Friday, October 30, 2009

Commutes

Wednesday and Thursday's commutes were noted for their inherent brevity, but commutes they were. Wednesday a.m. was particularly noted for the light fog and coolness found in Cherokee, with a kind of layered cake effect on golf course hill, as the rolling fields gave way to fog-shrouded trees bedecked with a gay hat of stars.

It's been raining, alot.

I've been reading a few interesting titles: Morbo, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue, and Between a Rock and a Hard Place. I would probably place them in this order as well. Morbo, by Phil Ball, is the history of Spanish soccer by the excellent columnist from ESPN/Soccernet. I have nothing but very positive things to say about this volume, both as a discussion of soccer and more so as a 20th century window into Spanish history and the substantial autonomy in which the Spanish autonomous regions planets separately revolve around the hated sun, Madrid and Real Madrid. I'm almost finished, but I give it 5*****. Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue is a linguistic history of English, more specifically a discussion and analysis of the transition between Old and Middle English and how we arrive at our modern version. The central premise is that during the key "mutt" years of English (language) history during the early Middle Ages, Viking, Celt and Norman (French) invaders adapted the Germanic Old English into this mishmash mutt that we use today. Being a language geek and a linguistics fan, I give it 4****. As for Between...., this is the autobiograpy/memoir of the guy- climber- who cut his arm off to save himself. I'm halfway through but started reading the other two after the halfway point or so. Reading the memoirs of these climbers is sometimes difficult because it's very challenging to put oneself into their place, their perspective. They've willfully and scarily Type A- ACHIEVE ACHIEVE ACHIEVE-, but at same time, like, dude, you know, it's so beauuutiful, like, in nature with the sky and the flow, man, you know? I'll finish it at some point, but the reviewer who stated that his style is better than Krakauer's is an idiot.

Basketball is starting.

Real has lots their mind.

I'm supposed to pick up the truck today. I think the saga, much of my own doing through the efforts of trying to buy locally, will have cost me 3 weeks of headache and an extra $450 on top of the full cost of what seems like $45,992,232. IF I pick it up today, it will facilitate a nice ride on Sunday.

The RCCS is going to try the mixed-terrain thing again this Sunday. In July we suffered a rash of tire issues, so let's hope this time we're a little luckier in that. I also completely ran out of gas last time, so let's hope I apportion my efforts a little better, even though I'm fat as a sumo right now.

It's early, I'm out.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yoko

"What are you working on?"

"I'm working on talking to you."

Consider this very carefully...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday Commute

I got word that the truck is headed for an expensive but nonetheless final conclusion. It'll cost a bundle, but I feel like I made a $350 mistake, but then again the problems it had were not anything anyone could avoid.

On a commuter note, I did short turns both going and coming today. The afternoon provided me those wonderful 55F and raining qualities, great for cycling, right? Fact is, I had wool on top and on the feet so I wasn't too bad. I'll be on the bike W and TH but I hear that I'll be playing taxi Fri a.m., and that's alright.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Commute

Really slow commute, especially this afternoon. Could barely lift a pedal, but I got through it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

USGP Derby City Cup

I'm tired and have other stuff to do, but I did want to did want to throw in that I got some miles and some good times on the QB today. After a family morning and early afternoon, I sprinted down for the last 2/3 of the mens' Pro race at the USGP Derby City Cup. I met Dave there and we looked at a few nice spots, included on nasty, muddy tight turn with run up and another mega-mud ditch. I have a pic of that but need to download it. For pics, take a look at LithoDale's site or Jimmy's. I saw Jimmy later giving dudes some shit at the end of their 60min sufferfest. Tim Johnson won Sunday's race as he did last year; he looked completely in control. I thought there were fewer fans at the site today, but the course was very curvy, so you never know.

