Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Yesterday was the first time I've driven the Subie in any significant snow. It was a scary experience. The tires on the car are Yokohama all seasons and they're less than a year old. They're way fun on the twisties when it's dry but I might as well have been on ice skates. I think at one point I slid for 50 yards. The Subie also has anti-lock brakes and I'm not a fan of them. I do think the problem was compounded by the fact that the tires weren't gripping and it was causing the anti-lock to kick in when it wasn't really needed. I almost put it in several ditches on the mile trip home. I called around for snow tires as soon as I got home.

You can spend a lot of dough on snow tires. Continental has some really nice stuff but they're about 120 a pop. The Blizzack is a really nice tire as well. However, a few years ago, I found a super nice snow tire that sells for anywhere from 70-85 a piece for a 16". It's made by Firestone and it's called the Winterforce. I put these same tires on the Vanagon last year. They're great in the snow. They look good and you can get studs for them as well (although I think you really only need that if you're way up in the frozen tundra).

I was supposed to go down tonight and have 4 of them installed but a co-worker was having issues with her vehicle and I suspected it was a bad alternator. So I drove it home and told her I'd look it over. The battery was showing 11.3 volts when I got it home. I decided to install a new alternator and then the reading jumped to 14.6 so I was happy. I'll go down tomorrow and get my new tires. I really do not like people I don't know/trust getting behind the wheel of any of my cars. Even if it's just to drive it into the bay to install tires. It's a whole process for me. I'll spend all day tomorrow cringing until it's done. I am the EXACT same way with my computer at work. If I take a day off, I take the mouse and hide it and also unplug a few chords.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I got in another good ride on the SS yesterday. This time the 32x22 was perfect. I was able to climb up Rampart Range Road with no issues and ride the singletrack just above town. I'm still fighting a little bit with the BB7's though. The back is quiet but the front just whails. I worked on them today and found this:

Looks like the pads aren't hitting the rotor very square. I installed some new rotors I had laying around and roughed up the pads quite a bit and then went to work on re-setting both the front and the back calipers. The nice thing about Shimano brakes is you can just throw them on and they work with very little adjustment. I just couldn't ever get them to stay working. The Avids are a bit more finicky to set up (at least for me). I think I finally got it though. Initially they both squealed but after riding them around for a while and heating the pads up, they finally shut up. They feel even better now that all of the pad is contacting the rotor too. They should get even better after they get some dirt and water on them and really get seated.
I like the Alma even more now that it's SS. I'm not sure it's a good idea yet but....I like it.

Friday, November 26, 2010


All this talk about Big Shark has me thinking. The shop was originally this tiny little place in the U City "Loop". For those that don't know, the Loop used to be a dirty little place with no shortage of crime and pan handlers. I haven't walked up and down it in years so I can't speak to it's current state. We sure used to get some strange characters wandering into the shop. Some of them were pretty damn funny. One of them that comes to mind was a guy that I know TK will recall. In fact, I think that the brash TK actually had a soft spot for this guy. His name.......was Sherman. Sherman was an African American gentleman. He was a pretty big guy from what I remember and he always wore jeans, some type of work boot, a t-shirt, and camouflage jacket. This was Sherman's standard attire even on the hottest of St. Louis days and Sherman was always ripe. Sherman graced us with his presence quite often. His visits were bittersweet. We all enjoyed his company and I don't think that any of us minded working on his bike (always on the house b/c Sherman was poor). What we all cursed at was having to put the bike in the stand. The thing weighed a ton. It was an old cruiser bike with a coaster brake. It had the biggest and heaviest basket possible on the front. In said basket were Sherman's tools of the trade. He was a general handyman that would probably do anything that anyone asked of him if it meant he could get a buck or two. I remember there being a boombox strapped to the basket that was always tuned to Magic 108, bolt cutters, tree pruning tools, and no less than 20' of heavy chain. Hands down...out of all of the bike shop boys, Sherman liked TK the best. He very much cared what TK thought. Another thing that Sherman generally had down in the depths of the basket was......a bottle. Generally it was Ripple. For those that don't know....Ripple is an inexpensive wine with a fairly high alcohol content. Ripple is also known as Blockparty Breakup, Bumwine, Hobo Juice, and Poverty Punch. according to the Urban Dictionary, Ripple was made famous by Fred G. Sanford of Sanford and Son. He had a drink called Champipple (Champagne and Ripple). Anyway...I never took a pull off Sherman's bottle but I'm sure it had to be Mad Dog, Cisco, Night Train or Thunderbird and possibly a mixture of them all. Sherman was never shy about getting his bottle out of the basket while we tried to piece his bike back together but he did try to hide it from TK. He'd stand over in the corner of the store takin' pulls when TK turned his back or left the store for a minute. Sherman would always put his finger up to his lips when he was done and say, "Shhhhhhhhhhh........now don't tell Tim."

