Thursday, August 31, 2006

Driving Ass Monkeys

i meant to further add to my post from earlier of a sight which makes me want to "AK" some of my fellow humans. yes, drivers hate cyclists b/c we fuck up traffic slow so. well, close to the house tonight a car goes by me, causing me no harm whatsoever, in which the driver is reading what look like the Sunday print Ads, while driving, and her passenger is leaning over in her lap (practically or literally) reading them too. this is taking place in a neighborhood with children, pedestrians, and yes, cyclists at the speed of approx. 25mph. i know i shouldn't use such foul language. i wouldn't want my boys to read such foul language, but i i would like to get a fucking machine gun and start shooting the motherfuckers, even last one of them (Funny Bunny, get it?). the populace is pissed at ME when these kind of FUCKING IDIOTS are driving the streets. commune in Alaska, that must be the only answer. DEEP in Minnesota. UP Michigan. Northern Maine. Kentucky Hills, but with enough property to keep away the hillbillies. Nebraska in the middle of a 10,000 acre corn field. something. i hate them numbnuts.

OK, i'm better. but seriously!

Short...and Adequate

Date: Aug 31
Mileage: 4
Ride type: Errand
Bike: fixie
Temp: 77 muggy
August mileage: 245
Year to date: 1270

didn't ride this morning. frankly, it was the confluence of a variety of factors. allow me to make excuses:

first was that we attended this month's Waterfront Wednesdays. that is our local public radio's live concert series on the vaunted Ohio River. this month's bill included some local guys, Scott Miller and the Commonwealth, and Old Crow Medicine Show. i had heard that these events were becoming "It" events, which means all the present and former fratboys/sororitygirls who show up, try to look pretty, and generally permeate an unctious boorish being. we went for Scott Miller, who we've seen both in his V-Roys days and as a solo guy now. most of the crowd, though, came for Old Crow. apparently they've developed a substantial fanbase by means of playing mediocre "string band" music, which means the music may not be mediocre, but they are. maybe i'm a snob, but the fiddle player was under the pitch all through the first song. that means he may be oozing "style" and "skill" to the dirty hippies and frat types, but to me relatively good musical ears, he doesn't really know shit. well, more than me, but i'm not a nascent rock star. as ever, i don't understand the hype.

secondly, i had beer AND a couple shots of whiskey at the show. i don't drink much of the brown stuff, but some friends there had some and, Hey, if they're offering. the hard stuff has a way of knackering me in a way that beer doesn't.

thirdly i had a 7.10 meeting this a.m. and a quiz to write. just not enough time to haul myself out of bed, get my shit together and meet too. not gonna happen.

this p.m. i endeavoured to vindicate myself a bit by running up to Kinko's, Krogers, and the Post Office on the fixie. 2 2mile round trips on bike instead of in car. i'm now at a point in the blog when i can start comparing miles from last year to this. i have a feeling i did more miles last August b/c i took more 2hr rides with 'lance'. guess that's what september will be for.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mr. Doubleline

Date: Aug 30
Mileage: 14
Ride type: Commute
Bike: LHT
Temp: 75 muggy
August mileage: 241
Year to date: 1266

very typical commute today. on the LHT again. i'm having the same problem as Pete, an annoying 'tic' in the bottom bracket/chain/chainring area. i almost had it inspected Saturday, but didn't quite pull that off. i would like to leave it over the holiday weekend b/c i won't be around to commute; i can ride one of the other bikes. we'll see.

the title refers to the only person who gunned it past me all day. traffic was well-behaved this a.m. this p.m., i hear the tale-tell (??) sounds of the ROARING engine right behind me. "oo, i'm in such a FUCKING hurry to get there 25 seconds early." lo and behold what passed me was a Ford Crown Vic with a bunch of shit in the back window. A cop. i know Johnnie Law is there to protect us, but dayinanddayout, they're some of the worst law breaker- traffic that is- around. use a turn signal. don't run the red light. slow the fuck down on the highway. and for Christ's sake don't go over the double yellow just to get around some cyclist. oh, and he turned maybe a quarter mile down the road. Ass clown.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I hate to jog

but i did so today. i felt like crap this a.m.- throat ick, drainage, you know, that kind of thing- so i didn't ride. i drove and stopped and had a large 'Americano' w/an extra shot from Valhalla, oh oops, Sunergos. when i came home, i knew i wanted to do something active, so i talked Z into jogging w/ me. he's been putting in some jog time in P.E. i think his is one of the few schools that still offers P.E. amidst the endless stream of testing and ASSessment these days. you tell me, which is more important, a damn math test or an hour of regular P.E. for every (fat)kid in the US. i know education is important; i'm a teacher and a pretty damn good one, but w/our engordacion prob in this (waste)land of the free (yes, i heard the Iris Dement song today), i'll take my kid getting the extra PE over yet another test any day.

anyway, we jogged for 20min, and then i went 10min further. 32min total for me. mileage? don't really give a shit. it was great, though, to be able to go out and much better enjoy those unpleasant 20min w/Z instead of me mired in my own pathetic condition any day.

Date: August 29
Minutes jogged: 32.00

Monday, August 28, 2006

Date: Aug 28
Mileage: 16
Ride type: Commute
Bike: fixie
Temp: 85 Rain
August mileage: 227
Year to date: 1252

the only real note of today's commute was that i ran into rain both going and returning. it had rained quite a bit last night, but this a.m. i wanted to stay on task and get the ride in, dampness or not. it turned out well b/c i only experienced a minor shower. i then worked half the day with no air-conditioning. try that in teacher clothes with 90% humidity. charming. the trip home was bizarre, in that the sky was quite bright and normal, but filled with heavy raindrops. i rode the fixie b/c it had been setup from friday, and it's a good rain bike with fenders, 30C tires and unimportant components herenthere.

a good note from the local bikelist: http://labike.notlong.com- i'm not sure i want my 'bent riding venturing into that territory.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Bike Stuff

didn't ride today. i had a couple different opportunities, but i seemed to use the day to tie up other loose ends instead. i went to watch the Manual Cross-Country team run their first meet this year. back when i taught at Trimble Co., i coached CC for 4 years and enjoyed it quite a bit. i'm short and fat, but my mom for many years was a locally-successful runner , and my dad was a state-champion shot putter (see, the size but not the height, but that's another story to analyze) so i was around that kind of scene growing up. and it was the little skinny kids who ran instead of me. at TC i had several kids participate in the KY State meet, with one girl finishing well a couple times and the boys finishing middle of the pack. long story short, i went over to their tent to speak to what looked like one of their coaches. and lo and behold, whom i ran into was NOT a former TC student, but a former Manual one who apparently has been teaching there for a few years. i guess it's about as common as me teaching at TC when i did. it's a rural county 45 minutes, but worlds away from Louisville. last year a TC girl won the Class A title. it's been 10 years since i was there, but i was proud of her efforts anyway. they have a tough life up there, and any success is a bonus.

as for Manual's runners, the girls were ranked #1 in the early polls, having finished a veryclose second last year. but man, they sort of choked. i'm sure they lost to another local Catholic school, and maybe another one as well. as for the boys, they're not as good as the girls, but their best runner is a little guy i have in class and he finished 9th. he's a talented runner, especially for a sophomore, and a really nice kid too.

after the race i went to my local LBS for help with my creaky BB. i couldn't get the pinche bike to creak in the parking lot, and they were super busy, so i decided to cut my losses and pick up a few things without addressing the repair. the first is this Serfas taillight. 'lance' has one on his Bachetta. it's damn bright, and comes with a small seatstay bracket, which is perfect for the seat rail of the Rans. i mounted this p.m. i might get another for the LHT for the seatstay too. more bright the better at 6.30. i also picked up another helmet-mount mirror. i'm going to jerry-rig it like 'lance'. he hotglued some string to the mirror and and the base. if it pops off or gets knocked off, the string keeps it from flying, or so 'lance' says. after riding the Rans all week, i've become accustomed to having a mirror again. good stuff., oh and i picked up a couple tubes, 1 each for the LHT and for the Blueridge. i also looked at some Serfas tires they have. i've been unhappy with the puny non-puncture resistence of the Contis on the LHT. i've loved Conti's on my other bikes, but these suck. i'm not going to yet, but the next flat i think i will.


here's a crappy pic of the Serfas. the inverted tread will make them heavy, but they should have good puncture resistence. i'm going to look around at some other options. 'lance' likes to buy the cheapest tires possible, but not me. whether it's purely mental or not, i think more expensive tires ride better and last longer, or at least my experience with cheap Performance tires has shown me that.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Un Buen Aniversario

i didn't notice but i missed my 1-year blog anniversary. i did my first blog last yr. on the 21st. interesting that the weather was about the same, mid-to-upper 80s. that week i did a couple shorter rides and a long one with 'lance'. i did an entry abt helmet-mount mirrors, one of which i used for a while until it broke. i was just talking to 'lance' the other day abt getting another one. did the KY State Fair that Saturday the 27th. looks like this yr. i'll miss it unless i get drafted tomorrow. last yr, the following week Katrina hit. Yikes!

on a different note, received my latest Rivendell Reader a couple days ago. good stuff as usual. there's a depressing article in the back by one of my favs Maynard Hershon. a good writer and seemingly a good guy. traffic scared him off the road for a good while, and this is from a guy who seems like he has done some serious mileage in his time. he makes some other interesting observations about the "Fuck You!" kind of attitude out there, which makes for some dangerous, callous drivers. i don't have too many probs, but our "IMeMine-EachManisanIsland" culture we live in doesn't make it too easy to feel the love from our fellow road users. he might be moving. that's a pretty drastic step, to have to move your damn home just for a bit o' peace. that's terrible, when you think about it.

i've done a year of these things, and the best that i can tell, maybe 5 people ever read. that's pretty stupid, isn't it? and one of those 5 is my wife who mostly reads to see if i've written anything inane or obscenely incorrect. i guess it's my version of a diary, though. i can read a post from 1 year ago and remember details about the day that aren't necessarily written or recorded. so, it may be of little consequence to others, but i like it, and that's all that matters. buenas noches

Critical (M)Ass

Date: Aug 25
Mileage: 16
Ride type: Commute
Bike: fixie
Temp: 89 Hot
August mileage: 211
Year to date: 1236

i think my title prob sucks ass, but it's a try. today was interesting in that i rode the fixie to work for a change. it's Payday Friday, so the work crew goes out, esp in the fall when everybody is fresh. i had done the Rans thing all week, so a change was in order. i was also going to do all urban riding, going to school, further downtown to the bar, and finally back home. had a good ride to school, getting used to the fixie after several weeks off. after work, down to Actor's Theater to buy a gift certificate for a good friend, and finally to Browning's for some Porter. i assume the distance is about right. does it really matter? the one ride observation is that, #1 i like a variety of bikes and #2 i like them b/c each provides a different experience. riding the sit-down Rans versus the hardassteelontheass fixie is such a diametrically opposed experience. the Rans is a pillow, the fixie a jackhammer. both, though, are respectively good.

the CM reference comes with the fact that today is a Louisville Critical Mass Day. i whole-heartedly agree with the premise of this action- to take to the streets to give the shaft to the AutoAddicted culture. unfortunately, in the 'Ville, the CMs are heavily frequented by the hipsters that inhabit the Bardtown Rd. corridor. i passed a few going towards the meeting point. one was a 20ish yrold riding some 12 yrold girl's bike. the others were slightly better-prepared, but these are folks who ride for style, and not necessarily to get anything accomplished. again, this isn't a bad way to go, b/c bike style is certainly better than car style. if CMs are founded on a commentary against car culture, how are some former skateboarders who've graduated to bikes going to solve a damn thing? i have these kids in class. they like to be difficult not because there are legitimate boundries to push, but rather be assholes b/c it's "cool" to their friends. shit, i don't know. i feel and sound old, but just fucking accomplish something. get rid of your car. strive to be carbon neutral. make a difference that doesn't include pissing people off NOT b/c it's "cool" but rather because it's a legitimate political statement that engenders discussion and debate. mierda, no se. the end result will be that the folks in the neighborhood will just be pissed at cyclists b/c they see some nee-skateboarders on bikes fucking with traffic. bitch, moan, complain.

a good day of riding notwithstanding.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Panoply

Date: Aug 24
Mileage: 36 (6a.m./30p.m.)
Ride type: Commute
Bike: Rans Rocket
Temp: 84+
August mileage: 192
Year to date: 1220

almost didn't answer the bell this a.m., but the end result was quite nice. still on the Rans. i crawled to work in the shortest possible. the afternoon, though, proved quite pleasant. 'Lance' and 'Sheryl' had a meeting, so we left a little later than usual. we dropped 'sheryl' off and went about our Riverwalk Ramble, going out and back and working back towards the house. in fact, since i hate climbing, especially on the Rans, i went the wrong way on the 'Scenic Loop' in Cherokee and got some interesting looks. no blood, no foul. best moment of the day was running across another 'bent rider out on the Riverwalk. he was on a silver Rans Stratus. he was an older dude wearing non-trad jean shorts, stuffy shoes and a 'wife-beater', otherwise known as a tank top. he was getting in his miles but at his own pace and in his own style. not often to have a random meeting of three 'bents in the 'Ville unless it's an official event of the local 'bent group. ran across another gentleman that 'lance' knows, him riding a KHS fixie track bike. he bought it from the same LBS where i bought the 925. he traded the drop bar for an upturned old-school tri bar and added old Campy brakes, but still rides with platforms. interesting mix. as with the 'bent, i'm not sold on the fixie aesthetic, but it makes for something interesting. 'lance' and i took it pretty easy and toodled along. his computer has been acting up, but i think the gear i push on the Rans gives me my typical 13-15mph, just like on my other commutes. good enough for me.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Damn Slow

Date: Aug 23
Mileage: 15 (7.5a.m./7.5p.m.)
Ride type: Commute
Bike: Rans Rocket
Temp: 84+
August mileage: 156
Year to date: 1184

well, really a lowkey, typical day. rode this morning in nice cool temps. afternoon, for some reason, i rode really damn slow. the Rans 'bent seems to be like that- either big gear aero or real damn slow. i would like to get the LHT tweaked this weekend. otherwise, Rans is doing me fine. gonna try to go distance with 'Lance' tomorrow. we'll see. will have later post about excellent baseball game we attended last night. ciao

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Detroit Rock City


Date: Aug 22
Mileage: 15 (7a.m./8p.m.)
Ride type: Commute
Bike: Rans Rocket
Temp: 90
August mileage: 141
Year to date: 1169

(that image to the right is pretty damn ghetto, but i'm too lazy to find another).

haven't ridden since last Thursday. this past weekend dominated plans, with a RoadTrip to Detroit Rock City, where my dad lives and works. i have a cousin who is a big big sports fan. we hatched the plot a month or so ago to roadtrip to detroit to catch a couple Tigers games. we, cousin A, younger son L and i took off saturday a.m. bright and early so as to have enough time to get ready for the 7.05 game. now, a saturday departure doesn't really affect my friday ride, but the good missus and Z were leaving for another adventure of their own, so i decided to be the team player and get home asap so as to not hold up the process. better safe than sorry. we went down to take in Tiger Stadium. i've been several times, but primo A never has, and he was in sports heaven . my dad, being the successful capitalista that he is, has very nice seats, so the 4 Smith men settled down for the saturday game. well, two things come to mind. number one, the Tigers lost again, wasting a very good game by the pitcher Robertson. mind you, the tigers losing is nothing new except for this year, when they still- somehow- have the best record in baseball. the other observation of saturday's game is that it's really easy to drink alot of beer, Labatt's beer, at the ballgame, especially with my dad as DD. primo A and i certainly did it well. after the game, we went by the house to let L off for bed, and we went off to some funky, expensiveashell american restaurant. there, the trouble compounded. my dad likes wine. i like wine. primo A hasn't had much, so we drank alot of wine. i can't deny that i was pretty soused by the end of the night, but not so terribly so. i could walk and talk.

sunday began badly...and got worse. i just didn't feel well, not hungover per se, but sick, and still sick, and still sick. and finally, at freakin' noon i paid the price, hurling from booze for the first time in years and years. i still contend something else was amiss, b/c most of my expensive supper was still in my stomache, but nonetheless i went out like a bitch, in the modern parlance.

i, primo A, L, dad, stepsissy H, and 33yrsyounger mitadhermano A went to the game, another demoralizign loss by the Tigers. saturday offered only 1 run scored by the tigers, sunday 6, but they couldn't hold. i was feeling so damn bad that at the point of the end of the game, 3.30 when we left, i had eaten 1 donut- which i chucked- and 1 icecreamsandwich- which i held down. we hit the road, and i managed to not eat until having a sandwich from Panera in Dayton.

suck to have done so much damaged to yourself. i should certainly know better at this advanced age of 36, with a good 19 yrs drinkin' experience.

was on the Rans today. the LHT has developed a click in the bottombracket/crank area. i'm sure it just needs a tweak, but funnily enough i don't have the big, honking sized allen wrench necessary. actually, i have no mechanic skills anyway. i hadn't been on the Rans in a while, so it's a good change i guess. i never fell in love with the Rocket like some others. as much as i wanted to, i've never been superstrong with the handling; it seems a little twitchy. mine in color is actually closer to Alex's. instead of the undertheframe rack i have one that mounts behind the seat, giving it a slightly more traditional placement. shows you how clued in i am. i don't really know all those model numbers that the Rans rack site throws out. and BTW, check out all those bikes from Alex. he da' man! i also found that good ol' Kent Peterson has (had) a Rocket. looks like Kent moved on to ranonneuring though. fact is, lots of people like to have lots of bikes. it's just that they probably ride them more than i. there's always tomorrow.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Ugghh

Date: Aug 17
Mileage: 27 (6a.m./21p.m.)
Ride type: Commute
Bike: LHT
Temp: 90 humid
August mileage: 126
Year to date: 1154

i'm sure i've used this as a title. it works for for those nastyass days on the bike when you just don't feel good. the big prob is that i drank some wine last night and went to bed too late. can't pull that off in the first week, not now. i skipped the a.m. walk, but was still up at 5.30 and biking by 6.20. i did the shortest 6m possible this a.m. this afternoon i hooked up the 'lance' for the first time this schoolyear. we did the Riverwalk loop, getting in something like 21 this afternoon. we held a pretty lively pace for the first 30min, so maybe i burned myself out. or maybe not enough to eat. or maybe the heat; it's 90 and humid. don't know. but i'm tired.

tomorrow's plans for children may limit my ride. we'll see. but remember, $3.00 in the pot if i drive.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Colibri(es)

you know, Blogger doesn't have means to put accents, so the stress would go on Co-li-BRI-ES. although, for my purpose, i saw one co-li-BRI. i just love the yard sometimes. we grilled some hamburgers and ate in the backyard, inundated with flies. i later moved to the front porch b/c the boys were up and down the street on the bicis. while sitting in my ubiquitous green plastic chair, i saw one bigass bug, which ending up being a hummingbird/colibrI (stress on the I). it ate some lantana, then zinnia, then more lantana. then, it flew up, looked me square in the eye at maybe 4 feet, and got the hell out of there. we've noticed the colibri on occassion, especially eating the nectar from the neighbors' roseofsharon/hibiscus, but this was the most upclose of the summer. good for me. good evening. oh, and good italian wine to boot.

i was playing with last August's blog (05). i started this blog mid-August a year ago. and during August i bought the LHT, so the one-year-anniversary is coming up. i'll have to celebrate. and what a great workhorse it's been, a perfect commuter bike.

2nd day

Date: Aug 12
Mileage: 17 (+2m a.m. walk)
Ride type: Commute
Bike: LHT
Temp: 85 and pleasant
August mileage: 99
Year to date: 1127

couldn't really think of a good title today, but boy did i have a good walk this a.m. 65, clear sky, low humidity! i went out on the 1mile trip, but extended another mile before getting ready for work. damn fine weather. i really like taking a little time for myself to do this virtually-nothing activity. walk, breath, step, occassionally look at bunny tree or bat. very relaxing, especially in near perfect weather.

the ride was good too. every other day i start with my 'planning period'. therefore not the pressure of the kids immediately. actually we had homeroom, so i did have kids immediately, but i took the 8mile route, taking in Cherokee Pk and the oftenmentioned golf course hill. with the crisper, less-humid temps, it was a great ride into school today too. i noodled around this p.m., every preparing to go longer, but every edging closer to home. feeling the tiredness of the first week. got in 17 total and had a pleasant, agression-free commuting experience. can't complain at all.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

First Day!

Date: Aug 11
Mileage: 16 (+1m a.m. walk)
Ride type: Commute
Bike: LHT
Temp: 83 and pleasant
August mileage: 82
Year to date: 1110

the First Day back is big for both students and teachers. usually you get the jitters even though i've been teaching for 14 yrs now. my day unfortunately began auspiciously. i got out for my walk at 5.00. about 7min in, i managed to slip on some unseen mud and ditched it right on my knee. i felt like some poor 75 yr.old who can't get around any more. mud all down my shin. mud in my 'Croc'. mud on my arm. and a scrape on me knee. Auspicious as i said. i finished the walk, but certainly not in the meditative calm way that i wanted. nonetheless i ventured on.

it had sprinked on me on the walk, and on the ride in it rained a little more, never strong, but strong enough to get my clothes just a smidge wet. i remembed this a.m. that the greatest difficulty- weather-wise- is a cold rain. don't know how you really prepare for that while riding to work at 6.30. easy ride to school.

this p.m., in a semi-catatonic state, i rode, hooking up with 'sheryl', remember her, for about 3miles. then the rest of the way home with a couple hills in Cherokee. 'Sheryl' is quite the fitness buff now, training for a marathon and really into it. she related a story to me this p.m. that her heart stopped this summer and now some some discreet palpitations on and off. the doc says nothing can be done and she should be fine, but that's not news i would want to face at 30. i'm fat, but so far i've been lucky. all out there count your blessings daily.

just fell asleep for 10min, and planning for bedtime even though it's 5.32. throat sore from talking all day. ready to go again tomorrow. a good ride today, though. nice temps and nice blue sky. hope everyone else made the same decision as i.

**and my overall mileaged changed slightly b/c i rounded up. i took another afternoon ride with L yesterday, so i feel it's pretty accurate.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Frosted Flakes

Date: Aug 10
Mileage: 14.5 (+1m a.m. walk)
Ride type: Commute
Bike: LHT
Temp: 89.5
August mileage: 65.5
Year to date: 1093.5

basic commute today. woke up too early at 4.30. basically teachers don't sleep well leading up to school starting. too much to do. took an a.m. walk about 5 and headed to school, taking in the 8m route through the park and up golfcourse hill. good mist coming across the dark ground there. uneventful trip to school, which is just he way i like it.

p.m. had to come more directly, as Z left something at my mom's, a journal in fact with his summer writing assignments. don't know how much i agree with an ass-load of work for incoming 5th grader over summer. oh well. grin and bear. mom sent big box of Frosted Flakes home with me, which hung perilously out the back of the Carradice.

couple of other folks in the Highlands area are considering the bike thing, an already commited runner and another chum who is moving to this area. he's thinking of buying an Electra Townie, as somebody in town must sell them. it seems like a good bike for someone who's not going to ride too terribly much, or at least hasn't. feet on the ground. funky position. they're even marketed as "comfort" bikes, which is cool for a person that isn't really "into" bikes. i'm probably coming off like an elitist snob. it's a great entry bike for people who don't ride. then they'll catch the bug and buy something a bit more racy. i did like the fact that 'M' was giving me this shit that his 'Townie' was going to be a way-more-bitching ride than the LHT. i think not!!!

Good for M if he starts though. The revolution must begin!!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Rats!

Date: Aug 9
Mileage: 8
Ride type: Errands
Bike: LHT
Temp: 75
August mileage: 51
Year to date: 1079

a quick errand ride today whilst the fam was getting their churching on. i've managed to trash all of my old tennis shoes doing yardwork, so i decided to acquire some inexpensive shoes to do that kinda thing. this a.m., i decided to ride the LHT down to Target, which is not too terribly far, but it's along a major thoroughfare. Bardstown Rd. expands to 6 lanes (total), and it runs through the Watterson Expwy interchange. those are always dangerous around here b/c they're not in the least bit engineered for bikes. i sauntered off on the LHT, and to my surprise, Target was only about 2 miles away, even though it was along heavily-trafficked roads. it's yet again one of those "ah hah!" insight moments. what happened if 10% of those Target shoppers decided to ride? actually, Target is next to Wally-World (Wal-Mart). i could've gotten even cheaper shoes there, but i couldn't bring myself to do so.

after Targeting, i rode by church b/c they were having a picnic and free hotdogs. plus the boys were having a good time b/c they had rented a big slide and bouncy thing. and then home for 8 miles total. not too taxing but a good utility ride.

other observations:

**i saw a dead rat not too far from Wally-World, right in the middle of the road. i'm used to dead squirrels and an occassional possum, but rats seems to imply something a bit seedier.

**ran across a woman doing some hardwork at a house where i've been coveting some of their plants, in this case Joe Pye Weed. she was very nice. then her husband started inquiring about the LHT, at first thinking it was a CrossCheck. seems he's a mt.biker (with huge tatoo down one leg) and has been coveting a Surly 1x1. hope he gets there.

**spent much of last night with good friend who's a proff at WKU. he's been attending the Rural Sociology Conference. interesting to spend some time with smart folk who want to solve important problems, and making it their life's work to do so. they'll probably fail while Satan is in White House.

**been a glutton this weekend, especially Friday. Steak, Beer, Wine, Ice Cream. felt like one of those NY society folks you see the pictures of after their 10-course meals at the club. sorta gross.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Murcielago

i vented earlier about the assmonkey who tried to cut me off. it's 9.30 and i've had a great steak and a great bottle of wine. (i know, a whole bottle is a little extravegent, but once corked...).

instead, i'm here to relay to you a blissful little moment from my walk this a.m. mind you, b/c of school hours my walk began at 5.05 or so. the streets around the house have streetlights every so often. on Strathmoor, not far from the house, i first noticed a shadow overhead, a Bat! no biggie, but a fun little zoological moment. the next light, too, had a bat. and the next and the next, until i turned into the home street. Either, it was a cavalcade of different singular bats at different lights OR it was the same bat, moreorless, following me light to light. i like the second option, and the image of Sr. Murcielago following me to and fro, for whatever reason, warms me just as much as Mr. Assmunchar Dickhead pisses me off. Thank You Mr. Bat.

Quandry

Date: Aug 9
Mileage: 13.5 (+ 1m a.m. walk)
Ride type: Commute
Bike: LHT
Temp: 80 muggy & rainy
August mileage: 43
Year to date: 1071

started the day with a nice meditative walk, about 1.5 miles or so. i'm finding these very relaxing. too bad ride wasn't so. seemed this a.m. like cars were a bit more agressive, more on edge. usually my a.m. ride, done from 6.15-6.50, are very mundane and peaceful. few people are out and i have the road to myself. this a.m., a couple cars passed too closely for the situation. the other instance, which i giggled about this a.m., now has me more bothered. i was going downhill, with a street intersected on my right. as soon as i passed, i heard this big engine rev and roar. it was obviously, after seeing him, that the enormous Ford Expedition HAD TO PASS ME, even though our next intersection was something like50 yds up the way. OK, he got in front of me so he could turn left before me, but the funny part was that he arrived at the Stop sign maybe 5 seconds after me. idiot!

this situation further irked me after being included with an even more ridiculous one this p.m., one that took place a street over from my house. i turned right at the Stop sign and heard a car follow behind. granted, i made no effort to stop whatsoever. i body-englished the turn as i always do. 25yds up there is a cross street, and remember the car behind me. well, much to my sudden shock, this pecker in an Accord with the requisite W sticker on the back turns right, or is about to. i slowed, because simply put, if i hadn't, this jerk would've hit me. i paused and he motored on down the street. understand, it's a street over, but a good throw of the baseball from our backyard might just hit him. i'm in a quandry now. how do i deal with this? this is a neighbor, mind you a slightly distant one, but i have a harder time letting this go than if it were to occur 15m away. the first reaction was to start planning the tacks in the driveway, the egg on the pain, the superglue in the doorlock. a few minutes later, i though to myself as to whether it's a teaching moment. do i leave a note on the car explaining the situation and what would've been appropriate? Angel or Devil? at this point this afternoon, i don't know which one is best. yes, it could be a 'teaching moment', but if this motherfucking, cocksucking assmuncher, oh, excuse me, this young man already worships at the alter of Mr. "Right and Wrong"/"Good and Evil", i think i would be better served getting my rocks off with a little vandalism.

i'm a 36 year-old school teacher, and don't need to be doing vandalism, but this guy is a prick who almost hit me on the bike today. a quandry to say the least.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Another commute

Date: Aug 9
Mileage: 13.5 (+ 2m a.m. walk)
Ride type: Commute
Bike: LHT
Temp: 80 muggy & rainy
August mileage: 29.5
Year to date: 1057.5

2nd commute of school year. nothing really to report. have had a 2-day headache, surely having having to get up in the a.m., so took it slow this afternoon.

actually, 2 fun observations from this morning. the first is that not too far from home i ran across a bike commuter, not a common occurrence. he told me he had been commuting since the 'Bike to Work Day' in May(?). good job going through the hot summer. he was riding a fairly nice Trek hybrid, but was carrying his stuff in 2 small bags thrown over a shoulder and dangling off his hip. that would drive me crazy. he seems impressed by my now 9 years of occassional commuting. i told him, and i hope he took my "experience" to heart, to get himself set up with some type of rack or saddlebag. it would be the first and most important level of comfort, to get that dead weight off the shoulders. another was that i don't think he rode with any lights, even a rear flasher. that said, this was at 7.30, which is an hour later than i ride to school (today still no students, so no pressure to meet the 7.25 deadline). even better, not long before i turned off, it looked as though there was another bike commuter generally following our path. perhaps my commute (6.20-6.50ish) is a little earlier than the norm, and that these outstanding gas prices are driving other smart folk onto the bike. Good for them.

