Monday, November 24, 2008

San Felasco

Returned to San Felasco on Sunday, a trip put together by one of the fellas from Open Road in Mandarin. Beautiful Day for a trail ride. Clear skies, bright sun. About a 20 degree differential between riding in the shade and not. Wonderful.

I picked up Travis at about 7:30 and we wheeled in to San Felasco in Alachua at about 8:45. Start time was to be 9, but we held the fellas up for about 10 minutes as we dressed for the ride at the trail head in the cold November air. Start the ride, and we're off. San Felasco has a nice high speed twisty entrance trail that's a nice warm up, but then dumps into this high grassy open type stuff that is best described as lumpy and no fun. A quick push through the sun, and Travis was sucking a little wind. I told the other 8 to go ahead and waited for Travis and then we hit the shady technical trails. For a bit I got some good work in on the bike by dropping back to Travis, then sprinting back up to the fast group, then dropping back to Travis, etc... Did that about 6 times until Travis and I slowed to a pace a little more manageable for the poor FNG...after the sprints at 10-10ths I was pretty wasted too, so a dialed back pace was appreciated by me too. We would intermittently catch up to the larger group throughout the day, and at one point a third guy joined or group of two and we hit the fast pine upland sweeper trails with a pretty good amount of speed. Fun stuff!

I didn't get to ride too much with the fast guys, as I stayed with Travis who was riding at about 8-10ths the pace of the others. He's always waiting for my dragging-ass on road rides, so I was up for the turn-about. He did great though, considering it was his 3rd or 4th trail ride. He did make the observation that it is a totally different experience than road riding. Give the man a few more rides and some clipless pedals and proper shoes and he'll be a demon!

This was the first of what the Open Road folks want to make a regularly monthly group outing. I think next time we'll be in Santos down near Ocala. I haven't been there since maybe 2005, certainly pre-baby.

Christmas break is coming up opportunity to chase down some of the SWAMP group riders in Morris Bridge. They gave me garbage about riding the "hard" trails on my rigid titanium bike last winter, (keeping up wasn't too much of a challenge), maybe this year I'll take the single speed rigid. I'm sure they'll have some senseless editorial comments about that bike for sure...something about my choice of brake pads or some such lunacy. Old guy hunting. Weee!

Winter in gotta love it!

Friday, November 21, 2008


Opportunity Offender! My Karma is a little out of balance, so here's a little Gaffigan!

"I normally don't have a burger, a brat, and a steak's the 4th of July. And I need the energy if I'm gonna start blowing crap up. It's what the founding fathers would want."
- Jim Gaffigan

Achmed the Dead Terrorist

This is just not right...


Yup...I am a woman.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

More RIP

OK, nobody or nothing died this time, at least not suddenly, but there surely has been a death of a trend...or at least a revision of sorts which changes everything in the Vintage-Retro-Classic bike world. Been evolving lately, but now it's official.

EBay is a bust for VRC parts.


The last few auctions I've attempted to win went for insane money. Same for a few I've been watching just out of curiosity.

The word is out.

The trend in popularity of VRC parts in mountain biking is well established, in many ways to the detriment of the newer soul-less alternatives. Predictable result...prices are through the roof on most things, rather than just the holy grailer type parts like Cook Bros cranks and Klein Adroits.

Obviously, the popularity of bikes is a good thing. The popularity of VRC is good at least from the perspective of saving the once neglected shwank parts from back in the day. There will still be garage finds, and some pawn shop fun, maybe a bankrupt shop liquidation or two...but eBay deals will be tough to find. Of course, eBay on the whole is much different from the animal it was a few years ago...bad policies, less individuals and more businesses, and less and less bargains. Too bad really...the sunsetting of an era.


Big Weenie

RIP Shadows and Light.


Just kidding.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Back to WORK!

The family and I all trudged down to Tampa to see the grandparents this weekend. Half the grandparents's just too complicated to organize a quick trip and see everybody, so we've been splitting the trips instead. So far (only three trips I think over the last year) this has worked out OK, but I think that this weekend is going to blow that plan clean out of the water.

Last Thursday I went for a night ride in the Westside Regional park here in town. Quick little 8 mile set of trails affords the urbanite cyclist and the drunken axe murderer the opportunity to commune with nature. I have purchased a new light, a Stella 200L from Light and Motion. The little sucker works pretty damn good, even if the battery pack and charger are made in China. The unit is advertised as made in USA, and the folks at L&M will say "made in USA" when asked (I did) but I guess the correct question would have been " is any bit of that thing made in a country with completely substandard environmental practices?" to which the answer surely would have been different...


Positive traits of the Stella 200L light though...good beam pattern, small and light weight, quick charge time, 5 hour burn time, and the low setting is powerful enough to use, without blinding the hapless plebs with substandard lights. I'd recommend it...if you can stomach the $260 cost and the 50% China contents of the box.

Was I able to keep up with the group on my first ride back in the woods? At night? I'll answer it with a quote...It was a piece of cake...

