Tuesday, December 30, 2008


.... been too sick to ride, need to get out there. Weather dropped down into the 30's and is now hanging in the mid sixties... the sun is also less intense and I'm jones'n to either ride or run. Soon enough. For now, just been doing the Mr. Mom thing.

Monday, December 22, 2008

And the cold returns...

.... back down to the mid twenties overnight, high today in the mid thirties. It will be 81 by Friday. If I've said it once, I've said it a million times. If it's going to be cold, it might as well snow! Freaking Tex-tard weather. Only one thing left to do....

Saturday, December 20, 2008


....That must be Italian

* Photo stolen from here

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Camera...

...finally! So for my birthday Kathy bought me a new Camera. If you've been following along you know I lost my old one @ the Madrone Trail. Initially she bought me a really nice Canon. It was super fancy, 12 Megapixles, not an SLR, as I'm no where near good enough for that, but rather an Elph of some sort. There was the problem... it was too nice for what I was going to use it for. Really the majority of its use is going to be for bike trips, there's no point in owning a nice point & shoot, especially if you knew how lousy my bike skilz are. So we decided to return it and get a lesser camera. Well, as luck would have it, we were at Target (Tar-Jay as we and about a billion other people say ) and saw a Nikon S202 for $97! Wowzers, I realize it's no Canon, and doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but that makes it perfect for a non camera nerd like me. I just want small and easy to use... Check & Check

Thin eh?

Picture quality is a little fuzzy, but then again my subject matter wasn't exactly being all that patient. I'll have to get used to the shutter speed, but for under $100 what do you want?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dear Santa...

... below is the list Ella wrote Santa today (I may have helped a little, can you tell?)... it's off to the post office to express it to the north pole, hope he gets it in time!

Dear Santa,

My name is Ella ________ , and I have been a very naughty girl this year.

Please, please, please bring me

Ten (10) Dalmatian puppies (with spots please)

One (1) Kitchen

One (1) pony by the name of "Sally"

One (1) Kitten by the name of "Iga"

One (1) DVD of "The Grinch who stole Christmas)

One (1) Garmin Edge 705 GPS

One (1) Pair of Swobo "Fenster" Knickers size large... I'll grow into them

One (1) Pair of Swobo "Minkman Combo" in black, size large... see above

One (1) Jeff Jones 3D Spaceframe with an ETT of 23" and a matching Truss Fat Front Fork

with a Black Anodized Paul 135MM Disc Hub laced to a Speedway rim (and a matching Paul

Hub laced to a DT Swiss XR470 rim) your modified XTR Cranks with Chris King Bottom

Bracket, Boone Ti Chain Ring (32t), Chris King Rear ISO Disc Hub in SS with your

modified XT Cassette, and an assortment of Boone Ti Cogs 18-21, Ericson Ti Stem and Seat

post, Brooks "Swift" saddle in Honey

Finally, One (1) Moots Gristle (3" travel) in 16.5 or One (1) Moots Cinco with an XTR

Build Kit... your choice, I'm not picky.

Thank you Santa, please accept these cookies and this glass of milk as payment in full

for above said items.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's beginning to feel a lot like....

... winter! Yippie, we finally got a break from the blistering sun. Most would say that today is a gloomy day... not me. After too many months of scorching sun we finally got a break from the heat and sun. Lovely gray clouds, cold air freshly blown in from Canada... temps to make me want to go play. I ended up sneaking out while Kathy & Ella were out doing their thing. Got a single loop in. The temp thingie in the Audi said 36* but with the wind blowing off of the lake it felt a lot colder. If there were any moisture in the air we might even see some white stuff falling from the heavens... one can dream.

The new cell phone has a built in (crappy) digi cam so I'll be taking a lot more pix now, it can even take short video, however I have to figure out how to x-fer the video from the strange .3g2 format to a more standard .mpg or the like (anyone have any suggestions, besides google?)... research for later I suppose.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fixing Government Canyon...

... John a.k.a Austin Bike called a hooky day ride today in San Antonio, at Government Canyon. Small group, with a new to SS rider joining in. What a perfect opportunity to try to ride Government Cheese fixed (That and the rear wheel on the Vassago needs to be trued and the front hub adjusting). The flats & climbs were fine, no issues there. I hung more towards the back and passed when I was able or the trail allowed. The running and exercise are beginning to pay dividends as I had more strength and a stronger core.... until I got to the downhill sections. GC is pretty rocky, and not being able to just coast and let gravity do its thing really show the weak area of scorching (at least for my skill level). I meant to take some pixs with the new camera phone, but there is no direct way to upload from the phone to my PC, I have to text or email the pix and I'm too cheap for a data package... oh well maybe santa will bring me a camera.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008


