Monday, April 23, 2007

Commute

Date: April 23 Mon
Mileage: 12 (LHT)
April mileage: 139.5
Year to date: 750.5

As much as I want to have some enlightening to say, I don't. The good wife needed the truck to haul Z's roller coaster science project to school, so I rode. It was a match day, so I showed up with a couple cans of balls and wished everyone well. It rained and we only finished 2 matches. The other coach is a putz, but I probably am too.

I was passed quite aggressively by a fellow commuter on Hill/Barrett. He came by me up a hill with nary a "hello", even though he was riding "Fred" style with a day-glo vest and basketball shorts amidst what looked like a nice pannier and one of those flat-barred road bikes. I caught up at a red light, although he was up the line from me. At the crest of a mound near Barrett&Shelby it seemed like he turned around to check on me, but I wasn't in the mood to chase. 12mph seemed like a perfectly slow and steady pace to take. I don't understand people. I at least wave, but I guess I should get over myself, no?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

iXi bike

Here's another attempt to tap into the bikes-as-bikes market instead of the "road" bike or "mountain" bike phenomenm. This is the iXi, which apparently Martha Stewart promoted on her show the other day (No, I promise I didn't watch). Martha Stewart! I have to admit I like the belt drive with no grease. That's a clever idea. I don't think it revolutionize the cycling world, but the more examples we have of bikes as transportation and as things to ride and not to be excluded by, the more we'll have on the street. More Bikes; Fewer Cars.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Paducah

I'm killing time in a Country Inn Hotel while attending the Lone Oak Tennis Invitational. the good wife is at home and at a Son Volt concert. the offspring are at their Gran's. And i'm here in charge of 9 hormonal teenagers and a few off-kilter parents. The trip consists entirely of copious tennis, which means i stand around and stress.

the highlight of the evening has to be our victory over a local (meaning a Louisville) Christian school whose players and coach are much bigger pricks than anybody else here. i here (sic. HEAR. What a dumbass, although it was posted at 12.07a.m. after a long day. ed.) the Christian Right's constant mierda about Jesus and Morals and Family Values and of course they're the overwhelming assholes.

well, i'm out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Insensitive Reality

This following brief observation may be seen by some as very insensitive, but reality is reality. We as a nation are lashing out with tears, recriminations, Whoa and Misery at the obvious horrific disaster at Virginia Tech. What happened there is incomprehensible. Another piece of news today from Iraq, though, is that much more deadly, more horrible. 183, 6 times the number killed at VaTech, died today in bombings in Baghdad, a city WE are supposed to be responsible for. WE invaded. WE took control. WE are responsible for such misery there. It will do no good and it would not be legitimate, but can we have a recounting of the deaths caused by Sadaam through the years and the deaths that have taken place in Iraq since we had "Mission Accomplished"? Do we, Can we really measure such grief? I grieve for the families involved in the VaTech tragedy. A young man who graduated from the school at which I teach was one of the 32. I don't make this observation lightly. But the Buddhist portion of me, however small or large, recognizes that ALL life is sacred. NO, Christians texts recognize the same thing, that ALL life is sacred, and that WE ethically should mourn those 183 just as much as those 32. It's a little easier to sympathize with bright and successful college kids than it is to do that with those thousands of miles away both in distance and in lifestyle. WE voted these cabrones in power though. WE voted these cabrones in a 2nd time. And if they stole the elections, then WE have a responsibility to have revolution in the streets to remove these criminals from power. BUT WE are too comfortable, too many bikes, too much TV, too easy an existence to act. And unfortunately it seems like these are the same complaints that sick fuck in VaTech claimed in his tape and notes- a hedonistic, complacent society hell-bent on narcissism and selfishness. I include myself in that statement. I am definitely just as guilty as the next.

Sick times.

Labyrinth of the Ear

Date: April 18 Wed
Mileage: 9.5 (Bleriot)
April mileage: 127.5
Year to date: 738.5

After a nice commute today I added an even better experience this evening, one including more miles on the Bleriot and adding some much-needed meditation too. The wife's church (I'm sorry but I just can't include myself in as a bona fide member anymore) sponsoring a picnic and Labyrinth service this evening on the grounds of the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. I took some Sunday a.m. pics there a month or so ago. They have a Labyrinth on the grounds. Apparently, as we learned tonight, most if not all religious traditions have some experience with labyrinths. No, they're not mazes in which to get lost. They're circuitous paths. I learned that tonight. They discussed lots of symbolism and imagery relating to moving towards the center of Christ or something like that. Or that's what the reading/handout discusses. I used the opportunity to practice walking meditation in the Buddhist sense. After hemming&hawing at the start I transitioned into a good 4 steps-per-breath for me, counting 1-10-1-10 etc. I really hit a groove halfway through and had one of my better meditative sessions. I also varied the size of my steps as I've read in some meditation literature, first taking normal steps, then small steps after a while, large steps a little later, small steps, large steps and finishing up with normal steps. After the labyrinth I sat for perhaps 10 more minutes of sitting meditation. At the end I came to the conclusion that I had either had some kind of meditative "high", or that the constant turning of the labyrinth made me dizzy. I'll believe the 2nd, but I was very in the zone for those 30 minutes or so. AND I snuck almost 10 more miles back in of riding, moving across the park and back. Damn good use of the evening. And it's reinvigorated my need to practice my meditation, the 8-Fold Path and the 5 Precepts. When I return to those principles I feel more positive. That's the point, right?

