Friday, August 29, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Don't Try This At Home

Alternate Title I: My Very Own Stupid People Trick
Alternate Title II: Life Is A Game Of Inches

Couple-a weeks ago, I did part of the ride with John and Jason. When I started, there was a small bottom bracket creak that had been lingering for a few days. I was trying to ignore it, because I pride myself on that particular skill. But by the time I got home it was a full-on in my face. I had to get on a plane in a couple-a hours, so there was nothing I could do. I was once again free to ignore it. Yay. But then my flight got cancelled. Couldn't fly out until the next day.

Since it was total bonus time, Patty and I took the opportunity to grab a bite at Madelaine's and a movie at RP Square. It really was a nice afternoon. But it would have been even more relaxing if it wasn't for that blankety creak. Couldn't stop thinking about it, because I knew that when I returned from my trip, I was facing the midnight century, which I held out some hope of riding. So the bike had to be right. I tried not to let it show, but I was desperately scheming up an excuse to get down to Wheelsport, with hopes that one of the mechanics there would recognize my situation as dire, drop all the important stuff they were doing and solve my sad little problem for me.

So just before closing time, I had the opportunity I had been waiting for (and downplaying). I nonchalantly loaded my bike on the roof rack, nonchalantly pulled out of the driveway and onto 25th, nonchalantly hung a right on Browne, and then . . . as soon as I was out of sight of the house, I drove that MF gas pedal right through the floor!!! Gotta get to Wheelsport. Luckily there is a bike lane on 29th that I could use as a passing lane! (Just kidding, of course, but don't think I didn't consider it!)

So anyway, I got to Wheelsport on time, and those fine gents fixed me up, as they always do. And since I was hanging around in a bike shop, I took the opportunity to find more stuff that I never really knew I needed. Yes, that's how it works. 5 bucks worth of repair later (yes, you heard me right) and another $30 in merchandise, and I was on my way home. The story would probably have had a happy and uneventful ending if I hadn't decided I needed to celebrate my wildly-successful deceptive little scheme with a half-rack of Corona Light.

I'm positive you already know this, but if it's Corona Light you have to have, the only place to get it is at Rite-Aid. $11.99. Give me a break! At Super One, it's $15.99, ON SALE!

And as I headed my exuberant and prideful self from Rite-Aid down through the underpass in front of Gottschalks, I heard a "ding".

The sound was totally out of place. So I stopped in front of the Pear Tree. It was at this point that I head-slappingly realized I had just tried to cram a 9'-5-1/2" bike-truck combo

through a 9'-5" hole.

I hadn't felt a thing, but apparently the impact had been severe enough to ring my bar-end bell. Fortunately, I dodged a bullet. The brake lever is scraped up . . .

but everything functions.

I sanded it down, and now it's a pretty cool scar.

Whew. I am one lucky SOB. I'm in some sort of karma deficit state now, which is not comfortable, but it sure beats a mangled bike.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dogs Totally Rule

This latest trip has been kicking my ass. I've never had anywhere near this kind of trouble adjusting my clock. I live on a street with 50' wide lots, so my neighbors pretty much know my business. They have recently come to know me as the psycho who gets up at 2:00 am to cook, clean, pay bills and do the laundry. With great intensity and fervor, I might add. By the time I get to work, I've already put in over half a day of hard labor. The house has never looked better. Which pretty much explains why I hit the wall at about 2:00 in the afternoon and can't put together a sentence or walk in a straight line. Patty was initially thrilled to see me come home but now wishes I would go back to whatever corner of the world I crawled out from under.

I'm so tired that I could care less about riding. Part of me still cares (a very little), but I'm stuck in this hellish cycle, and I keep waking up a little earlier every morning. I'm just trying to survive right now. I'm wondering where it will stop, and whether it might permanently transform me from a righteous night person into one of those smiley, cheery, in-your-face, sickening morning persons. I am very afraid.

So tonight, I was all geared up to get home and hit the sack early, like I have tried to do the last 2 nights. Hoping that it might actually work this time. Ignoring the fact it is a seriously flawed plan because I keep waking up and staring at the ceiling for hours on end, after which time I finally get up and get all freaky productive.

But then Brandy began pestering me. Like how can we possibly not go to the park when it is so prime. See, a few degrees temperature change means that we totally have the place to ourselves again. Which is true, but that's me talking. She would go if the Rolling Stones were playing there and every 70's hippie on the planet showed up. Those that are still alive, anyway.

But anyway, she talked me into it, and I biked/she ran down there and we had an LED fris-fest of epic, cathartic proportions. (For me. It was just another normal night for her.) I took a couple of pictures, but they're somehow technologically trapped on my camera. So all I have to offer you is the aftermath:

Now I'm going all reverse psychology on myself and I'm going to stay up and watch both episodes of Chelsea. If I get to work late tomorrow, don't blame me. It's therapy!

