Monday, December 22, 2008

What I've Learned...

...from the 8" of snow in front of my house.

1. The lid from a rubbermaid bin does not make for a good sled, neither does a boogie board. Use a real sled, better yet, wrap the boogie board with a trash bag and ride that.

2. The El Mariachi is fantastic in the snow, the wide tires combined with near zero air provide great traction.

3. Crank Bros Mallets are NOT good in the snow when used with regular boots.

4. 5050s are perfect for riding in the snow.

5. Screw biking, the hill I live on is perfect for snowboarding.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Photographic Evidence

Well, it turns out that most of my pictures from Sunday really suck so there's not a whole lot worth sharing.

BCT, as if you didn't already know.

The mighty Agua Fria river, we heard it before we could see it and for a brief moment I was worried about crossing.


I think the bike was asking a lot.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ok, Maybe One Picture...

Dad says this will protect me up to 50 GHz.

Back in the 'nix

Well, it's been a good trip. Saturday, on the way to the house we stopped and picked up Tim's Niner so that I'd have something to ride. Tim has a thing for nice bikes and he keeps them in good shape, so when we got there and the bike looked as if it just came off the floor at Rage I felt a little ping of hesitation but that didn't last long. After just a couple of small adjustments back at the house I had the bike nearly perfect.

Sunday morning we loaded up and headed North to the Little Pan loop on the Black Canyon Trail. I first rode this trail about two years ago with a group from MTBR and it was still fairly fresh and soft in a number of places. Since then it's bedded in quite well and become quite the place to ride. Tim's Niner was absolutely fantastic, I couldn't have asked for a better bike. It was just a hair twitchier than the El Mariachi, but very predictable. The bike plus the bad ass trail helps to remind me what it is about Arizona that I miss so much. The abundance of amazing mountain biking is all anyone could ask for. Of course, I also have had to deal with mild allergy problems, just like when we lived here, but that I can handle.

The real purpose of my visit was to help my mom pick out some materials for the house and drop some knowledge for how the remodel ought to go down and I think that went pretty well. Of course, I'm not the one doing the work so obviously it went well from my point of view. We picked some materials, talked about cabinet options, and mulled over some paint colors. Nothing too taxing.

Today, before my flight, we picked up Char and hit LGO for dinner. LGO wasn't my first choice but The Roosevelt, Lisa G's, and Lola Topas are all closed on Monday. It wasn't all bad, Rombauer Zin was only $27 a bottle with no corkage fee, that's like six bucks less than buying in the store in Washington. Good times.

Pictures will have to wait until I get back to Seattle.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

All Done

My frame bag project is done. From a foot or two away it looks pretty nice too. Grand total for the project is in the neighborhood of $24 dollars, including thread, new needles for the sewing machine, and a fancy new pin cushion. I had all of the pattern cutting done earlier in the week and got assembly done today. It took me around four or five hours to complete. The zipper was a real bitch and I can think of a couple better ways to do it now that it's done.

My big monster chain fits inside perfectly. Maybe I'll build a full size one next. Or a seat bag. Or a handlebar bag. Or a...

Almost Done!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

That Perfect Christmas Gift

Just a little FYI - TopoFusion is on sale! If you've got a GPS for some sort of sporting activity there's no reason that you shouldn't have TopoFusion. I've been using it for the last three years and I gotta say it's the best thing I've seen for tracking rides. Download the demo and see for yourself. Also, it was created by an Arizona mountain biker, what's not to love.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

I've got a lot to be thankful for this year, my wife, my health, my family, my friends, the fact that I still have a job in an industry that is suffering badly during the current economic downturn, you know the basics. What I'm really thankful for at this very moment is Thanksgiving dinner, the most un-fucking-believable Thanksgiving dinner I've ever had. Paul and Sean really out did themselves putting dinner together. Paul sent the menu out in advance, and here it is:

Hors d'Oeuvres

  • Chipolte Meatballs
  • Plantain Chips with Mango Pomegranate Guacamole

First Course

  • Clenentine Jicama Salad

Dinner

  • Adobo Turkey with red-chile gravy
  • Corn-bread and chorizo stuffing
  • Cranberry Pineapple salsa
  • Roasted chayotes with garlic
  • Sweet-potato coconut puree
  • Poblano Potato gratin

Dessert

  • Apple pie with mexican brown sugar
  • Rum ice cream
  • Chocolate cinnamon cream pie

Wine

  • Some California Sparkling Roses (to start)
  • California Petite Sirah (for dinner)
The standouts were the meatballs, the salad, the turkey, and all of the desserts.

