Friday, February 29, 2008

Poor Tugger

I just watched a painful video interview with Tyler Hamilton after the Vuelta a California. Has there been a bigger fall of a person's reputation? Yes, Phloyd lost the Tour '06, that's bigger. But Tyler was all-American boy, Tugger the wonder dog, Haven the faithful bride, the whole thing. And now he's on a rogue team that isn't even allowed to ride. Is it fair that he can't ride? I'm not so sure. He's done his time. But man, it's just painful.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More gray drizzle

Date: Feb 26 Tues
Mileage: 14.5 (LHT)
February mileage: 163
Year to date: 435

Hmmm, another cold, gray, precipitating day. Another day with a morning temp almost the same as the afternoon. Another day with drizzle and freezing snowish cold water falling from the sky this afternoon. I'll give some kudos though: new homemade mudflap on LHT, another day without using car to get to work, stop by Sunergos for another batch of yummy decaf coffee beans (ground), the energetic ride home.

Gray and bleak, but a success.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Cold Grey Commute

Date: Feb 25 Mon
Mileage: 14 (LHT)
February mileage: 147
Year to date: 418

We're in, I'm in, quite the grey rut of late. It seems that every day is 35, grey, a little windy, and is a day that offers us a dose of wet, whether it be snow, sleet, rain, etc. Forecasts had been calling for a nice one-day warm up, perhaps a day in the upper 50s. I dressed accordingly, going light in the a.m. for the opportunity of a sunny warm p.m. ride extension. Instead, I think the morning and afternoon temps were within 3 or 4 degrees. Work was very stressful so the afternoon ride felt more like a muletrain hauling stone out of the quarry. I'm not sure whether I'm the mule, the stone, or the beaten-down quarry. It was a commute thought, something I hadn't done for a while. Tomorrow is calling for decreasing temps and rain. Same as today, mas o menos...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Trench of Arenberg

Date: Feb 24 Sun
Mileage: 13.5 (LHT)
February mileage: 133
Year to date: 404

I had a good time getting out for a short mid-morning ride between various family activities. I had to take L to soccer practice, of all things, at 8.00 this morning. Life is pretty jodida when you have youth soccer at such a time. It's just a game, right?

My route today took me through the neighborhoods down towards Cave Hill. I continued down towards Washington and back up Spring. All throughout this portion of the ride I was pelted by bits of snow and freezing rain. I had a pretty good covering on my legs, but my 'lady boots' protected the toes. Coming back I partook of the Beargrass Creek trail, which was a muddy mess. I pretended to be one of those famous corredores running through the Arnenberg forest in an epic Paris-Roubaix, all mud, guts and slipsliding around. I only foot dabbed once and did a pretty good job holding my line and letting the back end fishtail around a bit. I couldn't do extra miles b/c I had to pick the boys up, but I'm super-pleased to have gotten out this weekend after practically 2 desolate weeks.

It was good to have the LHT going again. It need a front brake tweak. I also made my first attempt at a homemade fender extension, using some step rubber I bought a while back at the hardware store. I'm pretty pleased with the effort and it did do a good job keeping the snow/sleet/rain/mud concoction off my feet today.

On a completely bizarre different note, I just got done watching the Real-Getafe match and what a wacked out experience that was. Getafe generated no offense whatsoever, but every last touch by Real, whether they be several misguided headers from Julio Baptista or a shot here and there by Raul, went awry and missed its target. Frustration. Then in the 64' Robben scored what seemed to be the go-ahead. The Madristas began celebrating when out of nowhere comes a counterattack, 5 Getafes up against 2 poorly positioned Madristas. Goal! Apparently somewhere during the play Raul was called offsides, but somewhere Real missed the call and almost the entire team was caught celebrating instead of running down the Getafe counter. Absolutely bizarre. No one, at least on TV, quite knew whether the ref had screwed something up or whether Real did. Perhaps both. Sin embargo, a 9 point lead- almost 11 until a 90' Xavi score- has vaporized to 2. Barca seems to be picking up steam and Real is flat as a board with half the team injured. Tough times. At least the Pistons put a 30-point beating on Shaq's Suns.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bleriot ride

