Saturday, December 31, 2005


Finally i managed to get on the the road this a.m. as best as i can recollect, it's been 3.5 weeks, WEEKS!, since i've been on a bike. i would say half that time or more, 2 weeks, i was flat out unable to ride due to ear infections and the stomach flu. also in there was Xmas and my grandmother's passing. the other week or so was, for lack of anything else, laziness and lack of inertia. yesterday i got out for an a.m walk in the barrio, about an hour. i was going to ride in the p.m., but the time ended up being taken with family pictures AND sitting around watching StarWars3 with the boys instead of riding.

this a.m. seemed pretty warm at 41 with some sun peeking out. once out on the road, the one disadvantage i found was the blustery winds- Wave3 says 15mph. it seemed one of those rides when 75% on the ride is somehow in the headwind. i intentionally didn't ride too hard, mostly b/c of a total lack of fitness. i meandered through the neighborhood, SenecaGds, the parks, St.Matthews, the parks, and 'wynded' my way home up Spring and across SenecaGds again. i looked for flat ground, only climbing one decent hill at the golfcourse in Cherokee. as ever, i had another interesting experience on golfcourse/dog hill. there was a rather fit young lady jogging up the hill. i realized that, if i didn't push it some, she was going to run up the hill faster than i could ride it. Oh i hate being fat and outofshape. i was pretty tired by the top, but nonetheless beat her. Humiliation in the abstract. a second, and funnier situation was one i observed at Seneca golfcourse. i was going towards big rock, when to my right, i noticed a lonely golf pull cart rolling down the hill sans golfer. he was up the hill just watching. finally, i think a fear gene kicked in b/c he started running down the hill chasing the cart when it became possible that the cart was going to roll all the way down the hill into the road. a good chuckle, make better by the fact that several folks were around to watch. good slice o' life.

today i rode the Surly Crosscheck with the Mavic Open rims from the Litespeed, so i don't know my mileage, but i can't imagine averaging more than 13.5 or so. slow and steady wins the race?

90 minutes/41 and windy/Crosscheck


p.s. spoke with peterwhite the other day. apparently my box had been laying around waiting to be dealt with. he was very kind and we made the appropriate switches. that should be here mid-next week. and Clarksville should have my levers start of next week, so the LHT commuter special should be approaching Forward progress soon.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

#2, in Madrid and Sevilla

Happy Christmas Eve!

My grandmother died today after long being in ill health. Sad.

i'm going to give my 2cents about cycling race #2, mostly so i have something to do to pass the time.

this story begins in Madrid, Spain and ends down on the Meditarranean coast near Almeria. that summer, 1990, i was in Spain on a 5 week study abroad program. my parents wouldn't let me go for a whole semester, so 5 weeks was good. we stayed in a pension across from a park, and down the hill from the university area, Moncloa i believe. the schedule consisted of class in the morning, with various activities and goofing off in the afternoon. many evenings we had pre-planned trips to take, and several times plays to attend since i was in a Spanish theater class. in those carefree afternoons we played tennis, swam, probably drank beer, roamed around Madrid, and I personally watched a fair amount of the Tour on live TV. remember that this was in the age when the Tour, i don't think, was shown at all in the US. at some point, due to Lemond's success ESPN started carrying a 30 minute highlight show, usually at 12.30 at night. i tried to tape it, but inevitably it was moved to 3.30 and i got 30 minutes of bowling.

anyway, i watched a fair amount of the Tour live at 2.00-4.00 or so, whatever time it finished in the afternoon in Europe. i apparently had watched enought that my professor, "Fred" (no, really), bitched about me wasting my time watching cycling instead of studying. But, Hey, i was practicing my Spanish listening to the coverage, and my Spanish culture, b/c, Hey, the Spanish liked their cycling, especially in the age of Perico Delgado and his '88 victory.

the stage i best remember was the one to Val Louron and climb to Luz Ardiden. it was on the stage that Lemond finally took the yellow jersey after Claudio Chiapucci had fought so hard to defend. on that final climb, the first rider to attack was the Spanish/Basque Marino Lejarretta. the announcers were going wild b/c the Spanish were on the move. later Lemond attacked to bridge to Lejarretta and the large personage of Miguel Indurain tagged on the back. those were the three final riders up the road. the tension became on of, first whether they would catch Lejarretta, which they did easily, and then how much time Lemond could gain. He towed Indurain up the mountain, supposedly one of the most difficult finishing slopes in Europe. never once did Indurain take a pull, given that Lemond's only interest was Time. Lemond has gotten some grief for not having won a stage that year, but you have to look at that stage and understand that Greg could've won, but his only concern was getting to the summit as fast as possible. i was sitting on the edge of my (pleather couch) seat the whole time, only to watch Big Mig come around Greg in the last 200m or so for the win. then it was the waiting game until Chiapucci came in several minutes down. Greg didn't take the jersey that day, but had to wait until the final time trial to knock off the last 40sec or so, and all this is a dark "lounge" in a colegio in Madrid.

the final time trial brings up the 2nd half of '90 TdF fun in Spain. that last weekend was our long weekend break so we- maybe 7 of us- made plans to go down the the Mediterraenan for a long weekend of Costa del Sol fun. we found cheap lodging in Almeria, which is in the very south near Malaga. the only real TdF memory was of walking down a little calle going downhill torwards the water. my friend Shawn and i asked a shopkeeper who was in front of their street about the result and they told us Lemond had taken the jersey by a large margin in the time trial. the '90 Tour was his! we whooped and hollered, a couple of obnoxious American kids celebrating the American victory rightin the midst of rustic Spain. A Great Day!

unbeknowst, several of our compatriots on the study trip had taken the train to visit Paris, so they celebrate the American victory in Paris. with the Lance run, this became common, but in '90 this was a rarer sight.