Paul setting out hors d'oeuvres.


By the end of the night I'm sure Paul regretted telling us all about his World of Warcraft Avatar and his fancy virtual pants.

Cutting into the bird, I really don't know how I got picked for the job.

Post dinner everyone was pretty well stuffed and unable to move.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Two Days, Same Project

Yesterday, I was standing out on the roof of may new project and chatting with a coworker. He was sitting in his job office, looking out across Lake Washington at the Cascades, and I was standing 100ft above the marina looking out at the sound and the Olympics beyond. He commented about how lucky we both are, not only to be still employed at our construction jobs at the worst possible time to find oneself in the construction business, but also that we get to sit at our respective desks and enjoy the views that we do. I agreed whole heartedly.

Today, I realize that my cohort is one up on me. It was raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock(thanks for that one dad) and the wind was coming up off the sound with a vengeance. I'm still 4 weeks out on windows and who knows when I'll have some semblance of heat. Not so bad when I'm actually working, but try sitting in front of a computer for two hours in 45 degree weather with the wind coming at you and then see how many finger and toes you can still feel. Hey, at least I'm employed!

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Friday, November 14, 2008

First Impressions

First of all, I should say that this was supposed to go down on Monday but I've been crazy fucking sick since Sunday, and as my momma used to say,"If you're too sick to go to school, you're too sick to ride your bike." I worked a half day on Monday, nothing Tuesday, most of Wednesday, and some how powered through yesterday. Today I'm feeling pretty good except for the upper respiratory crud that's still lingering, or so I thought.

Anywhoo, on to more important things, the Cowan first ride impressions. I took the bike out to Colonnade after work today for a little spin around the park. As for feeling better today, I was completely beat by the second time around the pump track, but I digress, this is supposed to be about the bike. First of all, this is the first bike of mine in many years without clipless pedals and the feeling of not being attached is completely foreign to me, especially in the air(minimal air BTW). I had no trouble keeping my feet where they needed to be for landing but I'm so used to using my pedals as a crutch to pull the rear wheel up and get it where I need it, it might take a little work to get back those basic BMX skills I had 20 years ago(20!?!). The whole low seat thing for a hucking bike makes total sense to me, but again feels totally unnatural. Not a huge problem, but as out of shape as I am plus the lingering sickness meant that I could have used a place to both plant my ass and pedal at the same time.

The bike felt pretty good on the pump track, and I was able to keep momentum pretty well. On the jumps and on K-Line I felt ok but my weight was clearly too far forward, not a huge surprise considering the fact that I'm running what are basically fat boy XC parts. The bike is begging for a stubby stem, something in the 40-50 mm range. I also think a taller gear might be in order, maybe even, heaven forbid, gears(plural). All in all it's a seems like a pretty decent bike, I think I'll hold onto it for the time being and swap parts back and forth between it and TBFKaU and needs warrant.

Test Ride

It's About Damn Time!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

All Together Now

The new Cowan built up and ready to ride. Not as straight forward as I had hoped but I still got there. The steerer on my Vanilla was just to short to work on this bike with the King headset from TBFKaU and the +4 race it had on it. It also wasn't going to work with the FSA Pig that came on the bike for the same reason(also missing the crown race so a no go either way). So I went with swapping over the CB DH Directset from the El M. and putting the King there. Still a hair shy but good enough for the kind of work I do. Everything else worked out fine and I'm all ready to go.

Everything seems in good order riding up and down the street. It's amazing how different the bike feels from TBFKaU, just up and down the street. Side by side the two frames look pretty similar(yes I held them up side by side) but man does the Cowan feel quick for a heavy bike. It's at least two pounds heavier than it's donor and I imagine a few more if I added gears and some hucker parts. That would easily make it the heaviest bike in the garage.