Date: Feb 23 Sat
Mileage: 17.5 (Bleriot)
February mileage: 119.5
Year to date: 390

I hadn't ridden in days and days and days. Within that time span I've become very busy at work. We've had some wacky wintry weather that has limited me a bit, and I've been undermotivated, I guess. Today I took the beloved Bleriot out for an easy spin in the parks. It wasn't anything special. It wasn't revelatory. I didn't set speed records and break any new ground. It was just a ride on a great bike, albeit a ride with cold toes towards the end. Tennis starts soon, thereby ending the commuter rhythm that I have some successful with. I've mentioned several times, to myself, that I want to keep some miles going during the Spring. The last 2 weeks have so far indicated my failure to do just that. Only I can "be the change".

And Go Cats!!

The Left Coast


As someone who has been to Europe 6x, Costa Rica 2x, Mexico and Canada, I always find it strange that I've never been west of Dallas. It's sort of ridiculous really. Of late we, the good wife and I, have been thinking of doing a westward journey, especially now that we have friends in multiple western cities. This morning I- and she a bit- spent a little time googlemapping different sites of interest. An itinerary might look like this:
  • Seattle- visit our friends Anne and Chris respectively. There we have Olympic Nat'l, Mt. Ranier and perhaps even a trip to Vancouver, although that's quite north.
  • Portland- visit Carlyn. I might just have to rent and ride in that great cycling city.
  • We must break up the humongous stretch between Portland and SanFran. I'm thinking...
  • NoCal- Smith RiverNRA/Jedidiah SmithSP or Redwoods NP. There seem to be alot of options in that general area. We would surely want to partake of the ocean and coastal options as well. Living in KY, I am quite sure I have no relative concept of the sizes and distances out that way.
  • SanFran- to visit Cynthia. Mind you, I would like to stop and do Napa or Point Reyes.
I think to pay for the plan tix, car and lodging we'll have to save up a small fortune. That said, we've been doing the family thing now for 12 years+ and have done very few, if any, "big" vacations. It's time for the munchkins to see the world.

If any of my dear readers has an insight, please feel free to comment. I can walk you through the highlights of Madrid or Monteverde, Costa Rica, but I'm ignorant of the Left Coast, USA.

Big George

No, I'm not in love with pro cycling as I was back in the days of a young Lance and an in-prime Greg. A clean Phloyd would've helped, but alas. Sin embargo, I found this quickie interview with George after a 2nd-place finish on a long, rainy stage at the Vuelta a California. I sorta believe Big George is clean b/c he seems like a guy who should have won much more than he has. Instead, you come to realize that the Museeuws of the world around him were (are?) completely jacked up and winning everything in sight. In the interview he seemed refreshened to new mode of racing on his new team High Road ( the old T-Mobile). Here's hoping he pulls off a big win this year.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Eclipse


We had a beauty. I woke up from my headache stupor to check in a bit, but then went straight to bed. We had near perfect viewing conditions. This is an image from Wave3.

More blahs

If you cursor down to "February 12", you'll find that we're mired in a big bunch of ick again. There's nothing like La Ninya to upset the applecart. The kiddies- actually kid b/c Z hurled a couple time last night- got out of school early, and therefore I as well. I had a very productive couple hours at work until they forced us out the building. As ever, the hype is misplaced. It's not that bad on the streets.

As for me and the bike, damn, we've parted ways. After a good January and start of February my riding has ground to a halt. As is ever this time of year, tennis starting, language festivals for which I seem to be doing more organizing than my colleagues, and a heavy classload have sucked the air out of my tires. It's mostly excuses, though. I could've ridden yesterday and really today but the 5.15a.m. mojo was not with me. The plan is to get up and ride even 30min-1hour before work, but that's hard to muster at 25F. I like the destination that is work, but need the rhythm. Bah Humbug!

The weather has given me a 2-day headache, but it's dissipating ever slightly. And I can see the sleet coming down from out the window. Attractive!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Snowish

No, I haven't ridden since Monday. I just haven't. And I'm not this morning although my time is my own. It's 28F and I haven't had to brave the elements for a while and I'm feeling sluggish.