... so I've been doing a lot of running and getting out more. The guy who's been helping me get in shape suggested I get a HRM. I used to have an old Polar, but it's gone missing or is somewhere that I can't remember at the moment. In any case I started looking and thinking about electronic toys. I'm already way behind the curve and need a new digi cam, but maybe Santa will bring that if I'm good. So now the HRM comes up. I can get a cheap one from a mega-mart type place cheap, but I've also been thinking about a GPS type unit since I'd like to start exploring more of Austin's off road and don't want to constantly rely on others... so what I'd like is a GPS with up loadable maps and a HRM. The Garmin Edge 705 looks like it would fit the bill, but is quite pricey and bulky for off the bike jaunts. The Garmin Forerunner 305 will give me the HRM and down loadable GPS, and will work if I'm lost to get me back to the beginning, but lacks the ability to upload maps. So then I start thinking maybe a GPS and an inexpensive HRM. I like the DeLorme PN-20 (free maps) and since a new model is scheduled to launch any second they can be had used for under $150...

So to those who are GPS/HRM gadget geeks speak up.

The DeLorme PN-20 I'm thinking about

Monday, November 17, 2008

Case of the "Mondays"...

... 6:30 up and out the door. One of my neighbors has taken me under his fitness wing and has me working out 5-6 days a week. Nothing fancy, no expensive equipment, no gyms or computerized this or that. Just old fashioned sit ups, push ups, jumping rope, and dumb bells (the iron/metal kind not just me). We've been at it for a couple of weeks, and it's horrible. My fat lazy body hates getting out of bed early, my lethargic lifestyle groans with each push up and sit up. The neighbor is good spirited and tells me pain is weakness leaving the body... of course he's an ex-Marine, now Army guy so fitness for him is a way of life. This morning was cold for TX 45ish degrees. I was in shorts & a long sleeve with a wool hat... still overheated on our 4.25 mile run. Our time is what most who run would call leisurely 4.25 miles in 40 minutes is not going to win any records, but it's amazing how much better we are now than 3 weeks ago. Tomorrow is a bike day, so it should be a nice recovery. Wednesday has us doing intervals with full on sprints then a slow jog for 1/4 mile then strait to push ups, sit ups, pull ups and so on each 1/4 mile for 2 miles. It's a lot harder than it sounds, but with any consistency will have me in better shape for the spring. This is normally the time of year when I hibernate, eat way too much, drink too much and hate myself in the spring.

In other news, I was in touch with a former colleague who knows of a position back up in the Mid Atlantic. With any luck it will be the right mix of $ and location, and will be a good fit for me to get Kathy over the hump and agree to move. Down shot is that the position is going to be open in a few weeks which may kill the deal as selling our house here is going to be a challenge, and trying to sell it in the dead of winter is going to mean either a loss or letting the girls stay here while I play couch commando over at my sisters. We'll see....

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Take that!

.... rode out at Madrone today, got to the first little lip umph after the quick switch back and just couldn't stand looking at the void any longer. I dismounted and got to work. I moved back three very large boulders and filled in between with lots of small rock and dirt. It looks almost like it did, might be a touch harder in honesty then the original, but it will wear in (provided non of the ass clowns dumb it back down). Got to the boat ramp section and to my delight my previous de-sanitizing had not been messed with. This put a smile on my face and I enjoyed the rest of my ride knowing that the challenging lines are surviving. I'll try to get out again during the week to see if I can snap some pix.

In other news, I tanked the interview with the GIS company and got the "Sorry you're a loser" email, frankly I expected it and only wish I had been funny since I knew the ship was sinking. I had an open house on Saturday with an interview in which I feel I would be a great fit, but there was a ton of competition so I won't even classify that one as a hopeful. I think in the short term Kathy may have to take on a job and I'll stay home with Ella until we can figure out the next step. My thought is that we clean up our house and get it on the market in the Jan/Feb time frame. If it sells quickly we can always move into my mom's house, and should I get a J.O.B back east as I'd like, I can crash at my sisters place until the house here sells and we can find a place back east. Plus it's probably not a good idea to try to move east in the winter, it will be too much of a shock to the system and I'm sure Kathy would freak out. On the upshot, since joining the social networking scene Kathy seems much more agreeable to being back there. Linking up with former friends and classmates is fun in the virtual world, and hopefully sustainable in the real world. Me? I'm just ready to be back home, to get in better shape (I've lost all technical and aerobic skill since moving), to experience culture, to have a big city close by, and to have real trees again. After being away for 5+ years I will never take for granted large trees, rainy days, cool weather. Atlanta was a lame city, but the cycling was good and felt like I was still home. Texas has the advantage of warm days during the winter, but it's brutally hot the rest of the year and lacks culture other than Tex/Mex. It's a nice place to visit, and I'll have fond memories, but once we get back, I'll never live here again.

That's about all the rambling I have in me.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A Letter to the Madrone Sanitizer....