I hope Sherman is ok. I don't know that the man had a bad bone in his body.
I did a 40 mile ride on the SS today. It was fun but I rode the Santa Fe Trail and, ideally, I need a taller gear than 32x22 but oh well. I was going to jump onto the Air Force Academy and ride their singletrack but I didn't have my ID and was a bit nervous about getting caught. I've grown fond of my fingernails and I'm not sure how I'd hold up in a high stress interrogation. No pictures to speak of as I was too busy bouncing around on the saddle while spinning a huge cadence. I didn't look silly at all but, then again, I didn't care. I was too busy looking at things and listening to Uncle Tupelo's first album (No Depression).

There are so many cool skate parks around here and there's even a nice dirt jump park down along the trail. If I could guarantee a time where none of my students were going to be at the skate park in our town, I would love to go there with my board (yes...I can skate a bit) and play. A few years before I came out here I would routinely skate downtown and in the parking garages really late at night while shooting film. Anyway...I happened to see one lone campsite right by the dirt jumps. Reminded me of back home. In the mid-90's there was a restaurant (I think it was called Orlando Gardens). Behind this place was a creek. I don't know the real name of the creek but we all knew it as Shit Creek. There was a series of dirt jumps down there and there was one guy named Russ that I guess lived there. The kids thought he was cool and so they'd bring him food and stuff. Anyway...on special occassions at the original Big Shark location we would break out a VHS cassette that would have us all in tears. It was a very short clip and the name scribbled on the masking tape was, "Russ jumping Shit Creek". It was a huge gap. The poor footage showed Russ way back on a trail. He came racing down and sprinting for all he was worth. He hit the dirt ramp and right at the lip he launched. Even though the outcome was always the same I think secretly we all held our breath thinking that, this time, it would be different. Russ was airborne for what seemed like 5 seconds. He failed to make the the other ramp and cased it HARD onto the far bank with a "thud" that would send all of us cackling like little girls. If I recall, he got hurt pretty bad on that jump. Wonder whatever happened to that guy?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Let's talk about....

Blowing noses. There's a lot of that goin on around here the last few days. I could probably write a book about this subject but I'm gonna try and pare it down for your benefit. Here's something that I don't see a whole lot of anymore.......men using handkerchiefs. A more grotesque practice I can't think of. I was recently meeting with a parent and a student of mine and the parent pulled out his white handkerchief, blew his nose in it and then tucked that baby back in his pocket. What the hell is that? We expel mucus from the body for a reason. When I am forced to blow my nose (which I hate doing by the way) I want that mucus and the tissue it is now contained in as far away from me as possible. In fact, if I could burn it I would. I don't understand why anyone would want it in their pocket and then why they would utilize the same cloth to blow their nose in later on that same day. Let's not even go into the fact that someone is laundering said cloth.

This morning Heather and I were talking about this very topic. My father-in-law uses a handkerchief. Heather says that not all men who use handkerchief's are using them to blow their noses in. She says that her dad used to use his while working on the ranch to wipe the sweat of his brow. That I understand. However, are you telling me that there was never a day when a brow wiper suddenly had the urge to sneeze? The next time he wipes his brow he's got mucus on his forehead.

Perhaps it's a geographical issue? The midwest is very humid and, in my experience, does not wreack nearly the havoc on the nose as warmer and drier climates. Out here it's different. I'm not going to sit in here in front of this keyboard and tell you that I never have to go in and clean house. Sometimes blowing your nose out here can be a dangerous proposition. You can get a piston booger or a boulder booger to come loose and that thing can shoot out of a nostril with propulsion that NASA would gladly harness. The difference is.....I don't keep it in my pocket all day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The other day I busted the push up spring on the Singleator. I got my new one today and installed it. I also got a new 18mm cone wrench for setting the spring tension on said spring. I'm going to cut it down really small cuz I won't need to put any leverage into it and that way it'll fit into my tool pack.