I'm glad the American presence has grown in European cycling, but I'll take a narrow, winding and shady Spanish callejuela and a dramatic victory result from an old black and white TV by my hero over LANCE and his 7 VICTORIES anyday.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

List of Cycling Races

i've started my recountment of various cycling races i've (we've seen) in the past, oh my, 16 years! i started with '89 Corestates, which was the first honesttogod race i'd seen. the next will be one seen not live, nor on crappy ESPN coverage at midnight, but rather on live TV EVERY afternoon, the '90 Tour when I was in Spain. Here is a list of races about which i'll be reminiscing:

'89 Corestates (ya!)- Greg Lemond and Greg Oravetz
'90 Tour de France- Greg!
'92 Tour duPont- Greg! (and Gianni Bugno in the Rainbow)
'93 Tour duPont- Raul Alcala (Wordperfect)
'94 Tour duPont- Ekimov (otherwise known as Uckymov (Novell))
'95 Tour duPont- Lance as "the Man"
'96 Olympics Road and Mt.Bike- Julie Furtado and ??
'04 Tour of Georgia- Lance!

'92 Norba Bloomington ** I forgot about this one until later. my homie Johnny and i went up to see this NORBA race and viewed the great John Tomac, with a little Bob Roll thrown in for good measure. i might have to look for these pics a little more carefully

there are few or no pics of the '89 Corestates,the '90 Tour, and the '96 Olympic roadrace.

Otherwise I've listed various personages to keep myself straight. i'll have to hook up our scanner or use my mom's to get the pics on, but good pics they are. Greg, Lance, Gianni, etc. Ah nostalgia! and ah nostalgia for a big American racing scene. yes, TofGeorgia is a great thing, but it's comporable to Europe- the bigger the geographic area, the bigger the rep of the race. yes, there are those various "Vuelta a Burgos" races in Spain, or "Tour of the Mediterranean" in Italy, but the Vuelta and the Giro are MUCH bigger. so the Tour of Georgia is very cool and nicely run, according to our experience there last time, but Tour duPont(formerly Tour de Trump) was across the whole entire eastern seaboard. MUCH bigger.

here's hoping that the Tour of California makes good waves too.

more to come

and Wow, it dries up thereof. amazing that this corresponds with the date of the first born,

Cycling stories #1

since i can't seem to get any mileage in these days (schedule just didn't work today), i instead am going to recount some occassional cycling stories here, not of me and my pathetic attempts over the years at riding enough to warrant my bikes, but instead to recount different bike racing experiences i've viewed. if i can, i'm going to include a pic or two summing up the experience, but this won't always be possible.

#1: In 1989 my parents were living outside of Philly in West Chester, PA on 5 acres in a freakin' beautiful bucolic area. the land around there was heavily and strictly zoned, so there were only farms and big-ass homes on acreage. the various Philly clubs used to always ride that area around the Brandywine River, and WestChester was also home base to several nationally ranked triathletes. my dad worked in business and had ties to banks, so in the early summer of '89 we got an invite to attend the CoreState Championship, which is the Philly nat'l campeonato that's been held since '85 or so (this past fall the structure was all changed with the pro championship going to SouthCarolina and Philly becoming more of a 1day race. hope it lasts unlike the SanFran deal).

for those undereducated, Greg Lemond had moved from a totally Nothing year with PDM in '88 to race for ADR, a Belgium team, and somehow this became ADR/CoorsLight in the US. I believe also that there was some CoorsLight connection in Euro races as well. in fact, Greg put on one of those hideous Pink Coorslight hats on when he won the Tour in '89, defeating Fignon. we attended that '89 race at the guest of the bank- CoreStates- in fact where we could suck up the ambience, etc. the final, and notallthatclimactic, point is that '89 was the only year that Greg Lemond, first and best American cycling hero, raced the US Nat'l Pro Championships, apparently under the encouragement of CoorsLight. He had had a somewhat bad Giro, almost quitting, but finishing a little better with a 3rd place in the last time trial. Therefore, shortly thereafter, he returned to the states to race CoreStates.

He didn't win, but Greg was active throughout the race. It was a THRILL to have GREG LEMOND in the US racing, given that at this point he was more of a minor deity having won the '86 Tour. I know he also had made his presence known out west in various Coors Classics/Red Zingers and in the '86 worlds, but this was a special EastCoast- and Nat'l Championship- appearance. that day Greg Oravetz (sp?), a fellow CoorsLight rider, won. in fact, it was about the only damn thing he ever won in cycling (after a webcheck, i found that Oravetz also won the '91 US Criterium campeonato). Oravetz won the jersey, but the day was truly dominated by the appearance of true cycling god GREG LEMOND.

math :-(

Could You Pass 8th Grade Math?

found this here and there. won't tell you my score b/c it wasn't 100%. Why the hell should I remember what an integer is? or a whole number? i'm just bitter b/c i missed 1 and i don't know which one it was. oh well, i can still conjugate.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Warning, Cycling Content!!

