Saturday, December 18, 2010

41 times around the sun...

... and to celebrate I took and old friend

To this place....

With a stop here

To think about how lucky I am to have the life I have.

I'd be lying if I said I hadn't been in the dumps lately, but it's amazing how a simple ride in the "woods" on a simple machine can change your entire perspective on things. Indeed I am a very lucky man.

After my pause to reflect, it was back to the trail, and finally time to pack it up. Amazing that I can cram so much stuff into such a small vehicle!

Today, I'm off to tackle a rocky place with lots of climbing and great vistas with friends.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Too much time....

... spent looking through a windshield, not enough time looking beyond the front tire of my bike. I rode the Madrone on Saturday due to time constraints and family schedules, all my chums hit the BCGB for 20 + miles, I did two laps and got ~ 17 miles, but I only had a 15 minute drive home... would have been an hour had I gone to Austin, but the Taco Deli would have made the drive worth while. Days are getting shorter and cooler, nights have a bit of a bite... I'm acclimating to Texas weather... after 5 years! Night riding schedule is all over the map, but Wednesdays are the favorite thus far. Michael has elected to ride with me off road and get his MTB on after close to a year off the dirt. He has the mashing ability that comes with being a runner or roadie, but fears the rocks and tech which makes us a good match. We could both stand to lose 30#'s, so bring it Michael, I'm going to get my sh!t in shape because I'm sick of being fat, and out of shape, the gauntlet has been thrown my friend!

The wife and I both have the bug. Been checking out statistics on Spokane, on paper it meets and or exceeds our wants and needs. A trip there this spring or summer is a must. So far the responses I've gotten from various boards have been positive, but walking downtown and going to the local lakes will tell the truth. I knew the minute we drove through Atlanta that I hated the place, should have elected a western state back then. Texas has been ok, but not the final stop for us. It's been good to us and we'll walk away having learned a lot about what we do and don't want and what is important to us moving forward. The next stop will be a long term situation. I'd like for E to be able to finish HS the next place we land so it has to be the right amount of compromise to realistic living formula. Of course with 76 lakes like the one shown above, how bad could it be? Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's been slow...

.... as far as riding and adventures go. There was a cool article in Dirt Rag one or two issues back about how you have to "grow up" and be responsible @ some point in your life (really? Bummer!!!). It was pretty spot on, and so I'm taking the advice of the author and am going to be doing a lot more riding, but at a time that will not negatively impact my family or work obligations... yes, we're talking night riding! I've been night riding since the mid 90's. My first light was a mini mag light forced into one of the vent holes of my helmet (brilliant I know, nothing like an aluminum pipe inches from my skull while I ride in the dark and wait for an endo). I soon moved on to a night rider that required 4 D-cell batteries (I spent about $500 on batteries before I clued in and bought rechargeable). The light output was awesome and gave me a solid hour of ride time. I then graduated to my first NiCad Night Rider. I bought it used from one of the guys at the shop, this was so much better than my other light and came with a helmet mount and had a high and low mode... I believe it still only gave me about an hour of ride time, but between the two lights I could do some serious riding! By the early 2000's my rechargeable D cell had bitten the dust, and I only had the NiCad and a new cheap, but bright 12w Marwi light. The Marwi gave me 1.5 hours of solid ride time, and I still have that set up handing around in the parts bin. When I finally stepped up a few years ago, I went full bore and bought an HID Nightrider, this thing is silly bright compared to my 10w and 12w halogens, it also doesn't burn as hot (those halogens would burn the snot out of your fingers if you weren't thinking about what you were doing and touched the lens) and has a 3 hour run time, but this brought up a dilemma.... how do I justify spending another couple of hundred $ on another bike light "when you have a perfectly good light" in the bike barn? Welcome to global trading and cheap Chinese crap. I picked up what has to be the brightest least expensive light ever! I have no clue what the company name is, they sell to just about anyone. The biggest US distributor is GEOMAN Gear the light itself is called Magic Shine, and the sucker burns 900 Lumens (whatever a Lumen is) of LED goodness for a solid 3 hours. Couple that with my HID Nightrider and it's like riding during the day!

