Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

crap.

Berlin cybertime is almost out!

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This would work better if I knew more than like, 5 words of german. I have learned manage ordering coffee and a marzipan croissant for breakfast, which is awesome, but, 'for here or to go' kills me.

Berlin's public transit system r0ckz0r. It's how all cities should run it. LOTS and lots of trains, subways and surface lightrail and longrange commuter rail and streetcars plus a few busses, all on one unified system. Well, the longrange trains cost extra.

My father is amazed at all the cyclists -- I have seen perhaps 3 people on road bikes, but 93241037 people on the city bikes that essentially ubiquitous here: they look like stuff that doesn't exist in America any more. Full-sized wheels, fenders, a generator-light, and pullback bars are all standard. Also, most have large, sturdy center-stands like a dirt bike, and the standard short-trip locking plan is just to run a U-lock between the spokes of the rear wheel spokes and the frame, then put the stand on. No one seems to steal bikes when they are sitting thus, and I gather they are common and inexpensive.

I am thinking I would love to buy one of these as an errand and commuting bike.

The US needs to get with the program. Yeah, I know, I know....

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Time to go!

Off to Europe.

Back 10 September.

More details as they are available. Possibly, even euro-updates.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I don't know how you have so much time for this, Kman.

I gots to go race now. Then I have like 15 pics to upload. Then, time for working... maybe there will be sleep in there somewhere, too!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I guess I wrote this WalMartBikeUpdate, but didn't post it, so, here we are from about 2 weeks ago? I can't make myself ride this thing as much any more. It hurts my fragile little hands. Maybe I should just wear gloves?

Hrm, crap, I can't find it. Hang on, here.

PS, I'm leaving on Friday to do some racing. Then, I'll be in Portland for a few days, and on Wednesday I leave for Europe. I'll be in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, et al, for about 3 weeks. Fun time! But, with no bike. No fun! I hope I can rent one, for a few days, at least...

Coming later: some nifty pics of a trail behind my apartment that's super hidden for butting right up against reg'lar old Suburbia!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Today has a longer story, but let's just get this up for now, shall we?

I made a bunch of last-minute phone calls about Bellingham on Sunday, but only managed to secure 2 out of the 3 important parts (car there, bed, car back), so, sadly, it was not to be.

Here's what did get done today:




The new BB slotted in fine, and, once again, I'm amazed at how much seal drag these Truvativ / SRAM bearings have when they're brand new. How many watts is that worth? Probably a lot less than it feels like in the stand. But, the bearings are not vaguely rounded rocks like the last one, so that's good.

The headset, however, is not so good. It don't fit. Since I already had it out again, I thoroughly, thoroughly regreased the old one, which means I have done so about 4 times in the past month and a half, plus the bold one.

The girl at the produce stand gave me a lot of peppers. I mean, a LOT of peppers. They were by the bag, and, so, I took what I could carry. End result: I nearly fell over sideways coming down 25th. This is why I really like single-strap messenger bags, over two-strap backpacks -- they position the weight right for RIDING with a lot of stuff. People complain about them putting the weight on one shoulder, but, crap, the weight isn't supposed to be on either shoulder! It goes over the middle of your back, between your shoulder blades. Except for being heavier, you really don't feel it so much when you're leaned over, riding, but the stopping and starting, especially on steep hills, can get a little crazy.

Monday, August 06, 2007

How not to do a race:

Saturday, I had thoughts to do this circuit race over across the bridge in Gig Harbor. Meh, well, that's only some thrity miles away, I thinks, I'll just ride over there! The race is at 1:00, so I leave at 10:45. Doing a pile of laps around a four-mile course doesn't excite me too much, but I figure, I've not done enough weekend racing lately, I'll give it a go. Well, they've just built the new bridge at the Tacoma Narrows, but the bike lane isn't open on the new bridge, so we're still suck on the skinny little sidewalk of the old one. But, they are repaving that bridge, while they're at it, so there are constrcution workers, piles of tar, big metal plates covered in tar (?), and other obstacles in the way. A lot of "bike route -- detour -- this way" signs are the only way I get any idea where I'm going, but eventually I make it to the peninsula. I've only been over here a couple of times, and though the directions seem simple, I must've missed a turn somewhere, or something, because it's quickly clear that this is the Wrong Way.