Commute

Date: April 18 Wed
Mileage: 17 (LHT)
April mileage: 118
Year to date: 729

Nothing fancy today. I put the Monstrosity in the shop for a bilking, so"had to" commute by bike. The weather has turned a bit warmer, so it's pretty nice and pretty easy. I couldn't get into a flow this a.m. and my hands hurt the whole time. This afternoon was better. I was able to push a bigger gear and I felt less like an old geezer in bermuda shorts somewhere in FL. I even took in some brick alleys to do my own PR. And then I hit a few hills in Cherokee. I was feeling guilty for encouraging Z to "hit the hills" when I find the flattest routes possible.

Much tennis this weekend and next week, so it may be a few days before another ride. The 12-hour days pounce.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Velo ORANGE

Nice city bike. Yummy!

1991

Date: April 16 Mon
Mileage: 20 (C'dale)
April mileage: 101
Year to date: 712

I had my title in mind before reading Jim's '90s reference on his entry today. My refers to two items, a helmet and shoes, which I'll discuss later. I had the good fortune to give a Cannondale Caffeine 29 "29er" today. Don't ask why please. Just know that it's all legal and above board. I haven't done any "real" mountain biking since I sold my last C'dale and bought the Surly Crosscheck what is now 6 or so years ago (I estimate that; I really don't remember). I mountain biked a fair amount in the '90s back when I was a young pup. Once the falls and scrapes starting hurting for longer than a few days, and once I got run over and almost broke my hand, I slowed down and then stopped. Cyclocrossing seemed a good compromise, given the ability to get off-road, but without the need to bounce over too many scary rocks and drop-offs.

Well, as stated, I received an opportunity to give C'dale's 29er a spin. Apparently, among others Surly with its Karate Monkey helped kick off the 29er revolution. What you have is a mountain bike with moreorless 700C rims. As my road bike wheels shrank from 700C to 650B, many mountain bike wheels are increasing from 26" to 29". The advantages are (supposedly) better rolling resistance- or less as it were-, smoother rolls over rocks and such with the larger diameter, and the ability to climb better due to the circumference. What is important to note is that I have no real clue about these various factors, but an opportunity is just that, so I took it. This bike has mega-tires. They're probably 2.35" or something like that. It also has disc brakes, something I've never experienced, but I do know that many mtbikes are going to disc, and some 'cross bikes are doing the same, although discs are illegal in UCI competitions.

First of all, I took an almost 2-hour ride that completely kicked my ass. Although I haven't been on the dirt too much, it's been a long time since I did a super aggresive full-on trail ride, roots rocks and all. I did pretty much all the trails in Cherokee and Seneca both coming and going, up and downhill. What I forgot about mountain biking is the brute force needed to clear so many obstacles. On the road you can really hit a hill hard or put it in a granny gear and toodle up. Yes, a mtbike offers the granny, but if you don't maintain a certain pace you'll fall sideways, down or in the bushes. Our trails are full of tree roots especially, and if I didn't ride them with a certain pace, I would've never cleared them. I only had to push the bike twice, something I'm really pleased with. That's the first impression of the C'dale 29er. With its big-ass tires and big-ass "Lefty" shock it rolls over just about anything. I rode as or more aggressively today than I every had in the past. The combo of all the element, including brakes much stronger than original V-brakes made for a package that really worked well for me. I can imagine some of these guys with the $3000 carbon dual-suspended bikes on the trails. Mierda, they don't even think about riding over obstacles. The biggest difficulty with the bike was figuring out the "english", as the low bottom bracket made in challenging to keep the pedals where they need to be to get over logs. Funnily enough it reminds me of the BB discussions and pedal strike complaints with the Bleriot. Doesn't bother me, but I guess if you're a mtbike connoisseur.