So, with days getting shorter and night lasting longer, I'm now on a solid diet of night rides! To begin, I'm doing 2 nights a week with plenty of others. The idea is that when I ride with others I tend to push myself a little harder. When I solo, I tend to stop and smell the flowers. I need to push myself... winter is upon S. Texas and my Eastern European genetics tell me to eat lots of carbs and sleep as much as I can.... perhaps I'm part bear and beginning to hibernate (this could also explain the mystery hair sprouting from my back... I'm like freaking teen wolf!).

Nothing great pixel wise, I really need to charge up the battery on the little camera and start taking it with me on the night rides. The only ride picture I have as of late is from an urban ride with fellow ex-pat Michael... his keen eyes spotted this little guy on our ride Saturday.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


No, not the '90's Bobby De Niro heist flick (I should be so lucky).... on my way to a client meeting, I saw the temp on one of those bank deals (my crappy little wind up car does not tell me such things... I miss my A6) and it read 92*... it's the last week of October! I should be breaking out the wool and finding my winter stuff! This heat is making me nuts! That is all.....

Sunday, October 17, 2010

down & out

... tried to sleep in my hammock the other night since the weather was so nice for sleeping outside. I got maybe 2-3 hours of sleep before I had to go inside. There's just something not right to me about sleeping in a hammock, just freaks me out. So yesterday I snuck out for a quick ride around Madrone and my lower back was king of bugging me. I haven't had back pain in a while, really since switching over to the wingnut hydro pack. By the end of the ride my back was a wreck, I could barely lift the bike onto the roof (so I didn't, ended up stuffing it into my Fit). By the time I got home for the Daisy/Brownie/Girl Scouts fair, I could barely walk... well, really it's the sitting and standing change the makes me want to cry. Looks like I may be off the bike for a while (K's dream come true). I think I need to work on the core, do some stretching & yoga, and time to ditch the idea that I'm every going to be able to use a hammock to camp.... threw the hammock on the marketplace and am now researching solo tents and bivvy's. I think a good bivy will be a good start.

This was from last weekend. It was ~2,000 feet to this vista, not bad for flat old Tex-Ass. Notice the two Pivot's? It's not an optical illusion, both ends of the spectrum there. The red 429 is an XL next to my S raw 429... eyeballed wheelbase difference is 8-10"... makes me wonder how the poor guy is able to take any switchbacks or make any steep climbs

Monday, September 06, 2010

shake down ride....

.... @ Salado! yes, I know I'm breaking from tradition, but it was the closest group ride I could find. The new Pivot Mach 429 did great. Far exceeds expectations. Since I've been on a hard tail for the last 10 years, a dual suspension bike has to be really efficient to get me excited. The 429 does not disappoint! Plenty of squish when and where you need it (in the rough stuff and on big hits). Stiff and efficient when I want it (climbing and seated pedaling). We didn't get too many miles in, and the pace was nice and social so I had plenty of time to bounce around and make adjustments as necessary. I'll have to dial in the air pressure on both the shock and fork, I think I have too much air pressure in the rear shock, and the rebound is super fast... this would be great, but the front end was a little low and slow, so I felt like I was too far forward all the time. I was able to increase air pressure up front which leveled things out a bit. Other than that the bike did great, didn't complain at any of my bad line choices, except for the 44t front chain ring that didn't like being smashed on a rock ledge. One negative so far is the BB seems super low on this bike. I've had more pedal strikes in one ride than in months of riding the HT Salsa EM. May have been pilot error, but me thinks some shorter cranks are in my future.

Pic's to come once the complete build is done. Right now I'm running donor parts from the El Mariachi!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Waaay behind....

.... it's not just you, my adoring public. I'm very far behind in work, school, and socially. I'm weeks off of my exercise regiment.... such is the life of me.

Ok, bringing you all up to speed.

2 weeks ago we were supposed to camp @ Garner State Park to spend a long weekend playing in the Frio River.... the daytime temps were predicted to be 101 with 108 heat index... hmmm, let's think here. A prissy wife who doesn't like to camp, add a 5 year old who's as pale as an Irish cave dweller, with a dash of my significant others friend & kids (who I'm not a big fan of), mix them all in a tent and what do you have??... A recipe for disaster. We cut out the camping portion and just made an all day event of the Frio.