I also got some new grips today. I've tried the Ergon's before but they had the incorporated barends. I rode them for a bit and then gave them to Scott as I just wasn't ga ga over them. I decided to give the ones without the barends a try. There's absolutely no difference in the grip itself but, for some reason, I kinda like these better (at least while riding very tight circles in the garage). I think they look smashing. I did have a minor snafu during the installation process though. The grips bolt on to the bar with a cute little bolt (It's an M4). I snapped the bolt because I've been working out a lot. So I had to go to the hardware store to find a new bolt and then I had to drill out the old one with a 5/64" bit. It was like playing Operation. I was able to get the job done without boogering up the threads. Upon closer inspection I found that my bars were crushed on the ends from those pesky barends that I sometimes run. So...a quick trip over to the neglected green bike and I had a brand new set of Salsa Pro Motos in the wideload variety. That bike is beginning to look like it's been pecked over by rabid vultures.

Funny thing about the Ergon grips. You're supposed to tighten that one little bolt to 5Nm (that's Newton meters). I felt like I was back to working on one of the many Audi's I've had through the years with one of there factory technical manuals. They tell you how tight to go on every minute bolt and screw and it's always in Newton meters. Who the hell knows what a Nm is? Just so you learn something today....5 Newton meters is equal to 44.3 inch lbs. I went with my own measuring system and got them Gootentite.

I also got to fondle the new Niner Air 9 Carbon frame. I asked for a moment alone but the guys weren't having it. If I would have had a cigarette I would have smoked it. I might be in love. They had one white one built up with XX and then a bare Tang frame. This could very well be my next frame. If anyone from the shop is reading this...I licked the Tang frame fairly aggressively while having nasty thoughts.

Clockin' in

I been gettin' done in the weight room this year. I love lifting weights. Don't let the fact that this room is void of people fool you. All I hear is the crowd cheering for "One more set!!!!"

Blood test results

So last night at 6:30, my doctor's assistant called with results of my recent blood work. Last week when they drew the blood I wondered if I was low in iron so I started taking an iron supplement. Since I started taking it, I haven't been nearly as tired. I've been napping a lot but it's my vacation. On Thursday and Friday last week, I did not nap at all when I got home from work which is unheard (especially with Heather being out of town). Anyway...the results indicated that I am extremely low in Vitamin D. I think normal would be about 25 and I'm at 18. It was low enough that my doctor wants me on prescription Vitamin D rather than supplements. Starting today I'll be taking 50,000 units of it each week for the next 3 months and then we'll recheck it.

It's always easy to read the symptoms of anything and find those in yourself but I found some of them very interesting. General fatigue, depression or seasonal affective disorders, increased amount of belly fat (I knew it wasn't beer gut onset), and an increase in dental problems to name a few.

In other news...Heather got sick on her little visit home. Her and her mucus are sitting near me hacking and coughing as we speak. Psyched about that.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Welcome home

I picked up Heather from the airport last night. I think it was sometime on Saturday that she called me and asked if I wanted her to pick me up some of the World's best beef jerky from the Tom Boy down in the South City. Uhhhhhh YEAH!!!!!. So the rest of the weekend I dreamed of how that salty jerky was gonna taste. It was goona be like getting reunited with an old friend. I had dreams of that beef jerky. I also missed my wife too but I really was looking forward to that beef jerky. I didn't want to ask her about the beef jerky right away cuz that'd be rude. We stopped for a bite to eat on the way home. As we're sitting there eating dinner, she mentions to me that my father-in-law, wanted to send home 2 LBS. of deer sausage to me. 2 LBS!!!! I began to get giddy and saliva started pooling in my mouth. Then she proceeds to tell me that she left it there because it would have made her clothes smell if she put it in her suitcase. WHATTTTTTT!!!!!!!!! People looked our way in the restaurant. I smiled at them. Then I whispered, "whaaattttttttt???" She confirmed. I said, "That's ok.......I'll just enjoy the Tom Boy jerky." She looks away and begins to move her fork through her baked beans with bits of bacon mixed in them.I move my head to regain some sort of eye contact. "You DID get jerky from Tom Boy right?" "They were all out baby." "WHAAAATTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!"

So now I'm not getting 2 different types of salted, cured meats. I'd rather get a swift kick to the tool bag.

Spensive beers

So I refrained from posting about this because I did not want my beloved wife to see it here. I wanted her to hear it straight the jackasses (errr.....horses) mouth. I just needed some time for things to perculate. On Wednesday evening of last week I had just woken up from a wonderful nap. My wife was packing for her trip back to St. Louis and I was supposed to take her to the airport on Thursday morning. Problem was that I really didn't have any money. So...I asked my wife for an allowance of sorts. She said, "Sure sweety....I've got $40...how much do you want?"

Me: "Ummmmmm.....$20 should be more than enough my love and did I mention that you look wonderful today?"

Her: "Thank you my Prince...here you go."