There's riding energy trapped somewhere inside me. Hope I can set it free sometime soom. Hope I can spell sometime soom.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Anyone Got The Time? What Day is This?

The clock says 7:00 am. I've been bouncing around since a little before 3, wandering aimlessly through internet space, doing laundry, eating leftover Pedro's pizza. I should be making coffee, but I just opened a beer, because that sounds a lot better right now. My body is all goofed up because it thinks we're still in Al Taweelah, and that it's late afternoon, and I'm headed back to the hotel after a day of meetings. I don't know up from down, at the moment.

Amidst all this early morning nonsense, I've been trying to keep my mind off the fact that I should be eating breakfast at The Harvester in Spangle along with some nut jobs that have been out riding since midnight. I really wanted to do this ride. So I got in all jet-lagged and dehydrated, but I figured that as long as I got started, I could find a way to make it through. What's the worst that could happen? (On second thought, let's not go there.) And besides, Jacque's back on the job, so I'm covered in case of emergency.

So I got the bike ready. I've been riding with trashed bar tape for a while, so I put some new stuff on. I added extra water capacity and a tube of Pringles (sometimes you just gotta have something salty). Topped off the tires, checked everything out, pretty much good to go. I don't have a good food plan and I need one, so I guess I'll have to go with the fanny pack. Total dork move, but solves the problem. The calories are in the bag, and I think I'm pretty much ready.

With preparations well in hand, I sat down on the sofa for a minute. Which is exactly where I woke up at 1:15.

Yeah, I'm bummed, but I think it was probably a blessing in disguise. My body wasn't ready for this kind of a ride. So I'm having beer and cold pizza for breakfast instead of a big stack of hotcakes. And I did ride the virtual route on google earth at about 4 this morning, so that's something very special. Next year, though.

Hope you guys had a great adventure.

Friday, August 22, 2008


As you may or may not know, I travel a bit for work. I'm always hoping to find bike love wherever I go. Not this time, though. United Arab Emirates. I've seen like 2 bikes in the last 5 days, and they were barely moving, because you just don't pedal that fast through bathwater. It's hard to explain how hot and humid it is here.

But I've seen interesting things on my ceiling

and on my floor

And by some amazing stroke of luck, I picked up these mints at the Denver airport on the way over and have been offering them to new friends in the middle east and making an impression wherever I've been. I have no agenda, so the choice is always yours. Maybe the taste test will help you decide how to vote. I do what I can to help.

And so once again, I preserve my sanity by dreaming about the great riding back in the 'Kan. And even though I get back late Saturday, jet-lagged out of my mind, I might reach deep and muster the courage to ride the midnight century later that same evening. Probably not, but you never know. One way or another, I'll see you back on the mean streets of spovegas.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

A few days ago, I came home and parked my truck in the driveway. Got out, went in the house. Unbeknownst (cool word) to me, I had left it in neutral. The driveway is slighlty sloped towards the garage, and the wooden gates between the truck and the garage were closed. The truck sat where I left it for a couple of hours. I got on my bike and ran some errands. While I was gone, the truck had finally made up it's mind to roll and when I got back, it was piled into the now splintered gates. They held, but they were old to begin with, and now they were almost dead. I was able to swing the flimsy shadows of their once-proud, centurion-like selves shut, but they were in sad, twisted shape.

I surveyed the damage and decided they weren't worth fixing. I needed new gates. So I wiped my eyes, pulled myself together and drove to Home Depot. Picked up the lumber I needed and hauled it home. Off-loaded it right next to the fence. And that is exactly where it has sat ever since.

So it's been pestering me and I know I need to get it done. Or at least started. Or look at the lumber as I walk by. Anything.

And tonight it finally came to a head. Trouble is, I wanna take this ride with John and Jason and whoever else shows up tomorrow, because I never have a chance to ride on Friday. And my bike is full of metallic dust from a ride I took along the railroad (that never really happened ;) and I can't really get on it with a clean conscience until I give it a bath. So you can see my dilemna. And I really need to ride. So . . .

The bike is clean and ready to roll.

Me and the bike are lubed.

The gates are fixed.

You already know how I feel about duct tape.

Just call me superman, or whatever. I know I shouldn't have taken on this massive gate repair job when I am already short on time, but in the words of Wade Garrett, "Darlin', I'll get all the sleep I need when I'm dead."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Just Made The Lame List

Last time I posted, I promised to fill you in on the details of a phone call I received. The one that compelled me to miss the swap. The guy on the other end of that call was totally cool and unbelievably generous and invited me into his private bike world, complete with radical loaner equipment, and led me on an amazing bike adventure on Sunday. It's not something I can blog-blab about, though. He asked me not to, and I completely understand why. And even before he asked, it wasn't feeling right. Disrespectful and intrusive on some level. So, the story has to die. My apologies.