E had a blast as usual, she had two friends with her, a large floating inflatable platform, and not nearly enough sun screen. We always knew she was a bit of a thrill seeker, and this trip really brought it home in a big way. Our little Evel Kenivel was jumping off of rock faces that were at least 6', and swinging on a rope swing that was at peak 10 feet high! Not only that be she insisted on doing the rope swing over and over again.... can't wait until I get her on the trail on a mini mountain bike!

It was another great trip to the Frio. This is our favorite place to visit so far. For my next trip I want to rent a Sprinter to take out to the Mas-O-Menos race in Terlingua in February. The girls can explore during the day if I end up racing, then we can spend a few days in Big Bend hiking, river rafting, maybe even a little family mounting biking (I can dream, can't I?).

More to come, I promise.....

Friday, August 06, 2010

.... camping re-cap

I was wrong in my previous post. We didn't go to Enchanted Rock, we went to Perdenales Falls (not really much of a "waterfall" compared to Great Falls or Niagra, but good for TX). It was hot... very hot. The tent was fairly easy to set up as I knew well enough to do a dry run @ home, however I neglected to put the rain fly on at home... I mean, how hard could it be?.... Evidently harder than I thought. Next time will make more sense, but the heat & bugs made for a very frustrating set up.

After setting up the campsite, the "Unit" headed down to the river for a little cooling off session. The walk down to the river was pure torture. K was acting like her Aunt Flow was visiting... she gets rather grumpy when overheated. Once we got to the water though, her temperment settled down and we all enjoyed a nice swim in the river. As a matter of fact, it was next to impossible to keep E out of the river once we were in. She's like a fish that one! It was pure bliss, and everything I had hoped for. We stayed in the river for a good couple of hours (2-3) and decided to go for a quick hike on an overgrown trail. The trail led us to an estuary that fed the river from a spring no doubt, as the temperature was a good 15* cooler than the main river. We splashed and played in that for a while and helped E look for animal tracks near the waters edge. Then the hike back to the camp. Once @ camp we all kind of settled in. I started the fire (tried my magnesium fire starter but failed) and K found some sticks to use as Hot Dog/Marshmellow skewers. We cowed down... I swear hot dogs have never tasted so good... well, Turkey dogs, but you get the idea. The one thing I neglected to bring was a cup. K was smart and kept her cup from Sonic, but I tossed my before we left, so I had to drink straight from the water container, and I drank a lot... Ummmm dehydration! As nightfall was upon us the girls crawled into the tent hand went to sleep. I stayed up for a while and watched the glowing embers in the fire pit, then climbed into my hammock for a little relaxing. I finally turned in ~ 11:00 only to be awakened by our college aged neighbors who decided to roll into their campsite late, and began drink, talking loudly, and playing music! It was still hot, K was annoyed, E tossed and turned all night, and I slept like a baby... typical for us. At first light we all had a family breakfast and K and I looked at eachother and said "let's go for a bike ride". We brought both bikes and E's tag-a-long.. spun for a loop of the park, then headed back to camp and broke down our site. It was getting hot, and I was glad to be getting out of there sooner rather than later. E was bummed because she wanted to spend the day in the river, but K was exhausted and I was dehydrated... perfect time to head home!

Next up is a trip to the Frio River and Concan. This would be an awesome trip, but K invited one of her friends who I loath... I'll bring my bike and go for a loooong ride while they hen around.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Getting away from it all.....

For the first time in over two years, we are one family unit! Wife took the weekend off, I bought a ridiculously huge family tent, and we're off to Enchanted Rock for a little "Grizwald" camping adventure. Initially the only available site(s) were of the primitive variety, which would have meant hauling a five year old, and enough gear for a less than rugged wife, and suburban family of three.... not so much. K finally got wise and checked the "car camping" and sure enough some spots have freed up. Nice... nothing like roughing it 8' away from the vehicle. It'll make set up and break down a breeze. Looking forward to some family time as a family for a change. Wish us luck!.....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Out with the old, in with the new.....