the 2nd aside is entirely frivilous. i was riding relatively close to school and saw this youngish couple walking down their front walk. i couldn't see their bodies, but the girl was rather cute, so i gave her a 2nd look. when i could see them, she was decked out with horse-riding gear. tight horse pants and practically kneehigh boots. it was no big thing, but you don't often see people in the middle of the city, and this in downtown 'Old Louisville', bedecked in riding gear (and she was cute to boot).

tomorrow i'm home with the boys, and school officially starts for teachers Friday. that'll be the first 7.25 day of the year...and that means 6.15 or so on the road. we live in the 'Highlands' area of the city, one which i've described somewhat before. the point is i thought of offering a friendly "How to ride to work" kind of informal workshop to anyone around if they were/are interested. i might be coming in with another co-worker on Friday if she is ready, and hopefully can coerce more. $3.15/gallon is doing wonders.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Cumberland Gap


this is the 3rd installment of day hikes we took on our family mini-vacation. this one took us to one of the highlights of the weekend, a trip to Cumberland Gap Nat'l Park. the good wife wanted to walk through, right through, that damn gap, so i devised a plan to go there and then to Tri-State Peak. CG has something like 70 miles of trails. many of these are backcountry, which requires total trips of 7 miles or greater. there is no way the boys were ready yet for such an adventure. this route left from TN instead of KY.

let's first give a little historical exposition. CG became the first significant entry of easterners along the seaboard into the 'wild country'. mountains block travel from NY all along the Alleghanies and the Appalachians into northern GA. this gap was used by Native Americans and by herds of elk and deer for many a year. some dudes in the mid-1700s first "discovered" this gap, and the every-famous-in-KY Daniel Boone cut the first road in 1775, opening the westward expansion of the original colonies. KY became the 15th state, after the original 13 and Vermot, to become a state. the Gap used to have road 25E going right over the top. in 1996 somebody built tunnels under the Gap, and since then the Park Service has been making efforts to return to the Gap to its more original state and location.

we began in TN at Iron Furnace, an old furnace (imagine that). the trail follows what is now called the "Wilderness Road", which was the first road. who the hell knows how close, but think of the fact that this mother was built right before 1800. that's only 200 years. hell, a house we stayed in in France in 1993 was built in the 1400s. recent history our mother country. the "Wilderness Road" has been turned into a somewhat wide gravel road. it's really not that comfortable to walk on. being in the sun, it was also hot as hell that day, with the white limestone gravel radiating extra heat to boot. the climb to the Gap was pretty easy. the pics show an open "meadow" where the road cut once was. after a brief look we continued on the Tri-State Peak, a peak where KY, TN and VA meet at, in fact, a point. you can stand in all three at once under a cute little pavilion. Z and good wife were lagging a little today, but L and i made the quicker hike to the top. it's nothing to special, but fun still to be in a interesting spot. lush too. after everybody made the "summit", we headed on down after a hot, muggy day of hiking, 2.5 miles in distance.

First Commute

Date: Aug 8
Mileage: 16 (+ 2m a.m. walk)
Ride type: Commute
Bike: LHT
Temp: 80 and muggy
August mileage: 16
Year to date: 1042

first commute of '06-'07 school year. school's not in session yet, but i have a variety of meetings and planning sessions and whatnot. today was actually re-cert for CPR, a worthy cause, no? it was sort of strange to ride some of those neighborhoods in a commute going west that was so bright. i didn't leave until 9.30. i ride many of those streets in the p.m., but i'm going the opposite direction. about a week ago, i had received a new Nitto 'Frog' seatpost from Jim at Hiawatha to replace the broken one on the Blueridge (along with a Brooks saddle cover and a tshirt) . once received, in fact it was a flurry of seatpost swapping, matching them all to the appropriate bike. let's see. the Blueridge (the Litespeed, but boy do i feel sort of silly talking all kinds of shit about my titanium bike- i was gifted it and like it, but guilt) now has the 'Frog/Jaguar'. the LHT has the old seatpost from the Bridgestone RB-1. i decided that, even though it's slightly cooler to keep the Bridgestone together, i ride the LHT alot more, and that's a nice, sturdy seatpost. the damn name escapes me. no. Sakae is the make. and the RB-1 has the no-name post that came with the LHT. anyway, that day i did a good prep of the LHT for impending school/work commuting and today was the first. i should've yesterday, but i gardened all morning and was damn hot by the time i had to go to work. yesterday ended up 95 around here, a cold front compared to temps elsewhere, but hot enough for me.

gonna ride asmuchaspossible this fall and winter before tennis. as few off-days as i can, especially filling the 14mpg monster that is my Toyota Tundra. nice truck, but gas eater.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Lost another one

yes, i just lost another post. it's the Adobe. it's got gremlins. when i open something with Adobe, it locks the browser, but really i guess the whole F@#$@G computer up.

i had a nice entry about NOT riding today and Labatt's beer. now, i'm going to either fix Adobe or Remove it from the damn computer, although everybody knows you have to have it. Pinche puta hijo de puta madre.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

"Inconvenient Truth"

First of all, i'd like to bitch b/c this whole computer/blog paradigm is starting to piss me off. why you ask? b/c first i've had lots of trouble loading pics. i like pics. i take pics. i want pics on the blog. i have a feeling my dial-up is becoming too slow for modern computer usage convenience. secondly, it seems my Adobe Acrobat is fucked up, so it will lock up the browser and i'll lose my blog entry before publishing, just like "losing a paper" for English class. it's bullshit.

i wrote a good blog this morning about "An Inconvenient Truth". it was a good entry and i was riffing on important, mind-bending ethical issues. now i'm just pissed at my computer, my dialup, and maybe even Blogger.com b/c it's all fucked up.

you should see the movie. it's powerful and convincing. i'm sure the Nazi regime and its jackboot henchmenassclowns at FoxNews will find a way to discredit it for all its lemming retarded viewers who happen to control the country right now. the U.S. is a fucked-up place. Name one fucking thing that Shrub II has done well in his time in office. One thing? oh, i should better preface that by asking for one thing he's done well for 90% of our population. we know he's done the top 10% very well. it's almost laughable all the poor schmucks who love this prick while at the same time he- and his "legislation bitches" in Congress, and his 'yessa massa' charade of the Supreme Court- does everything he can to lose jobs, destroy pensions, cut social services, kill their children via his "Crusade" in the Middle East. Yada yada yada.