Warning, this post actually contains (albeit very limited) cycling content.

ears are still miserable and full of gunk. i don't think the infection is there so much, but the fluid is and "that makes all the difference".

that said, today was a decent day, with sunny skies and a temp around 40. it's been an unnaturally cold diciembre, so 40 felt balmy, although i'm pretty sure that's still below the norm. given the temps, i ran the weasals out of the house. i first did some prep work on the LHT so i can take it in the next few days to Clarksville Schwinn and have real mechanics mount the shifters and levers. yes, i could take a stab, but i'll yet again give in to the division of labor argument and have compotent people do things that i would only do incompotently. i did toodle up and down the street a bit on the LHT sans brake levers, to get a feel of the bars. on very initial reflection, i'm going to like the out-wide position, as it sits me up nice and high. i think i'll like the brake/hands position as well. the one thing you lose is that closetothestem roadie position that i for one like. we'll make no further observations until paying a significant amount of money and time to mount said hardware and ride around a while.

after fiddling, i and the two boys- who want to be called 'lance' and 'george'- took a little ride up the Atherton and around the neighborhood. it was nice to get out, and certainly nice to get them away from the Gamecube. below is a pic of 'lance' and 'george' riding down the street, the taller being 'lance'. i considered having a "discussion" with them to the extent that George H is much taller than Lance A, so Z should be 'george', but decided it wasn't worth it.

the 'george' and 'lance' theme follow my latest behavior, in that i'm either too sick or too much of a woos to go out and ride, so i vicariously do so by watching 2003 TdF videos. that's the one where Lance fell off and went off road and got destroyed by Jan in the 1st time trial. it's by far the best cinema of his 7-year reign. as much as it's time to move on, i did get a slight twinge of nostalgia. "no more lance". who's next? big Jan? classy Basso? upandcomer Valverde or Cunego? one of the myriad of eastern europeans like Vino, Menchov, Karpets, or Discovery boy Popovich? t'will be interesting.

tomorrow if the temps hold i'm going to bundle up and take a ride, even if it's in the lowest gear i got. even if it's nothing but neighborhoods. tomorrow will make 2 weeks without any action, and however crappy i feel, i feel more like hitting the road.

i'm sure the bitter cold will return and quell (sp?) my present inclinations. vamos a ver.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

errors and ears

1. i hate making spelling and grammatical errors on my blog entries b/c it makes me look stupid. ontheotherhand, i'm usually too lazy to fix them.

2. my right ear is presently catastrophic, full of fluid and pestilence and the like. i'm on my 2nd antibiotic plus drops. it's the SAME EXACT thing from which i've suffered several other times in my adult life. i seem to have ears that don't drain, so they fill with plague, and lo and behold it has happened several times in the winter and even more importantly, several times around the holidays. complete bullshit.

3. b/c of my nasty ears, i haven't touched a bike in something like two weeks. it's not laziness; it's impending death or deafness, whichever comes first.

4. still waiting for return package from, hoping my return didn't get lost in the shuffle. 'course, i can't really ride like this so i should just be more patient.

5. why can't louisville have an active bike blog culture like Minneapolis? there are 5 or 6 regular bloggers up there and they all give a great sense of cycling in that city. maybe the 'Ville doesn't actually have a 'sense', so no one can adequately express it. cycling here in Luavull on occasion develops something positive, like hosting USCF Nationals a couple years ago. that was neat, watching the road championships take place in my fav parks, and watching the Crit' finals down on the waterfront. but alas those moved to a better financial package in Utah. i guess all those polygamists enjoy watching cycling and are willing to pay for it.

And only a year or two ago, when i was still 'crossing, there were several 'cross races locally, 1 or 2 in Edwardsville courtesy of Nathan Schickel, 1 @ Iroquois Pk at one point, 1 @ Bowman Field, 1 or 2 in Oldham Co. This year in the Ohio Valley series there were NO RACES locally, only in Lexington and in Ohio/IN. one was to be touted as a UCI race with $$ but the $$ didn't come through. i think they did some kind of add-on race, but it certainly didn't have the same build-up.

so maybe there are no bloggers b/c there is no culture. i love, in a weird way, reading posts from the LBC/Kycyclist listserve, because it bring up how insular the scene is here. there are very few commuters, and apparently very few racers. the scene mostly consists of fancy-lycra'ed roadies who constantly get abused out on Oldham, Shelby, and Spencer Co. roads. we here do have a strong "MadDog" contingent of ultra-riders, who do centuries all the time. most of their posts, though, have that veiled sense of satisfaction that they just seem a little better than everyone. do any commute? do any forward the car vs. bike discussion? yes, they're active in organizing what they do for themselves, and what else is there? but i doubt they move the interests of the sport overall anywhere except for the few folks who seem to have every weekend open both days to ride all day long. just being bitter.

of course, do i move anything forward? i do think by riding regularly to work and being seen as transportion instead of as recreation, i DO promote a more purposeful view of the 'sport'.

or not. maybe just blowing smoke out my A@S.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

CATS CATS CATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i have to admit i'm something of a fair-weather fan, in that Tubby's lack of tournament success gets me so bothered i don't always watch the games (or at least the whole game). in fact, sometimes i'd just rather not watch than watch them lose- IU anyone? Tubby's style of coaching, as well, gives me the heebie-jeebies. Score some POINTS onc e in a while. i have several UL fans who love to tell me how great Tubby is, solid like a rock, but i, as a spoiled UK fan, cannot accept not going to the final four since 1998. if they don't make it this year, it will be the longest run since the '40s or something like that. if UK is an elite program- like Duke, UNC, Kansas, etc.- then they belong in the final four every few years. every year? no i totally understand the modern competitive environment. but every few years, like a UNC for example.

well, after the steaming pile that was the IU game, the Cats needed this one. passionate play, energy, good defence, Rondo and Crawford playing seemingly in their element, Woo stepping up. this effort may, just may, portend good efforts coming up. and we'll hold our thoughts on Randolph until March or so.

Friday, December 16, 2005


esta noche hemos comprado nuestro arbol de Navidad. Hace mucho que esperamos a comprar uno, pero ya no pudimos porque de tanto pasandonos, enfermedad, enfermedad familial, estando bien ocupado, lluvias, tanto. por fin despues del trabajo y despues de una fiesta breve por la tarde encontramos uno en "Paul's Fruit Market". ay de mi, un ojo de la cara. pagamos $50 por uno muy bueno y lindo, pero esa plata por un pinche arbol que ya estara rey muerta dentro de una semana. que lio.

pero es el espiritu de los dias festivos. huele rico y provee un sentido de amistad y alegria. manyana despues de la practica de coro yo decorare afuera mientras mi buena mujera hara lo mismo adentro.

Tenemos nuestro concierto de la obra de Saint-Sains (spelling's not quite right) y FINALMENTE podre empezar a andar en bici de nuevo. me ha falta mas de una semana por la gripe y ahora mas por la necesidad de cuidarme la voz. me basta esto. la parte Tenor es bien dificil y me da miedo, especialmente manyana cuando tengamos que practicar con la orquestita.

And finally i'm in a holding pattern on bike stuff. the new Carradice and Lumotec from peterwhite should be arriving at some point, having been sent a week ago. I'm think by the end of the upcoming week. My excellent local LBS- Clarksville Schwinn- has 8speed shifters and DiaCompe287V levers on order. as soon as they arrive we'll get those mounted and we should be cookin' by the start of the year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Near Death, on little

my string of non-riding has come to 1 full week, but i've been thrown yet another twist. this past weekend it was the oncoming of a cold, which further created double ear infections.

yesterday during and especially after work i felt my stomach get that big knot in it that says "uh oh". after L had tossed his galletas ALL NIGHT saturday, i knew this couldn't be good. long story short i've got the stomach flue with all the fever, headache, and other that it entails. skipped work today b/c, frankly, i feel terrible. and just this a.m. i also managed to get a crick in my neck, surely due to all the bed and chair time. have to ride this one out and go forward.

We still don't have a tree and it's nobody's fault. it's been busy and mostly terrible.

on the bike front, i had my fav LBS order me some Shimano 8speed bar ends. they always come through. as easy as it is to surf and surf and find "deals", they can always help me when i fuck up up the installation. i'm doing some research concerning brake levers and brake setup. prob have them take care of that too. I an "educational professional", not a damn mechanic!

i might've stated that the moustaches came in. they did, and at the stem they fit, but the rest of the bar is too round a circumfrence (sp?), so new shifters and levers. i won't care to see the crappy brake levers on the LHT go away, but the shifters are nice Deore. might sell them, given that the only mtn bike i have is the Redline singlespeed.

Monday, December 12, 2005

me Contagio una infeccion del Oido

i have my answer to why i've been so lethargic, the dreaded inner-ear infection, actually in both. last week we experienced some inclement weather which kept me from riding Thursday. Friday i felt like crap- the comings of a cold. the weekend i felt no better and then sensed inner-ear pressure. maybe 5 years or so ago i had a nasty ear infections each winter for 3 or so years in a row. it's been a few, but they've struck again. no riding for me at the moment.

there is more than that going on, with concerts, family concerns and semester end. i'll be lucky to get back on the bike by the end of the week. i may have to break down and jump on the trainer tomorrow.

crap, i just lost this paragraph, so i'll have to write it again. mierda! i received my 25.4mm moustache bars from "Brown" today. i'm the happy owner of whatseesmtobe rare sized moustache bars. i'm going to contain my enthusiasm until i have them mounted and levers actually fitting, especially given my probs with my peterwhite order (no fault of his though). the moustache + the new NelsonLongflap + the new Lumotec will make my LHT a stylin' rid, even if you can get cooler colors coming out this year. gotta get through this brutal week though.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Jimmy James

here's a good story for the day. i had to send my box back to peterwhitecycles today for all my fixes. i park the truck towards the end of the parking lot near the UPS stor when i see a furry, bearded dude in a trenchcoat with a funny hat. i immediatlely know that it's jimmy james from My Morning Jacket, Louisville' favorite- and only- mega phat band. i've seen them a couple times and the wife is a really big fan. in fact she has the kids listening to and from school. i thought of asking him for an interview, but no, from what i could tell he was in the parking lot trying to sell his Grand Wagoneer to a couple. Do they know it's Jimmy James from MMJ? i hope so!! passing him in the lot i told him i liked their last show in louisville, one which i actually listened to on the live feed from WFPL.

the JimmyJames story gets a little better when we went to see "Elizabethtown", the Cameron Crowe movie that takes place and was shot throughout Louisville and in other parts of the good KY. the movie was terrible at times, and passable at others. i saw jimmy james yet again as a member of 'Ruckus', a fictitious band that actually is MMJ in it's entirety.

so ask yourself. how many times do you get the good fortune to see a major rock star in a parking lot 1 mile from your home, and then seem them in a major Hollywood film all in the same afternoon? impressive, no?

here is the link to MMJ's website. hope the link function works this time, b/c "Fat Cyclist" didn't work earlier today when i tried to insert the link. Vamos a ver.

**editor's note- it didn't work. i'm just going to type the damn thing in, but i assume it won't show as a hyperlink.

"Fat Cyclist"

I've winnowing away the day surfing instead of doing anything constructive. Really I'm waiting until family unit goes out to buy pagan nature idol used to worship fictitious birthday of old Jewish dude. (sorry, just feeling cycnical). So, i came across a good blog from "Fat Cyclist". i particulary wanted to bring to attention his December 1st entry about his relationship with the cold. it sounds conspiculously like mine. Here is his linke to the general blog, and scroll down to find the 1st:


i had a poor night's sleep allinall, but woke up to this nice image. hope 'la belleza' of the a.m. portends further niceties for the day at hand. Le Dauphin is going to see those dreaded Cards with his Gran, so good for him. we have trees to buy and lights to string, so good for us. i might just ride out of principle. Here is the morning, at about 7.00, looking across the street.

Friday, December 09, 2005



i think i've contracted some kind of ick. very lethargic, bordering on the body ache you get from a fever. listless. today's icy roads certainly made a non-riding day, but wouldn't want to ride feeling like this anyway.

called PeterWhite and squared away the light situation. i feel like crap, but i'm sending the Bag AND the Light back and trading- the lowsaddle for a Nelson Longflap, and the $100 light for something cheapter, in the $50 range maybe. i don't know. i might trade the light straight. i like the quality of the bright white light instead of the yellow halogen.

i want to get that transaction started so i can move on with riding plans with appropriate gear. waiting for the moustache to arrive now. hope they aren't a letdown too. i'm sure that'll be better. bad luck can't come in threes, right?

Thursday, December 08, 2005


I just $!@$@#$% hate the weather people anymore. we begin at the start of the week with building (ratings-grabbing!) coverage of 'potential snow' for Thursday, today. by yesterday-Wednesday- we had gone from 1"-3" to 4"-8". an 8inch snow in Louisville in diciembre is a big deal, so all eyes on the TV. today- Thursday- we all watch the skies with baited anticipation for the fury to come. oh, by mid-day the forecast may call for a little sleet and "wintry mix" in that 8". now, at 5.30 p.m., the skies are emptying of moisture and it, IT mind you, managed to contain some dreary rain and sleet and almost negligible snow. almost NONE. being in my line of work, we're impacted by all the snow talk. it seriously works the baboons up. do you get your hopes up? do you ignore it all? do you get by like farmers in 1900 who didn't have TV WINTER STORM WARNINGS!? BS, just total BS.

played with the Lumotec light some more today. i already prepared the Carradice for return to peterwhite. i'm going with the Nelson Longflap, since i have to have the room.

the light has proven more complicated. it works. in fact it works better than it's supposed to. the switch which should turn off the light during the daytime, thereby saving bulblife, doesn't cut the current. therefore the light is on 24/7/365. i just can't pay $105.00 for a light that doesn't do what it should. i emailed and got a response from a nice gentleman in Quebec, Michel Gagnon [], who gave me some good suggestions. i removed the light from the frame, thereby ensuring that there are no grounding considerations. i switched the wires back and forth so as to have appropriate "polarity". best i can tell, the switch doesn't work.

i've stated before that i'm scared of peterwhite; he's intimidating and seems to think that i'm stupid, which i might be technologically. i have to get this light thing worked out, because i refused to ride with this generator hub that seriously increases my drag without having the benefits of the light.

i'll call peter tomorrow and see how he treats me.

because i also have been fiddling with the LHT, and now have no rack mounted, i'm going back to the old C'dale for tomorrow's commute. i'll mount both lights and pump the tires up and ride in the the "wintry soup".

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

assessing goodies

before getting to the important stuff, let us say that i made a short and succint commute today, with very little deviation. i find that temperatures of 18 @ 6.15 i the a.m. cause me to be unenthusiastic about lenghtening my trip. and the afternoons suck too. so 6.5 in the a.m. and 6 in the p.m., both done slowly. tomorrow big winter nasties are forecasted, with snow and/or "wintry mix" in the afternoon and lots of snow in the evening. it's also the case that the good family has 4 different activities tomorrow after 1.20, so i'll be driving. if the schedule were completely clear, i would give it a go and make the p.m. return an adventure.

12.5 total miles/12.7avg/18degrees a.m./32 degrees p.m.

now, about those goodies. i had spent yesterday evening, fortuitously, mountain the good stuff, and today was a good basic ride to check the schwag out. concerning the Carradice, i like the layout and the seeming durability. i mounted the Bagman and all the good stuff and gave her a go. the immediate problem is that the Lowsaddle just isn't big enough. i had my normal workload, pants shirt, skivvies, boxlunch, yogurts, stack o papers in the main compartment, one side pocket with wallet, keys, glasses, and the other with tools. i had to put the extra tube in the main compartment. with the expandale top, i was able to get everything in, but it was at capacity. i know there are times when I carry MORE, and sometimes even MORE than that. i had very work-related papers and this can be a big problem. Por Eso, I'm going to send the Lowsaddle back and move up to the Nelson. i think there is room on the bike, and i just have more storage. I will make due with the Nelson hell or high water.

concerning the light, i liked it quite alot, well in the a.m. i did. the light give s off a nice conical pattern and points it out in front of the bike nicely. the autofeature with the stationary LED in nice too. i gave the light high marks in the a.m. the p.m. brought a different problem b/c it wouldn't turn off. i remember reading about polarity and current blah blah blah. the crux of it is that the light NEVER goes off; the switches have no impact at all. i have to fix this.

i called Peter this p.m. to discuss the bag switch, which he was fine with. i then discussed the light and he seemed, well, perplexed. he finally told me to switch the polarity, which is light telling me to go find some vectors or parabola or something. i'm electricity-impaired. i'm going to give it another go though. the beam is good for commuting and the supposed on/off capability is appropriate.

once things are dialed in, i will do more substantial review for all those commuters out there reading my blog. (did you pick up on the irony?)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

goodies II

the good family had the good fortune of scoring some freebie "Naria" preview tix, so i had part of the evening free to play. of course i spent my time mounting the new goodies on the LHT. i'm be interested in the long-term assessment, but on the short term:

1. the Lowsaddle Longflap (that may, or may not, be the actual name) has a great design, but i'm afraid it's too small. it just doesn't seem as big as the C'dale pannier. i'm undecided. i'm considering sending just it back and trading up for the larger Nelson, but i'm indecisive. i DO like it's smaller size from an asthetic standpoint, but from a practical one, will it have enough room for clothes, papers, books, food, extras? and in times of dire need, will i miss that other pannier? it's been awhile since i've used both. but having both definitely increases the chances that i don't have to drive one day purely due to extra storage reasons. if the Timbuktu bag had worked out better, i wouldn't worry, but don't know. i do fundamentally like the system.

