Wednesday, June 25, 2008

As of now, I am in control here

Due to a terrifying line of succession, with Mike out of town I am the boss of you, MITMON readers. I checked with Al Haig and he said I'm pretty much free to do whatever I want. It's an awesome, yet solemn, responsibility.

Here's some info to help ease the transition:
1. I propose a Shabbos (Saturday) ride.
2. The time of the ride shall be 6:15 a.m., at Bike Masters or another suitable spot.
3. The pace of the ride shall be race-pace or faster. Probably faster considering we were doing 14 mph at one point in Norfolk. That was pretty fookin' ridiculous.
4. The route of the ride shall be determined later, and most likely based upon wind.
5. Again, the pace of the ride will be fast. Possibly throw-up fast.
6. The length of the ride shall be 3 hours, no more. JP has to be home by 9:30 because his wife has to work and is therefore leaving the kids with him. I would think that at ages 6 and 4, the kids can be by themselves for a few hours. If Jack can do it, why can't they?
7. Think about joining us if you want to go fast. With a gap in Nebraska racing -- or even Iowa racing -- getting more nasty high-speed work in is a good idea.
8. Leave questions or concerns in the comments.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Some interesting events.

Things are gonna be busy this week in prep for my 2 week vacation to Pennsylvania. I leave this Sunday for the East to watch Aaron Pool race in the Tour of PA, visit some relatives, and bike around with my dad. I will be back on the 5th of July. So I may be ready for a Shabbos +1 on the 6th if I've wound down enough. We'll see. Plans can be put up here and hopefully I'll get a chance to check them while out of town.

Monday was a great/horrible day for the woman. Michelle never had a drivers license. Her parents never got around to teaching her and she got along just fine on the bus and with rides from friends. Well on Monday, after a few months of great lessons from my (now retired) dad, she passed the drivers exam and can drive where ever she wants now. No more waiting on the bus. The bus is a great way to save money instead of having a car, but not really convenient. At one point, she was living in mid-town and working out west. She had to take a bus downtown to catch another bus that would head out west. It was an hour and a half trip each way, everyday. Basically, more time than it takes to drive to Lincoln. EVERY DAY. She went mildly bonkers after a couple years of that. Now she works closer to home, so the bus ride wasn't as bad, but still, the need for her to be able to drive became more evident. And since I'll be gone for 2 weeks, she'll be able to get to the store, go out, and generally have more freedom than she's ever had in the past. Good times ahead for her. The horrible part of that day was that she went into the dentists to get a couple wisdom teeth pulled. Way to have a rollercoaster start to the week.

In friends news, Bryan's search for a new job landed him in the same building. He is now working as a tech-geek writer and WORKING DAYS!! I can't imagine the strain of working the shift he's been on for a while, 4(ish)pm - 1(ish)pm. I gripe and complain about working 11am - 8pm for a month at a time, but that's not cutting into a normal sleep schedule. I'm guessing now that he can get proper recovery, he'll be able to really up the intensity of his training. Plus being able to join the Wed. group rides always boosts performance. Congratulations Bryan. Other friend Brady is unwinding from a tough battle in a half-Iron Man down in Kansas. Brady has proved he is one tough cookie when it comes to being on the rivet. Congrats man, for a job well done. Fred, welcome back to blog world. Hopefully we'll get in more early morning rides on the weekend. But not for a few weeks. Catatarian of the year award goes to Bob for rescuing a little bundle of fur from certain automotive doom. Thank you sir, on behalf of all cat people everywhere.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Am I lazy? Yes I am.

bryan said...

a Shabbos +1 proposal:

Sunday, 6:30 a.m. at Crane. I'm planning on 5ish hours, so we'd be back by 11 or 11:30 at the latest. Mike Munson has to be back by 11:30. My wife would prefer that, too.

Speed: It's tough to hammer for 5 hours. Let's call it spirited, but never fast.

I concur with Bryan.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Speaking of riding for fun...

Shabbos ride anyone? We could resurrect the way early (anti-Peter) ride and get a few hours in before the heat and wind get bad.

Post your ride times/routes/suggestions/ideas/philosophies.

My type of cycling hero.

This guy knows how to ride. For fun and for life. That's the way it should be.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Various stuff.

The weekend came and went and I got in an hour ride with the woman. That's it. Otherwise it was on call duty, clean, work on bikes, projects, and avoid tornadoes.

Brady invited me on an early early ride Saturday morn, but I didn't get the message till late. Plus I would have had to turn back after about 45 minutes to be home so I could sit around for my on-call duty. Sucks. In a few months our on call is going to stretch out to once every 6 weeks instead of once every 4. That'll be nice. However this is going to come with other shift changes that'll see me doing the late shift (11am to 8pm) 4 times a year instead of 3. It's all kinds of weird, but we'll see how it pans out.

Bryan had a great weekend at Norfolk. Way to go, buddy! I sure wish I could have been there to race and watch others race, but seriously, I gotta keep chipping away at my debt load. $4 a gallon gas and lack of training motivation has all but taken me out of racing this year.

Aaron Pool is taking up my slack of team representation by doing really well at a UCI stage race in Spain(?). He had multiple top tens, wore the best young riders jersey for a day and says he felt strong in all aspects of his racing. In just a couple weeks, he and a few teammates are flying this way to do the Tour of Pennsylvania. My dad and I are heading out that way for a nice vacation of following the race, visiting family, and riding some rails-to-trails. Fun times!

I mentioned before that I worked on bikes and started a project. Well here's the details, if anyone wants to know, which I'm sure you do, oh yes you do. Actually, don't feel bad about not reading from here on. Topic is dinking with bikes and working with wood, that's it.

So on the bike front, I've successfully stayed away from doing a big purchase. If I think about it, I've made at least one pretty big purchase if not a couple, every year for the past 4 years. It's either been a whole bike, a wheelset, or a bunch of parts. This year, I've bought a couple small items to keep the bikes going, but that's it. And my debt load reflects this. I'm making huge gains on it, and it feels great. So anyway. What I have done to quell my need to get new stuff is continuously change old stuff. I have a bike that my parents got me in 10th grade, so about 14 years ago. This bike was made right when "hybrids" first came onto the scene. It's more of an off-road hybrid since it has 26" tires. It's definitely not aggressive trail riding worthy. I have recently used random parts to make it into a cruiser/fun ride bike that I use on outings with the woman. It has a nice upright position and a big cushy saddle. Very anti-racer like!

The Bianchi commuter I bought last year has also gotten some changes. The stock wheels it came with are heavy, especially with the front hub being a generator. Since the days are so long, I don't really need a generator light, so I swapped out the wheels for lighter training ones. I have my Ree-Lights on these, just to cover any early day/evening rides. I also changed out the rear derailleur and cogset to a mtb setup. The stock was 12-27 on the rear with a single 42th chainring up front. Since this bike is a beast (28lbs with heavy wheels, 26lbs with light ones), I needed something easier than a 42x27 to get me up the hills. Now I have an 11-34 on the back so I could conceivably climb some mountains. I may need that for my Pennsylvania trip since there are some mountains over there. Another little thing I'm quite proud I figured out was my fender setup. If you have fenders on your bike and you ride in the wet, you know that having the fenders fairly close to the tires really helps ward off tire spray. So on the rear fender, there are 3 mounting points usually: a cross brace right next to the bottom bracket, a cross brace near the brakes, and the 2 metal rod thingies that attach to the rear drop-outs near the rear wheel axle. It's easy to adjust 2 of the 3 mounting points. The bottom bracket brace is not so easy. I've heard of people using spacers and longer bolts to move the front of the rear-tire fender closer so it can protect the chain from getting tire spray. When I was going through my parts for a long bolt, I found one of those inner-tube valve stem nuts and got a great idea. I took an old innertube, cut out the valve stem and got a couple more of those valve nuts. I secured the valve stem to the fender, added another stem nut, ran it through the frame's cross brace, then added a final valve stem nut. So now, I can loosen a couple of those nuts (by hand, which is nice since it's a very tight space in there) and adjust the fender for when I might use larger tires. At this point if you still have any idea what I'm talking about, congratulations, you are as big of a bike-wrench-nerd as I am. If not, I might post pics later to show what the heck even I'm talking about.

Edit: here's the pics of said fender greatness:

You can see how it's a valve stem.

Here you can almost see the part that used to be part of the tube.

And here you can see the ginormous pie-plate like rear cogset. Also note how close the fender is to the tire. No spray on my chain now!

On the wood work side, our place has a great/horrible skylight right above our bed. It's great for lighting, but horrible when it rains. The thing acts like a drum for every rain drop and we sleep right under it. It's no fun being woken up by a snare solo at 3am. So my parents were kind enough to give me some spare pieces of wood to create a sort of sound deadening baffle. I started work on that yesterday and will hopefully finish it soon since the rest of the week looks like lots of random storms are coming.

So that's what's going on in my neighborhood. What's happening in your neck of the woods?

Friday, June 06, 2008

And talk about the weather.

Something happens and I'm head over heals,
I never find out, till I'm head over heals.

If you know the song, you're singing it in your head right now. Tears for Fears. The Big Chair. One of my all time favoritist albums.

So anyway, talk about the weather. It's been just crazy. Storms every evening. Rain. Overflowing rivers. The mtb crowd is suffering withdrawal since there hasn't been a dry trail around for a couple weeks. Remember the big weather news like 3 years ago was DROUGHT!!! The Drought of the Century, blah, blah, blah... Not much of that going on now. Good ol' global warming is kicking in so polar ice caps can melt to provide the world with water to fix the droughts. That's my theory. Even though I only know 1 semesters worth of Earth science, I'm sticking to my ideas.

Good luck to those peeps heading up to NorfoLLk. I'm outo shape and broke so I canno make the trip. That road race is really tough and the crit is super fun. Hopefully the weather will kinda cooperate for you guys up there. Most of the really bad stuff has been lingering around Omaha and to the South, so Norfollk should be good.

I'm on call again on Saturday morning and will probably do a bike ride with the woman in the afternoon if the wind/rain/tornadic activity does not blow up. I will, however, be up for a ride either Sunday Morning or afternoon if those staying in the big O want to join in. Leave a message at the beep, or rather comment.