Jodido! we read and watched several kinds of things over the last couple days. big stories to come in the next few years:

1. Global Warming. we may all be really screwed.

2. the Baby Boomers getting old- i tend to blame them, and the "Greatest Generation" for spoiling them after the war. 60 Minutes, which i have't watched in years, stated that the fastest growing segment of the population are those 85 and older.

3. the never-ending travesty that is the Middle East. i wish the damn Ottoman Turks would come along and give us a good, stable empire, minus the various Balkan incursions.

4. and finally, our sporting heroes who take lots of drugs and get caught. i'm still pissed about that one.

pissy, aren't I?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Phloyd the Phraud II

well, the B is in and of course it's positive like the A sample. on top of the exogenous testosterone and on top of the miracle ride occurring the day of this positive, i'd say this dude is guilty, guilty, guilty.

Fallout?
1. Phloyd Phraud becomes maybe most disgraced rider ever. he gets found positive in biggest race and will lose biggest title. others like Pollentier were found cheating while leading the race, but Phraud will be the first to lose the title post facto.
2. Phonak is a disgrace as well. Hamilton, Landis, Camenzind, Botero, Gutierrez, etc. either they're the biggest cheaters in the sport or have the worst Dept. of Subterfuge to hide it. They, and the owner, should lose their license. let somebody else try.
3. Pereiro becomes the biggest 2nd-rate to ever win the Tour. i've done this before, but here are the winners of the last 40 Tours de France:

06 Pereiro (oops, Phloyd Phraud until all the legal BS is over sometime in the future)
99-05 Lance Armstrong
98 Pantani- another Mega-Doper, but he was fortunate to live in an age before 'l'Affaire Festina'
97 Ullrich- apparently Jan has been a naughty boy. good he didn't beat Lance in 03
96 Riis- he was the last suck-ass, 2nd-rate champion. he was good rider for maybe 3 years and otherwise was a decent domestique. no one cares, but he was part of the Gewiss machine in the early 90s, a machine of Sudden Stars like Berzin, Colombo, and Furlan. oh, and their coaches Michele Ferrari and Luigi Cecchini have the most notorius reputations in cycling. oh, and Lance worked with Ferrari for many years. oh, and they all suck ass!

91-95 Indurain- a real campeon.
89-90 Lemond- battling physical adversity
88 Delgado- Probenicide/Cheater! and no real Lemond, Roche or Fignon. Lucky!
87 Roche- Triple Crown that year
86 Lemond-the One True American Champion
85 Hinault- thanks to Greg
83-84 Fignon- great when he was young. Robin Magowan in his book "Kings of the Road" claims the various knee injuries of Fignon and Hinault were due to steroid use, which created musculature that overtaxed, and injured, the legs. good rider though.
81-82 Hinault- 'Nuff said
80 Zoetemelk- the nearly man that could- long impressive career
78-79 Hinault- 'Nuff said
77 Thevenet
76 Van Impe- not unlike the Delgado win- rare for pure climber
75 Thevenet- he that defeated the King!
74 Merckx
73 Ocana- should've won in 71 (?) but crashed out
69-72 Merckx- the KING!
68 Janssen
67 Pingeon
66 Aimar

There you have it, 40 years, and you could make a case that Riis, Janssen, Pingeon and Aimar were really mediocre winners, oh and Oscar MutherFuckin' Pereiro. Delgado,Van Impe, Ocana and Pantani were the best climbers of their day. Zoetemelk, Roche, and Ullrich were great all-rounders.

the Tour is never won by pretenders, but rather the strongest, or near strongest, of their era. yes, he defended well in the Alps and in the final TT, but remember that he was no more than a support rider to 'Balaverde'. he's Jose Azevedo to Lance on the Postie squad, or Jean Francois Bernard to Indurain on later Banestos. i can think of more. he's a pretender, and now Sastre/CSC and Kloden/TMobile can think of 'What if...?'. disgrace.

4. Operacion Puerto, in combo with this, will significantly impact cycling's ability to hold on to sponsorship and ratings. it will go in decline. i know, or feel, that cyclists don't really cheat any more than other sportsmen, but for whatev reason they're much less capable of damage control. henceforth, they live with the egg squarely on face. disgraceful.

5. i will, after posting this, delete my bookmarks to cycling racing websites. i'm finished. this is disgusting. i will promise to ride my own bike more, and better immerse myself into a culture of bike as transpo and bike as fun, but these drugged-up freaks and their LIES have taken all the joy out of it for me. i'll remember the days of Lemond fondly. i'll remember trips to the Tour duPont and Tour of Georgia fondly. but i'm done with these lying assholes. Tyler Hamilton is a lying asshole and Floyd Landis is a lying asshole. Lance may be an asshole, but he's an asshole who never tested positive and has become a beacon for cancer survivors. i'll give him that credit.

with that, there will be no more pro cycling coverage on this site, only my bikes and other people's bikes.