2. so far i like the light. i only went up and down the street, but it seems to be bright and have that cool xenon white light that all the euro cars have. it also has that nice standy-by light feature. i managed to mount it without screwing anything up too bad, but with me you never know. i doesn't have this random wire sticking out for tail lights that i don't have anywhere for it to go. i might just install one, especially if i send the longflap back and trade.

3. i can wrench worth shit. i know just enough to get by, but am not compotent enough to make stuff look good. i'm sure mounting cables and levers on the new moustache bars will be comical. what can i screw up with that?

4. it's going to be cold in the a.m., but i have to go back out and try out the new schwag. thursday they're calling for snow in the p.m., so i might HAVE to ride tomorrow to get the miles in.

pics of the LHT adorned with the new material soon to come, esp if i get those badass moustaches on.


got the ride out of the way today. it was one of those a.m. days, 17 or so, when a warm vehicle and a cup o joe would've been great, but i knew 'sheryl' would be riding, and i just couldn't let her show me up in this weather!! in fact both legs of my commute were short today. this weather is making my legs feel like tree trunks. i've even thought of getting some "embrocation" (i.e. IcyHot or something) to get the knees warm in the a.m.

13 miles total/6 a.m./7 p.m./18degrees a.m./30 degrees p.m.

the day proved more interesting with the reception of a box from PeterWhite today, containing the Carradice LowLongFlap whatev, the Bagman support and the Lumotec light. the bag will be a pretty straighforward mount, although i'm going to have to take off the pannier rack that's on there rightnow. in hindsight, i wish i'd gotten the Nelson instead. i'm concerned about room. it is a longflap model, so it can extend up, but it looks like some days will be tighte than others. one nice thing is the various loops i can use to attach things. in winter that means the extra jackets/tight/shirts may be attached on the outside instead of stuffed in. i think that's OK. i guess rain+extra attachments is a prob, but i don't think i want the hassle of sending things back (i'm scared of peter anyway), so i'll make due.

concerning the light, i think it will be great, but i'm scared to death of the electronics. i have a feeling, with my previous system somewhat in place, i can just mount and plug in, but i'm not sure. am i missing something? i can't afford to burn this light out given the cost, so i have to do it right. i think the plan will be to mount the Carradice tonight and the light this weekend, so i don't rush things. next should be the moustache bars. that will take some more planning, maybe over the holidays. at the end though, i should have a nice rig.

here is a pic of the Carradice bag- actually this is the Nelson, b/c he doesn't have a pic of the Lowsaddle. mine also doesn't have the fetching metal nameplate. it is the same basic form and shape:

Monday, December 05, 2005

hmmm, more cold?

well well well, it was cold today. no, not supermacho cold like all those bloggers in Minneapolis, but cold enough for me. the temp read 33 going to work, and lo and behold it read 33 when i got home. in fact read 29. brrrrr.

today's kit included the REI base, Capeline 2nd layer and Performance jacket. had i known it was going to be so cold all day, i would've opted for the fullon coat. for legs thin layer and the thickish running tights. on the feet the Sealskinz. 30 degrees is the cutoff for these without a heavier interior sock. on the hands the Nike gloves. and i wore the same crap home!! they're forecasting colder temps tomorrow a.m., so i'll have to bring out the even heavier artillery. don't really know what to do about feet, so i'l have to make that up tomorrow.

this p.m. rode by 'sheryl's', Market/Mellwood, Frankfot, Stilz, Garden, Seneca/Cherokee, up ChauferHill where i ran out of gas, and then across Seneca Gds. good mileage for the day, but man the quads get rock hard- and not in a good way- out there.

18 miles total/6 a.m./12 p.m./33 degrees both trips

Oh, Le Dauphin and i enjoyed a walk home from the Loop tonight. 27 and he's not in the least bit phased while i'm shivering. Ahh to young, supple and ignorant.

In the course of buying bike shit i don't need (well, maybe the generator light just a little), i've found some great sites, several of which i've added to my links. Gansaari bikes in OH and Vanilla cycles in OR both offer totally sweet rides. is it me or is there a legitimate interest out there in ridable, non-racing, BIKES. Bikes to ride, commute, tour, cross, F@# around?? it seems that with Surly making nice "low-end" products and some of these makers along with Rivendell making the upper-end things, there's lots to salivate over. I'm adding a pic of a sweet, and i mean SWEET, "commuter" ride by Vanilla. it's the type of ride my wife's been wanting, sort of. i don't think she would ride the $2700 or whatev it would cost, but it's purty. Follows is the pic:

Sunday, December 04, 2005

dando un paseo

esta tarde, Le Dauphin' y yo nos dirigimos a dar un paseo a la iglesia, porque hay un festival de Advent. es una de esas actividades que no me interesa para nada, pero la familia suele ir y quiero apoyarlos. en vez de viajar en carro, me fui de pie con Z. despues de cenar, volvi solo y me costo 35.00 en total. es bueno que haya pasado 1.5 hr haciendo la actividad hoy. es una noche bien comoda aunque haga frio y este nublado. en el oeste se ve una buena vista de la luna con Mars a la cerca.