Pics from the snow event:

'pendula' blue spruce in snow


red twig dogwood. Finally, I bought this 3 years ago for "winter interest" and it's the first time it's been contrasted with the snow. I think, now, that the chain-link fence doesn't do it justice.



The addition/renovation. It's going, I guess. Sort of funny I'm in the pic in the window. Unintended.


I like the cacophony of line and texture in this pic even thought it's not too good.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ick! II

It's important to continually learn, and I learned something interesting about technology. Today's earlier entry with the weather.com map showed lots of rain and sleet. I did a "view image" and copied the "image location". I thought I was just copying the image like as if it were a pic. I checked the blog just now and learned that the image, in fact, had changed. It wasn't a static pic at all but rather the dynamic radar for the area. Who'da thunk it? It's just gross outside: 30F, raining, really wet streets, slush, sleet. I would love to ride tomorrow, but not having Nokians for our 1 snow every 4 years I'm stuck riding on icy streets sans studs or driving. Driving it is.

Ick!

Well, the elation of the night has turned into the "ick" of the morning. As this map very capably shows, we're now in a nasty ass zone of rain and freezing junk. It was the thought that counts, right?

Monday, February 11, 2008

YES!!!!!!!!!

(gotta love the snow beard)


We have about 4" on the ground with plenty more on the radar. There's a question as to whether it'll remain snow or move to sleet and freezing rain. Strangely, the good wife, L and I were outside futzing about when the sleet started. 15min later it had changed back to snow. I shoveled the front walk and part of the driveway. I remember from my kid years that I HATE shoveling packed down tire tracks, so I decided to be proactive and nip 'dat shit in the bud.

My mom's bunko was canceled so she invited us over for soup and nibbles. I took the opportunity to ride to her house on the Monocog. Both to and fro were near perfect mini-rides (2 miles each way). Going there I listened to the pineful, ethereal strains of Sigur Ros. Damn what a great band for a dark, snowy night. Coming home there were another 4 or more inches on the ground. Traction wasn't great, and sometimes I had to work for a good line, but damn, big fat, voluminous flakes pounding me in the face, filling my beard, blanketing me quite literally in a volley of flakes. It really doesn't get any better. Tomorrow should hold a great day for sledding and a more ambitious snow ride. Good for us! And Peace to you.

Date: Feb 11 Mon
Mileage: 4 (Redline Monocog)
February mileage: 102
Year to date: 372

Bubble?

Well, well, well. The 'Cats have snuck back onto the national radar with its 5-game win streak. ESPN has them as a low bubble to watch. They're 6-2 in the SEC, with the 2 losses close road losses to good teams, FL and MS. If they can finish equally strong then maybe they will have pulled off the miracle after early Gardner-Webb and San Diego results. That said, can the 'Cats cut a break from the generally hateful nat'l media and punditry, much less the committee? Vamos a ver, pero espero que si.

This pic is the 'Cats' destiny this year. Bradley, throwing himself to the floor, getting the result the only way possible, with blood and guts. Who'da thunk this is what would drive the 'Cats?

Let it snow?

Date: Feb 11 Mon
Mileage: 17.5 (Trek400)
February mileage: 98
Year to date: 368

Ah, the fresh exhilaration of the cool, no, cold winter air! I made a ride today that I would never have done 3 years ago. All these MN blogs, much less Doug and Jill's amazing wintry feats, have inspired me to ride in conditions previously thought un-doable. This morning I rode alone with temps around 12F. I bundled up pretty well and felt comfy except for feet. I wore a stripped wool/plastic bag/thick wool sock combo that left me cold digits after 25min or so. Suddenly I realized that I had purchased miraculous 'lady slippers' not long ago, but forgot completely about them. Tomorrow, I will use them to full effect. This afternoon I rode part of the way with 'sheryl' for the first time in a while. She was less bundled than I and apparently was cold as hell. Once she peeled off I went towards the parks and hit a few hills to warm up.

This afternoon may be bringing a 'snow event'. Mind you Northerners, we haven't had a sleddable snow in 3 years. The younger L is now 8 and hasn't had a "real" sled in that time. Ridiculous. Here in the mid-south/mid-midwest we have many a "wintry mix". Today, though, they upgraded us from 1"-3"+rain to 4"-8" legit. It was sorta fun feeling my first flakes with a kilometer from home. Hopefully tomorrow will mean sledding for the boys, a snow ride for me, and no school for all.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Commute

Date: Feb 8 Fri
Mileage: 14 (Trek400)
February mileage: 80.5
Year to date: 350.5

a.m. with 'BB'. afternoon doodle through Audabon Park. Nice weather all in all. maybe mileage this weekend? We saw 'Juno' tonight. Great flick. Highly recommended for all.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Apuntes

Since the DSL is working right now- who knows when it will konk out- I'm going to leave some thoughts:
  • The 'Cats are on a 4-game win streak. They won a Fugly game last night @ Auburn, but I'll gladly take a road win right now. Fascinating that they can be 11-9 overall (terrible), but 5-2 in the SEC and 1 game ahead of Florida. Billy G might be a rogue, but at they're performing at least.
  • Interesting game between the U.S. and Mexico last night. The crowd was overwhelmingly pro-wet back. I shouldn't talk like that, but I hate it when every time our nat'l team plays a latino team the crowd is pro-foreign. It's the hidden sports jingoist in me. If you're here, then quit with the home country crap. If not, move back. :-)
  • Altidore looked very good. Dempsey easily has the best foot skills of any of our players. The wings looked terrible. Tim Howard saved us over and over. I never want to play Mx with Vela, Castillo, DosSantos and Guardado starting. They'll run circles around us. An adequate result, in that it wasn't a loss on home soil.
  • Real certainly laid a dud last week vs. Almeria. They were 2+ minutes away with a lessened impact; Barca almost drew Osasuna. Instead, Barca got the 3-point swing in the 88'. I didn't watch the game, but it sounded like crap. I did watch some highlights on Ole and they had their chances. They're not unlike UK. If everybody were healthy they would be significantly better. Instead, someone is always hurt.
  • Many have done a better job than I ever could, but webmaven Sheldon Brown passed on, much to everyone's dismay. What a great resource and seemingly giving guy. Kent, as often, did as good a job as any reflecting on his influence.
  • Please, please, please Obama win some more delegates. I refuse to vote for Hillary if she gets the nomination, so he's my only hope of going vote-less in November's election.
Peace

Holy S#$T!!!

Date: Feb 6 Thurs
Mileage: 21.5 (Trek400)
February mileage: 67.5
Year to date: 336.5

What a contrast of 2 distinct experiences today, the first being the close encounter of the morning, and the general peace of the afternoon. The commute commute wasn't all that bad. I connected with 'BB' and went the usual route. Every day on this now-usual route I encounter a dicey intersection downtown (Old Louisville) at 1st and Ormsby. Going left on 1st, one encounters traffic turning on to Ormsby and many many cars cut the corner. I pretty much always approach the corner gingerly and make sure the coast is clear. Today 'BB' and I roll up when a large truck turning from 1st onto Ormsby starting cutting the corner even as we were rolling up to stop at the stop sign. Mind you, he was cutting across that big thick painted line that one sees at stop signs. Usually, someone would see well-lighted cyclists and the slow down and move. Instead, this guy starts e accelerating and cutting even more. I kid you his swiftly moving boat was 6" from my left side. Having done so much of my riding in the city the proximity doesn't bother me much, but the accelerating angry menacing mass closing down the space on me sure as hell gives me a rush. He tore off down the street but had to stop at a light. I turned around to get a plate #, but not wearing glasses I couldn't see much at all. By the time I got closer he gunned it and was long gone. 'BB' asked if my heart rate was down any but I never got that adrenaline, "I'm gonna die" rush. It was all quite logical or rationale or whatev. Fact is, 10 minutes later I was more scared than when it actually happened. Whew. Be careful. You never know when it might be your time.