After the race Dave and I ambled around through Indian Hills, Seneca/Cherokee, the Beargrass Trail and downtown before he went north and I south. It felt great to stretch the legs on the QB and I'll see if I can get some consistency going on the commute this week, truck condition be-damned.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cumberland

It's been a tumultuous October for riding, ass several things are holding my riding back:
  • logic would say that with a broken car/truck, I would ride more miles, but that's not the case. The logistics of dropping off and picking up and negotiating family activities has made commuting very inconsistent.
  • a bum ankle is not a good thing. I can walk and ride, but it's been slow and steady.
  • I've had some meetings away from school for Nat'l Boards, so that's gotten me out of my routine as well. I rode one time, but with distance, time and other responsibilities, again it has complicated things as well.
  • Children, sports and school activities (theirs and mine) make it complicated too.
Enough complaining! I got in 25m yesterday via an interesting commute to and fro. It rained on me in the morning again, but I was well-prepared and took it in stride. I co-worker passed me about 2m from work and offered a ride in the truck, but I said "no way". I'd rather ride wet than be stuck in the vehicle. The afternoon provided more miles, dry ones, as I headed west via Oak/Virginia. It was first made doubly interesting by a chance and almost unpleasant encounter with a 12-ish yr.old. I was on Oak when he sort of approached from the left while crossing the street. I figured he was just not paying attention and I guess I was slowed some too by both the heavy winds and by the fear of running him over. He got closer and closer and finally I felt a tug on my rear rack; the little shit had come over to pull on my bike! I yelled, "You need to be courteous!". I guess it was the teacher in me, as opposed to random angry white man in an all-black neighborhood. I yelled again, "Be Courteous!" and strangely enough, the little guy sort of stood there, shocked! No harm, no foul, but disconcerting.

I shook it off and continued towards Chickasaw, but bent north along Shawnee but not through it as usual. I moved eastward via Vermont/Madison into downtown. I'm going to do a photo tour on this stretch sometime, as one street spans varied types of housing, 2 elementary schools, and an old brick factory. My primary destination for the afternoon was Cumberland Brewpub on B'town, where I met several former students. They're all mid-20s and we get together for a meal occasionally, and this time we had food of the liquid kind. It's a very good group of solid guys, so after some good banter and a few, I headed home a little tipsy on the trucker. Other than falling over on the side of the road one time, it was a nice afternoon and evening and a good batch of mileage to boot.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Spewing Vomit

The latest saga on the truck is as follows. I rode to pick it up last Wednesday, the chain saga day. It was fine through weekend in Cincy up until Sun afternoon. 'Z' and I were returning from soccer game when the light came on and it starting bucking like a bronco during certain shifts. I kid you not. I put it in local shop Monday and their diagnostic is that, #1 they flushed the nasty tranny fluid hoping that might do it, but #2 the code that comes up usually calls for new computer in truck, i.e. the truck and tranny aren't communicating correctly anymore. Can you believe that @#$@#?

I guess this is my "no car/All Bike" manifesto time, but that is clouded by multiple children in multiple activities. Aarrgggghhhhh!

rode 17m today commute on TrekSS while OYLC is playing with chain. Gonna ride some more now, I guess. AAARRRRRRGGGGHGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stolen

I stole this from Erik at CosmicCountryNoir. What a great site! Hope he doesn't mind the theft, b/c this pic captures a moment that I really enjoy, for whatever reason.



It's got a BladeRunner-esque feel, for some reason. Like the mothership is about to land, or depart.

chaquetas

I can be hopelessly indecisive. I have my theories, but I don't think this is the best forum. That said, Kent, Russ and Doug have all extolled the virtues of this garment. These two colors are "discontinued", and thusly $30 cheaper than the standard. I'm going to buy one of them. Green like the LHT? Blue like the Cats?