Me: "OK....I'm going to go grab some beers real quick."

So I head down to the store. This partucular store has some smaller coolers where they often keep some unusual stuff. I wandered over there and took a peak. I spied a 4 pack of Belgian beer that I had not sampled before but I knew it was brewed by the same folks that brew Duvel. I knew I couldn't go wrong. Now...mind you...I was tired. I said I had just woken up from a nap. I had the 20 dollar bill in my pocket and my intention was to get beers and then get some gas so that I could take Heather to the airport in the morning. I go up to the register and the guy says, "Ahh...getting the good stuff tonight huh?" I smile and nod. Then he says, "That'll be $18.03 sir." Next I heard (just like some creepy movie) that same sentence again but only in very slow-mo "TTHHHAAAATTTTT'LLLLLLLLL BBBEEEEEEEEEE $$$$$$1111111118888888888........000000000033333333333 sssssssiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrr." I stared at the guy for a few seconds and I know he thought I was special. I thought to myself, "Could this 4 pack truly be that expensive?" I could have walked back to the cooler to verify the price but then I would have looked like an idiot. I could have said, "$18.03!!!!!! Damn!!!!!! I can't afford that!!!!!" But then I would have looked like a loser. So.........with a little smurk, I reached into my left pocket, grabbed the money and handed it over. Then the guys all, "Well I think I have 3 pennies here." Then, like an idiot and a loser, I stick out my hand to TAKE the 3 pennies from him. I eventually realized that my hand was out there and yanked it back and went to run said hand through my hair but then realized, "You idiot/loser......you're BALD!!!!" I took the $2, put it in my pocket and walked out. As I was opening the door, I said to myself, "I'm in big trouble!" So the entire 2 minute drive home I'm trying to come up with a story to tell my wife about why I don't have enough gas to take her to the airport in the morning. I got mugged. I gave it to charity. Those weren't gonna work. Then I came up with the winner: I LOST IT!! When I got inside, I told her how beautiful she was again and opened up one of my beers. She asked how it was and I almost cried. "It's yummy sweetheart." The next morning we're driving down the mountain. Part of my strategy was to get down far enough so that when we did stop there wouldn't be time to go back home and look for it. Eventually we stopped and, for some odd reason, I decided to call an audible at the line of scrimmage. I'll tell her that I left it in my other pants!!!!! BRILLIANT!!! I pull up to a pump and reach to turn off the ignition. What's this??????? What's she doing???? OMG she's reaching in her purse. She's taking out the credit card!!!!!!!!!! She's handing it to me??????? I grabbed it and stared at her. Finally she says, "What's your problem?" Quickly I snapped out of it like a true hero would and said, "I'm just going to really miss you baby." If I knew how, I would have done a back flip after getting out of the car but I knew I'd only pull a back muscle. 20 minutes later I dropped her off and headed to work.

Monday, November 22, 2010


This might be my new favorite show now that Bear Grylls appears to be at the end of his proper rope. The premise is pretty simple. 2 people get put in a wilderness setting (could be desert, mountains, whatever). Then there's this guy that attempts to track them with his sidekick. The 2 couples may be a mile away from each other and a flare shot up into the air signifies the start. Only the "prey" knows where the finish line is. They have 36ish hours to get there and are given a map and compass. The tracker has nothing so he'll race to the general area where the flare was shot off and begin looking for tracks/clues to determine where the prey is headed and then use the land features to try and determine how they'll go about getting somewhere and try and catch them. I'm fairly certain I can outwit this guy. I'm gonna work on submitting my fairly lengthy entry form over the break.
Some of my favorite nights up in here in the mountains are right after a little snow storm and when there's a full moon. Sometimes I could huddle up under a pine and sit there for hours just waiting to see what comes through. I took Bodhi out to do his thing at about 10. You can see forever and usually spot deer, fox, and other critters out in the field. It's super quiet. We ended up walking for a while to see what we could see. Dharma is like Heather and she hates the snow, and the cold. Like complete polar opposites of me and Bodhi. I've been getting up at 7 every morning just by chance. Bodhi and I headed out again first thing to check out all the tracks in the yard and to do a deuce (well him not me). I love the critters.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Almost done with a heinous hike a bike section at this point. The sign said to proceed at your own risk and it was not kidding.

I started to leave the stream at this point too.

There was a really old pine stump and I happened to notice this on it.

I caught another Brookie just in front of that wood pile.

