Friday, August 29, 2008

The frame is straight, it has threads (I know, how very "old-skool"), it's been prepped, and now it's on the way for a date with a man armed with a spray gun! We'll have to see exactly what colors they have in stock and readily available; I gave them 5 options, but a silly florescent green was my leading choice!

Last night I introduced Jessica to the world of Guitar Hero. I could see that little twinkle of obsession starting to sparkle in her eye, and I was rather surprised we didn't end up getting it... yet... Rock Band 2 will be coming out soon enough.

The minutes are ticking away (however slowly) and soon we'll be knee-deep in a 3-day weekend! Just in time too... I sense that I definitely need a break. No real big plans for the holiday weekend, other than some nice relaxing downtime and hopefully a good spate of mountain biking on the local trails! Hopefully I'll even get a chance to see Jessica, who is busy busy with the upcoming show Out of Order, soon to be playing at The Vic.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Huge props to Mr. Rubin, who took a good minute off last year's time, and finished up the "somewhat-old-man-category" at World's Time Trial in 4th place. Good job man!

The bike is all welded now! I picked it up last night, for some more transportation. Sorry, I didn't have a chance for an updated photo, but suffice to say, the welds look awesome, and now it's a stiff collection of tubes, resembling a bike frame. Today it should get the final alignment, tap some threads in that bad boy, and ream the seat tube. Then, once I look through my little book here and pick out a color, it's off to the powder-coater! Woo Hoo! I'm still hoping that it gets done in time for Brecktobercross next weekend... but we'll see.

I've been doing way too much transportation for the bike frame, but at least there was a spectacular sunset last night! Bummer, that I had to snap this photo, from over my shoulder, while sitting at a stop light last night.

Okay... I think it's time for lunch now...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Out of the Jig

It seems like such a long process, but it's most likely just because the cross season is lurking right around the corner... and I'm impatient. Especially when it comes time for a new bike! Anyway, the new cross frame is all tacked-up, out of the jig and yesterday I picked it up, so I could transport it to the fine gentleman that is going to weld it up for me.

These are quick, shoddy pictures that I took. But it's starting to look more and more like a "real" bike! Once it's all welded, then it's off for it's powder coat, then I will finally be able to build it, and try it out!

Speaking of bikes and bike parts... last night I stumbled into a (semi) local bike shop, and was able to lay my hands on the new 2009 7900 series Dura Ace!

I wish I could say it wasn't awesome… but it really is some SWEET stuff! I thought it looked pretty cool in pictures, but in person, on a bike, it looks even better. It has that somewhat stealthy, very purpose-driven look about it. Very cool. Even if it doesn't work any different at all, I like it just for the looks! I didn't get a chance to ride it, but sitting on the showroom floor, the shifter action seems really nice... slightly more "mechanical" than the current stuff. Having my small elfin hands, I was a bit sad that they increased the size of the brake hoods. But they are still quite comfortable, and easy to grip. As has been the case with all the new groupos coming out the last couple years, I wish it wasn't so nice, I wish I was more disappointed once I saw it in person, so that I wouldn't find myself lusting after it. Especially with the way prices are going in the cycling world!

Well, at least it isn't nearly as expensive as Super Record! With the new Campy stuff, I really want to hear from all the Campy guys, that always talk about how beautiful the campy stuff is, especially compared to Shimano stuff. I mean, it is typically gorgeous stuff, but have you taken a good look at those new Campy shifters!? It's pretty likely that they are comfy for your hands, but wow are they ugly! They look like some Campy shifter grew a tumor, and then the whole thing melted in the hot summer sun. At least, that's my current impression, and I haven't gotten to see them in person.

Beyond the new Dura Ace, and the stratospherically-priced Super Record, I think the real group that is the most eye-popping is the new Rival stuff!