My viewing public has 24hrs to place your vote. Tomorrow night I pull the trigger.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Odds-n-Sods

I had a rough week for cycling after twisting my ankle last Saturday. With the help of beer and adrenaline I was able to finish FuckGas's Jimmy's 40oz-er, but things were pretty bad most of the rest of the week. My physical reality coincided with a rash of very unpleasant cycling weather- 45F and rain just about every day. Those are tough conditions to easily plan for. Per my last post, I did ride Wednesday to pick up the truck but that was a mechanically inauspicious trip and didn't inspire much. The past two days I've commuted in the sweet confines of my megagasguzzler with a still-tender ankle. What else?

I was given free tix to a Louisville Orchestra The Music of the Eagles: A Rock Symphony, a part of the WOW! series. Now, this whole thing can be analyzed on a variety of levels. I do like classical music- musica del concierto as it were. I like teaching about classical music. I also like taking 'L' to new music experiences. His mom (my good wife) and brother were busy with other plans, so free tix in hand we chose to attend this "interesting" event, just for kicks if anything. I also liked the Eagles back in the day. Except for dyedinthewool punkers, who didn't? Like everyone else between the ages of, say, 30 and 60, or anybody with a diet of classic rock growing up, you know every word to every song, good or bad. The Eagles had a nice quality of harmony, melody and 'tude to be perfectly listenable. so last night, when these two elements combined- the LO and a de facto Eagles cover band- for a "rock symphony", I just took it in for what it was, a big pile of baby boomer entertaining shit. The crowd was overwhelmingly 50+ with pressed blue jeans and "dress" shirts. You could tell the normal LO crowd was there b/c their tix said they had to be, but their noses were as high in the air as mine. Tonight the LO is playing Haydn and Shostakovich; last night they received thunderous applauses for playing parts more appropriate for a middle school orchestra. I did everything I could the whole time to take in the entertaining and to not be too hateful, and I succeeded. I provided a wholesome (save 1 Fbomb. nothing he hasn't heard before) musical experience for my musically-minded son, and it cost a grand sum of $3.50. No complaints. I just beg and beg an beg that a significant band from my youth, say U2 or REM doesn't end up played on the same circuit. Could that happen? You bet. I can already imagine those "lush"arrangements accompanying cheesy Bono impersonator. OK, you get the point. Enough hate. As a music involved with music, I couldn't help over and over imagining those poor LO musicians, trained on a diet of Mozart, Elgar, Berlioz, Beethoven, Stravinsky, etc., having to play such infantile garbage, and all to pay the bills because the only people who support classical music are all dead or very near it. Depressing. Enough more hate.

Truck in hand I went over to Clarksville to pic up the Monocog, new BB installed. If the ankle were better I would go shred some very muddy trails, but I can't envision anything else but pain if I tried that right now. I also picked up, for a fair price, some Cannondale LE winter gloves. Chris gave me a good deal. After having close to complete failure with the old Performance neoprenes on Wednesday, I decided to try for cold and wet glove. I have things covered for dry, but hopefully these will fill that niche, b/c unlike some other folks, properly dressed I don't mind inclemency.

Full weekend of soccer, so not sure I'll be on 2 wheels. Maybe Sunday late afternoon? Hopefully you all are.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Whew!