The biggest challenge today was one of fitness. I tried to climb everything I could and a couple times I went much more into the red zone than I have any time recently on the road. Of late, with nothing to prove, I just don't ride hard on hills. Yes, I should in order to build "FITNESS!!", but I just ride. Today, though, I worked like I haven't in a long time. It felt good, but boy and I tired and sore in spots I haven't been in a while. Oh, and the 2nd biggest was crashing of course. I stopped mtbiking b/c crashing hurt. Today towards the end of my ride when the tiredness was setting in I banged into a tree with put me down on me right knee. Ouch! It sort of stunned me. Shortly thereafter I was descending a shadowed trail avoiding some roots when WHAP!, my helmet hit a damn tree again!! Right on my head. If I hadn't been helmeted I would've been in trouble. Double Ouch!! It made my neck hurt too. Really, paralysis flashed before my eyes. THAT is why I stopped mtbiking.

Oh, the 1991 reference. I was riding a new, svelte modern mountain bike with the latest disc brakes and suspension fork, but on my head a 1991 Giro Lemond-era helmet. I should retire it, but it's junk and i keep throwing it on. And on my feet 1991 Shimano mtbike shoes. These were the first "real" mtbike shoes marketed via none other than Julie Furtado. Remember her? They're old, tired and a bit too small, but I installed the new cleats on them last night and away I went today. 1991 was a long time ago in mtbike terms. I got a black-with-pink-highlights C'dale for undergrad graduation in '91, on which I later installed an early RockShox and Scott funky-ass bar. Even then I was thinking of the functional aspects of the bike when I put on Avocet CrossKs, a rack and small panniers for riding to college (graduate level).

An interesting day. It's be more interesting to see how sore I am tomorrow. At least I got on the damn thing today.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

First Ride

Date: April 15 Sun
Mileage: 7 (C'dale)
April mileage: 81
Year to date: 692

Went out w/ Z on a neighborhood romp so he could get used to his new KHS. The previous Trek (neighbor's) was not a refined machine and had gripshift, so he has some practice to do with newer shifters and real brakes. I was pleased that he made 7m with very little effort. The one minor annoyance on my part was that he refused to used smaller gears to climb hills. He would huff and puff and stay in a gear that, to me, was obviously too large. He said his "body felt weird" spinning a smaller gear. That will be an ongoing educational project on my part. Kids just love to take advice from parents, right?

I may watch PR on Vs. here in a minute or I may just jump out for a few more miles. Or I'll just watch PR.

el Infierno del Norte

No, I'm not grading papers; I'm watching 3 different webfeeds of Paris-Roubaix while eating a bagel.

Cyclingnews- slowest

Velonews- a smidge better

leTour- owner of all races French is best.

And Stuart O'Grady is off the front with several of the big names including Boonen, Hoste, Disco-boy Devolder, & Wesemann not far behind. It's 20K to the finish and O'Grady has a minute on Boonen et.al. and a shorter lead against Michealson (in his last race)/Flecha/Wesemann (I think in his last season).

I love this stuff.

Belief-O-Matic

1. Theravada Buddhism (100%)
2. Unitarian Universalism (92%)
3. Liberal Quakers (82%)
4. Mahayana Buddhism (80%)
5. Secular Humanism (80%)
6. Neo-Pagan (79%)
7. New Age (67%)
8. Taoism (66%)
9. Jainism (64%)
10. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (63%)

Found a fun and interesting site care of Tullio this morning. I'm supposed to be grading papers but instead am goofing on the computer like usual. I took the Beliefnet Belief-o-Matic quiz and aforementioned are the results. I didn't try to steer the answers in any direction, but generally speaking the first listed are very monotheistic and Christian/Muslim in nature and the ones below more Buddhist/Pagan etc. I'm glad I scored near the Liberal Quakers. I have a soft spot for the raging pacifists b/c they founded the greatest place on earth, Monteverde, Costa Rica. I've been a bad Buddhist this week. fact is I've been sort of a bad everything this week. It was Spring Break, a time for joy, and instead I've been very negative and unproductive, but not unproductive in a fun way but just stuck in the mud. It's very difficult to meditate in the a.m. b/c the good boys get up at about the same time as I, so I can't slink off to sit. The weather has been terrible so very little riding either. I can't find my 3 good wool pieces! I've looked everywhere but no tights and no tops. Obviously they're around, but wool would've been a must with this week's temps and rain.