Saturday ride

I got in a 4 hour ride on the SS today. It was fun to ride. I'm probably not in the best shape right now and it was harder but I don't really think I took any longer to ride my normal loop. Most of the time I climb middle ring, top cog so I definitely had to push a bit harder and the cadence was lower but I think it worked out pretty equally. The BB7's continue to squeal but I like them. I did catch a small tree on the front cable and broke that so I had no front brake for half the ride but it was something I could have fixed if I was so inclined but there was so much hiking right after I broke it that I didn't even bother with it. The pictured are in no particular order.

I rode next to this little stream for about 2 hours and kept stopping to fish. It's maybe 2 feet wide here. Obviously in the summer months it has more flow to it but there were still some fish to be had.

Like this eager little guy. I just wanted to put him in my pocket and bring him home.

Little bit of snow lingering in the shadows from the most recent storm.

The water on North Catamount Reservoir was choppy today. The winds were blowing at probably 25ish mph.

Friday, November 19, 2010

bachelor life

Heather went back home for 5 days so I'm on my own and that's trouble. It's a pretty wild night over here at 514. I've got a very good Belgian Ale from the fine folks at Goose Island. I'm just sitting here with the pups, missing my wife and listening to the soundtrack to the Slaughter House Rule. It's mostly alternative country and Jay Farrar has a lot of time on it. It's a favorite. I have all of next week off. I put a new chain on my SS tonight so I'm planning on doing a long ride tomorrow after I sleep in and have tons of coffee. I may go back and check out a creek I found a few months ago that had Brookies in it. For me it will be a super hard ride on the SS with some walking but....I've got all day so I'll get some cheese and summer sausage and take my time. I have all of next week off and I'm hoping the weather holds. I talked to a few good friends tonight from back home and they want me to come home for a long weekend over Christmas. I'll have to see if I can talk Heather into it (although there won't be any talking). One of my friends, the Counselor, wants to do a canoe trip and I'm all about that. OK well....it's getting on 8:30 so I'm gonna get ready for bed. A real wild night.

door to door scammers

I HATE solicitors. Up here in God's country we tend to get a decent amount of them wanting to read bible versus or try to recruit. Tonight I opened up my door to take the Bodhster out and was greeted by some young kid. When I asked him what he wanted he said, "Oh it isn't anything bad brah." Then he proceeded to tell me some bullshit story about him being in a contest for a college. I tell him to get to the point before I lose my patience and then find out that he wants me to buy some magazines. I'm supposed to give this idiot my credit card number so he can go skydiving in Europe. When I asked him what college he went to and to name a few classes he looked like I just asked him what the square root of 537 was. He then asked what I did and when I told him I was a cop he got real nervous. I eventually told him to leave my porch and not bother my neighbors or I'd give him a trip on the end of my boot. Shortly thereafter I made my friends over at the PD aware of his green 2000 Dodge Durango and his two other meathead friends that damn near had their pants around their knees and were waiting for this genius to return.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Getting old blows

I had to go to the emergency room last due to some issues I was having throughout the day. The doctor's couldn't find anything but my hundred dollar co-pay. Normally I would not go to the ER but I felt it was probably a good idea given the situation. The doctor that saw me seemed nice enough but I would have preferred someone....smaller in stature. In the midst of the....examination....I judged from his class ring that he graduated from Cornell with the class of 67. Several hours later and, after being the butt of many jokes, we were able to get past the stink of it all and, eventually, I went home and left it all behind. OK...enough puns. Today I had to go to my primary care doctor. My appointment was at 1:15 and I finally was seen at 2:30 but this time my co-pay was only 15 bones. The verdict? Well I'm going to get snaked again. I just had this dreaded procedure done last year. Only this time I get snaked on both ends. I just hope they use a clean instrument both times. Lab work from last night indicates that I have lost 2 points in my blood count from about a year ago. I'm no doctor but I'm sure that these numbers aren't static but 2 points seems like a lot to me and I'm concerned. To put it in perspective, your typical female giving birth will lose right at 2 points of blood. I'm down on red blood cells and platelets as well. Fortunately...my Hematocrit levels were low as well so I shouldn't be accused of taking any EPO anytime soon. I do not know if this is what's making me so sleepy lately but it is not uncommon for me to come home from work at 4 and sleep until 7 each day. I am exhausted all day long and just continue to pour coffee down my throat. So today I had more blood drawn and they're going to look at my thyroid gland and see if that's causing problems and I also get to do a sleep apnea test.