It's not the most "gee-whiz" or eye-catching group. But it uses nearly all the technology and mechanics of the top o' the line Red group, but with cheaper materials. Sure, the crank is still a turd, so you'd want to swap that out for something a good deal lighter and sexier, and the black finish kind of reminds me of the Shimano 105 9-speed group, but the new carbon brake levers help clean things up. It's like HALF the price of the top groupos, but with nearly all the performance, and all of 100-some grams heavier!

Anyway... all this talk about multi-gear systems... I want to get back to focusing on that single speed of mine!

Monday, August 25, 2008

World Championship Weekend

It's the weekend we've all been waiting for! Sure, most of the attention has been focused on the Olympics, and this little party the Democrats are throwing themselves after taking over the entire city of Denver. But really, I know that everyone has really been waiting for the Air Guitar World Championships!

Back in the real world... it was a pretty mellow weekend. Went for a night out on the town with Jessica, in Boulder on Friday night. Saturday I went out mountain biking for the first time in a long while. I wanted to explore one system of trails, and I did a great job of getting myself lost. Hopefully I can (efficiently) find my way back, so I can explore some more trails that looked sweet, but I didn't have time for. The afternoon thunderstorms were rolling in, just in time to chase me home.

Sunday was the HART race down in South Denver, so we packed up the car and left for that one. Much like this past weeks Bus Stop ride, I felt much more like my old self. Not 100%, but the power and endurance were starting to come back. So I was able to be fairly active, and do my thing, while going around and around the course. Some good excitement just before the start of our race, as a funnel cloud, which developed into a small tornado, was visible just a few miles away! Not much we could do other than stand there and watch it. I mean, where do you go for cover when you are standing in an office park, filled with locked office buildings? There wasn't too much worry, as it was small, and the wind was trying to keep it at bay for us. Unfortunately no pics, as I didn't have my camera on the start line with me.

The HART race was pretty much the last road race of the season. While I love cyclocross season, I have such mixed emotions when it's time for cyclocross season. Because of course that means summer is over, and winter is on it's way. Ugh... I would much prefer 12 months of summer!

Other than that, we also dog-sat cousin Tanis this weekend. It was Tanis' first weeekend at "Camp Brian" and I think he had a pretty good time. He got more than enough attention, that's for sure!

The rest of this week should just be a matter of trying to stay as far away from Denver as possible! I want no part of that mess!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Prairie Home Companion

Last night Jessica and I were off to Red Rocks for A Prairie Home Companion! This is always one of my favorite shows to listen to on public radio. Garrison Keillor just cracks me up with his wit and humor. It looked a bit rainy on the way down, but the evening cleared up quite nicely, other than for some wind.

The show started with a couple songs;

And some stories;

It would be silly to try and tell you about the show. It's a great show that you just have to listen to, in order to really enjoy. It was fun to see them live, and be a part of the show; to hear totally unexpected things, and to hear the common bits that you have heard on the radio for years. Always interesting to see people in person, that you really only ever "see" on the radio.

Red Rocks itself, was gorgeous as usual;

And with a pretty clear night, the moon drew lots of gasps, as people started to notice it coming up over the horizon. It was huge, and deep red last night.

The show made for another late night, but I'm so glad we had a chance to go. It was a lot of fun. And hey... there's always tomorrow to try and catch up on sleep!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


JP and I got some work done on the cross frame Monday, and it should be all set for the welding torch. Throw on some paint, and then some bike-bits, and it should be a rolling machine! Sorry, I didn't manage to get any pictures of the work we did the other night. But soon I might have one soon of it tacked-up, before the real welding starts.

I went full-on race-setup on the cross frame, if you remember, which means no water bottle bosses. Now, after seeing the iHome Bike to Beach Bicycle Speaker yesterday... I almost wish I had a bottle cage! I mean it's a speaker, that fits into your water bottle cage, and keeps your iPod safely tucked away inside. Just think of how you could annoy people on group rides! I wonder how loud this puppy goes. It just might be the answer to those annoying peeps that want to do a group ride with their headphones in, because well, they want to be SEEN on the ride, but not actually interact with others.