..."Like a Bald Eagle catching a Chihuahua in a shoebox!"
'Joes Diner'
NFL Network

Thursday, November 6, 2008

3** - 14* ?? Who decides?!

Ever notice that the electoral numbers never add up? Estimates of margin of victory are all over the place... Why is it so hard to figure out, I mean sure, there are swing states, but the total number should never change, right?

I blame the hanging chads! HA!

"In politics, stupidity is not a handicap."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Big-O!! 349-147! WOW!

Final election thoughts...then I'm-a moving on! January 20th can't get here fast enough...

I was on the fence until about July or so...when the strategists began to screw up McCain...and then the whole Palin thing pushed me solidly into the Obama camp, so I was greatly relieved that O pulled it off. At the same time, I felt really bad for McCain. By allowing strategists to pollute his reputation and control his message (and select his running-mate) he really missed out on an opportunity. Probably an opportunity only to make a better showing, as Obama did win in very convincing fashion, but still. Only in the final speech of his campaign did McCain actually begin to sound like McCain again.

Obama's victory speech was very, very well crafted. Masterful. Even in crazy-conservative Jacksonville, people were whooping it up in the streets, and this morning the water cooler talk was almost nearly universally positive. Today is a good day.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Klein Pics

I am a geek for Deore DX! Pure Business! This sucker will be for light duty trail work. Tsali type stuff. Note the Sakae Ninja chainring. Yummy.

Weekend Business...a wide assortment!

Saturday I was going to get up and meet Travis down in Orange Park for the Saturday training ride with the About Bikes crew, but the weather was rainy and gross, and a little windy to boot. Travis called me to say he wasn't jazzed about the prospect of 60 miles in the rain, and I couldn't have agreed with him more, so we bagged the ride. Al would later tell Travis that it was a miserable day on the road, so I guess we made the right decision.

So Big Moma and the Baby and I all ran some errands together in the morning. We ran by Home Depot so I could snag a new faucet for the kitchen sink. The crappy little one-arm-bandit faucet leaks like an old British car, so we're going to toss it in favor of a conventional two-twistie-handle model. Grabbed some water supply lines and a 25lb bag of winter rye seed for the lawn and we were off to Target for a few warmer baby clothes items. Tough to find stuff not made in China these days, but we did, and now the baby will be warm and I'm not supporting the looming Asian environmental disaster. Job well done!

Got home and put the baby in bed for a nap and hit the shop for a little tinkering on the Klein. Mounted up the cranks and derailleurs, seat and brakes, and a few other little doo-dads. I'm closer to getting that bike done than I thought, and I don't really want to have it built and taking up room, but what can I say...the anticipation of getting back on a Rascal is driving me to do it!

Sunday morning Travis and I took the mountain bikes to Hanna Park and did about 10 miles on the trails. We're still shaking some mild bugs from Travis' bike, and I did the trails on the white single speed EWR, so the time-distance issue became a factor, otherwise we may have done more. The single speed work really worked my legs. I felt a little sluggish in places where I knew I was capable of going much faster, so I'll need to re-motivate and hit it harder next time. I also swapped out the stem on the EWR with one of a lower angle of rise, and that was a mistake...have to switch that back.

Then, after lunch with Big Moma and the Baby at Dick's Wings (Moma's choice! I swear!) I went on over to Emery's place to help him move to a new apartment. He lives downtown in one of the luxury high-rise buildings on the south bank, but since the management has begun to feel the financial pinch like the rest of us, they've dialed back his amenities but not his rent, so he bagged the place for a more affordable downtown apartment on the north bank. We got everything moved OK, but for the sofa. Poor Emery. He's got this HUGE comfy man-couch that wouldn't fit in the new building at all. We couldn't get it in the elevators, we tried the stairs. We moved it all over trying to get it in the joint with no luck. Poor man had tears in his eyes with frustration. Nothing like moving to a cheaper apartment to save money and then having to get rid of your sofa and buy another one to replace it. I think his plan is to put it on Craig's List and get some cash for it, and then go smaller.

Went home, and collapsed in bed! Weekend!? HA!

Happy Birthday, Steverino

My brother's birthday was yesterday, and Although I didn't get a chance to wish him well on the phone yesterday, I'll do it here. He is, after all, my biggest (only?) Blog Fan!


A fitting quote...also ganked from Toby Young's book...

"I have no respect for writers. They never make money. They're like poor people looking in the windows."

-Peggy Siegal


Happy Halloween!

Now that the weekend is over and the dust has settled I can finally, peacefully wish everyone a good holiday. Maybe I should start now with the Thanksgiving well-wishes!
The Baby celebrated Halloween on Wednesday at the day-care, dressing up in her dragon costume and trick-or-treating from class to class. We were a home-body bunch on Friday night, though. Baby still to young, I think...and I'm sort of pessimistic about the holiday more than maybe I Should be, so getting out on the road on a holiday evening with a bunch of drunk loonies all over just seemed to be a bad idea. So we stayed in and passed out candy, and played with the baby, and after she went to bed, I enjoyed a few Rogue Dead Guy Ales to celebrate. Seemed the fitting beer of choice for the season!