I just decided to get off the damn computer and get something concretely accomplished. I did do some stuff like the taxes and loading a new printer and new Pencam (it works now), but didn't fix the cars (have them fixed). negative negative.

chao.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

New Bike


No, not mine! Z's "pawpaw" was in these last couple days, and in his generosity- he IS very generous to us all- he bought Z a new bike. He needed on, as he sized out of the old Trek handmedown he had gotten from the neighbor. At almost 5', he needed an "almost full-sized" bike, and ended up choosing a KHS Alite 300. I'm pretty please that on the KHS website, this series isn't even listed as "youth", but rather in the "Alite" series, which I think means normal-ole bikes and not superduper racy/downhill monster etc. etc. It's a 15" frame, which is the second smallest frame offered. I really wanted him to consider the 2007 flat black model, as the flat black looked pretty damn good. b/c Z needs everything to match (don't ask, just accept), he ended up choosing the 2006 gloss black w/ yellow accents, b/c apparently he likes the bumblebee combination. Its a standard 24-speed with a mix of Shimano and off-brand stuff and it includes a suspension fork. Hopefully he'll get another 3-4 year's use out of it before he gets too big. I'm going to ensure that he gets some good use of it. It's time for some longer father/son rides. I'm going to offer the use of the Kenda mixed-use slicks I have. They've slicks in the middle and knobbies on the side, and seemingly would be good for street use, which will be his primary. L transitioned to the next-larger bike as well. Time flies.

El Tiempo

Damn, what great weather we've had the last couple days. 45F and heavy rain makes for wonderful outdoor activities. Everything is sopping wet, puddled and muddy. Saw the Decemberists last night. Great Show. I had a bit of a headache, and the good wife is the bigger fan, but entertaining and rockin'. I may have some pics depending on how new Aiptek Pencam does with downloads. so far I've had no luck installing software and ripping pics. No, i didn't follow initial directions (how effing hard is it to install a program? Duh?). It wouldn't recognize USB driver, so that's the project for this p.m.

There's also bike news, but I'm not prepared to comment until I get Pencam pic issue taken care of. Chao for now. Oh, and Paris-Roubaix is tomorrow!! Too bad Big Georgie isn't there.

It's a little later now, so I'm going to load a couple Decemberist pix. They're not great, but the show was visually interesting, lots of color as you can see: pinks, whites, oranges, blues, reds. The backdrop was apparently painted by the lead singers Colin's wife. It was a fun show and I suggest you to attend one in your locale if you have the chance, and if it's music you're inclined to. Think NeutralMilkHotel+1930MurderBallad+1890ShantybytheSeaBallad+FleetwoodMac (they referenced it, not me)+wack-assfeedback. Hard to describe by good stuff.




Thursday, April 12, 2007

Ride

Date: April 12 Thurs
Mileage: 24 (Bleriot)
April mileage: 74
Year to date: 685

I'm going to have to check back, b/c my blogger year mileage is 10 short of my Excel program total.

After twiddling the afternoon away, I watched a little of L'Enfer du Nord, the 1976 Paris-Roubaix video. Once the good wife returned home, I went on a brisk (in temps) ride on the Bleriot. We just can't seem to get the warm-up here, so it's 42F with a brisk wind coming from the WNW. It did the Blankenbaker/Mockingbird loop with one extra Indian Trail hill. Otherwise, nothing really to report except that my toes are cool and it's the 2nd day in a row w/ mileage, good well-earned mileage. I really like the Bleriot, too. Have I mentioned that. I might have to sell some bikes and get a Romulus or custom when I turn 50 or something like that.

Serious Stable

As you may be able to tell, it's Spring Break, I'm here with the boys and I refuse to grade papers so need other things to take my time, like surf. I could paint or something, but that would require work, which my mental state can't accept at the moment. Came across this blog and his SERIOUS stable of mounts. Of course he's yet another in a long line of Twin Cities representatives.

**Rivendell Quickbeam (red)
**Rivendell Custom (blue)
**Rivendell Romulus (green)- I think it's another Romulus, but I'm not sure.
**Waterford (red)- unbuilt
**new KempFrog, which is another used Rivendell, now bedecked randonneur style.

Count 'em. That's 5 Rivbikes and a Waterford to boot. Damn!

LBS

First of all, I am an idea thief. I didn't choose to discuss my own incredible insights into the nature of the LBS; KM did it first. I think, though, it's an idea worth discussing b/c the LBS is a concept that's very important if not essential to the cyclist.