Though if I had smooth-pimpin;' cruiser... I would definitely consider running the speaker on one bottle mount, and the Surly flask and matching flask-holder on the other bottle mount. Now that would be slick - whiskey to keep you warm on those cold rides, and no worries about your headphones falling out, while you subject everyone to the most twisted depths of your music collection.

Monday, August 18, 2008

It Rained...

...and rained, and rained and rained. It started raining... non stop... on Thursday evening. On Saturday morning, the view out the window still looked like this;

When it's that cold, rainy, dark and crappy, there is only one thing left to do - double espresso and Walker's shortbread. Okay, I admit it, I had three shots by the time I was done.

That's alright, TiVo had more than enough Olympics coverage for me to catch up on. And eventually it cleared up to the point where I could sneak out for a quick run, in just a steady drizzle, so I only got slightly wet.

After the rain returned for all of Saturday night, Sunday morning, things were finally starting to break up some. The clouds cleared enough that we could see the fresh snow on the mountains. I'm going to say this counts as the first snow of the year, since we're past the solstice.

Just in time too, since we had to make a quick road trip to the other side of the divide for the day. It rained off and on, but on the way back, Vail was opened up a bit, and provided it's usual stunning view;

I got a ride in, Sunday evening, deciding to roll the dice against the weather. Just as I topped out on the climb furthest from home, I was sure it was a roll I had lost. The clouds were downright evil, black and definitely had moisture pouring out of them. I should have stopped to take a picture, but I was afraid of wasting the time! I lucked-out, and only got rained on a bit, but seemed to be chasing the storms as the road was heavily soaked for most of the ride.

It looks like I should get to work on the single speed cross bike today, and hopefully finish up the tubes, and get it tacked together - all set for final welding. I'm anxious to get it done, and new bikes never seem to come quickly enough! Wednesday Jessica and I are off to Red Rocks to see A Prairie Home Companion! Definitely one of my favorite radio shows, so we are both really looking forward to seeing them live and in person. It should be very interesting after really only listening to the show on the radio (since you can't really count the movie, even though it was awesome).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Project # SS0808

You may remember a quick reference, way back when, to a little bike drawing, and promises of more details to come;

Well, this is a drawing of a new bike frame for me... a race-dedicated, single-speed, cyclocross frame! No silly fender mounts, no derailleur tabs or cable stops in case I want to change my mind, not even any of those silly water bottle bosses. We're talking race-ready. I did most of the geometry to match up with my current Felt frame, since I really love the feel of that bike, and it seems so hard to find a cross bike, in my small size, with geometry I really like. Even more difficult to find a lightweight aluminum single speed cyclocross bike, without spending a small fortune, and/or going custom anyway. So this was drawn up by my friend JP over at JamesFrames.

Probably the coolest bit of the new frame, is that it will also serve as my "apprenticeship" for frame building as JP is letting me do most of the work, and sharing his knowledge with me. I had a very good idea of how things worked, from previous cycling-world experiences, but to really get in there with a saw and file, is a new experience. So with cross season quickly approaching, my new "bike" finally arrived;

We dove right in last night, as I set up the jig and started to get tubes cut. Here is the jig, with the seattube, headtube and bottom bracket shell (mostly) all set;

As I expected, it took a bit of time to get rolling, as I get familiar with the different tools, and measurements, and measure and remeasure everything 4 times. Plus, even with triple-checking everything, I still made the inevitable mistake and "wasted" one of the tubes, so that took some extra time. After about two hours, I had the main triangle set up.

And we had some other small details taken care of, like bending the seat and chainstays as well, so they are prepped to be cut and mitered. But with our limited time, it was time to call it a night. The plan is to finish up the rear of the bike by over this weekend, tack it up, and then get it all welded. I won't be doing the welding - it's one thing to play with, but I don't want to start out on my own frame... not yet anyway!