... why? Why do you insist on dumbing down the trail to your pathetic level? Why not just stick to the road bike? If you don't challenge yourself, how do you expect to ever get better? The trail is so short in distance, the obstacles are needed, yet you insist on turning a challenging trail into crap. What's next? You should move to Houston, I have a feeling you'd fit right in. Oh, by the way...... if I catch you f#%&ing with the trail, be prepared for a beat down. I've had it with your lame ass cheater lines, removing rock and creating trail damage is my limit. I originally thought you were one of the tri geeks who invades the trail for your off road tri's, but it's happening too often now. I'll be watching....

Friday, October 24, 2008

I try to keep the politics out of my blog but....

... this was too funny! I'm hooked on Facebook lately.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Up @ 3 am, Insomnia....

.... is a strange thing. I didn't know it was something that one could/would aquire, but I have. Dr. gave me a sleep aid, I hate them, they make me feel as though I'm watching life through an automobile windshield. Tough part is I'm a monster after a few days w/out sleep and it takes a toll on Kathy. Too late to try to go back to sleep, I have a ride @ 7:00... thank goodness for the interwebs... now if only there were some folks on facebook to talk to. *Note to self, make friends in the UK so you can chat at all hours of the morning

Monday, October 06, 2008

RIP Don Sleeper

A great spirit lost his battle with cancer today. Don Sleeper was a friend to me in a time when I knew none, he built wonderfully wicked trail for all to enjoy and asked nothing in return. He was a gentle soul and I a better person for knowing him. In lieu of trying to come up with something poetic to say, I thought of a poem I once heard by Rupert Brooke. Rest in peace my friend, you are in a better place.


The Hill
by Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)
Breathless, we flung us on the windy hill,
Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass.
You said, "Through glory and ecstasy we pass;
Wind, sun, and earth remain, the birds sing still,
When we are old, are old. . . ." "And when we die
All's over that is ours; and life burns on
Through other lovers, other lips," said I,
---"Heart of my heart, our heaven is now, is won!"

"We are Earth's best, that learnt her lesson here.
Life is our cry. We have kept the faith!" we said;
"We shall go down with unreluctant tread
Rose-crowned into the darkness!" . . . Proud we were,
And laughed, that had such brave true things to say.
---And then you suddenly cried, and turned away.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Lost pix of west Texas

... since I'm no longer using deathstar communications for my mobile, thought I'd wipe my PDA's before selling them. Found a bunch of pix that I don't think I uploaded anywhere. This was the 2008 Mas-o-meno's race.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Social Networking....

... who knew that it could be so much fun? Since I have time on my hands lately, and my bud Kev has been riding me lately to do the facebook thing, I decided to take on Facebook as well as Linked In. Apparently I already had an account on Linked in... wow didn't even remember doing that. Updated it, and loaded some contacts, who knows might find that lead for a job back east via the web. Facebook is proving to be much more fun, I'm sure the novelty will wear off soon enough, but for now, as Gary says, it's like interactive email. The added bonus is that I've seen names and faces that I haven't seen or hear of in years, some close to a decade or two.... man, when did I get old all of the sudden?

In other news, I'm thinking it's time to replace my old digi cam. My sister recently got a Panasonic Lumix 8.1, it's small enought for biking trips, has a good display, and is cheap @ $159.99. The biggest issue I have purchasing it is that last week the big box retailer selling it was offering a 1GB SD card free with purchase, this week it's a lame little tri-pod. I know, I know splitting hairs. Who knows maybe the little tripod thin will come in handy on some solo rides.

Monday, September 22, 2008

3 days 3 rides

... Friday hooked up with another VA expat (Halfinch to you MORE types) and rode out at Flat Rock Ranch we got a bit of a late start (my fault) but had a good ride and got out of there before it got dark. The different part for me was that it was the first time I've been on a non-fixed bike in several months. Coasting is fun!

Saturday, I rode with Shawn at my local stomp'n grounds it was a less than stellar ride, I was back on the fixie and just couldn't get in the groove. I had a flat, shortly there after Shawn flatted, so we decided to call it a day and cut out after about 1/2 of the ride.

Sunday... my bum was sore, my hands bruised, but that wasn't going to stop me from getting a ride in. This time Government Canyon. I always forget what a fun place this is, nice and rocky, good climbing, nice vista's... this place has it all, well everything but water. I felt pretty good most of the ride, wasn't pushing myself (didn't have coffee always bad) and then we hit the climb @ wild cat. I felt strong and ended up finishing the climb strong. The downhill out was brutal, and something in my handlebar set up was really taking a toll on my hands... numb and sore, I'm thinking the ESI's aren't quite broken in, might have to switch over to OURI's.

Monday... reality check. I really need to do something about the job scenario. I really had it in my heart that I was going to take advantage of this time to get a job back east, and while I still would love this, the logistics are almost impossible. I have a house to sell here, a wife, daughter, and two dogs to get back there, not to mention all the junk.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Home, no thanks to Ike...

... got home yesterday after 11.5 hours in the car, the trip should take ~ 8.5 hours. Remind me to tell you later how much I hate Houston.