He alluded to a list of posts on the iBOB list discussing the nature of the LBS. The sentiments there were quite varied, from brick-n-mortar owners to those who seemingly wouldn't step foot in a shop if they had to. The point for many is that the Internet and catalogs have made the visit to the LBS pretty obsolete. Here are my reasons for "trading" at the LBS, as my grandpa used to say:
  • mechanical service. I've mentioned many times that I have very few mechanical skills. I just don't. I try. I'll give it a go before I break it or foul it up such that a human being with skills has to work on it. That's the primary reason I will always visit Bob and Susie at Clarksville Schwinn. They take care of me, plain and simple. They know I have no skill and they make sure I'm taken care of in a prompt manner. Often, for a medium repair job, they'll ask "Can you leave it?", meaning the default situation is waiting for the repair. Can you imagine that? Service in the modern age of ????? , mierda, I don't know what you should call the modern age of non-service.
  • Fair Prices. I didn't say dirt cheap prices. I said Fair and that's reasonable. In our land of cheap, Wal-Mart crap everyone feels that it MUST be the cheapest price possible, but that's shit. If it's a fair price that's good enough for me. I've never known Clarksville to over-charge me for something. Yes, Nashbar may have it cheaper, but include S&H and the price is comparable. It's also the case that the LBS- well, a good one- has to back up their pricing and service. A good shop has to maintain a good reputation. I'm sure all shops aren't so fair and just, but my LBS is, so of course I maintain a relationship.
  • Kids' Bikes. Older son Z is probably getting a new bike this Saturday- he's outgrown the other. Can I order that from HC? Nashbar? Performance? Random shop in random place? Clarksville has and sells bikes that aren't only for adults with too much money for their niche hobby (like the Bleriot, duh!) My son needs a bike and the LBS has it. I got my first BMX bike from there, and my first road bike (Trek 400 Elance which I now own again) and my boys get their bikes from the LBS. I'm sure online shoppers can get kids bikes online, but I want my boys to have those butts in the seat to see how those growing arms and legs fit, and how they will fit.
  • Deals. Yes, the net is full of deals, but the LBS has the wheels in the flesh. I have the Redline 9.2.5. and the Surly CrossCheck solely b/c someone at the LBS new my interests and found me a good price and I could experience it on the spot, w/ appropriate changes to boot. OK, they took advantage of me, but I love both bikes. The Redline was very inexpensive to start with, and the shop gave me a great price, $100 cheaper than the MSRP listed at the time. Nathan at Clarksville (he's not there anymore. moved to Indy) knew I wanted a 'cross bike but wasn't ready to pay for the entry level racers from Redline or C'dale. He found the Surly CC and gave me a stinking deal on it. The shop couldn't have made much $$, but he did it b/c that's what service is and that's what the customer relationship is.
There are reasons I don't always shop at Clarksville:
  • Niche products. Clarksville could have ordered and put together the Bleriot. That's the point, right? Being able to get the Bleriot through QBP? I knew, though, that Clarksville wasn't accustomed to putting together "vintage" steel RBW-style bikes, so I went with HC based on the reputation and ideology of Jim at HC. It came down to vision and interest. Of course Clarksville could've mechanically put together the Bleriot. Duh! But at some point expertise wins out. The same said for the LHT I bought on ebay. Clarksville could've done the same, and after I've added all the shit to it, could've done it at the same or cheaper price. That said, it's not a "Clarksville" kind of bike, or of any other LBS in town. My cycling is not very "'Ville-like", so my sources have to branch out. I'm sure other folks on that iBOB discussion board are feeling the same. There aren't many 650B/commuter/vintage shops out there. Same goes for the SKS fenders, for example. LBS could've ordered them, but Jim had them in stock and sent them to me at a fair price. That's good enough.
  • Sizes. Yes, I'm fat compared to the average roadie, so Nashbar/Performance have better clothing sizes for me. That's a fact. Add shoes to this list. I certainly have bought shoes from a variety of sources b/c of sizing issues.
  • The Commuting thang. I'm more a commuter than any other kind of cycling. I get significant mileage commuting Aug-Feb until tennis starts. I also try, with some success and failure, to use the bike for errands all year (yesterday to the bank and a 2-mile round trip). Clarksville does have commuting products like hybrid bikes and rechargeable lights, but really there is no focus there. I've bought almost all my bags from outside sources. I sourced the LHT with products from HC and from Peterwhite. There is no commuter focus anywhere in this town. As I've become more a commuter and wanderer and less a roadie or mountain biker, my visits to the LBS have decreased. Maybe I'm a little more self-sufficient. Certainly the ethos of a commuter is a person who can take care of him/herself. That's the point, right?
The LBS, para mi, is essential. I have to have that service and expertise at my disposal, and these folks are seriously supporting the local economy and the local cycling commuting via sponsorship. There's a need. It's also just that there's a need for them to branch out beyond shiny carbon road bikes and cheesy hybrids. Cycling overall needs to branch out beyond those.

Following is a list of 'Ville shops and their proclivities. I shop very little at the others for different reasons. Anybody new to the 'Ville can use this info, but really it is useless:

**Clarksville- C'dale/Fuji/Colnago/Litespeed. A big fav in town. Bob and Sue (Susie) are great. Big road and mountain bike business.