The true test will be tomorrow, I'm going to load up in the morning and hit Colonnade after work. Conveniently enough I'm working not far from there at the moment. My prediction is that I'll be on dirt less than three minutes after leaving the jobsite.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bringing it Back to Bicycles

So, I'm in my 30s and Michele's in her late, LATE 20s. For some crazy reason her mom still sends us birthday money every year(NOT that I'm complaining!). Anyway, this is what I spent that money on this year:

'06 Kona Cowan picked up on the super cheap. I wanted one of these real bad when they first came out, you know, the orange one. I don't really need a dirt jumper, but I think it could make for a decent urban assualt bike. I'm going to build it up tomorrow with parts from The Bike Formerly Known as Unit and see if I even like it. If I don't like it I'm 100% certain that I can turn a little profit on Craigslist, if I do, I'll see what I can scrounge up at the Seattle bike swap in a few months.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Salmon Watch '08

Worst. Photo. Ever.

Wow. We really look stupid here. Really.

We went to the biggest Halloween party ever last night at the Yarrow Point client's house. I do mean big too. Jumpy castle, jumpy slide, pinatas, a shit ton of food, and more decorations than you could shake a stick at. We went as an upper and lower G.I. It was my idea and Michele resisted(not much though). She feels that it fits in quite nicely with this though.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Last Jersey

The last Fatty v2.0 jersey that is. I ordered it back in May during the few hours that one could be ordered. Turns out I ordered just between the time that last one was sold and the ability to order was taken down. Brent at Twin Six gave me two options, either I could have my money back or with the little bit of material left they offered to make one for me special, it would just take a while. I had pretty much forgotten about it. A mere five months later and lookie what just came in the mail today, with a couple of water bottles to boot.

BTW - If you haven't been following Fatty's blog lately, things look like they're headed downhill fast. He's providing very moving insights into his family's battle with cancer on a pretty regular basis.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Socks and Underwear

Happy Birthday to me. Michele's off working overnights and I'm about to catchup on The Daily Show after enjoying a fantastic TV dinner. Anyway, Michele outdid herself this year with socks and underwear. Believe it or not it's a great gift.

About a year ago I turned a corner on socks. Tim and Lucy got me a nice pair of wool socks a year ago, not the big, furry, itchy popular amongst those that harvest maple syrup in Vermont, but the thin, comfy, not too warm, not too cold socks of the future. It's amazing how much better I feel at the end of a day when I'm wearing a nice pair of socks. Anyway, Michele's purchase of birthday socks puts me over the top, I now have enough decent socks that never again will I have to wear a pair of six for six dollars cotton athletic socks.

As for the underwear, I've been wondering for a while if it would be possible to turn a corner on underwear the same way I did on socks. This, however, is a much more expensive prospect. Have you seen how much a single pair of travel underwear goes for at REI? No way in hell I was spending that kind of money for the unknown, so Michele took that step for me.

She also got me a picture book and a normal word based book.

Oh yeah, I she got me cupcakes too.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Back to St. Ed's

It's been a while since Michele and I have ridden St. Ed's. We took a short and sweet quickie ride around the park. The place was packed, I've never seen so many people on bikes there. Even worse at Big Finn.

Trails were nice and dry, hasn't really rained here in over a week and the weathers been quite nice lately, albeit a little chilly.

The pictures might give you the impressions that the leaves have just started to turn, but believe me, they'll be completely gone before you know it.

Good times.

Monday, October 20, 2008

MOHAI Day

After polishing off our pancakes from a can yesterday Michele and I headed to MOHAI to take in a little local history.

Rocking the best little bike lane in Seattle. I know you can't see it, but all I'm wearing is a t-shirt and shorts. Michele on the other hand is bundled up for a snow storm. She refused to believe that I was comfortable in my chosen outfit.

Ahh, the big guns.

Cool poster explaining what 100 year does to a simple bike ride. I thought it was pretty interesting.

Best thing in the museum by far, love that "R". They also had the original official 80's Rainer beer ambassador's uniform. Classic.

More Classic.

Pho for lunch and Michele giving me that "put the pho-king camera away already" look.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I'm a Sucker For Innovation

Walla Walla Trip Randoms

Some pictures from the trip taken from the regular camera.

Our kick ass campsite

Too bad we didn't stay there.

The trail we rode at Teanaway pretty much sucked, but it was so good to be on the bike and on the dirt I didn't much care about the trail. It was good just to be spinning wheels for a change.

Mmmm, hot dog, fire, and beer.

Somewhere around Potholes.

Palouse Falls

File this under "duh"

The Palouse is burning, shot from the top of Steptoe Butte.