Had a good visit with the in-laws. Kathy's brother is doing well, and his wife is busy as always. It was weird being back down there, and I realized that I hadn't been to MS since just after Katrina on our way to TX to live. While Kathy's folks have done a really nice job not only with their house but with the grounds, the area is still very much devastated from Katrina and subsequent storms. Lots of boats still ship wrecked in yards, in homes, on docks, in the road... sad. New Orleans is still a mess as well. The French Quarter was spared during Katrina, but the lower ninth ward was devastated, the scenes while driving around were much like the aftermath of Katrina, homes still boarded up with FEMA X's on them, holes still in roof tops from panic stricken residents creating impromptu escape hatches. The trip made me realize just how much I have to be grateful for.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Damn you Gustov!

So this weekend is a big ride at Government Canyon there's a big group heading down from Austin & the San Antonio Mojo's will be there too. Regrettably we'll be heading to the Gulf Coast to visit with the in-laws. I suppose it's not so bad, after all we will get to see Kathy's brother & sister-in-law who we haven't seen since we lived in Atlanta. Grrr I really wanted to ride there fixed, but I suppose such a venue is no time to experiment.

Went for a quick ride this morning to my fav. local trail had my tomi cog come loose. Second time in a couple of weeks. I think I need to loc-tite the threads. I also got one pinch flat. Good ride, and last one for a week at least as we'll be out of town. I also have three wheels to lace, it was originally two, but I let a guy try out my franken fixie on last weeks swill ride and he bent my rim jumping a curb... so much so that it broke the seam and I just don't trust it for the terrain around here.

The wife and kiddo will be gone for another few weeks when I get back from the in-laws... thinking it might be road trip time... where to go?

That's it, just wanted to get the random stuff out of my head. Also still looking for any leads back in the DC area job wise.


Monday, August 25, 2008


So you'll notice that this blog does not contain any pictures of my ride this weekend. Why? Because after taking the time to stop, take some so-so pictures, and even do some trail repair (some lazy fuggers have been cutting cheater lines) yours truly left his camera behind. Argh! Yes it was an old lack luster camera. Yes new ones are better, but the old one worked fine for my camera skills, and it was long paid for. Funny, fxwhl found a camera, and I lost one. The cycling karma does not go without notice. Perhaps I need to ride fixed more?


Monday, August 18, 2008

More Fixie....

... Thank you Tomi!

Sorry about the picture quality. I'm working on my skills. Any pointers Gary?

I'd like to get to the point where my random point & shoot comes out as well as fxdwhl or Joel's I'm amazed at their over the shoulder shots... maybe I need longer arms?

Camera found....

.... great thing about 3 year olds, they like to put things in random places. The camera was found in the center console of Kathy's Jeep... it would have been a long time before it was found, but Ella decided her breakfast should go in there, and viola out comes the camera. Interesting thing too, there were about 20 pix saved to the camera rather than the SD card, some 4 years old! Wow, funny.

Here is the after of the bench after I straightend it out, still a mess, but much better.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


.... to A/C and shade. I can't take it much longer. How the hell does anyone get used to this. I've been here for 3 years and it's not getting any easier. I can only ride either first thing in the morning, or late in the evening. I talk to lots of other cyclists here and they don't seem to have as much trouble as I do. I actually miss snow rides I tell them, they look at me like I'm crazy... thing is you can always layer up and adjust for temperature, in the direct sun and heat of the day you can only take off so much and shade is like gold.

In other news, the camera that was found, is now lost again... no pic's until I can find it. Too much junk in the house, why is it necessary to accumulate so much rubbish? Next week I'm beginning to clear out the clutter, fights will ensue. If I find the camera I'll begin to document.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Weekend review...

So my sister from DC and her family are in town this weekend, it's been nice having them around and getting a chance to hang out with them. Funny how when you live 10 miles from each other you don't take the time to hangout as much as you should. I suppose life gets in the way some times.

So our story picks up on Thursday night. I decided to go down to San Antonio and do the Thursday night swill ride. Prior to the swill ride, we did an off road adventure through the Olmos Basin. Alan was there, always good to see him and ride with him. Tobin from NB was also there, the second time I've ridden with him in a week, more than in the last two years I've lived in New Braunfels. Stayed out late, drank quite a few tasty beverages, had a yummy Portabello burger, this veggie lifestyle isn't so bad.

Friday Kathy & Ella had playnastics so I thought I'd do a quick run, and mow the lawn. Got in a short 2 miles, but the legs were spent from the night before on the fixie. Mowed the lawn, and even assembled our new bed frame. Quite a productive day.

Saturday morning I got out for a quick Madrone ride, came home and got ready for dinner at my sisters house. We had a great dinner thanks to her husband who's an excellent party host and cook. The girls had their feet done, Kathy's was her birthday gift from the family, which is really nice as funds are going to be tight moving forward.

Sunday I took Ella to the pool, and then we took a nice nap together. We then dropped her off with my sister so we could have a night together for Kathy's birthday.

Monday, I begin job searching... woohoo! I'm casting a broad net, Kathy has agreed to go anywhere, and this is the perfect opportunity to get back home to the east coast. Anyone hiring back east (DC, VA, MD) let me know....

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Another benefit of being home...

.... more time with the princess. What is it about a bean-bag chair?

Now that I have some time on my hands....

.... it's time to straighten out the work bench.

.... and get the fleet in working order.

The Vassago still needs it's rear wheel laced. The Gunnar needs a new rear tire. The roadie needs new tires, maybe some 28's if they can be had on the cheap. So many projects, and no time constraints! Unemployment has it's benefits ;o)

Monday, August 04, 2008

Case of the Mondays...

.... went in for my weekly one on one with my Manager which was kind of strange because lately we've been doing group meetings. I didn't really think too much about it. Go into his office and there's some random guy there. He makes the introduction, Danny, I think was the guys name. Turns out that Danny is there to keep the peace, my boss gives me the news, says it's not his choice, corporate had some complaints from customers that I haven't managed in almost a year, and because there was no one to back-fill my old spot, the responsibility apparently was mine... the problem there is that I didn't have my old mobile number so the complaints apparently went no where until the FNG shows up and can't manage the territory. My boss is actually really cool, writes me a letter or recommendation and lists me a eligible for re-hire. Someone had to be the scape goat, I got the short end of it... or did I? As I made the numb drive home I realized just how lucky I really am. I have a great supportive wife, an amazing little girl, and a supportive and loving family. I'm still taking it all in, as I've never been "let go" before. It's a strange feeling. So, what to do now? Make lemonade out of lemons? The good news is I can float off of savings for a little while, but it did get me thinking about the possibilities out there. I checked on realtor.com and there are houses in my old stomping grounds that are reasonable, provided I have roughly the same income I had here. Granted the houses will be older and smaller, but seeing as there are rooms in this house the we're heating and cooling and not even using, perhaps it's the perfect timing?

Now to file for unemployment, spend time with Ella, and get some miles on my legs.

Oh, almost forgot I found the digi cam, charged up the batteries. So expect more updates and some more pictures. Here's one of the great work Kathy's doing in the back yard.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Another day, another fixie adventure....

Hooked up with Tobin, Joel, and Ride4beer @ the Madrone. I'm way slower than Joel, never ridden with Tobin or R4B, they're all fit so I figure I'm fugged, but what the hay, not like I've never ridden the Madrone solo before. The ride ensues, I'm hanging in the back chatting it up a bit at first, then just keeping up with the crew. Joel's up front on his new Mamasita, he was fast before the Mama, and just keeps me far enough behind that I don't see him except at re-group area's. Tobin's being cool and hangin' in the back with me while r4b is up front with Joel. At some point r4b drops back and I pull ahead. I'm burning pretty good for me, but know I can't keep it up for a sustained amount of time. Eventually we get to the Marina area where everyone struggles a little giving me a chance to pull in behind Tobin who's now taken the lead. The others catch up and at Joel's re-route I go straight into the sh!t, while the boys enjoy the longer, but less techy section. I know I'm up front now, so I take advantage of the situation and power through to the start/finish. We all re-group again, when Tobin & Joel ask if we want to get in another lap, there's no way I can do the first half, so I suggest "Grand Canyon" which recieves funny looks, Joel graciously corrects me and tells me it's called "Flying Cactus"... who knew? Off we go, again I'm pulling the back, when we get to an opening r4b pulls off looking for his lungs, Joel slows to see if he's ok and I take another spot, now I'm closing in on Tobin, who's officially warmed up. I give it everything I have and catch up, Joel's on my freaking rear wheel like white on rice.... I keep it up as long as I can but a cramp reminds me that I'm no racer boy. By the time I heal up I'm at the back of the pack again. I catch up at boat ramp, Tobin know's I'm toast and suggests we short cut over to the Marina and finish up in the dirt, I agree and spin along. We get to the dirt where again everyone is having a hard time, I clean the section and pull up front not to see the crew until we get to the cars.

After the ride I followed Tobin over to his crib to Czech out his rocking new Vanilla. All I can say is if I had the $, I'd certainly love to have one myself, although I don't know if I'd ever ride it for fear of damaging such a work of art.

Tomorrow is a rest day. I'll more than likely spend the morning playing with Ella at the pool, and hiding from the sun for the afternoon.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Thursday night social ride....

.... July was a tough month for me work wise. I haven't been this stressed out in years, at least not due to work. I finished up the month well, so I decided to treat myself to a social ride with the San Antonio Mojo's. I went early for the dirt ride, and was a little concerned since I was on the fixie again. This is a social ride, but the pace was good... not break neck speed, but not really slouching. I got a good workout in, and only had minor issues in the tight twisties which is more a bar being too wide for the trail thing. From the dirt social, we all meet up and head out for the pub crawl. I did reasonably well here until we hit a long downhill, which forced me to slow way down also making the transition back uphill a little exhausting. I hit the Mix, threw back a few cold ones, and decided to call it a night early-ish. I got home around 10, which is unheard of for me on one of these social rides, but it was enough of a ride, and I got to see some folks I haven't seen in months. Good ride, good people, these are the memories I'll take away from this place when it's time to move on.

I was impressed with the fixies performance, the more I ride the more I like being fixed. I'm learning how to adjust my body more for the terrain, but haven't really picked up the rear wheel hop thing just yet, I'm sure I look much like a smash'm up derby car just plowing into things. I am learning how to time my approach a little better, and have a general feeling for where the pedals will be at most objects. The multiple hops or drops are still a challenge and the random pedal strike is a sobering reminder that you can never stop paying attention on a fixie

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mid week fixie fix....

So I snuck out early this morning since my neighbor (formerly from Falls Church weird) wanted to check out Madrone, and we'd never ridden before. I was a little nervous at first since he's a fitness freak, does triathlons, runs 5 & 10k's, so on and so forth and I... well, let's just say I'm not quite a fitness freak. We hit the trail around 8:00 and did a 2.5 hour tour of Madrone. He did really well considering he was riding flats with Keens. It's always rewarding when someone rides a trail for the first time, this was no exception. He was thoroughly impressed with my ability to tackle hills and obstacles on a fixie, and I heard loads of "woohoo's" from behind me as we hit some of the double & triple drops along the way.

As a sidebar, I did try to take my camera with me, but Kathy has hidden it during one of her "cleaning" sessions. I'll probably find it when we go to move.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Another Weekend, another fixie outing....

.... so another weekend ride on the fixie. Got up early and out the door before the mercury hit the triple digits. I was having a somewhat stoic ride, got to the boat ramp and decided to take a moment to breath in the morning air and enjoy the views before the hundreds of boaters decided to disturb my peace. While enjoying the view a couple of guys rode up on me, cool enough guys we chatted for a bit, so I decided to tag along on their ride. The leader (Cody) was setting a brisk pace, not too fast, not too slow. He was clearly in better condition than me, but I could tell he lacked confidence in the technical sections so it was a good match up. His bud (Eric) had his two border collies with him, so he stayed back a little. It was fun to ride with other people as I tend to ride slow and solo most of the time. After the ride we hung out for a bit, they caught on that I was on a single speed, then the question of how come I only had a front brake came up. I don't think they were too impressed with the Franken-fixie, but were amazed at it's weight compared to their squishy bikes. We exchanged numbers and said we'd ride together again, don't know if they will or not, but I certainly felt comfortable with them.

In other news, I've been on the fence as to which rim to get for the 29r. I had pretty much decided to go with a Stans hoop. I went to my local shop and the owner, a former 29er guy told me he was going back to little wheels for the race season. He happened to be re-using his DT rear hub which meant he no longer needed his DT hoop.... looks like I'm going with the DT hoop, nothing fancy, but the price is right. Now I just need to order some spokes & nipples and lace her up. Love when things come together without effort.

Oh, and Joel G. FYI it was 103 today with 80% humidity... your 90 with 90% humidity seems like a cool fall day!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Another fixie ride...

... so I took my SS King rear hub to the local King guru, said the grease was in a bad state (hub's only 6-7 months old). I left if with Car!os to do his magic. I'm still not 100% certain on what I want to do rim wise, so another weekend goes by with the choice of no ride or take out the Franken-fixie. Second time to Madrone, and my speed was up a bit.... but I did have to slow the pace down to "finish" the ride. I ended up not being able to clean 3 sections, the first one was stupid just a little hill, but I chose the wrong line and paid the price with a heavy pedal strike that nearly tossed me. two and three where techy tight sections that I've been know to flop on even with the spinny bike, so I didn't feel too bad. All in all it was fun, not nearly as hard as I had imagined, pedal strikes were reduced this go around, but when I did have one it was very jarring.

In other news, yet another Audi breakdown. This the car started idling rough and then the check engine light comes on. The dealer thought it might be a bad coil resulting in an ECU override shutting down the engine. While it's a warranty item, it doesn't inspire confidence. This is the 4th time I've had to had the thing in the shop. First issue was an electronic control unit in the transmission which caused the car to stay in 2nd gear, next was a bad power steering line, next a bad wheel bearing, now the bad coil. I used to b!tch about my Xterra, and wouldn't want it back for all the tea in China, but the worst thing that I ever had with that was bad rotor's and a bit of engine knock. So now the dilemma is do I just go ahead and live with it, or just accept that the car is a lemon (47k miles)and move on. I really like having a station wagon and have been looking around. I like the looks of the Subaru's and with so many friends with over 100k miles and seemingly little to no issues I may be trading in on a Subie.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

If it aint broke... fix it

So the rear WTB LaserDisc trail is done, mangled beyond reasonable repair. I'm in the process of deciding what rim I'm going to replace it with currently, but I'm left with a tough choice for the weekend. Don't ride, or take out the Frankenbike out for a spin. So far the On One fixie 96er has only had the duty of hauling the kid in her trailer back and forth 3 blocks to our pool, I haven't had the guts to try it off road. The Gunnar is in pieces mostly, so the choice is obvious, my first off road adventure on the Frankenbike it is.

