Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Angry Big Ring

I am the big fat red bird in Angry Birds.
 Today is a sort of a day for reflection . . . you see, it's my birthday today.  Maybe as you get older and as your time left on the planet decreases you contemplate where you've been and where you're going.  My first years as a kid were child-like and set me up for the disappointment, rebellion and confusion in my adolescent years (pretty normal).  My 20's were a time for searching for myself.  And so far my 30's have been a time for discovering who I am.  Maybe my 40's will be a time for acceptance . . . maybe. 

Over the years I think that I've grown mentally (a bit) and matured (a bit less).  Despite the growth I still suffer from character defects.  I've always had a quick temper usually brought on by tantrums when I don't get my way.  My two year old is now teaching me great lessons on how to deal with life on life's terms and/or how to throw a wicked tantrum.

What's all this self-reflection, gushy crap got to do with biking?  If you're a regular reader you'll be quite aware of the battle I've waged over my weight, specifically to get my weight down to make me go faster on the bike.  This journey of self discovery and acceptance of my body type has had its share of roller coaster rides and late night trips to the peanut butter jar.   

I weighed myself last week, hoping to see a few pounds lost so to make the long sustained climbs that I'll be doing in North Carolina next week a bit easier.  Alas, my weight didn't drop, but actually increased by about a pound (197 lbs) . . . . and over the past couple weeks I had been trying to eat well and was riding!  I completely expected to see a drop in weight.

It pissed me off.  It really pissed me off.  So much so that I kind of jumped in anger while standing on the scale when it told me something I didn't want to hear.  It was unintentional, it wasn't to destroy it, it was kind of like a little kid buckling their knees in disappointment before they rebound back into the air in full arm and leg flailing tantrum.  Yep, it was kind of like that.  
Success!  From now on, no matter what and how much I eat, I'll always weigh 2 lbs.
After unclenching my teeth and fists I was able to compose myself, breath and tell myself, "I'm good enough, I'm smrt enough and doggoneit, people like me."  As I re-opened my eyes after my personal affirmation and look down I see 2 lbs.  WTF?

I didn't break the scale, I just fixed it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Erectile dysfunction and Carbon Players

Is that bent up or down?  Maybe I'm wrong and it's not limp.
Jessica Alba has been talking about erectile dysfunciton as of late, so it got me thinking . . .  what happens when your favourite evil-run bicycle company's steel goes all limp and wrinkled like an aged penis ?  You look else where for exotic material that can be shaped and formed into any position possible. 

Kona's King Kahuna
If you're contemplating entering the mad light (and stiffy) world of carbon, you've got two more carbon hardtail 29'ers to choose from.  I've never ridden a carbon mtn bike . . . ever . . . so, my two cents is really worth about 40.50 Malagasy Ariaries. 

Santa Cruz Highball

I refuse to jump on the carbon bandwagon (which by the way is actually made of 2x6 and an assortment of other pressed wood products and completely free of carbon - go figure).  I crash far too often and know that after a half dozen rides a carbon frame would be reduced to carbon thread and tears.  I stay loyal to my poison and look to the future for swoopy, schexy curved steel top tube. 

* Lame post?  Yes.  Poached from elsewhere and elsewhere?  Yes.  But I got nothing today.  Nothing.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cantley-Ottawa Loop

I was dreading getting dressed Saturday morning for the ride. It was flipping cold out. Flipping cold. And there was a 22km/hr (with gusts up to 33 km/hr) headwind out of the Northwest.  Perfect - I was heading Northwest.  The original plan was to meet at P5 and do a two hour skate ski and then do a 65-70 km road loop.

Pffffft.  I ain't skiing anymore this season.  I do wish I was there to see Curvy Butt attempt this though - if you're drinking milk (or any other beverage), swallow first, cause it'll come out your nose:


Baaaahahaahahahahaaaa . . . . I laughed my ass off watching that.  Baaa hahahaaahaaaa.

If I recall correctly I ended up putting on base layers on the skis, packing up the iron and waxing bench and putting it all away after my first road ride of the season.  The trainer got packed up last week.  Nothing left to do now but ride my bike outside.  So my plan was to ride from home, up into the park and meet the chumps who skied in the morning.  It's only about a 20 km ride from my place to the meeting spot in Chelsea.
When I was leaving the house on Saturday at lunch time it was minus thirteen.  Stuck some foot warmers in my shoes as the last few times I've been out my feet have been cold even with thick overbooties on.  They worked for a bit but ended up beginning to cause my little piggies to go numb because they were cutting off the circulation as my shoes became too tight.
The Vegan Vagabond's cockpit.  Check out the size of that walkie-talkie (GPS) . . . I was surprised that she didn't veer off the road and into the ditch with the lopsided weight on the bars.
11% grade climbing to Mt. Cascade.  It's March - I'm overweight, I'm lacking power, I'm slow, I'm the last one up.