.... well it took a ton of nudging, but K finally won. I sold my beloved A6 Avant. Yes, it had problems (3 transmissions in 3 years @ 10k each), it had been hit twice, and the paint and interior had seen better days, but I loved driving that car. Alas, the extended warranty was over in about 400 miles and a major service was due, so out with the old.... in with the new.... Welcome 2010 Honda Fit Sport. No frills, no leather, no sun roof, no gps, no home link, not even an auto trans... but it's new, and it was cheap, and it gets 30 something miles per gallon, so I suppose it's wrong to complain. It's a tiny little car, but has loads of room inside.... I have to admit I'm a little nervous driving the thing in the land of F450's. It simply doesn't have the confidence that the Audi had. The pay back will be in not having to use premium fuel, and I won't have to shell out 1k every time the dealer looks at the thing. So welcome little Fit, you have some big shoes to fill.

Monday, May 03, 2010


.... not so much.

So I was going to take a photo of my empty Jamba Juice cup and have now words.... I believe the art would speak to those interested.... you know who you are. But, alas, FAIL... drank the stupid thing and tossed the cup. I just keep getting more and more lame.

On an interesting note, found my 4th grade teacher on FB and friended her (is that creepie?). Mrs. O, thank you for your eternal patience, I'm a better person for having you as a teacher. I promise today, as I did when I was a child, I'll keep my journal up to date ;^)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

No time....

.... new job started. A week in Houston (yuck) for training. Got a home early last Friday, K & E were busy doing whatever they do on girls nights, so I broke out and got my ride on. A rather quick lap around the Madrone trail, felt good after looking at IH10 for 3 hours. Tuesday I brought the bike to work and joined the regulars for the Tuesday night ride. There were two groups, I went with the slow group. Doug led the ride and we didn't hit the same single track twice. Doug's a great ride leader, very patient. The group was slow, even by my standards, but it was nice to see some folks I haven't in a while. Nices social pace follow up by burgers and brauts.... I didn't have any as the diet is in full force. I'm almost too embarrassed to admit that I'm happy to be where I am, but I suppose you have to hit bottom before you're ready for recovery. My all time high was measured by my Dr. @ 201. I'm down to 186 by simply reducing my calories and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Trying to get some cycling in at least a couple of times a week, and will top it all off with an intensive 90 day detox program!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tuesday Nighter & Madrone

One of the local mojo's called a Tuesday night ride @ Mac. This is going to be an on going Tuesday night ride, and the weather on Tuesday night was absolutely perfect. Mac is a relatively flat trail, strewn with rocks and roots, but mostly flowing buff single track. Not much climbing in the park, the few climbs are fun and will make you grunt if you're not in good shape (I'm in the worst physical shape of my life). I'm excited about this being a "regular" Tuesday night ride, as I haven't been terribly social over the last 19 months (how long I've been jobless)and this ride is the perfect opportunity to reconnect with some folks I haven't seen or ridden with in quite some time. The other bonus is that my new office is about 5 minutes away so I can bring the bike and gear to the office and get out there early for a little warm up. So back to our Tuesday ride... I was the first to show up, and as I pulled in to the over crowded parking lot, I was excited to find an empty spot. I started to pull into the space but had to stop short as the vehicle to my left had it's passenger front door open into the empty space. I rolled down my window after waiting for a few moments and politely requested that the driver might want to close the door. I was greeted by a 300+/- # "Native" woman who was all of 4'09" and quite the looker. After arguing with me about her "rights" the fatty finally closed her door and I parked. This was the highlight of the night, regrettably. I had a huge slice of humble pie on the trail, and realized that while I've maintained most of my technical skills, my fitness is that of a 98 year old. I have no idea what the mileage was for the night, and frankly I don't care. I was just stoked to be out and riding. Sadly no pictures were taken on the Tuesday nighter.

Friday was Kathy's last day off of work (she took a week off work to recover from her surgery). The plan was that we were going to have a "family" day, see a movie, and then go over to a friends house for dinner and games. The family movie turned into a movie with E and her friends and Kathy and her friend. I don't care for her friend, so I made the executive decision to go for a ride. I won't be able to ride at all next week as I'll be in Houston for work, but will resume the following week with the above Tuesday nighter. I managed to get a full lap in @ Madrone with a little playing around on a blowdown tree.