Initial impressions were "Oh my fugg'n god, what was I thinking" as I did the first of many drops. After two or three it wasn't so bad. Amazingly I wasn't as out of control as I had expected. The one thing I did notice is that pedal strikes are your enemy, and momentum is your friend. The big 29x2.55 up front really soaked up the bumps, and the little 26x2.1 rear spun up real quick and climbed like there's no tomorrow. If I could change anything it would be to procure some 172.5 or even 170mm pedals, I figure with enough practice this will be a non issue soon enough. My beloved Madrone trail felt fresh as the first time we met, good lines were rewarded with ample flow and buttery smoothness, while brain farts and day dreams were quikly noticed through pedal strikes and bucking bronco like manuevers. I'm mentaly exhausted, I never paid so much attention to where I was going my whole life. While I didn't set any land speed records, I didn't go that much slower than on my spinny ride.

Hat's of to Steve, Ricki, & Joe W. for their fixie racing, don't know how you lads manage full on race pace while fixed.

In other news, been trying to get back in shape, the wife found a gently loved Precore treadmill on CL which only needed minor repair. I'm now running 15 miles a week, I'd like to step that up to 21 miles in the next couple of weeks. For now getting the fitness base up, running 3 days a week and biking at least 2 days should help to get me back in shape.

I'll post up pix of the Franken fixie in action some time soon.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Missing home....

A friend here in Tejas is going to DC in a few days and asked for a little advice on where to stay, go, etc during her short visit. I jotted down what I thought would be a quick email straight and to the point, I had to stop myself after writing for 45 minutes and two pages. This got me thinking about my beloved city. How I miss you and your daily grind. How I miss the people, the energy, the "buzz", and the beauty and charm that is our Nations Capital. I miss my summer evening drives up the GW Parkway with no agenda, only an open moonroof and the howl of my roof rack. I miss your granite and marble tributes those who came before us with a dream and determination. I desperately miss your tall green trees and wild spaces only a stones throw from the hustle of the daily menutia. I took you for granted, I complained about your busy streets, and encroaching developement without understanding fully just how brilliant you really are. I want to feel your humid summer on my skin like that of a hot sweaty lover. I miss smelling autum in your leaves, and the crispness of your first snow. I miss you eternally my love and only wish I knew how to get back to your loving arms.

To all my chums back home, take an afternoon off and go downtown, explore what's in your back yard, visit a museum and enjoy a work of art, marvel at a city designed by a Frenchman long before the automobile and wonder how it's held up for so long. Take a weekend and get lost in the blue ride knowing you're only a short drive from everything, rent a cottage at the shore and gaze off into the Atlantic. You're luckier than you realize having such wonders at your becon call, take advantage of all your fine city has to offer, if not for yourself, for me.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Dialed in?

So after the shake down ride I had a few complaints, or rather my body did. The first thing I found was that my hands were numb pretty quick, I also had lower back pain the whole ride. I felt really goofy the whole ride. I got home and adjusted the saddle to more centered and level, this seemed to have eliminated my back issues on todays ride. The other thing I adjusted was my bar height. I have a Thomson 5* rise, and had read in a few places that most people have a tendancy to raise their bars when they experience numbness and this can often make things worse. I figured what the heck, and flipped the stem to a -5* and lowered my stem 10mm... two for two, no hand numbness on this ride. A final note, back when I was thinking about a custom build, I reached out to Joe P. for advice since I liked the look of his custom a lot. He gave me some great advice telling me to replace the stock M5 bolts on my Paragon's with some more sturdy M6 bolts from the hardware store. They're ugly as sin, but work flawlessly. They can be torqued nicely and have a larger surface area and deeper socket. Thanks Joe, you eliminated a problem I didn't have yet, and got rid of the squeeky sliders. Sorry, no pic's as I was leading a new 29er convert around my beloved trail. Always fun when someone new gives a "woohoo", really lets you know they are enjoying themselves.

For those thinking about an Optimus Ti:

The frame is nice, and not as noodly as I originally thought. Replace the stock M5 bolts with some deep socket M6 bolts (Lowes/Home Depot). Have plenty of Ti prep or anti seize compound of your choice on hand (bb can squeek if not properly lubed). The only misses I can see are: the welds are ugly, you know you bought Chi-ti with this bike. This is very noticable at the brake hose guides & water bottle mounts. I'm also surprised that a nice sterling headbadge is apparently attached with what looks like chewing gum... maybe the guy on the assembly line ran out of screws and decided his juicy fruit needed a good home... oh well, when my 2 years are up I'll drill the headbadge in place or replace it with something I design. Oh yeah, decals are a little shite, but all the more reason to remove them.