porque ha empezado el invierno, quisiera poner una foto de algo que les caiga bien a todos, recordandonos de esos tiempos mejores y mas divertidos. la calidad no es muy buena, pero los sentimientos si. Esta es una foto de la playa de Jaco, Costa Rica. Esta en la costa del Pacifico. Es una playa bien conocida por su surf. la saque un una camara digital. nunca pude sacar exactamente lo que queria, pero esta imagen ofrece un sentimiento de las aguas al puesto del sol. Que lindo y Pura Vida!! Aqui hay:


with my "new charge" in mind, i headed out this a.m. for a brisk little road ride, this time riding the CrossCheck with the wheels from the Litespeed. my decision was precipitated by a decision to use my Sidi winter shoes that i'd forgotten abt in the basement. they have Time cleats, so that means the Surly. i though, perhaps, that the Sidis, plus some Assos winter socks and a thin liner underneath would make for warmth, but all that $$ in expensive gear doesn't mean shit. in 68 minutes, my toes were pretty damn cold. i've heard Lake's winter shoe/boot is 'da bomb', but my mom, who bought the Sidis for a xmas present, got them from my fav LBS, who doesn't carry Lakes.

anyway, a brisk 35 or so with a good breeze meant for a brisk ride, but i did get 68 minutes in doodling around the park. while i complain about my toes, one thing that IS warm about my setup is the waytootight C'dale fleece longsleeve shirt. that's a great story, how i got it.

in '99 i got in pretty good shape, lifting, running, lots of biking. i dropped 40lbs and felt great. that fall was the first time i'd done 'cross. at one of the races hosted in S.In- courtesy of Nathan Schickel of Clarksville Schwinn, i won the C race. the fact is, there were only 3 of us in the whole race. the woman winner (who beat me), and another guy who ended up not finishing due to a mtbike malfunction. good stories after the fact were that, #1 the woman- Michelle somebody- was one of the best local female racers, so i didn't feel to bad getting beaten by her. in fact i held with her pretty well for half the laps. #2 the guy's name is Terry S.- "tall Terry" who i found out later was the dad of one of my son's preschool mates. i've since gotten to know him and his family somewhat. he's an old (at least older than I) roadie, who i believe is back riding the road. if his damn bike had worked, he'd probably have beaten me by 10.00. so i won the race and receive something like $100 merchandise while being the fattest guy there. Great! that was a good fall.

i meant to complain another time at the complete incivility of the biking community. what a bunch of assholes. i only say that because, while any runner or walker worth their salt will ALWAYS wave and/or say hello, these assmonkey roadies will only stare at you if you say or do anything. no wonder the car community hates these people. lighten up! when i road with the LBC back in the day, the group i liked to ride with was the Wednesday a.m. group- the older, slower group. fact is i was in shape enough to jump into some faster rides, but i could get good mileage with good, civil people on those rides. maybe it's not like that now, so i should not judge. these people on the roads, though, are UNpleasant.

69 minutes/34 degrees/breezy

Saturday, December 03, 2005

B-B-Belgium (and the Moustache)

just got back from what ended up being a slight adventure, though not too much of one- quick jaunt out on a Saturday afternoon. a weekish or so when i promised myself to get active again i knew i had to take advantage of these weekend days when i wasn't getting anything going, so today, even with the winter grey skies i said "I'm going". with temps in the mid-30s, i figured that was doable with no great difficulty. it was a decision made easier my UK losing to the dreaded UNC, a game which to my total non-surprise they lost. i just CANNOT watch Tubby's teams play with that (non-existent) offense, and this to a practically freshmen UNC team.

so slightly bundled i went on the Litespeed. after the fact, i realized that i hadn't been on the the Litespeed since Labor Day weekend with my 25miler in Casey Co., 3+ months. that's Ridiculous!! and badly, given my time on the LHT, i practically couldn't ride the Blueridge. the layed-out, long-reach position of a normal road bike, and a non-racing one at that, had me feeling like superman. it was also the first ride on the Brooks B-17N. so frankly, it was one of those uncomfortable rides that you sometimes do. i went over to the parks and was originally flying, feeling the lightness of the titanium instead of the hulk of the LHT. temps of about 35 when lo and behold it started to rain. it never really got going, but neither my gloves nor my shoes were prepared for rain, only temps. at some point i adjusted my saddle a little more forward, which helped quite a bit really. with the rain though, i came on home. good to get out though.

and on a very good note, i had the good fortune to purchase a set of handlebars from Rivendell this a.m., ones that will be coveted by all. as stated, i've been researching the Moustache thing. so last night i email Rivendell and encourage them to stock some 25.4mm mtbike sized Moustaches. well well well (as ever RL) they have ONE set in stock- seems like someone misordered them. we had eaten last night at El Mundo's, so they were closed. i counted down the minutes this a.m. until they opened in NoCal. I even had the good fortune to speak to the same dude, Brian Douglas. So now i'm the proud owner of a set of moustache bars, ones that will work with my brake levers and shifters. i'm psyched!!!!!!!!! i'm sure there might be some tweaking to do, but within a week or two my LHT will transformarse with moustache bars, a Carradice bag and new high-tec generator light. i will have spent something like $350 bucks total- practically another bike. but a sweet ride to boot.