The up and over still needs a little work, trees down here aren't as big around and therefore make build up on either side necessary.

Oh, and one last week before the "Fat Family Challenge" begins!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Madrone Ride

Ugh, yet again I've fallen off of the blogging hot streak. Nothing at all in the month of February, and only this lousy post so far...

Dr. tells my I'm fat, nothing new there, but I've gotta drop some serious #'s (like 40 of them). Genetic defects spotted also, more important than ever to get back into shape and not become a statistic... hell, I beat the big "C", dropping a few dozen lbs should be a cake walk.

I'll be doing a lot more of the below, plus an exercise program... don't laugh, K and I bought P90x to kick start a more healthy lifestyle....

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Another treadmill day....

... rain and family in town kept me from riding on Friday, the weekend was shot with more family obligations and kid duty, Monday was wasted again with out of town family and a kid out of school. So today, it was back to the treadmill... didn't have as good of a pace as I would have liked and was back to a 10 min/mile pace... oh well, will improve it next time.

In other news, the A6 had to go in for service today, the wife is really on my arse to get rid of it, can't say I blame her, but man I sure do love driving that car. Looks like it will mini-van time soon... ugh, might as well take what's left of my manhood. I'd almost rather ride my bike places than drive that thing, but the price is right $0.00 and worth ever penny of that.

Did I mention that I'm driving a loaner '10 A4 Avant? So nice!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The dreaded treadmill.....

... nothing exciting to report today. Yesterday was a misty, wet, PNW sort of day which ultimately meant no riding for me. Ended up on the Fat Bob '10 weight loss program on the treadmill... just over 2 miles but time improved significantly over last time with 9:03/mile. With more rain in the forecast it doesn't look good for a ride until at least the weekend. More treadmill on Friday and I'll have to increase the mileage while trying to find a good pace.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gift of a day

If only we had more of them. Living in central TX has its ups and downs... for me, mostly downs (too damn hot). Of course, being the middle of winter and having a day with predicted temps in the low 70's can be a nice break. While I enjoyed my frosty cold ride the other day, it is nice to have the contrast of sunny and warm just a few days later.

As part of my Fat Bob challenge '10, I was scheduled to run on Monday and so I did. 2 miles on the treadmill with an average of 10:45/mile... pretty pathetic (I was almost 3:00/mile faster just 3-4 years ago). Treadmills are the ultimate hell, thank God for Steve Jobs and his nifty little listening gadgets, if it weren't for my ipod there's no way I could do the treadmill.

So Monday is done, and I find myself with an open Tuesday morning. The weather guessers were calling for a nice day, and they didn't disappoint. 49* when I dropped E off @ school, got home surfed a little, emptied my SD card onto a hard drive, loaded up bike and gear and headed off to the Madrone. As I pulled into the parking lot temps were in the mid 50's, looked through the gear bag and realized I didn't have a short sleeve or sleeveless jersey.... except for the Swobo. Wool didn't let me down, kept me comfortable the whole ride albeit a little warm.

Fast forward to dinner plans, Kathy had "Alice Springs Chicken" on the family menu for tonight.... while this meal doesn't exactly lend itself to healthy living, it sure does taste good. I prepare our meal, and E, my sous chef helps with the sauce... I know I'm a gushing dad, but every stage with her just keeps getting better. Anywho, I also picked up one of the wifey's favorite libations (Kahlua & cream). So while the little chef and I slave away in the kitchen, the wife can relax and play on the Internet and just have some "chill" time. After dinner, we rush outside to enjoy what's left of our glorious day and start a fire to roast Marshmallows. Perfect ending to a most excellent day.