On a related note, I need to cool my trespassing jets a bit. I've gotten a little carried away, taken it a little too lightly. I need to heed a couple of red flags that have popped up in my face. It is property that belongs to someone else, after all, and there can be consequences. Not that you guys wouldn't enjoy a mobile post from my jail cell. I also had to kill a couple of posts that don't reflect my new, evolved and enlightened vantage point. So I'm walking the straight and narrow path. "I promise, your honor. No more trespass riding." (That you will hear about, anyway ;-)

I know, I know. All together now . . . "LAME!!!!"

Okay then. Moving on . . .

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Have Wild Dream, Need Cash

I've been totally slammed with this project at work that's making me work a bazillion hours and making me a stranger to sleep and to my wife. My dog barks at me when I get home now.

And whenever this crazy work shit happens, I hate it, and cycling thoughts are my self-preservation mechanism. And when cycling thoughts are my self-preservation mechanism, I usually get carried away. Crazy stuff, man.

Here's what I mean. To keep myself sane this week, I hatched this plan. It's about next winter, because you have to start thinking about how you're gonna survive it now, when the weather's good, and you have some perspective.

The loose plan is to hop aboard my folder in late February, ride it down to the bus or train station (TBD, plane maybe, or even hitchhiking???), get on board and ride to Seattle, get off, ride down to the waterfront, get on a ferry, ride CBC's Chilly Hilly with a few thousand other people who are sick of winter, eat some chili, ride the ferry back to Seattle, ride back to a bus or train station (TBD), get on board with my folder and ride to Spokane, get off, and ride up the south hill and sleep for a couple of days or weeks. Maybe there's an overnight in Seattle at a relative's house in there (TBD). If so, I'll have to ride there. No car time allowed on this trip, or I'll consider it a failure. Oh yeah, I also have to carry everything I need for the trip. In February.

(Note: I'm still considering the bus as an option, even though the events of this past week are freaking me out a little bit. If I do take the bus, I'm not sleeping. Guaran-frickin-teed.)

So bus ride aside, there are a lot of "challenges" with this plan, but the first big one that comes to mind is that I don't have a folder. And the plan pretty much falls apart without one.

So I'm saving all my allowance. I'm drinking Pabst. When I take Patty out to dinner, I pretend that I forgot my wallet. And a key part of my fundraising efforts involves the bike swap that's happening tomorrow.

I don't know where you keep your bike junk, but I keep mine in these plastic bins under the work bench.

And hanging from the ceiling.

And in the attic.

I went through it all, and sorted out some stuff I could live without. Not easy, because I have a lot of sketchy plans for a lot of different sketchy projects, and I can pretty much look at any part and envision some kind of need for it, at some point in the future. But I gotta generate some cash. So I generated this pile.

Should be good for oh, about 50 bucks. So I decided I need to toss these in.

So I'm up to $54. (You and I both know that people don't go to bike swaps to spend a bunch of money.)

Gotta get a little more serious. I think I can live without my commuter fixie, so it's going to auction, as well.

So I'm ready for the swap. All I have to do is buy less than I sell, and bank the proceeds before I squander them. I can do this. Past experience would indicate otherwise. But I know I can do this.

It's a good plan, but alas, plans change.

Because I got the phone call that I hoped I would get. I can't talk about this call because even though I'm not even a little bit superstitious, I can't take even the slightest chance, because there's no way I can jinx this or I'll have to murder myself. So I'll have to tell you tomorrow.

Have fun at the swap. Wish I could be there, but this other deal trumps.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hopelessly Off-Topic

I hardly watch any TV anymore. The content is just appalling to me and I prefer to spend what little spare time I have on the internet. For busy people, it's where the value's at these days, because you can direct your energy.

That said, if I'm up, I do like to catch Chelsea at 11:30 on the E channel. Tonight I found out she's on at midnight, too. Yay, a reason to stay up even later.

I've been following her for quite a while and she is uniquely edgy and very funny and that's about as far as I can go, because my wife reads this blog. I think you gents know what I'm talking about. I've injured my brain trying to think of some way to tie this into cycling. Maybe someday she will have Lance on and I can finally justify the obsession.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Mental Health Professionals

You already know how I feel about Fridays. Text messages don't get any better than the one I got from Mike on Friday afternoon:

"A beer, downtown, ride bikes, tonight. Anyone in?"

I guess I can text pretty fast, after all. "Me."

Bikes, beer, downtown. Sounds like a prescription for alleviating a week's worth of stress. Here are the mental health experts who administered that prescription.

(Alan's always so serious ;-)

Hard to believe that in the short distance between Mootsy's and the Viking, it went from this . . .

to this . . .

I thought everybody loved bloggers.

Despite the animosity, we got a lot of stuff figured out before the pitchers ran dry. Titanium cassettes (cycling technical). How to ride a cyclocross course like an angel (cycling not-so-technical). Crotch pockets. Or are they vents? Or both? (cycling fashion).

Oh yeah, almost forgot. To the chick at the bus plaza who yelled at us, "F#%$ you and your flashing lights":

Yes, we have blinkies. And jobs. And we ride by the plaza, not live there. See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya.