about the same weight (at least with my legs) that I was doing back when I was on 3x12's. I also got in some more road riding this weekend. My legs are tired when I'm on the bike but they feel good. I'm not doing any crazy efforts because I don't need to. I'm hoping that this time in the gym will pay off when I can try and put in some bigger days on the bike this year. My goal this year will to be bed down anywhere from 2-4 hours each night but maintain a slightly slower pace overall throughout that time.
I'm more excited this year than I was the first year I did this race. I just wanna ride and camp.
Friday, January 14, 2011
There's been some debate about what date the CTR would start on this year and what direction the course would go. I really didn't care what what the official decision was as I have my own plan. Looks like the masses will be heading from Denver to Durango on August 1st at 0630 (although there is a sizable group starting in Durango). It'll be good to start with a group. I could care less about this decision. I'm mad. It's a very controlled anger/determination but I'm tired of fawkin around with this thing. This is not like a 2 hour cross country race where it's ok to let emotion take over but I feel more prepared and more disciplined than any time before.
Training is going really well. Tonight I finished up my 4x20 week and next week I'll do 5 sets of 20 reps all the way through. Tonight the single leg squats hurt a bit but I did get through them all cleanly. The strength continues to go up despite the 4x20. I'm doing more weight with step ups now than I was when I was doing 3x12.
I really hope to do something special.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
I am having to spend my evenings hunting the internet for Dakar news. There has been some increasing beef between Carlos Sainz and Nasser Al Attiyah and, while Versus showed them having a discussion after todays stage (where Carlos ate a dog turd), they didn't bother to fill us in what he was crying about. The T1 class is kinda like the anything go's class. These things are built like trophy trucks. I think they have to use the homologation block in the motor and keep about the same wheelbase but that's about it. Check out the cage and chassis construction on the VW.
I don't know which rider this is but I love the picture.
This is Annie Seels. She was leading the woman's class but then woke up with a nasty fever and stomach issues. She raced anyways and came in like 90th but she's a bad ass.
This is the VW driven by De Villiers. That's the stocker in the background. Isn't it cute?
I don't know which rider this is but I love the picture.
This is Annie Seels. She was leading the woman's class but then woke up with a nasty fever and stomach issues. She raced anyways and came in like 90th but she's a bad ass.
This is the VW driven by De Villiers. That's the stocker in the background. Isn't it cute?
Saturday, January 8, 2011
I don't know when I was last on my road bike. I decided to give it some attention today. It was almost 40 degrees out and we were supposed to be under a winter storm watch tonight. I headed out at about 11 I guess and got almost a solid three hours in of super easy riding. The first hour was bliss and then the weather started rolling in. The temps dropped and I started getting cold. I was gonna push for another hour but I decided to go home and have coffee. I feel good. I know I wasn't riding at all this time last year. The fishing blows right now so I might as well pedal.
A while back I was talking with our varsity football coach about lifting weights and he was showing me some stuff he thought would be helpful. I was very skeptical. I assumed he didn't know what he was talking about and was going to have me doing stuff that would turn me into a linebacker. I hated some of the stuff he wanted me to do right away but after 2 months I love them. My weights have gone through the roof now and we sat down last week to talk more. He's changed things up for this past week. Again, I was skeptical but thought I'd try it because the lover of football has made some really surprising connections to cycling specific workouts. Turns out...I was the meathead. Won't be the last time. This week he had me cut back on the weights and start selecting fewer exercises each day but doing 3 sets of 20 reps for each. It was much harder than I thought it would be but I think it makes sense from an endurance point. This week I'll go to 4 sets of 20 and then 5 sets of 20 before we sit down and talk again. The rest of the days in the week are spent just doing easy spins outside or on the trainer to flush out my legs. I love being in the weight room.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
I'm thankful that Versus is covering the Dakar because some coverage is better than none but.......
a half hour of coverage sure doesn't do this race much justice. Particularly when they spend a decent chunk of that coverage dedicated to the towns that days stage is passing through and what they're known for. Don't get me wrong...the blonde that does that segment is certainly easy on the eyes and her accent doesn't hurt but I really would rather see the race. Thankfully they are spending the most time covering the motos. I think the new 450 rule is going to make for a tighter race this year and end the KTM stranglehold. Don't get me wrong again...I'm a big KTM fan but I'm pretty psyched for Jonah Street and to see what the Yamaha can do. I'm also really bummed that they're not showing anything about the T4 trucks. It's always cool to see those big things plowing through the terrain. I'm having to do a ton of web surfing to stay on top of all the action. But...at least the race is going on.