I'm too worn out (and happily full of chili) to go into it all too much, but today was a tough bike day. To wit:
  • 6m commute this morning, 45F, windy and a true pouring rain. I had everything bagged up nicely but that was as soaked as I've been getting to work.
  • Spent a reasonable amount of mental energy "strategerizing" how to get my clothes dry enough for the afternoon. The air register helped alot, although I don't know if it was heat or cold.
  • I had relatively big plans this afternoon: Ride to Oxmoor Toyota, Pick up truck, Drive to SnS Transmission, Ride home from Buechel. The problem with this was not mileage but traffic. Oxmoor lies just outside the Watterson on Shelbyville and I can't imagine any less fun a road at rush hour. Then coming home from Buechel means a straight shot down the equally busy B'town through the Watterson interchange again.
  • The afternoon offered 45F and windy again but no rain. I did a reasonable job drying things so I was good to go, but I considered stopping by the house for different headwear.
  • Around mile 10 this afternoon, my chain broke along a quiet street in St. Matthews. I've never fixed a chain on the fly, and in fact, had never ever fixed a chain. I see, though, that the problem before was the cheesy chaintool. The Park today was much better. I fixed the chain sort of, but couldn't get the pin to sit. I gingerly pedalled for a while and it lasted maybe 1m. I stopped again along Browns Ln and tried it again. This time it worked, although the link was stiff and I was scared.
  • I carefully negotiated the whole Mall/S'Ville/Wt'son/Oxmoor thing and didn't get hit, nor did the chain break. That was good but too stressful than I would've liked.
  • Picked the truck up and the transmission engine light is off, but who knows? I refused to pay the dealer 3x what a local shop charges for a diagnostic, so the truck is in the driveway and we'll see what comes next.
I earned those 20m today and don't need that stressful a commute soon. I'm doubly cross b/c I didn't dress well this a.m. I considered using the sealskiz sox but didn't and paid for it in very wet feet. What was I thinking? And with 2 wool bike hats (one with flaps) I choose a RBW cotton one and paid for it in a cold head all day. ??? Gonna have to do better next time.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

40oz. Fun


I'll have to say that I had an experience yesterday on the bike that I'd never had before. I'm not sure it was safe or smart, but it was alot of fun. I began the day with an earlier ride from Oxmoor Toyota, where the Tundra sits waiting to be "fixed" whilst at home I'm bent over waiting, well,... I had the truck in the local shop for some stuff and an engine light, but their efforts on the transmission warning came to no avail (long story and I don't want to start Sunday as such). So to the dealer it went for another assessment, and from there I rode home via St. Matthews on the QB.

'L's soccer tourney had been rained out, but the team had a pizza&play at the indoor club, so away the family went to that, where we hung out for 2.5hrs. The boys played soccer, the adults chatted (a few folks played cornhole too) and eventually the pizza arrived. As the boys were eating, I decided to go out on the field and shoot a few goals against the now-tall 14 yr-old and had some fun for maybe 10 minutes until the fateful-but-oh-so-typical. Basically I twisted by ankle, yet again, and that hobbled me for the rest of the evening. My ankles are just bad, and of course I'm carrying too much weight on them, so it's such a typical response but so irritating! We'll see.

So, we got out of there at 7.30, instead of 7.00, and I had to call Dave b/c we were to meet and head to Jimmy's 40oz. Ride out of Iroquois and I was running late. We ended up leaving about 8, with me on a hobbled left foot, but one still rideable, or at least we would see. Dave and I had a pleasant ride through Audobon, down 4th St., and S.Pkwy to reach Iroquois, where the search commenced. No knowing where the soiree would be, we searched around the Ampitheater before heading to the top. En route, a couple high-school kids acted like they were going to jump out and attack Dave, but it was in jest. Stupidass teenagers! We got to the top and headed towards the north lookout and lo and behold!, Cyclists! I would put the number at around 25, maybe more, maybe fewer. Having arrived a bit before 9, it seems that the grill had been spent and the 40ozers mostly guzzled, but there were 3 left, so Dave and I split it, him drinking from his bike water bottle. Classy! Spoke with former student/newer bike activist Brent, Derek from OYLC, Chad from our RCCS outings, and the drunk host.

I'd say we chilled out for a solid 1.5hr in the steadily chilly night, finished our brew- and yes, cold Miller out of a paper bag can be pretty tasty- and headed out. The ride down Iroquois Hill was eventful, at least for me, when fixie boys commenced skidding/braking down the hill. It's a crazy thing to see somebody hopping around and skidding sideways in the dark at 15mph. We were held up for a while when somebody apparently went down and another broke a chain.