Now for the hardest part... picking a color for the powdercoat!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I got in a good ride last night, rolling up and down several of the local Boulder climbs. It's always nice to get back on some of the more quiet climbs, where you don't have as much traffic. Along the way, I went over Lee Hill. This area sees it's share of cyclists, and more often than not, there is some sign one of the locals has put up, "yelling" at the cyclists to stop speeding or to complain about some other matter. So it was refreshing to come across this sign at the top of Lee Hill last night;

Speaking of cyclists, sad news that two more cyclists were killed by a vehicle in Colorado Springs last week. A sad story no doubt, and so far completely the fault of the driver. But this story really made me mad when I read, "Their deaths are the 13th and 14th traffic deaths this year in Colorado Springs. Of those, 11 have involved an impaired driver, police said. Maybe the laws aren't strict enough. I know the driving tests aren't strict enough!

I wonder what kind of special driving permit you need for something like this? My current favorite for local rides around here.

Even bigger than the tires on the jacked-up, doorless ElCamino, were the clouds that were forming over the flat-lands when I got back up to the house last night;

Clarence is settling into his new digs pretty well. Though admittedly, his endless need for attention, super sharp kitten claws, and early morning schedule is driving Jessica and I a little bonkers.

It's been too long since I've had a kitten running around, and I've blocked out all the extra work they are. Almost as bad as a puppy. But still awfully cute and fuzzy.

If plans hold up... I should get to work on a new project tonight!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Claire = Clarence

*** UPDATE ***

This breaking news just in!

Claire's first trip to the vet today has returned the news that "she" actually does have some little external gonads down there, making her a "Clarence".

Kinda funny since when I first saw him, I thought he might be a boy, and I wanted to name him Clarence, but checking under the hood, he seemed more like a she, hence, the pink collar and name. So I guess it's time for a new collar...

Marble, Claire, and Isaac

This weekend Jessica and I packed up the car and pointed it west towards New Castle to visit Harry and Danielle, and head out to the MarbleFest music festival. Of course MarbleFest takes it's name from the tiny little town of Marble, named for... you guessed it... the exceptionally high-quality marble that is quarried there. Check out the "left-over" marble that has been set aside at the mouth of the mine. And for scale of these blocks, check out the truck and office-trailer visible on the right!

Marble Colorado is located in the Upper Crystal River Valley, and it's a downright gorgeous area!

Looking back down the valley, from up near the mine that we didn't trespass into.

Unfortunately, the forecast called for a pretty good chance of rain. And on the ground... it definitely looked like a very good chance for rain.

We settled down for some good local music. Fortunately, Danielle had scored a great deal on some camp chairs, since we forgot to bring ours. Unfortunately, mine apparently shrunk in the rainfall! At least it still had a cup-holder for my Fat Tire, which is now available in cans - making it "no glass containers event" friendly!

This gal pulled up her blanket, and grabbed a seat directly in front of us... Judging from her shirt, I'm guessing she's "popular with the boys".

Oh! Is it going to clear up!?

No sir... it wasn't going to clear up. So we made the bummer-decision to bail, and head back down to New Castle, and a bit more sunshine. But it was too late... apparently my head had gotten water-logged from all the rain, and I spurred on the decision for Jessica and I to adopt a new family member. Everyone, meet Claire!

Claire is about a 3 month old alley-cat/kitten just down the street from the Berger's. She came right out to see me the couple times we walked past this weekend. From the looks of her home and family members, she wasn't getting the care and food that she really needed. Even her little white ears were sun-burnt to the point that no fur was growing on them and the edges were curling up. We did some inquiring and the "owners" were more than happy for us to take her home with us, so we did. It's a bit stressful adding another creature to our herd, and getting them to all play nice together, but hopefully everyone will settle down soon. And Claire, well, she's a crazy little explorer cat, that is mostly happy when you pick her up, or just thrash her around for some play time. -More updates on her to come, I'm sure!