That said, I had a really nice peaceful ride with 'BB' in the p.m. When went Logan/Washington/Spring/Payne towards Crescent Hill, looped to Seneca and then took in Cherokee including Dog Hill before I cut straight for home. As negative as I was at the start of the week, I really enjoyed the ride this afternoon. Laid back, comfy enough, 'BB''s rants to keep me amused and nice 35F temps to keep cool but warm. A better day.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Trastornos

Date: Feb 2 Sun
Mileage: 4 (925 fixie)
February mileage: 4
Year to date: 273

Date: Feb 3 Mon
Mileage: 25 (LHT)
February mileage: 29
Year to date: 298

Date: Feb 4 Tues
Mileage: 17 (Trek400)
February mileage: 46
Year to date: 315

I feel like I got relatively sustained mileage in January, but I guess the week off last week- storms, electricity, malaise- has slowed me down. Both my commute yesterday and today lacked "crispness", that pop you have in good legs. Sunday was a beer run. I needed beverages for the Super Bowl so I filled the basket full of Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale and Brooklyn Chocolate Stout. And STOUT it is! Damn, that stuff is syrup. Yesterday's afternoon, no, I'll discuss the morning first. BB and I hooked up for the morning route. We got good and poured on in the last 2 miles. I've never been one to commute to work in the rain b/c of obvious logistical issues, but I did it yesterday and was proud for having not wussed out. In the afternoon I did the Mellwood/Cox'sPk/Indian Hills/Seneca Park return loop. Frankly I felt like shit through most of it. I couldn't push a good gear and never got my ass all that comfy. I've put a bit of time in on the Conquest Saddle, but yesterday nothing really jibed. Bitch Moan Complain. That said, I have to be thankful for the little amount of damaged we incurred in last week's wind storm. Coming down Nanz in St. Matthews, every single house had some type of tree damage. A house on Cannon's had been T-boned by a very big tree falling directly over the house. A little inconvenience seemed a trifle.

This morning I found a potential source of yesterday's grief. In moving the LHT in the garage I heard the tale-tell signs of a rubbing front brake. I guess I rode my whole Monday commute with a brake rub. Who knows?

sic- posting Wednesday

Tuesday (yesterday) I rode the Trek and noticed in the afternoon that the front brake was a smidge loose, a byproduct of my fender installation of a week ago. Again I didn't have much pep, but put in a decent commute. Last night (Tuesday) we were hit with big straight-line storms like from a week ago. The sirens went off around 12.00 and I moved the boys to the basement. I don't know if any tornadoes touched down, but it has just been super stormy and super stressful. I was up till 1.15 and was too tired and grumpy to commute. Frankly, after a hard Monday and Tuesday my enthusiasm isn't at it's highest.

I'm debating whether the SAD thing is creeping down on me. Its February. It's dark. It's cold (actually I rode to work Tuesday in shorts of all things). The house project is at a stand still over drywall. The earthlink DSL has been on and off lately and it's impossible to pinpoint if and when it will work. It's not the end of the world; it's ust that nagging constant fucked-up state. The wind sort of blew part of the the storm door, so now we'll have to find a carpenter to fix the door jam.

Let's see we have to find: carpenter for door jam, DSL provider that works, drywall guy, painter guy, flooring guy, original contractor to finish 1 window, oh, the floor leaked a bit so that has to be dealt with, did I say appropriate flooring, the front brake on 2 different commuter bikes.

I'm feeling laden with self-pity and not processing it well. We certainly don't have it like folks in AL.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

I have the Power!!

The blog is back after a very brief hiatus. After Monday's reasonable mileage I hit a wall, mostly in the form of some stormy conditions Tuesday. I could've, and should've, ridden but instead spent too much attention to the dire bullshit forecast. The fun came Tuesday night in the form of a straight-line wind storm which knocked power out throughout the area. The next day 3 official tornadoes- very rare for January- were announced, 1 in St. Matthews and 2 in Southern Indiana. Wild stuff. The storm knocked out power out from Tuesday through Thursday. I could've ridden both Wednesday and Thursday morning b/c I was up both days in time. The stress of the situation and the 45F home ixneyed the ride. Yesterday, Friday, was much of the same. When I lose the mojo I lose it. Today has been full of b'ball games, paint tone shopping and soccer soon to come.

I spent a perfectly good morning waiting for the drywall guy to come, only to call him again at 12.15 to find that he had experienced a lead somewhere, so no drywall fix, no ride, and no kitchen progress. We'll get there, but Ack!! Tomorrow, the bike.
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