Archive for July, 2008

Still Here

Okay, I keep meaning to post more of whats going on around here on here but I am sooooo busy somehow I lack the time.  Oh well, just take heart knowing I am having a good time.  I hit a couple of days of ragbrai and saw all the things I thought I would, lots of old friends and had a good time in general.  Cody and I are about to roll out of here to ride to my folks house in northern Illinois which should be fun.  We are in a bit of a scramble as we are trying to leave tomorrow after work but we will make it happen and once we leave all will be well.

I promise to finally get all my pictures from ragbrai and the trip up on here plus share some tales of whatever is happening when we get back.

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The Summertime

Webloggery seems to be such a seasonal affliction in the riding community.  Who has time to write about rides and the like when they are out riding and liking?  Not me, and judging from my regularly read blogs, not most of my favorite weblogin’ two wheeled people either.  Although Tarik has been on a kick lately, scrumming it up with pro cyclists and roaming france with his camera and appetite.  Check out them photos!

So I have been working and riding and such.  Today I got to glue tubulars again!  This wheelset was much nicer than the last, if by nicer you mean expensive and smoooooooooooth bearingy.  HED stingers and screaming yellow Tufo’s.

I did my first overnight tour of the year last weekend, a good group of people making their way to that big celebration of:

  • hi-vis clothing
  • cross chained triple crank drivetrains
  • meat on a stick or off
  • aero-barred hybrids
  • cheap beer sold expensive
  • stinky dirty port-o-johnnys or hunny buckets or whatever you might call them
  • double sprung mountain bikes with slick 1.5’s
  • silly (and dangerous – why wear a helmet with a can of spam attached to it?) helmet covers
  • old has-been racers heckling people who don’t understand what they are talking about anyways

I rode the TT bike and it performed well.  We spent most of the day drinking beers but did get some mileage in and wound up staying in Springville in a pavillion.  We had been heading for Waubeek but there was a big storm that presented us with the option of staying in the nice American Legion or riding into a 40 mph headwind with thundering rain spattering our glasses and making it hard to see.  We chose safety and comfort.  I got up early the next morning and rode back home, it was a great morning ride!  I took many pictures with my phone but I can not yet get it to interface with the computer so until I do if you want to see the pictures and you see me around ask me to show you the album and I will.

Tomorrow I am hoping to get out to visit that ride as it is coming very close but the weather may stink in which case I will stay home.  Friday the shop is closed so I will ride that day for sure, I think if I loop out and do the whole route and ride back home I will have 100 in so that is the plan.

As I have been typing this I have been listening to owl’s hootin’ up a storm in the trees outside our house, it is really cool!

Oh yes, I have something for you John

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Gluing Tubulars

Today at work I got an unexpected treat, a chance to glue tubulars onto some old Araya rims built on Suntour Superbe Pro hubs for an old Schwinn Prelude. I used to ride tubulars and as the silly season that is the week before ragbrai here in Iowa is upon us and as such it is a busy shop I got the call up to do the gluing. Geoff asked if I had ever glued tubulars. I said yes, my own. He asked if I was good at it. I said it had been years as my performance needs no longer justified the hassles but that I had never rolled one I had glued. I got the job. It was a treat to get sticky fingers again!

Gluing the tires brought back a flood of memories. I remembered how much I loved cornering at Snake Alley on my first set of tubulars back in 1991 or so. I remembered going to pick them up at the UPS depot, my first race wheels with Mavic GL330 rims and Ultegra hubs. Vittoria’s for sure! I remembered blowing one that was redlined at 160 psi at a crit in Madison, that was quite a POW! I remembered Rod Woton actually going to the trouble of finding where a puncture had occurred in a tubular and cutting into it to patch the tube and then sewing the whole thing back up with dental floss. I remembered my last set of tubulars which were Spinergys and how great they were and how I finally got scared to death of them after chattering through one too many corners at 30+ mph and wondering if the guy on the inside was going to drift out and lose his foot into my wheel just before I lost my teeth into the pavement. Them are the wheels I am riding in that picture at the top of the page with Ira in the helmet with the beer. Some of you may remember this incident as well.

Such was my fear that I up and sold that wheelset for $50 and now wish I had it back just for the occasional cross race. Some of the local cross big-wigs got really into tubulars last year and I can’t remember how many they rolled at super low pressure but it was more than 2… Now that I have had another good huff on the tubular glue of history I wonder if maybe I should get myself another set? I need to build some wheels, maybe this would be good practice!

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yoGA & carGO

I seem to be falling into a once a week blogging habit.  I am okay with that.  I have been attempting to limit my volunteer commitments and enjoy more personal time and that has been working well and I am having a heck of a summer so far.  Here is a short report and a few unrelated photos from the last few weeks.

I have been doing lots of bike riding and a fair share of spectating, too.  I have been following the tdf and I think it has been a great race so far, it is good to see the next generation take over.  Cavendish, Ricco, Valverde and Sanchez, it is good stuff going on over there.  I am sad to read today that Beltran has tested positive and will now enter the shadowlands of cycling for quite a while.  I am guessing that if the B sample confirms the A he will retire and what a sad way to end a career.

In other bike riding/racing news, the tour divide and gdr are both rolling and the reports have been exhilarating.  As far as I know this is the first time the word exhilarating has appeared on this weblog.  Anywho, no positive drug tests and some incredible riding going on out there!  Mary Collier has been my sentimental favorite.  This event has captured my imagination and I had hoped to give it a shot next summer but there are some things coming up that will likely make this impossible.  I am developing a healthy respect for the event as more information comes out but jeesh, it may just be the ultimate expedition for me.  Someday…

I have some touring initiatives fast approaching and I am looking forward to rolling a real honest to goodness loaded day on the touring townie with a front basket.  I am going to get two or three overnights in conjunction with ragbray and then Cody and I are cleared for take-off to sunny Antioch!  Sadly we are going to take the northern route so no Ari.

Here I am ready to be done writing and linking and italicizing and such and not yet any mention of yoga or cargo.  I am losing it!  I have now taken 2 yoga classes and have 3 to go.  I am practicing at home or whatever you call it and I hope this is the start of a long relationship.  I have too many cycling friends with back issues to ignore my own creeping and lingering aches and pains.  I ain’t getting any younger over here.  In cargo news, the cargo bike is back on the road!  Look for photos and stories of scrounged materials from all over town soon!

Last thing, I have started reading Infinite Jest again.  If you don’t know, this book is a monster and after many failed attempts I finally managed to read the whole durned thing plus end notes in the summer of 2001.  This second full read is seeing me skip some end notes that describe weird drug use stuff and even some whole chapters of the book.  It is an amazing world Wallace created and I am enjoying another drift through it.  Check it out if you need another challenge in your life and enjoy run on sentences!

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A Fine Day For A Bike Geek

I don’t work on Thursdays and this morning Cody finally drug me to a yoga class to see what all the fuss was about.  It was a free intro class and I must say I enjoyed it very much.  It made me shake some and wonder when it would all end but I am going to sign up for a run of classes for the rest of the month.  Hooray for me not being so poor postured and stiff!  I hope, I think it will take more than 5 classes to correct my issues, I must make a commitment…  In addition to yoga Cody and I had a nice coffee date and rode the classic Morse – West Branch ride except we rode lower West Branch Road into Iowa City which is gravel and less traff-icky than the HerbertHooverHighway.  It was a good day on its own merits, but tacked onto the back of yesterday, which I will longly tell ya about shortly, it was super-dooper.

So yesterday I worked at the shop.  Steve Fuller from Des Moines stopped in to say hi.  He is riding from Des Moines to Galesburg, IL and using his world class touring set up to do it.  He and I have had a few internet interactions and while we both rode the DK200 this year we did not meet so he made it happen.

Lookit that loaded rig!  A serious first run on his new LHT for sure.  I had told him that Ira and I were riding out to Tom Teesdale’s in West Branch after the shop closed and he was interested in checking it all out so that is what we did.

Ira is almost out of here to return to the glam-rockin’ West Coast framebuilder lifestyle.  There was a big old thunderstorm coming in on us so we had a couple of beers to wait it out and Ira polished up the Cupcake so he could wow Tom with it.  We finally decided to roll and take what came.  It was a nice ride and we talked about bikes and gravel and rain and we rode bikes on gravel and then it rained.  Hard.  We were just a few miles from Tom’s shop and I wanted to press in but Ira is here to get his fill of Iowa so we hid in a barn for 20 minutes until the worst had passed us.  It was a beautiful night with lots of thunderheads and that golden glow of the sun whenever it could break through and we were at the shop in no time.

There is much to see at Tom’s shop, even one of my old buses.  The white one.  It was nothing but trouble…  So Ira got to chat Tom up about the emo-rockin’ West Branch framebuilder lifestyle and I wandered around the shop quietly wondering when I had last gotten a tetnus booster.

This was not just a pleasure ride for me, I had serious business as well.  Tom had worked on two of my bikes and I was hoping to make it three.  Ira had drilled holes in my fork a few days ago to get some low rider mounts brazed into and I was hoping Tom could do it on the spot and it turned out he could!

It was a good time out there, it is always interesting and there is much to see around the shop.  I borrowed the above picture from Ira’s flickr page, he has lots more shots of the place if you want to see.  So by now the sun was setting, we were 10 miles from the nearest Iowa City and Steve had to roll up to Tipton to sleep in the city park so we figured we should roll.  It was a sudden parting of our group, I had wanted to grab a last beer in West Branch to debrief but we just had a see ya at an intersection.  It was nice to meet you and I hope the rest of your trip is grand Steve!

Ira and I rode into the night and took mostly gravel back to Iowa City, angling south to hit town close to the Lefler’s place where Bike Night is every Wednesday night.  The ride was awesome, we saw thousands upon thousands of fireflys in the farm fields all around us and the storm was still kicking out some awesome lightening strikes to the South.

Bike Night was a bit quiet, but we still straightened out a few of the major problems with pro cycling today as we emptied a few beer bottles and Kenny built a wheel.  As we rode off we encountered a toad in the road and after I took a picture Ira saved it from a certain sqooshing.

So that was the evening that was.  A keeper for sure – I love bikes!

I cleaned off the brazing goo this morning and got the rack on and all is well.  I need to give it a quick paint job yet.A trip to the store confirmed yet again that a front basket rocks, I have been without for so long!

Cody and I just started making plans for a full on tour to happen at the end of this month and I am excited to take this bike and see how it goes.  We are going to ride from here to Antioch, IL to celebrate my mom’s retirement and then back again, it should be a fabulous ride!

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