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


  • 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


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


  • 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.