I realize that my Garmin Edge, while it hasn't got a real map, can show me at traced outline of where I've travelled relative to the start, and I can see that I've gotten far off-course. I look at the clock, realize it's 12:40, and that at this point I'm just going for a ride.

Oh, well. It was a nice ride. I got home at about 5:30, so it was a nice, long ride. I didn't have the Garmin on the whole way, but I'm sure it was over one hundred miles. Even if I didn't have the sustainable power to do what I'd like at Hood, et al, this year, it's nice to be on hour five of a ride and still feel fresh. It makes me reflect on when I started riding, and the ten-mile commute from Portland to Beaverton seemed pretty far.

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Sunday, I almost managed not to do a race again, but I failed. Er, wait, let me make sense of that: Sunday, I did a race. It was a 1/2 criterium, which is hardly my spec-i-al-i-ty, but I thought, what the heck, I'd better do some kinda race!

Milton, Washington is really a cool place to live if you want to do a lot of Seattle-area racing, don't have a car, and think you are hardcore enough to ride to race starts. It will force you to get a lot of miles in, because nothing is right outside your door, but almost everything in the area, from the close-in Seattle stuff, to the peninsula, to the east valley areas -- everything is less than forty miles away. This means I can usually ride out anywhere, and then bum a ride at least partway back if I'm pretty cooked. Anyway, Volunteer Park in Seattle is also about thirty miles away. I knew vaguely of this SeaFair thing going on, but I didn't understand that it would make Lake Washington Boulevard effectively completely impassible, even to bicycles. I had to go super-slow dodging people everywhere, sort out some short-ish-long cuts.

PS, some of those capitol hill neighborhood roads are STEEP!

I made it to the race with five minutes before the start, which isn't ideal, but then, the start ended up being half an hour late, so it was all good. For a non-crit rider, this was a really fun course: a wide-open dragstip of a finish straight, a little turning chute, a sweeping downhill section, and a shallow uphill back to the straight. I just sat in, like I usually do, trying to get a "feel" for things, for the first half of the race, and the pace stayed surprisingly calm for a while. Considering you didn't need to brake for the corner at the top of the hill, there was more slowing in the pack than I'd expect. Well, with a little more effort giving up momentum to shoot up the sides of the hill, it was pretty easy to get up to the front. So, I got up near the front, and people started throwing down some attacks.

Since I don't know much about criterium tactics, I just had the plan that I would follow a few dudes that I had seen do well at other races, and that seemed to work out okay. Then, I was near enough to the front that I figured it was time to see if I couldn't bridge up to the group that I was convinced was up the road (why else would the pack be going that slow?) so I went hard up the hill. Next time around, there was only two other guys with me, and we worked together that lap, and then they rang the bell. When the HB dude sprinted for the line, I realized that the bell was for -us-, so that must mean there wasn't anyone up the road.

After that lap, the two guys that were with me dropped, so I just kept rollin' it. I made sure to drill it up the hill, and try to recover a bit on the way down. It was sorta neat to hear people cheering for -me- in a crit, that never happens. They rang the bell a couple more times, and I grabbed the primes. Hoo-ray.

D'ya know, I've never won a prime before? Not in anything, not in Cat 5, or Cat 4, or collegiate, or Cat 3, or whatever. Weird stuff. That is probably because I never attacked in crits, because I was too busy doing the death-grip on the bars thing. It's only the past few races that criteriums have been any "fun," but in the stage race ones I was basically trying to "rest."

I didn't have the gas to finish the job, though, that would've been cool. Caught with 2 to go, and I was dyin' pretty good.

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PPS, I won a bunch of coffee, since this race was put on by Zoka. If you know me, you'll think this is pretty funny. YT loves his coffee. You know, I've never tried Zoka, but this stuff smells pretty good. Once I finish the last of the Fox Hollow I'm on right now, I'll give it a shot. It's called "Paloton Blend." I think they were going after "Peloton blend," but, that's okay.

Friday, August 03, 2007

It's a bomb! No, wait...

So, I had some spare bike parts coming to me, and they were delivered to a local bike company. I have a friend who works for the company, and he was driving by my place, so he offered to drop the box of parts off for me. Well, I wasn't back from the Thursday Night worlds yet -- I was still 20 mins out or so -- and I told him where he could stash the box outside my place.

Apparently, some "concerned citizen" neighbor called the cops about this "suspicious package," and I guess they came and collected it.

Now I gots to go down to the po-lice station in a cuppla hours to collect my bomb.

I mean, derailleur.