Disgraceful!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Bad Branch


The 2nd stop of our hiking tour took us to Bad Branch State Nature Preserve, which is located abt 10 miles SE of Whitesburg in the middle of the deep Cumberland Mtns. we originally didn't have this one on our list, but a blurb in one of my hiking books summed up the trip to BB with "Wow!". that seems like a good a place as any to hike. it has 1 hiking trail of some 7+ miles, but about a mile up the path it has an offshoot to BB waterfall, so we decided that would be our destination. after a rousing climb of Pine Mt. out of Whitesburg, we found the BB trailhead and its minimalist parking lot. the boys found a couple nice hiking sticks that had been left by other hikers and away we went. almost immediately, we learned that this would be a very nice hike. the trail followed the Bad Branch creek up the hollow, crossing bridges 2 or 3 times. because of the creek's moisture and the trees' shade, this little pocket proved cooler and more moist than the usual in the area. the rocks in the creek were moss-covered and fuzzy. over our heads was the canopy of lush forests, but more importantly tunnels of rhododendron (and maybe mountain laurel- we don't know the difference except laurel is found higher up). the trail worked its way up the valley until the sidetrail to the falls. if you follow the trail to its fullest, climbs to the top of Pine Mt. for some of the best views in the area.

the side trail crossed another small creek and then began switchbacking along the hillside. once in these switchbacks, we had to boulder and climb around a fair amount. the boys love best this type of hiking, times when they can explore and clamber and be the cubs that they are. the good wife and i, on the other hand, are feeling our age and condition enough to be more cautious and slow. we finally arrived to find the BB waterfall, which is the exact run of the creek coming down from further up Pine Mt. to our left, the fall with is cascade and fern gardens, and to our right large boulders that had fallen off the cliff side. we stayed, perhaps, 30 min and let the boys do their thing before our return trip. by the end of the trip, the boys both claimed that this was their favorite trail, and from a scenic standpoint, mine as well.






As stated, BB is full of mossy rocks, lichen, ferns and shade.








**i have more nice pics, but blogger has been running super slow the last couple days. don't know if it's our line or their software. guess i'll have to wait.

I love this shot. its looking downstream of the falls through the boulder field, with Z as a small little entity off to the right. i like the light too, with Z in the shade. i've made this my desktop and might just keep it a while there, and even make it my desktop at school too. que lindo es.

(took me three days to somehow load this. wish my good wife would let me buy some honking, kickass desktop with loads and loads and loads of memory and CPU processing, and broadband to boot.)

(Wow, 2 in a row!!!) This i call the Rhododendron Tunnel. it's pretty self-explanatory, but a heavenly thing to be under the cool, dark leaves in this moist hollow.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Lilley Cornett Woods


Lilley Cornett Woods is a state-held forest managed by EKU (Eastern Kentucky Univ.). it's an interesting set-up in that the only way to tour the forest via a guide from EKU, b/c it's one of the largest 'Old Growth' forests left in KY. in old growth, we're talking various Oaks, Beeches, Hickories, and Hemlocks that were seedlings when the 'white man' first arrived on these shores- 500 yrs old or more. they're damn tall. the canopy in such an old forest seems to reach up so much higher than in the local park. many of the trees had minimal-to-non-existent branches or foliage until they reached 40 or 50 feet up. there are very, very few 'old growth' forests left in KY b/c the timber/lumber industry has had such a strong presence there. the extraction industries, King Coal and Lumber, has taken a heavy toll on this area, using the resources but returning little to nothing in infrastructure. nothing like the sweet cycle of poverty. this forest was land donated from some cantankerous coal miner, Mr. Lilley Cornett, who refused to sell the timber rights. our hike in Lilley Cornett took about 2 hours, slowly taking in a rather pristine landscape. our guide- who's name we managed to not get- informed us of the trees, wildflowers (or actually their plants b/c it's not wildflower season) ferns and flora along the way. i've added in this one pic showing the "trail", which is to say it's pretty hard to discern and that's the way they and we both like it. there's also a longer hike, but we chose the shorter due to the boys. it was a great choice b/c they were a little bored; the pace was slow and steady and too informative for their preferences. it was great though. on the way out we saw a doe and 2 fawns grazing the low pastures near the entrance. there is nothing magnificent in this Preserve other than its unmanaged appeal. a delightful morning spent.

This is my shot looking back down the 'trail' that we just crossed. though this pic isn't all that small, the trail is almost indistinguishable from the florest floor in this image. that's one reason for the guide, but much more that's the reason for the 'Woods', as closertonature Preserve instead of a as a rec park. great stuff!

the boys were bored to tears with tree and plant names, but loved this Red Spotted Newt we found on the log.

the wife, guide, and i also got a good giggle out of this most-interesting fungus, the Elegant Stinkhorn. "my what a big mushroom you are". the 'Elegant' Stinkhorn (Mutinus elegans) should NOT be confused with the more graphic 'Common' Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus), a natural image much more dareisay salacious than any flower Georgia O'Keefe came up with.



for me, this is a new wildflower, the Rattlesnake Plantain. this is apparently a common woodland wildflower, and moreso an orchid. very pretty.

Pine Mountain

we hadn't been out of town for the entire summer, or at least out of town on non-family business. the good wife was desperate to escape, so this past weekend we undertook a sojourn down the the low Appalachian Mtns. of eastern Kentucky. the KY Appalachians are notorious as one, if not the, most poverty-stricken areas of the USA. images flow out of the area of toothless, shoeless, brainless 'hillbillies' living in trailers 'down in the holler'. i've been a resident of KY for 31 of my 36 years on earth, including 4 years of education at Transylvania U., the oldest higher-ed institution west of the Alleghenies (1780- pretty damn old). that said, my experience has almost entirely taken place in the city-state of Louisville, or in the 'heart of the Bluegrass' Lexington, which is to say i've never been to deep KY Appalachia.

Pine Mt. was the first KY state park, and has a lodge and several amenities. we went, though, for the hiking. as a family we don't go often, but enjoy it when we do. within about an hour of Pine Mt./Pineville there are numerous and well-known outdoor recreation areas, with the most famous being Cumberland Gap. we decided on visiting 5 areas total: Lilley Cornett Woods, Bad Branch Nature Preserve, Kingdom Come State Pk., Cumberland Gap Nat'l Park, and Pine Mt. State Pk. the first entry is for the Lilley Cornett Woods.

Phloyd the Phraud

been away hiking with the family over the last several days. pics and updates to come. in my absence, i missed the announcement that Floyd had exogenous testosterone in his blood. that's the same bad word as what did Tyler in- exogenous (outside of). sad. i guess either the B sample comes back different or he's screwed, really screwed. i'm conflicted with what to do with the "Go Phloyd!" shirt i bought after the epic mtn. stage. keep it and wear it to do gardening or shovel shit? send it back? hang it on the wall as a recuerdo of when i was a procycling fan? i challenge all 1.5 of my readers to give me suggestions.
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