Once we were on the road, the group split pretty quickly, with 1 fixie boy off the front and a group of 4 consisting of Dave, me and 2 fixie boys. These Jimmy rides are unpredictable b/c you don't know how people are going to deal with lights. At some point, the 2 fixie blew through one and Dave and I took the more cautious route. We rode a steady pace down 3rd/2nd St. towards the river and hit the bridge at a good pace. I can say it was quite surreal, moving through UL traffic and downtown city traffic at 11.00p.m. on a Saturday night. We meet up with the 2 front-running fixies and waited the rest of the crew...and waited...and waited. Eventually host Jimmy and a friend showed, but the rest of the entire crew bailed! Crazy stuff. We remaining 6 rode down the ramp to the river where the other 4 set about drinking a bit more brew. At that point, I was finished. My twisted ankle was bothering me and I was further done from the brisk pace down to the river..and the Miller High Life sloshing in my stomach. I posited to Dave that I was the only member of this randy band who was experiencing heartburn during the ride from the beer intake.

At that point we meandered back towards the Highlands, me running on fumes. As a further "bizarre evening" note, we ran across 'Alberto', my friend from work across from his house. He was walking home from a friend's after his own birthday 1 or 2. And this at 12.45. After getting home I had that "been active late at night" awakeness. I iced the ankle and headed to bed around, which for me is a half-year record. Interesting all round.


p.s.- Found this eco-oriented site while goofing: TransitionKY. It's worth the look.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Cap but no Cape

He's not quite as guapo as I am, but we're wearing the same new cap, a fetching blue number from embrocation cycling journal. That's an awfully nice site that's 'crossish in nature when a dose of easternUSA thrown in for good measure. My fine wife asked, "Did you get another cap?"(eyes slightly-but-deftly rolled). "Yes, I did!" (grin evident). It's a comfy one too.

As for riding, I got caught in some massive rain after work today. Unfortunately, the afternoon commute coincided with an off-site meeting about 4m away from work, so I arrived wet, wet, wet. Normally I wouldn't care but I also did a horrible job preparing for today's deluge. I knew it was coming but *didn't* wear any wool as I had done this week and *didn't* take a rain cape; my thin Nike windjacket did virtually nothing. My ultimate saving grace was a modified rain cape I wore underneath my jacket, one McGuyver-ized from a work trash bag. Classy! Monsoons are forecasted for tomorrow as well, but the wool, raincapes and neoprene Fox gloves will come out for that.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Random Pics

Venus and Mars above the parking lot


'Ol Blue barely visible on the opposite shoreline. A good bird is he.



D.Runge's 80's Specialized Expedition. As D stated, this is certainly a forerunner of the '90s RBW ethos. D. Runge is further famous in the Louisville area as a long-time club member who was/is fond of roads "with texture". I've seen and heard his name often but this was the first to run across him, in this case in Cherokee on my commute. He was riding with whom I assume was his Mrs. and they were sporting excellent style. He states that it's still running original wheels and Phil Woods across the board. Great stuff, isn't it? I'd love to pick Mr. Runge's mind about those "roads with texture" some time.


Irony of ironies, a full-on Prius with requisite Obama sticker in front of Wally World. Never the twain shall meet, or will they?

Been riding some, including mtbike loop in Cherokee on Sunday and commuting on the LHT this week. I found out this morning that the truck needs $900 in maintenance, mostly routine, but dang!! Another preoccupation is figuring out how to rig the LHT to my further needs. I'm doing a school/work project which requires me to carry lots of files. The idea is to bungee a file box on the rear rack (no prob), but that occludes the rear blinkie and the panniers have no strap for that AND I don't want to have to rely on lashing to my clothes. So, I guess I'm gonna have to sew on a light strap but I'm so uncrafty. Oh well. Another option is to pick up a new front rack, preferably a Pass&Stow, but the recent truck bill no squashes that idea. And that had issues as to how to deal with the front SON light. Ah the problems we bourgeoisie face

Friday, October 02, 2009

Now for a PSA

Whatever you think of ol' Lance, his politics sometimes correspond with mine. To wit, I signed his petition today for better health care coverage for all Americans. Feel free to vote your conscience and do the same. Or not.



Email to mysurly69@yahoo.com