I met VV, Scott and Curvy Butt and we headed.  The first wee bit was pretty okay with a tail wind as we headed towards the Alonzo Wright bridge, over it and into Cantley.  As soon as we began the gradual climb my legs wanted nothing to do with it.  The past week I've done nothing.  Nuth-ing.  Meh.  And when the get-away-sticks did finally come around and start pedaling, they pulled, tugged and threatened to go into full on cramp-mode for a few kms.  The beginning of the riding season is so much fun.
Mandatory warm-up/food stop at Pipolinka in Wakefield.  Curvy Butt - coffee and chili.  I rode in front of him the rest of the way home.
VV, a vegan and Scott, a gluten free guy . . .  freaks of nature.  We made them sit alone as we ate animal by products and wheat.  Pfffft, so what that they are both skinnier, fitter and faster than us . . . diet-schmiet is what I say.
Pass me another hot dog.
Scott's download from Chelsea-Cantley-Cascade-Wakefield-Chelsea.  Chelsea is a 20 km one-way ride from my place in Ottawa.   Similar ride here.  My total for the day was about 110 kms.
Wifey bought be a fig-bacon-pecan-cinnamon bun from Chez Edgar.  I didn't waste much time giving it a good home. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Blue

If you don't know Tobias, you don't know funny.
I love my new blue tools

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More on the diSSent (ALC)

Beefy welds. I wonder if that Donnie Darko badge could be anodized in pink?


New (to me) sliders.  No tension'ing screw dealie-o to fiddle with.  Me likey.  Check out the beefy bolts.  My sensitive side says that Peter made them this way because he thinks I am fat.  My head tells me otherwise.  I wonder if I could replace them with titanium as they each weigh as much as a pro-roadie.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Gold



After my review last October of my Misfit diSSent Fe Peter suggested that I ride an ALC for comparison sake and back to back review.  Why not.  I love my steel diSSent, but it might be nice to try the aluminum one too.  To be honest, I have not ridden an aluminum frame since my last full suspension bike.  I am curious how it will compare to the steel and if I will like it as much or more . . . or less?

I was able to distract the crazy cat lady long enough from her longing stare into Gizmo's eyes to get the frame, bid my adieu, hi-tail it to Tall Tree Cycles to knock out the headset of Pinky and press it into the new frame.
The Vegan Vagabond was in the Big Smoke last week and swung by the empire for a visit and was able to pick up the frame for me to try out.  Yesterday, when she met me at her door she was holding a frame wrapped in bubble wrap, but I could make out it's distinct colour - black with . . .
"What's that?  s that . . . gold?!?!?  F*ck me!  That's fugly!!! "
Cheesy ugly gold and black.  Yuk.

What made the whole thing worse was VV informed me that her diSSent had recently been upgraded with pink decals.  WTF!?!?! 

My beautiful pink diSSent will be on the sidelines for a wee bit while I test out it's aluminum version.
Gold is for fat guys who wear speedos, lay on the beach tanning by day and are into the swinger's scene by night.


I love paragon sliders and was doubting the Misfit version, but they don't look half bad - no stopping screw/tensioner bit to fiddle with either.
  All built up . . . but something is missing.  Can you spot it?
The steel tubing is slightly smaller than the aluminum, by 2mm.  Need to find a 32 mm seat-clamp to finish the build off.
Pfffffft, gold . . . .
 The new frame will get it's maiden voyage in about a week and a half or so when I head to North Carolina (who wants to come?).  I am going to beat the shit out of this frame out of spite for the ugly gold lettering and lack of pink lettering.  Dicky get's a complete custom build and I can't even get pink decals???

Monday, March 21, 2011

Country roads, deer and hairless men

I managed to get two rides in this past weekend. One indoors, the other out-of-doors. The 'plan' was to get out both days, but I found myself sitting in front of the computer Saturday morning watching the Milan-San Remo race - it was pretty exciting and I couldn't peel myself away to suit up for a ride.  When it was all said and done with Goss just beating Cancellara at the line by about a half of a bike length I had enough time before work to jump on the trainer for a short 45 minute spin. 

 My time management skills were not working well the past few days, so I ended up with a small window before work on Sunday afternoon.  Despite cooler temperatures I headed south out of town towards the flat country roads to get a two and a half hour ride in.  The roads were bare and dry - I don't think I even rode through one puddle.  As expected, with open stretches and lower elevation, there is much less snow south of the city than up in the Gats. 

Oh deer me.  Deer in a farmer's field eating left over corn bits.
Roads were moderately quiet, except for River Rd and the stretch near the airport - not one honk, curse, swerve or rev'd engine towards me the entire ride. And I had them pretty much to myself as I only saw two other cyclists out and about.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tools

 I was just over on the crazy cat lady's blog (a.k.a. The VV) reading about The Right Tool For the Job and it got me thinking about two recent bike specific tools that I have recently come in the possession of.  Over the years I've been gradually been building my home bike workshop's tool inventory - in between buying bikes, new parts and Doritos finding the money to squander on tools is no easy task. 

With some gift certificates that I received over this past Christmas I bought myself a Park Home Mechanic Truing Stand - it's much, much cheaper than the professional grade, does a very good job at allowing you to true wheels and is much better than my old idea of how to true a wheel.  To go along with this, and hopefully some wheel building for a new bike in the future, I added to my collection a Park Spoke Tension Meter

It's fairly easy to true a wheel, but to do so properly, making sure that the wheel is balanced and strong throughout you really should be making sure that all the spokes are evenly tensioned.  In the past I've used the 'twanging' the spokes like a guitar method listening to how they sound.  This works if you have an ear for it, but me, I'm a little musically challenged. 
While picking up the spoke tension meter I also nabbed me a Park derailleur hanger alignment gauge.  Yes, I know what you must be saying: "Don't you ride single speed?" Yep, I does.  But, I also have a road and CX bike that are both geared (though the thought of running a single speed CX bike this fall does sound like fun).  Also, with my hints of a new wheel build at some point in the future, I may be needing this tool from time to time. 
I got these two tools from the fine folks at Biking.com.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dirty Flat

I was very excited Wednesday night. The forecast for Thursday called for sunny skies and plus ten degree weather. Whooot! Conditions were going to allow for my second out-of-doors ride in three days. With my day off I was going to try and get in a long'ish ride.

Crossed the border and headed over into La Belle Province for some scenery and some hills.

Mine Rd.  More like Land Mine Road.
Was on my way into Wakefield when my rear end (not my arse) was getting soft (yes, my arse is also soft) and wiggly (again, yes, my arse is also wiggly).  Flat.  Phooey.  Nothing worse than changing a rear tire in dirty, salty conditions.

Filthy. Should have taken a pair of rubber gloves this early in the season.

Did I say nothing worse than changing a rear flat in dirty, salty conditions?  Wait . . . there is something worse: having long horizontal dropouts and running fenders.  Had to take one side of the fender off in order to get the wheel off. 
As I was changing my flat I realized that I had forgotten my repair kit.  It must be early in the season as normally routine stuff isn't that routine yet.  I had a spare tube, but no patches in case I got a second flat.  I decided to cut my losses and turn for home so that if I did get another flat I wouldn't be so far away.  Despite not getting in a long'ish ride and getting totally dirty it was so nice to be out and about in the sun. 

Be prepared if you are riding on the Quebec side, there is lots of melt run off on the roads making it tricky to tell if there are big pot holes that you're riding into.  Keep your head up. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Melting dog poo = Spring

I was reading Matt's blog post over on the Tall Tree Cycles blog about his past weekend, getting out riding and how he knows that Spring has finally sprung.  I, unfortunately, was nowhere near a bike this past weekend and instead found me out-of-town, surrounded by family eating birthday cakes.  Yes, cakes.  Two in fact.  It's not that I didn't enjoy myself with family and eating cake (cause really, what's more fun than eating birthday cake?!?), but I would have loved to have gotten out on the bike this past warm weekend.

I regress.  I know it's Spring when there are copious amounts of melting doggie doo-doo everywhere.  When I see that, I know it's time to be riding outside.


It was only my second outdoor ride this season Tuesday and it was a beauty.  Despite the -3 degree temperature (-7 with windchill), it didn't feel all that cold at 11 AM . . . that is, after the initial ice cream headache went away within the first 5km.
I made my way up into the Gats and avoided my usual south-of-the-city-Spring-boringly-flat-route.  The teeny weeny hills seemed like mountains this early in the season.  Still, it was so nice to be outside on the bike.
Rode up to P7 (Kingsmere).  I'm always torn this time of year.  The skate skiing is near perfection - fast and almost effortless with the warm temperatures.  But this is the time of year that I need to be putting on the Spring miles. 
Even with fenders you're going to get dirty.  I wonder how much melted dog crap were in all those puddles I drove through yesterday?  The bike got a thorough washing when I got home - no poopy, no salt to remain.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Best Intentions - Part II

I came home tired, cold and hungry from work Saturday afternoon.  Still, I mustered up the energy and gumption to fill up a water bottle, air up the tires, set the tension on the trainer and even get my riding clothes ready to go.  I was going to prove that I had the mental toughness and physical aptness to get on the bike for the third day in a row.  Over the stench of my chamois after two days of riding I could smell the smell of success.

My best intentions, however, had me ending up here:

Something inside me gave way to an easier, softer (and bubblier) way.  A bubbly bubble bath.  The farthest thing from riding the trainer.  And to boot I ate a half a bag of Gold Fish while soaking in the tub (what a sight indeed - a hairy wet whale eating his daughter's snack food - how ironic)SIGH!  Disappointing to say the least.

That night I was in bed by 8:39 PM and asleep by 8:41 PM.  Meh.  Tomorrow would be another day I told myself.

Tomorrow (Sunday) was another day.  Another day of not being on the trainer.  Phooey.  I opted out of riding by justifying I got some exercise after work by shoveling the drive-way after the big dump of snow, freezing rain and rain that we got overnight on Saturday.  Again, failure to follow through with my plan, my intention.  Success at justifying not exercising.  Total FAIL.

Alas, I've learned it is futile, at least for me, to plan. 

Despite my failed attempt to complete seven rides in a row on the bike inside in the depths of my cold dark basement, I did manage to ride Monday and again Tuesday.  Two structured rides, each over an hour (yet, under two) long.  Four days of riding out of six is better than nothing.

Intentions are sometimes difficult to follow through on and it is easy to give up and justify an easier softer way.  However, action is THE way.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Best Intentions


 Are we judged on our intentions or our actions?

Unless we walk around mumbling our thoughts out-loud for the world to hear, then obviously we are going to be judged by what we do.  Our inner thoughts protect us from criticism and judgement.  It's taken me a long time to learn that . . . to sometimes keep my mouth shut . . . that's hard to do with your foot often inside of it.  However . . . .

. . . last week I almost put up a post on my intention to ride for seven straight days on the trainer (ummmm, if I am telling you all of this after the fact am I still going to be judged??).  My annual pilgrimage to North Carolina is less than a month away and I am nowhere near being cycling-fit-and-ready.  Just like my school days before mid-terms I figured cramming as a result of mismanaged time would have to do.  My goal was not only to attempt to get my fitness somewhat closer to being acceptable for an early Spring trip to NC, but also drop a few pounds in three or four short weeks so climbing those long, steady climbs might be easier too.  Goals too lofty and out of reach?  Perhaps.  But I was determined. 


I began earnestly last Thursday with a mixed one hour training session - some endurance work, a few sprints, some temp mixed with some LT zone and even some one legged spins.  Success - day one down.  The next day my arse was feeling a bit sore and I was feeling a bit lazy, alas, I got on the bike and put in only forty minutes of endurance work.  Not quite as long as I would have liked, but still a success. 

Day Three tomorrow . . . .

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mega

If you find yourself meandering down Bullock Dr. in Markham, Ontario the next couple of Fridays, and have the means to purchase a bicycle-related item, don't forget to drop in for a cup of tea and a scone (almost a certain guarantee that no pink bikes will be for sale).

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Brazillian Mow Down

SAO PAULO (AP) — A motorist sped his car through a pack of more than 100 cycling activists in southern Brazil, sending bikes and screaming riders flying through the air and landing hard on the asphalt in a scene captured on amateur video and posted online.
At least 40 cyclists were injured, with most suffering cuts and broken bones, but nobody was killed, authorities said.
Police said the suspect, whose name they did not release, fled the scene of the incident Friday evening in Porto Alegre. He was brought in for questioning Monday after authorities found his abandoned car over the weekend.
The man claimed riders surrounded his vehicle and began beating on it, causing him to panic and fear for his life, police said.
But the lead investigator in the case called that version of events "fanciful," without giving other details.
Inspector Gilberto Montenegro told Globo TV network's G1 website that the man could face charges of attempted homicide. Under Brazilian law, prosecutors can decide whether to bring charges only after police close their investigation, which may take 30 days. The man is currently free.
** Are you f*cking kidding me?  Free?  What would be the difference if someone walked into a crowded space, like a shopping mall, with an automatic weapon and began to open fire willy-nilly?!?!  The intent is the same.  F*ck me! 

Montenegro also said the number of people hit and injured rose to 40. Previously, police said 16 people were hurt.
Cyclists in the Critical Mass ride told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper that no riders were threatening the motorist.
"He drove behind us for two blocks, and people were trying to stay calm. Then in the third block he ... floored it on top of everyone," Marcelo Guidoux Kalil told Folha. "It was a scene of war, with twisted bicycles and people bleeding on the ground."
In the video, thuds and sharp sounds of metal on metal are heard as the car accelerates directly through the pack of cyclists.
Scores of riders and eyewitnesses screamed and asked bystanders to call police and ambulances as they began administering first aid to the victims.
*Story here.