I actually do have a fear of growing old. Seems silly but it's beyond my control.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I love these levers. I've had them over 10 years now. I used to have the matching carbon shifters but now my friend Scott's using those as I never could establish a love affair with the twist shifter (although I will say that I am considering giving them another go since they really are the perfect endurance shifter since there's literally nothing inside them to go wrong). The levers still feel incredible. Much more so than Avid levers. They completely transformed the feel of the BB7's. The BB7's are HEAVY. I was surprised. They were a bit finicky to set up since they don't just slide back and forth over the rotor but can also rotate across the rotor. I think I'm gonna like them though. If they give me half as much trouble as hydros have it'll be a shoe in.

The Surly cog is no spring chicken either but I'm stunned at how much the bike now weighs. I almost don't wanna reveal it. 23.8 even and that GPS aint that heavy. I lost all my gears and only a pound. Not sure what's happening. Perhaps someone crammed some cottage cheese down the seat tube? Oh well. I'm gonna give the SS thing a go for a while here. I'm gonna ride it today but I gotta take it easy. Yesterday I cut the chain too short and forced a SRAM pin back in. I think it'll be ok just toolin' around town until I can pick up another one Monday.

A gratuitous Dharma shot.

Exactly 2 years ago today, this guy joined our family. At 8 weeks he was known as Augie and he was living in a dirty warehouse/shop where he had free run and I believe his diet consisted of cheeseburgers and fries. He was the worst dog I've ever had. He pooped and peed in the house, tore things up, and was just a general pain in the ass. I can't tell you how many times I said I was going to get rid of him. He's a pretty good boy now. I do think that he was drugged when we went to look at him. He was so calm. I asked if we could bring him home to see how he'd do with Dharma. We called the rescue organization the next day to meet up and pay them the adoption fee and never heard back from them ever again. All rescues genuinely want their dogs to go to good homes but I truly think this organization just wanted to unload him. I'm glad to call him mine. We get compliments on him every time we walk. I already want another dog but Heather says we have to wait until we get moved again. Then I'll find another one.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

These pictures are all outta whack but that's ok. I finally got the Orbea put back together. I installed BB7's. I do not like the Avid brake levers but that's ok. I actually have a set of SRAM carbon levers on another bike that will get used but I didn't feel like taking them off the other bike today. I also need to make the housing longer up front cuz there's no way the handlebar bag's gonna fit. The BB7's are definitely not as nice as hydraulic in terms of feel but I'm hoping they'll be less finicky. I'm running a 32-22 gearing with a Singleator. Not sure on weight yet but it feels about mid 21 which I don't think is bad with a suspension fork. I could probably do a Black Ops carbon fork and break 20 easily.

This is my new cart that I've been wanting for a while now and I finally scored it. I Actually wanted it when I owned the van because it was a pain walking back and forth to garage and now I can just put all the tools I need on here and wheel it out to perform surgery.

Now we're back at the top of the Manitou Incline.


2 years ago I was doing this once each week as part of my workout and that first time I did the Colorado Trail Race, I was very comfortable on hike a bike sections. I like doing this hike and the trail run back down so I'm going to start making it regular again. This is a very well known workout in Colorado Springs. This was originally built back in the early 1900's to help in the construction of a hydroelectric plant. Then it was turned into a cable car railway for tourists. From the bottom to the top is right at a mile and I think it's a shade over 2000'.

This section right here is nasty and it's about 50 degrees.

Closer to the bottom.

A little trail leading up from the parking lot.

The last time I did this I got to the top in 32 minutes. Today I was 29 minutes so I'm thrilled.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


In one episode of Seinfeld, this subject comes up and I remember Jerry says, "I hate people....they're the WORST."

Those that know me will attest to the fact that I have some things I'm continually working on. One of the things involves people, in general. Today I had to go to a training for work that was down in Pueblo. It was actually at a nice hotel but that's beside the point. I wasn't really looking forward to going because I know I am a bit anti-social. We needed to bring our laptops to the training so I got there early to scout out locations for electrical outlets. I found one in a great location near the front of the conference room but off to the side. My seat at the table was one where my power chord would reach the outlet and I wouldn't have to crane my neck too much to see the screen or presenter. The hotel provided good coffee. I was set.

I'll be damned if within 10 minutes of me setting up camp a group of ladies approached me and asked if they could take the rest of the seats at the table. Sure. Go ahead. The woman on my right wanted to make small talk and I'm not good at that with most strangers. I find it awkward. Then the woman on my left breaks out a huge hunk of beef jerky only to be followed by a Slim Jim. She was working that beef. Next was a bag of sunflower seeds that a flock of crows couldn't put a dent in if they had all afternoon to work on it. All this was washed down with multiple glasses of fluids and...yes...she did chew with her mouth open and after cleansing her pallet, she would go, "Ahhhhhhhhh!" and smack her lips. We won't even go into the amount of picking at her teeth that occurred between sessions. I almost offered her dental floss along with an encouragement to go to the bathroom. Directly across the table from me was a woman who had literally rolled out of bed to arrive at said training. She had greasy hair, and extreme bed head. Now....under most circumstances none of this would bother me but in close quarters it's an ice cube to the man sack. And for the sake of your time I will completely avoid the notion that these are teachers of students involved in special education (students that, perhaps more than most students, need good guidance and adult examples).

Heather says I'd be fine living in a cabin up in the wilderness all by my lonesome. I have issues but at least I know what they are.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

weight lifting

I really like to lift weights. Several years ago when I no longer had an interest in riding silly bicycles all I did was lift weights. Believe it or not I actually peaked out at a weight of 190 pounds and barely any of that was fat. Anyways....so there I am tonight in our schools impressive weight room......all alone. I do a lot of leg work. I had already done some step ups, squats, calf raises, leg extensions, and a few other leg specific excercises. I decided to polish things off on the leg sled. I hadn't used this machine yet but how different could it be right? I was working out with 250lbs and finished the first set. I went to grab the handle that catches the sled at the top of it's travel and........nothing. Ruh Roh. I start to giggle it. Nothing. Oh boy. Now I start to panic. I have music blaring in my ears. No one is there. I'm yanking on the handle. Nothing. I recall saying to myself, "Self.....you got problems. Big problems." Sweat is beading up on my forehead. My super hero voice kicks in. "Muuuuuuuuusssssstttttttttt hhooooooooollllllllllllddddddddddd weeeeeeeeeiiiiiiigggggggghhhhhhhhhttttttttttttt. Gonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnaaaaaaaaaaa hhhhhuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrtttttttttt." Just at the last possible minute I realize that you have to pull the handle in AND back not just back. Could been squished.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I think I can I think I can......

Man it's been a busy week for me. I had to run down to Colorado Springs for a meeting yesterday and, whilst coming back up the mountain, the Subaru was having fits. It sounded like a fat kid running to the candy store with a coffee can full of coins. I made it home and then forgot all about it as I got side tracked with a nap. This morning it was even worse. I looked like a damn fool pulling into school only now it was squealing like a stuck hog. I made it home from work again and pulled straight into the operating room. I was hoping for a loose belt. When I popped the hood I saw something hanging from the hood liner. I pulled it off and looked at it. It almost looked like a piece of old grass or something so I cast it aside. Then I went to remove the covers so I could see the belts closer and....more old grass. Then I noticed there appeared to be some fibrous tissue in the old grass. Once I got the covers off, I only had a few fibers holdin that belt together. I gave it a yank and it was off and I was off to the auto parts store. While I was in that area I thought I'd replace both the AC and power steering/alternator belt. 33 bucks and a few minutes later and the Subaru is back in business baby!!! The new alternator belt was probably 3/4" thick and I was literally down to strands on the old one.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The hiking wasn't all that bad since the green bike was ghost shifting more than Bruce Lee on a Fuji. I think it needs a new cassette and chain. I'll be hanging it back up in the garage. Surprisingly, there wasn't any trout in this beaver pond.

I did manage to fool this little stick of butter with spots on it though. This is a Brook Trout. They are one of my favorite fish to catch simply because of their beauty. In some places )like higher elevations, these fish can really get lit up with color but the one thing that all Brookies have in common is the white tipped fins that look like someone painted them on. This fish is actually not part of the trout family but of the charr family. Other members of this family include lake trout, bull trout, dolly varden, and arctic charr. Everyone should be so lucky to hold life like this in their hands at least once. It's always a thrill to catch a fish like this but, for me, the real joy comes when it's time to revive it in the ice cold water and watch it glide away.

This was the last creek I fished for the day. It was just wide enough for me worry about whether or not I could jump over it. It wasn't deep but wet wading in November is never a good idea even with the nice temps. After staying dry for most of the day, I lined up for the biggest gap of the day. I tried to psych myself up but then at the last second I jinxed myself by reminding me that I was NOT Carl Lewis. I didn't make it. My socks were soaked. So at that point, I wet waded at will.

This was a large elk at one point. Looked to be a bull that had shed his antlers before whatever got him got him.

And now we've come full circle back to the privy. I stopped at this little fixxer upper for a while. The hard wood floors need a little bit of work and obviously you'd have to tighten things up a bit for the winter drafts but I really think the mantle could be the conversation piece of the entire room.

Yes.....he is.....the Chosen One. And it's easy to see why.