Man... crushing news just in... Isaac Hayes found dead next to his still-running treadmill. Hayes was a true pioneer in the world of music. So many artists have been influenced by his style and unmistakable voice. Even if you don't know his music, you know his voice as Chef in SouthPark. Running is downright dangerous, I'm never going close to a treadmill again!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Weekend Time!

Weird... a cooler week, including even, some actual rainfall.

Wednesday I managed to get out for a ride before the rains came. I didn't think it would hold off, but it was actually pretty nice. Warm, but much cooler than it has been, and while the clouds were threatening, I didn't get wet at all. Though I didn't push my luck, and just did some quick climbs in the foothills.

Coming back across Poorman Road something strange caught my eye. I had to have a stop to see just what the heck it was. Ummm... you KNOW it's a big spider if it catches your eye as you are flying along the road!

He didn't seem real pleased that I was stopping to check him out, so I just took a quick picture for scale, and hurried on my way - making a mental note to not stop for a break, along the side of the road in this area.

I made it back to the house, just in time for the truly dark clouds to start rolling in. Unfortunately the picture doesn't really capture the way these clouds were shooting their way up into the foothills at high speeds!

I couldn't believe it rained most of the night. I can't remember the last time I fell asleep to steady rainfall. But it made for some great clouds and clear air the following morning.

Yesterday I picked up the new iPhone! Woo Hoo! Though the downside is that it has pretty much taken over my life for a few days, as I try to get everything "dialed-in". More impressions from that front soon.

This weekend Jessica and I are headed out to visit Harry and Danielle out in New Castle, and catch up with a music festival in the tiny town of Marble, CO. The forecast is for "wet"... but let's hope it doesn't get too wet.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Little of Everything

Another week... another 3 dollars and fitty cents...

This past weekend saw a return to the racing scene. It was good to be back with the gang, racing at the Federal Center, and the boys in purple were pretty well represented.

The legs felt okay in the race, and I could move around pretty easily early in the race, but it was those damned accelerations that I had issues with. The body felt way better than the first race back after a break last year, so that's good, and steady efforts weren't bad, but those spikes were a bit too much at the moment. I guess I'm too delicate... you know, like lots of other cyclists;

Whatever they want to wear masks, that's fine, who cares. China obviously cares because of the vision of an overly polluted city that it portrays. (Hey! Why do you think it's so cheap to produce things in China!?) Especially in a time where the Olympics are more about selling television ad space, marketing in general, and lining the pockets of people that make up Olympic Committees, than it is about the actual sports, and beauty of competition. The real jerks that need to take the full blame in this story are the people at the USOC who designed and GAVE the masks to the athletes, and then turned around and "scolded" them for actually using them!

But then, maybe cyclists wouldn't be so delicate, if half of them weren't doped up on cocaine or drugs meant for old ladies and cancer victims?

This past weekend Jessica, Alex and myself went out for some dinner at the Wondervu Cafe. There is always at least some entertaining people watching to do there, and this time, I also noticed this great ashtray! It looked so "natural" and blended right in, that I surprised myself by even noticing it!

And we had another great view on the way home;

This week has been moving along slowly, but I think it's because I'm antsy, waiting for my new phone to come in! That's right, sold my soul for the new iPhone. The good news is that it comes with a free black turtleneck, and probably a cup of special blue kool-aide. I guess I'm unofficially part of the cult, but I'm still avoiding the Apple Store like a plague... that place creeps me out...

I am anxious to play with my new toy, and find out all the fun stuff it will do. It does a lot of neato stuff, even if it isn't as glitzy and full-tilt as the Tag Heuer Meridiist

"Luxury phones" are just plain pretty silly... all the more so since they never seem to have a full suite of over-the-top functions, to match their over-the-top fashion; like the quartz face of the Meridiist. I mean, go buy an Aston Martin and you get amazing styling AND incredible hardware. Buy a $5000 phone, and you get a Motorola Razr in opulent packaging. Hey, to each their own.