**Schellers- 2 locations+ another in Lexington. The Trek stable including Lemond/Klein. They also carry Electra and Bachetta 'bents. I have a feeling they do more business selling treadmills than bikes. Stores have that modern clean "We're selling upgraded toilets" kind of look. Tom Armstrong is the local 'bent guru. He's good, but the only time I've ever really been to this shop was some work on the Rans.

**Bardstown Rd. Bicycles-Fuji/Specialized. I should "trade" at this joint. It's close and the guy's kids are at the same hippie magnet school as mine, BUT I've been overcharged here and it just doesn't wet my whistle. I've heard of others who haven't had the most spot-on service here either.

**St. Matthews- Not much going on here. The owner's son is in charge or something and he'd rather watch Raider football than sell bikes. That's what I heard. This was the Bridgestone dealer in town back in the day. I bought my used RB-1 from one of the employees.

**Bicycle Sport- Another Trek dealer. Icky! Looks like a, shit I don't know, looks like some kitchen store you would shop at in the mall. I'm sure yuppies love it, but I've been in there twice in 15 years in town (post-college).

On your Left- This shop has some promise. It reminds me of this shop in Portland. It's primarily a repair shop, but does offer a few things and can order many more. The owner/employee, John, seems like a cool cat. I think it strongly caters to the mt. bike crowd. Nothing wrong with that. I just don't do much of that anymore.

Goose Creek- I've never been there. It's out in the suburban hinterlands. I just visited the site to find that it's a mail order store that does local deliveries by bike courier. ??? I thought they sold bikes, but I guess it's just parts. I'm not sure if it's brilliant or bizarre, but that's what they do. If it's where I think it is, then delivery from there would be brave. It's in one of those very typical suburban "No bikes allowed" kinds of areas.

Cycler's Cafe-Felt/Bianchi/Orbea/Kona/BMC- As you can see they have quite the stable of racy bikes. I really hoped this would be the joint. A "cafe". Instead, it heavily caters to the local roadie crowd, so feels as inviting as a frat part if you're not in the frat.

Damn, that's a lot of time waster. I'm done.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Ride

Date: April 11 Wed
Mileage: 28 (LHT)+ 1 to bank
April mileage: 50
Year to date: 661

I open with a pic of the hail that fell in the flower bed. Fortunately it wasn't big enough to hurt the cars or the roof. We've had 2 other roofs replaced due to hail in our time in this house.

I was stir crazy all day around the house. We had rain and funk and gunk all Wednesday, and on top of that I messed with the taxes and installed a new printer (from Christmas "emoticon"). The fam went to Wednesday church supper, and after a brief hailstorm (above documentation) I jumped on the LHT for whatever ride it was going to be. More nastiness was in the forecast, but I didn't care. I had to get OUT! The LHT would serve me well with its much-needed fenders and hub generator light, and I took along some gear- wool hat and toe covers- in case it got nasty.

My general route took me across Cherokee and down the Beargrass Creek Path. As I have before, I saw the Blue Heron and commenced the hunt for photo capture. He, being wily and wild, kept one step, er, flight ahead of me, so I never got that one special pic. Here's the best I could do. In case you're not sure what you are looking at, he's the blobbish thing in the top right corner, well, towards that corner. He definitely contrasts with the brown of the trees. I think I'll buy a new camera with a better telephoto and faster shutter, but that's another story.
I hopped over to the Butchertown path with exited me onto River Road. More nastiness was a-brewing downtown- my direction-, so I knew fates were against me. This pic doesn't quite capture the contrast of the blueishness of the sky on either side of this pic with it's greys, blacks, reds and oranges. You can barely see the rain coming straight down on the city. Foreshadowing.

5 minutes after this pic I was pelted with large rain drops and 40mph winds. I was traveling along at 7-8mph directly into the gale. It was exhilarating! I needed to stop to turn on the back blinkie and to cover the Brooks just to be safe. I think the fenders would do the same job, but better safe than buying a new, expensive saddle. I had the good fortune to stop under the interstate and to have a wall to the west, buffeting me from the gale-force storm. I didn't stay long, only to put on the toe covers and cover the saddle. Here's the latest LHT.

The best image of the day came shortly afterwards, again while I was under the interstate downtown. The storm had quickly blown by and now the sun was peeking out from the clouds. I saw this, stopped in the middle of the street, went backwards on the street and took this, all with a security guard looking at me as though I were a 7-foot tall Nigerian ballet dancer wearing a tutu. Don't know if the pic captures it, but the water was streaming down from the deluge on the interstate with the western sun playing games with the light. I like it.

I extended my route westward on the Riverwalk, knowing I would have to depend on the SON as my light faded. The rains blew through, leaving a fabulous evening sky of reds, oranges and blues. I wasn't quite in any one spot to capture a great sunset, but this is an image in Portland- the Louisville original- of the first Catholic church steeple west of the Alleghenies against the evening sky. The gentleman below is actually watching a group of (his) swarthy boys up on the Riverwalk, one with a bat. I'm not really sure what they were up to, but fortunately they were small enough to the be dangerous.