I decided to do a bit of exploring today because the nice weather just continues to impress me. Highs in the 60's today with ALL sun. I even got out Green because, otherwise, I was walking. Here I am minding my own business riding along one of my favorite fire roads, fully intent on doing one of my usual loops when, out of the corner of my eye, I THOUGHT I saw a trail. I decided to turn around and take a look. Sure enough. It wasn't much of a trail but it was something.

This eventually ended and the bushwacking began. I ran into 4 elk hunters. It never sits well when I run across dudes with weapons in the woods. They seemed nice enough. Eventually, after hiking through some thick brush I made it to the road that I intended to come down in the first place. It's such a fun downhill but you can't ever really let it rip going down b/c it is open to vehicles and motorcycles. I'm not sure why but, I don't know that I've ever noticed this privy before. I was gonna use it but I didn't.

Oh....this is just before the hiking started.


The Orbea has been in pieces for a week now. It's getting a bit of a makeover and I should be done with it this week sometime. I can't wait to get it back together. I'm missing out on some really nice weather right now. A smarter guy would have waited to take it apart until all the new stuff arrived but I get a little ansty sometimes.

The green bike never gets ridden and it's because it's got 26" wheels. I think about selling it all the time but I know I won't get anything out of it and I'm probably better off hanging onto it. I'm usually sad about every bike I get rid of after it's gone. What I really wanna do is get a 29er SS frame and rigid fork. I've got enough parts lyaing around to build something up and still keep the green bike in tact.

I would also love to get something funky and build it up with my Dura Ace stuff off the road bike. A Van Dessel WTF would be perfect. Heather won't let me sell it though. She thinks I'm climbing the walls because it's so nice outside and the carbon bike is in disarray. She's probably right.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


One of the students that I enjoyed working with most dropped out today. I worry for him. I hope he's gonna be ok. Sometimes I feel utterly helpless at my job. Particularly this year when the numbers are higher than I've seen them in terms of students that truly need help. What is going on??????? Many times the last few years I've felt that I am no longer able to make as big an impact on students because of BS political issues that are mandating what teachers' jobs look like. I absolutely love what I do but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't wishing I could make a career change.

Black Cat

This is a new builder I've been looking at the last few days. Todd does some truly amazing stuff out of Santa Cruz. I loves me a fillet brazed frame and he's got a nice mix of it and tasteful lugs happening. He also uses swinger dropouts which I'm really liking. Probably the coolest thing about this guy is that he does his own paint. I believe he farms out the base powder coating but then he comes back and does all the crazy stenciling, pinstriping and more unusual stuff you see. This is one of 2 frames that he just finished that are heading to Japan.

I like the fact that no two of his down tubes look the same in terms of art. He doesn't have a website but he does have a blog that I'm gonna check regularly now. He's completely a one man operation.

Wonderful job on the stays.

I've seen a few lugs that he did custom cut outs to and they really are attractive.

I wish I was loaded. Ya know...as much as I really like the stuff that Independent Fabrications churns out, I really don't think it holds a candle to Todd's stuff. Maybe one day. Check out his stuff at www.blackcatbicycles.com

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sometimes I think I'm turning retro. My first mountain bike was a Bridgestone MB-6. It was a steel frame and I don't even know what it was made of but I don't think it was anything special. I think a year after I bought it, a guy named Dan would would eventually hire me at the shop. I eventually started upgrading that bike until it had some Sampson cranks, XT drivetrain (with those badass XT top mount thumb shifters). The brakes were nothing special but it did have a quill-type Frankenstem from Softride. I rode that bike for years and even got a top 5 at the Specialized Cactus Cup as a Sport racer. Back then I used to cut my bars down really narrow and now I can't find bars that are wide enough and I run Salsa bars that are 710mm wide.

Anyways...every few weeks I check in on Jeff Jones and see what he's building. It's usually something intriguing and the other day the bike that caught my eye was using Paul's mounts that basically convert a Dura Ace bar end shifter and make it into a top mount shifter. I really want to try those with some kind of bar like a Titec J-bar. I'm just scared to change anything on my current bike since it fits so well.


I really like this bike. I don't know much about it but it's designed by Ragley. It's titanium and actually welded by Lynskey. The frames are specifically designed to be ridden rigid which seems odd to me but I still think it's interesting. I love the rear slider dropouts but I think this guy is pretty dedicated SS as there is no hanger. The drive side chainstay flattens out and connects to the bottom bracket in a 3 finger formation that's pretty hot.

Nothing ugly at all about those welds.

I wish I didn't have champagne taste on a Dr. Fizz budget.