12.5m/48.00/15.1avg/Litespeed Blueridge

Friday, December 02, 2005

@#$ That's Cold!!

first and foremost, i don't know how the Minnesota and Swedish people do it. this a.m. was the coldest of the fall/winter, and, well, it was cold, to the tune of 23 with a 8 windchill. I've never been a big believer in wind chill until this a.m., when it was coming in at 15mph from the NW in Canada. my ride was tolerable, but it certainly wasn't comfortable. BUT, i did do it. i also want to comment on dead leg, which is what i had this a.m. don't know if it was the temps or what, but i could just never get it going this a.m. i bet i cruised at about 11-12mph, which under normal circumstances is pretty damn slow.

this p.m. we had a reunion of 'sheryl', 'lance', and me for the first time in a while. we headed down towards sheryl's hearing about how much she was ready to run and lift. good for her! i head up into Crescent Hill with Lance. turning at Stilz, i made my way onto Garden and into the park, across to St.Matthews. i turned onto Cannons at Winchester and cut through the Bowman area. Boy, a couple A-holes buzzed me on Cannons going incredibly fast. i know my place, but if you have an extra lane, be courteous and don't try to run my ass over! i crossed over into the "flats" behind farmington and wynded my way home. good afternoon with some slow, steady mileage on a brisk day.

19m total/6.5 a.m./12.5p.m./23degrees (8windchill) a.m./34 p.m. and sunny

good day for riding. and i'm waiting now for my Carradice bag and new light.

i'm really salivating for a new bar setup. this flat bar thing just isn't cutting it. i'd like to do moustache, but all are road size. Van Dessel has a flat (no rise) moustache for $30. that may be low enough to give a try. it might tide me over a year or two before i go to something new. vamos a ver.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

"let it snow, let it snow..."

you get the picture. today is the first "snow" of the winter, which is to say some puffy flakes of very non-sticking snow did fall. it looked nice against the backdrop of the stark trees, but it wasn't REALLY a snow. i'm sure that will come a good deal later. i did notice that the forecast has finally merged into neo-winter, with highs only in the 40s and sometimes high 30s. one day next week has a high of 27. given that i'm reinvigorated to ride, i guess i'll have some nice opporutnities to work out every combo of cold weather gear i own.

i'm drinking coffee @ 5.00 in the p.m. i'm worried that it would be very easy to become a notonlyinthemorning coffee drinker. i really don't want to for sake of cost and health, but i have to stay awake until 9.00, right.

Rode today after not getting out yesterday. i had a meeting ayer that started @ 6.45 and i still almost missed it while driving. today was straightforward except that i couldn't find any damn headwear. i have three earbands- one thick, one thin polypro, and a third thin fleece. what i wanted to find was the thin fleece since that's the best one for temps in the low 40s, like those we had this p.m. i also have- theoretically- two balaclavas, one thin polypro and one thick fleece. fact is i can't find the pinche polypro one ANYWHERE. this morning's temps were low 30s, which are almost too warm for the fleece baclava (ja ja, play on words. did'ya catch that one?), but th polypro has disappeared. it smushes down VERY small, so i'm sure it's in a nook or cranny somewhere. For this a.m. of 33 i wore:
*1 medium tight and one thin, with shorts underneath
*REI baselayer- pretty warm one, long sleeve top and "water" jacket, as i'll call the heavier-weight Performance jacket
*fleece balaclava and nike gloves
*think socks and Sealskinz socks which are water/wind proof. i think they're the real deal, though I haven't had them on for longer than 45min or so.

afternoon was 40 or so but very windy, i peeled off one tight and longsleeve top, changed to neoprene gloves and polypro band. the Performance neoprene gloves are nice, but more acceptable for upper 40s. that low 40s is the magic area where i have no gloves that really work. lots above and lots below, but no middle. On arriving home, my computer read only 5.7m, which is .3 short. i don't know if it's the weather or what, but really it was .4 or more short. maybe it's not making good contact or something, but it's yet another tekinal thing i have not watch. the p.m. ride home with varying winds i averaged a well-earned 14.3, which i was pleased with as the false flat up Baxter was mostly a headwind. tough pushing.

and yesterday i took the plunge and spent ass-loads of $$ on more bike crap from i spoke with him on the phone and he had the strangest demeanor i've ever encountered. basically he made me fell like a dumbass. i might give him another try and see if he really is like that or not. i was ordering a replacement generator light for the LHT, as the Shimano one is crap. well, i don't know exactly how all these are labelled with their "Sensos" and "Ovos" and "Ps" and "Lactos". logic says that he, Peter, is there to help me mull through these, especially as they're items not found in the LBS. i think i ended up buying a product that is much more expensive than i wanted, like $100 instead of $50, but i was too much of a chickenshit to make him stop. everytime i tried to get a word in he would insist that i be quiet so he could write down my order. reminds me of an overly anal math teacher. IF, and that's a big IF, i can get this damn thing mounted right, then i'm sure it'll be a great light. i also ordered a Carradice bag and support. that put me back another $150. my intention is to put that on the LHT, but this a.m. i came up with the magical idea of mounting it to the Litespeed, since it's pretty easy to put the bag on, and seems as though the support will be too. that's what i REALLY need, two different commuter mounts with a former commuter hybrid sitting looking pretty on the porch. in the spring i intend to sell the C'dale and Trek hell or highwater, because they need new homes.

and finally, something i forgot to report Tuesday after the wreck was a great sight in the a.m. yet again climing Dog Hill in Cherokee. It was quite dark, but i was adding some mileage, right in the middle of the hill, low on the horizon right above the trees was a crescent moon, i think waxing, and just above it Jupiter. the moon had a nice outline around it. i think the the sight of it in the east in the a.m. so low is the unusual part; i'm accustomed to it higher in the sky in the a.m., or in the west. frankly i don't know mierda abt lunar cycles, but it was a nice image just above the skeletal trees.

a good image amidst a shitty morning.
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