Tuesday, April 01, 2008

New whip....

So, after two years and many happy miles I decided to part ways with my Niner SIR 9 and go for a custom Ti bike (all the kewl kidz are doing it, doncha know?). I had narrowed down my decision to a builder, regrettably the builder got a little busy, and I began freaking out over delivery times (plus small builders had been dropping off the face of the earth with deposit $) and lack of communication and decided to scrap the custom thing and go with a stock frame. I chose to stick with Ti, and Paragon sliders as the EBB on the Niner, although functional, left a lot to be desired as far as fit/adjustment was concerned. Cue Vassago Cycles and their Optimus Ti for 2008. The price was great, although I'm not a big fan of Chi-Ti I liked the interaction with the company and they have a dedicated sales force unlike some of the one man shows I've heard nightmares about. The irony is that the wait time was about the same as if I had gone custom, maybe 2 weeks quicker.

The ride: So for the first ride, I always take the new steed(s) to the Madrone trail primarily because it's close to home, but it's also a wicked trail. It's a bit on the short side (but so am I) of course my current level of fitness doesn't encourage much more than this trail. The ride was very nice, the handling was responsive. I really could tell the difference in the shorter A-C fork, which was good and bad. There was a noticable creeking under load, I can't tell if this is a BB thing (Current Crank & BB to be replaced soon) or the chainstays being a little noodly, or the PMW's bedding in.

Conclusion: Overall it's tough to make any conclusions just yet. I still have a lot of adjustments to make, and I'm even thinking of getting fit properly to save some time and frustration as my freetime is limited for riding.

Stay tuned for more ride reports and developements, and more pix since I now have a dedicated biking camera.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Stans revisited!

First of all, for the 3 of you out there that stop by from time to time, sorry I haven't written in a while, I'll blame the usual lame suspects; work, wife, kid, yard, dogs, etc, etc. I'll try to post more now that I'm getting back out and riding more.

So, as the title implies my old friend Stan got me yet again. While I have to say that when the product works, it works extremely well, but when it fails it is the pits and set up (at least for me) has been an absolute nightmare. I've done the usual DIY w/out instructions and had to eat my words, but this was the final straw with directions followed to the letter. Sorry Stan, you're done!

The picture doesn't do it justice, trust me. Full story below.

So I take the new Vassago out for it's shake down ride. My test ground is the Madrone trail which has been causing me to get flats lately (because I'm fat) and this ride is no different. The good news was that I didn't flat until nearly the end of the ride, so I decide to just walk the last 100 yards to the car. I had run a tube because the Vassago wouldn't accommodate the 2.55 Weirwolf I was previously running and I didn't have time to stan the smaller Rampage.

Fast forward to today after work. I settle into the shop, remove the rear wheel from the new steed and proceed to remove the tube, re-install the stans strip, adjust, lube my tire, insert the liquid latex and start to pump like a fool. I can't catch a bead to save my life. So I go to my next trick which is a c02, immediately followed by pump... voila, beat catches and I begin to fill to the 40 PSI Stan would like when KA-PLOW blew the fugger right off the rim, stans all over me, the work bench, the ceiling, the new ride.... freaking nasty ass liquid latex everywhere. The sound was as loud as being in an indoor gun range with a .45ACP and no ear protection. Plus I got to enjoy liquid latex in the mouth, up my nose and in my eyes! As I finish typing this, I'm emailing my buddy at the LBS and asking him for a case of tubes. I'm done with Stan.....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"I've been to the desert on a horse with no name".....

Rode in the desert this weekend, didn't do the MOM race, but wishing that I had now. The camping, sweat lodge, and people were great. There's something wonderful about not being "plugged in" for a few days. Every article of clothing I brought out with me still smells of the campfire. The Chihuahuan Desert is an incredible place, and camping there with a bunch of other mountain bikers was a great experience. The days were sunny and hot, the nights crisp and cool. I can't say enough about this magical place, other than I will be back.

The ladies got lucky this day and got to ride with FB. ;o)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Remembering Sheldon Brown

A day late, but my thoughts are still heavy for the loss of a great man. Rest in peace my friend.

1944-2008 Sheldon Brown

Sunday, January 27, 2008

What's with this guy?

Another Lance sighting (missed him again, damn ribs). This shot was taken at the Miles of disComfort Marathon Race held at Flat Rock Ranch, Comfort Texas.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tour de Comfort?

With a couple of broken ribs, I couldn't make the ride. Now I wish I had. I know he's so 2 years ago, but he's still a champion, and how many can say they rode with the guy in such a relaxed venue? Oh well, next time I suppose.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Big Rocks + Little Wheels + Front Brake =

Needless to say, I can't wait to get back on a big set of wheels.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Deposit paid....

Spoke to Scott today, we chatted a bit, went over some details. I'm still waiting for his CAD drawings, here are the preliminary drawings I came up with. Only 11 weeks and 6 days left ;^)