The Riverwalk had seen lots of mud, so I treaded delicately but confidently with the 2"Serfas monsters. Every know and then I hit a large puddle and I felt like a boat with the Serfas acting as an enormous prow. Light faded and I found myself in Shawnee Park, a place 95% of white folks would dare visit. My uncle asked me if I carried a gun while riding on the Riverwalk. Perhaps the danger is there, but I feel generally safer in the West End of Louisville, now overwhelmingly black, than I do in parts of the East End, which has been overrun with Volvos and trophy mom bitches ready to run a cyclist over in a hearbeat.

I returned home in the dead of dark, down streets with people I'm supposed to be very fearful of. No one said a word as I meandered back via River Park St./Chestnut and in to downtown. I made a quick call home to tell the fam I wasn't dead. De hecho, I had left the front door wide open during the hail storm, so the boys though I was dead. Widespread Panic was playing at the Palace. I saw them once, years ago. Boring show. My legs were a little tired by then after near-30 miles on the LHT. I don't have too many miles in the legs, and the weather and situations added to the challenge.

Satisfying.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Newport

The fam made use of 1 Spring Break Day to venture to Newport Aquarium in Newport, KY, which is across the river from nasty ass Cincy. Yes, another day w/out a ride, bleep bleep bleep. Both I and L took pics, so I think I'll venture more when those are loaded. An all-round nice day, with, if you can believe it, a $57.00 meal from chain Johnny Rockets, which included 3 hamburgers, 1 hot dog, 1 order kids fries, 1 order fries/O-rings (combined portion for 3), 3 sodas/cokes/pops, 1 kiddie milk shake and 2 adult milk shakes and finally 18% gratuity included. If we had gone to Mickey D's, it would've cost us maybe $15. Was it $37 better than Mickey D's? No, but the day was, so who gives a rat's ass?

Not

Date: April 9 Mon
Mileage: 1 (Bleriot)
April mileage: 21
Year to date: 632
Walk: 1.5

Yes, you read it correctly, a 1-mile ride. The fam went to the pool, so I suited up for the day, unable to find my wool stuff. Does anybody know where it is?

I went a bit and didn't feel quite right, not comfortable. I then turned around and went home. Seems my stomach wasn't up for the ride, in a literal way, if you understand me. I hung around the house for a bit and eventually changed and walked down to the pool to join the fam. Disappointing but I'll get over it.

It's Tuesday and we're going to the Newport Aquarium in the Cincinnati area. I hate Cincy, but like their Reds and assume the aquarium will be nice. It's supposed to be.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Cosa

It's really cold. No, it's not cold like Doug's cold, but it's cold. On Wednesday, I believe, it was 84F in the 'Ville and last night it was in the low 20's. The freeze has affected the plants, but I'm too lazy to bust out and cover everything. In a way, I'd rather nature takes its course. If they were crops that my family had to eat, I might think differently.

It's Spring Break (yea, right, at 33F- Fucking Bullshit). My plan is do sneak some miles in. Last year all I did was garden, but not this year. The yard's in stasis, and the only decision is whether to bomb the yard with weed-killing chemicals. My heart says no, my eyes say yes.

The good wife brought home a Tricycle, a Buddhist magazine. I'm still haunted by the "bed stand Buddhist" comment, but I'm the only one that can clear the mind of that. This issue challenges the reader to create a 28-day retreat, even for those who can't fly off to some groovy joint in NoCal. It encourages to start with the 5 Precepts: Do not take another life, Do not take what is not given, Do not consume intoxicants, Do not use harmful speech, Do not commit sexual misconduct. These can be translated in a variety of ways. The most difficult on face value is the one of harmful speech, b/c our days are full of idle gossip and "white" lies. The second most is the intoxicant one. I like wine and am thinking of having some tonight. I wish, in a way, that I could buy 1-serving bottles of wine like those of beer. Having 1 beer won't hasten my decent into suffering. Drinking a whole bottle of wine can sometimes cause me to be stupid, and even feel like shit in the a.m. But a glass is nice and not terribly problematic.

I found a bizarre link today to a text-message article about Jonathon Vaughters and Frankie Andreau from a while ago. It sure seems to call the Postie/Disco/Lance/Johan empire a bunch of cheats. I guess I'm surprised I didn't read more about in more substantial sources like cyclingnews.com. ??

Tomorrow a.m. a good sit and early-ass walk before churchie stuff. That's me. I'll be-a hearing about the dead dude who came back and stuff. I don't mean to be an ass. I'll go and be supportive, but I don't buy the mythology.