Sunday, January 2, 2011
I said I was going to do more overnighters last year and I didn't. With the goal that I have in mind for the CTR this year, I am going to have to spend more time on the bike in situations where I'm gonna have to be pushed and I'm gonna need to put myself into dark hurt lockers. I will not be able to do 7 hour repeat rides on my road bike up and down the mountain to Colorado Springs and back. Everything will be preparation for CTR but I've found some really neat stuff to do. My friend Marshal has talked about putting together a Tour Divide type of ride from our front door to the Grand Canyon and back. I would really like to do that but I'm not sure I could do it on a SS. Today I found the preliminary schedule for the Colorado Endurance Series. It's 10 races all 100 miles long. These will be excellent training for me. I won't be able to do them all but I'd like to hit as many as possible. I definitely want to do the first event in Durango that eases into things with a fire road century. I'm super psyched to see Ring the Peak on the list for sometime in October. Good motivation.
Look at all those holes. They aren't big but imagine standing in 35 degree water for 6 hours and having water come in from each of those babies.
For holes this big you can get by with using Aquaseal. Just dab it on each spot and then let it dry for about 6 hours. If you're like my pruned friend Scott, don't fret. You can get patches that are big enough to do the job at any reputable fly shop.
On a more serious note...I find that I go back and forth between cycling and fly fishing. I truly love both activities. Sometimes (like now) when I'm sooooo focused on a cycling goal, I neglect the river quite a bit. When I'm out on it, I feel like I shouldn't be. When I'm on my bike and ride by a puddle, I think I should be fishing. A few years ago, before I started riding again, my burning desire was to catch a new Colorado 5 weight fly rod trout record. That was truly in the peak of my snobbery. I would walk along the river covering huge amounts of ground passing on tons of fish that many would have spent hours casting to. There was no time for food other than a quick bar or gel. I would furrow my brow at anything under 18" (which is a damn respectable fish anywhere in the lower 48). Back then my eyes were so tuned into the water, I could spot a trout set up in a riffle 100 yards up stream. Then I'd crouch down, sometimes on on my stomach in the tall grass, and just watch to see if that fish was eating. If your eyes are really in check, you can see the white inside part of the mouth open up when they eat. Sometimes they will flinch a bit when making a quick move left or right to get a bug and their sides will flash. That's a feeding fish. Once you see that, it's just a matter of time and I'd gladly spend 4 hours or more laying on my stomach while casting at that one truly trophy fish until it either stopped feeding or I fooled it. Those were the days when I'd be gone 10 hours easy and sometimes come home having not touched a fish but knowing that was perfectly fine because I had seen some beasts.
One of the biggest reasons I've decided to focus on my cycling goal this year is because my home river, the South Platte is really struggling. The Gill Lice all but wiped out the salmon. I haven't seen a healthy Kokanee population in years. The big resident browns and bows just aren't present in sections where they should be and haven't been in years. The only thing my buddies and I can think of is all of the construction along the river is messing with the fish a lot. Cheesman dam is being worked on and the flows are regulated now to accommodate the workers there and no the trout. The same goes for Waterton Canyon and it's construction and dredging. I really think it's wreaking havoc on the trout and it worries me. Normally the flows even as far away as Hartsel are dependent upon how thirsty the Denver people are but now 2 of the 3 dams are regulating flows pretty sporadically too. It's sad but...necessary.
I have not been doing much fishing recently because my waders have some leaks in them and, at this time of the year, that makes for a painful day on the water. This time of the year, the fish are anchored down in the deeper holes and you simply have to be in the water for long hours. Nice Gore-Tex waders can run $500 and, although I've had mine for a while (I bet 8 years now), I'd love to get more life out of them. So if you're in a similar situation and have never done this before...fear not...it's easy and here are the steps.
The first thing you need is rubbing alcohol. This does not have to be 100% (70%) works just fine. I think I've had this bottle of alcohol longer than the waders but I don't think it's perishable. For you non-midwest folks...a Snook is a fish. I have no clue what a Schnuck really is other than a large chain of grocery stores back home although I bet when Sean Connery says he wants to fish for Snook, it sounds like he's saying Shnook.
Then you'll need some decrepit waders.
Turn said waders inside out to reveal a smell that is sure to please any dog (particularly this one). I found the aroma to be a pleasing mix of mold, must, feet, farts, beer and fish. Tis delicious and if I could bottle it I would and then apply liberally.
Here in Colorado, we trudge through some pretty rough areas to get to the bigger fish so waders take a beating. Usually holes show up on the shins. My waders are 2 layers up front and 1 in the back. This is a shot of the calf area of one leg. Lay it out nice and flat and spray it with the alcohol.
After a few seconds you'll see dark gray spots appear. These are tiny pin holes. I still need to take a picture of all the holes I found before I patch them up. I'll post the carnage for you. It's no wonder my feet go numb quickly. My friend Scott has had a half inch hole in his ass area I think since I've known him. I never get anything more wet than my socks but that's bad enough. I imagine if that icy water hit my sphincter that my butt hole would slam shut with the effectiveness of a cigar cutter. Anyway...I digress....take a Sharpie and let the alcohol dry a bit and then start circling those dark spots. I did have some wear and tear spots but no gaping holes.