Oh... did I mention why I'm up @ 3:15? Well, seems that while the wife was obsessed with some GD stupid kids song she had heard earlier in the day and was surfing for a sample of it, she turned the speakers on the computer upstairs to max... flash to 3:00 am when I have said computer to run a full system scan and reboot, and voila you get a nice Microsoft wake up call.... DEEEM DUUUM DUUUM DUUUM.....Grrrr. Wednesday isn't starting off quite as well as Tuesday did ;^)

Friday, January 08, 2010

Day 8 of '10.... 3rd ride

... cold morning, the dash doesn't take windchill into account... felt more like 17* Ground was frozen solid, ice on the streets, feels like winter. Tomorrow's forecast low of 15* which we don't get often here in central TX.
Yeah, I know I'm getting soft. Not only fat, but soft. My feet froze, didn't have proper footwear, will wear wool socks next go around. Good shot of my nickname. So far two rides on the EM, and I must say it's a great bike. I see the beginning of many great adventures together.

As my parting shot yesterday, you may remember this picture.

So what's the big deal you ask? Well, there's something missing from this picture... this:

I've ranted about trail sanitation in the past, especially @ this trail... please if you ride out here, don't take it upon yourself to make things easier for the rest
of us.... some of us enjoy the challenge. Instead, please call the Corps of Engineers and ask how you can volunteer for trail work.... we're going to need it this spring for sure.

In other trail news... Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

As far as I know hunting & guns are illegal on Corps land, with the exception of the special needs kids hunt.

Thursday, January 07, 2010


... for you Erin

No, it's not that kind of "Salsa", although it's just as spicy and hot....

So it came via Brown Santa on Tuesday evening, I immediately went about modifying some of the stock parts. Ditched the 9spd drive train (although I will keep the rear wheel with cassette and my XO bits for geared rides). Ditched the FSA cranks for my Race Face, Added my King SS wheelset, ditched the stock grips for Ouri's, ditched the stock brake levers for Ultimate's, ditched the stem and post for my Thomson's, and finally added my WTB Silverado saddle.

I was concerned about my shake down ride on Wed @ the Madrone trail. It was cold and misty, much like I imagine the PNW in the winter (Bliss!) the moisture and rocks could spell disaster on a steel painted bike.... oh well, throw caution to the wind and ride! The bike did great, was very lively and felt a ton better than the high dollar Ti Lynskey it replaced... I am a steel guy. There were a few times where I could have easily lost it due to piolt error, but the stiff King wheels, and responsive EM made up for my lackluster skills. I can't wait to try out different configurations on this bike. I have an On-One carbon fork for "race" day rides, a RS Reba for when I go up to Austin, a set of woodchipper bars for Thursday night social rides and gears for when I lose my mind.

I also need to post a review on my x-mas present to myself... a Swobo SS wool jersey, but that's another post

A parting shot

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Happy 2010

So the last 6 months or so have been very lacking in the riding department. I need to change this.... and yes, I say this ever year, but as my odometer rolled over 40 I need to pay more attention to my physical condition. Rather than wait for the new year, I started a little early. On Wednesday I did a 2 mile run (on the treadmill), then yesterday Friday I did 9ish mile off road ride (our annual Madrone New Years ride). I'm going to take the weekend off to rest (legs are killing me) and will start up again Monday. The plan is to try to get out as much as possible, and if I can't get out, I'll hit the treadmill, or spin bike... oh yeah, forgot to mention the local "Y" was selling off their fleet of spin bikes for $50 each, couldn't pass up that deal... $1k spin bike for $50... yes please.

In bike news, in order to motivate myself a little more, I decided to unload the Ti Lynskey that I didn't care for all that much and pick up a steel bike. I found a great deal on a complete Salsa El Mariachi @ Universal Cycles, and had enough from the sale of the Pro29 to pick up a complete Mariachi, a set of Woodchipper bars, Bar end shifters, and Cane Creek linear pull road levers... now I have a bike I can run geared or SS, with a suspension fork or rigid, as a monster cross, or mountain bike. I'm also planning on trying to get out at least once every other month for a little bikepacking. I'm currently on the hunt for a down bag (my 10+year old synthetic still works but is way too bulky), and hammock. I'm not worried about a stove or other gear at the moment (ok, maybe a couple of compression bags) as these will be quick out and back trips locally to get the feel for bikepacking to see if I like it.

Sorry, no New Years ride pix, I was having a tough enough time keeping up with the pack as I was fixed and rigid... not to mention fat and out of shape.