Friday, April 06, 2007

24/7

nothing more to say. you teach all day and then go to matches that last until 7.00ish, bringing the day to a 12-hour length. you come home, gobble some junk b/c you haven't eaten lunch since 11.00a.m.- only in schools. finally, you drift off in a haze in the chair. a vicious cycle. why i do it? well, the work part is the work part and at this point there's no career changing for me. the tennis part? i really don't know. the kick from competition. the satisfaction from a good win. the desolation from a bad loss (yesterday).

i was listening to audiodharma last night on the topic of Loving/Kindness. what struck me most was his use of the term "Bed stand Buddhist". isn't that great? armchair coach. backseat driver. Monday-morning quarterback. one who pretends but doesn't do. it all goes back to Yoda. "Do or do not. There is not try." I still think it's the best quote of all time. If you want to be a cyclist, Cycle. don't elaborate or contemplate the bike. Be the bike. if you fashion yourself a Buddhist, practice Buddhism. Don't just read about it. Duh, you the audience can get the point, but a great point it is. Buddhism is so much about slowing down, but when I find myself superbusy like this week, good practice is as far as away from me as i can imagine. disappointing.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

"He's Going the Distance"

Date: April 1 Sun
Mileage: 101 (Bleriot)
April mileage: 101

I couldn't stand it. I had to get out and finally get a "real" ride in, so I hopped on the 9.2.5. fixie and headed out for an epic 2-state century. With only a small bag full of cheddar cheese and some yogurt dots, I headed out, going north out of Louisville and up the river towards Madison. I realized I wasn't going to be able to make it, with the fixie hurting my ability to coast up the hills along the river. So, I found a small boat near Utica, no Hanover, Indiana and set sail back across the river. Once to shore, I enjoyed the 20 mile/hour headwinds coming form the west. They nourished my efforts to make it home in one piece, no peace. Near the end, I stopped to flip flop the hub, using the 42x12 freewheel to spin my way back down River Road.

It was the most epic trip in a while, but it needed to be done. My feet really got tired of the Tevas though. Next time, barefoot.

Ride

Date: April1 Sun
Mileage: 20 (Bleriot)
April mileage: 20
Year to date: 631
ipod: Gil Fronsdal ("Letting Go"), This American Life ("What I learned from TV")

Again nothing special but a wonderful toodle on the Bleriot on this very pleasant Sunday afternoon. It's a little windy, but with perfect azure skies and big, fat, puffy clouds providing some texture. I headed out, again RBW style, down towards the riverfront. The Bleriot has developed a "tick" which I'm rather sure is coming from the left pedal; I need to do a quick tightening. Other than that, I can't make one single complaint. The weather was great, the pace comfortable, and the mind cleaned. I've been bothered of late about school and crap and tennis, blah, blah. There's not better way to clear out the cobwebs than letting the mind stay focused on the wheel, the stroke, the traffic and the path.

I read an interesting letter in the CJ ("Many Spiritual Paths") this morning, one that speaks to the on-going tension of our "Christian Nation" that is in power right now. You can follow the link if you would like, but I'll quote part of the letter here:

It would behoove us all to be open to alternate spiritual paths. Remember, Christ wasn't a Christian, Buddha wasn't a Buddhist, Mohammed wasn't a Muslim.

It is the goal more than the path that is most important.


I think there are two powerful but opposed elements at work here. The first is the eloquent idea presented here that the major figures of several world religions were in fact agents of change, and not merely followers of an established tradition. They were not mired in dogma, but rather saw and lived a "better" way. What would those Agents think now in how their words and deeds are used to justify so much ill will? Would Jesus be aghast at the venal ideology of Fundamentalist Christians? Would Muhammed be shocked and overwhelmed with the situation in the Middle East and how much hatred those peoples are fomenting worldwide? And what of the Buddha? How would he interpret Thailand's efforts to make Buddhism the state religion? like that of an Islamic theocracy? this first portion really makes me smile with satisfaction in a way. Here's a person who realizes that it's the act, not the dogma, that matters. These figures lived the life, so to speak.

The second portion, as a Buddhist, makes me say, "eh, not exactly". It is the path. One aspect of both Christianity and Islam that makes me cringe somewhat is their insistence that Method and Behavior in this life only pertain to the outcome in the afterlife. Yes, Buddhists too, or can, be hung up on karma and karmic reincarnation. But my Buddhists studies have suggested to me that the path is exactly what we're on, the journey that is this present life. I think, perhaps, the author intended something else, but came up with these words. They're not harmful to me; I relate much more with the metaphor of the path. Christians and Muslims, many, are fixated, though, on the rewards of the afterlife at the expense of their time in the flesh on this earth. What if?

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