Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Not a Little Bit of Snow

As expected, it started dumping on Tuesday night. Quite a bit actually, as I had feared, after seeing the clouds as the sun came up Saturday morning. Luckily, I snuck out at lunch time, with some others for a Tuesday-before-the-blizzard-comes-cyclocross-ride. Pretty sweet, high 50's and close to two hours of riding and hopping the barriers.

The snow was bad enough, but I nearly snapped, when just a few hours into the storm, our power went out. Just before bed time. Ugh... that meant "camping" out in the family room, and keeping the fire going all night. Luckily the power came back on around 5am. That was way more surprising than waking up to see CU hadn't closed for the day. As usual for them, it was looking like a day of making everyone risk their life to drive in, just so they could send them home early. Forget that noise, I had work with me, and was all set to work from home. Especially once Tayler checked the pretty well blocked road;

Jessica thought about getting out, but she didn't make it either;

A bit after lunchtime and we were sitting at a solid 28 inches, with the snow still coming down as hard as ever.

Staying home is fairly hard - there's not a freaking thing on television during the day. Even more painful, is the unstoppable urge to watch the news to see what is happening down below - and hoping to see the right name in the Closures List. Which... is just frightening, because then you see groundbreaking news stories like warning college students that by playing beer pong, they are going to die from Swine flu. Or the story by the local weather chick, reminding watchers, that it's important in snowy weather, to remember to clean your windshield wipers off, BEFORE leaving. Television... OFF!

At least we could still (sorta) see where the driveway started;

And thanks to a roaring fire, the house was warm;

And Neo was having a blast, but I think he needs a snorkel!

I'm hoping the shoveling tired me out enough, that I'll be able to sleep enough tonight, and then wake up to see how the snow looks in the morning.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Burn Baby, Burn!

Regardless of what cyclists like to think, they are viewed by most people, even in cycling-friendly cities like Boulder, as borderline-freaks at best. Which is why things like this weekends "Ride Against Coal" really kind of irk me.

I'm all for being nice enough to the environment and all that jazz, even though no one was ever kind enough to worry about how the environment would be for my life... So you know, go protest, whatever. But if you're riding down two of the primary roads in Boulder, blocking traffic, do you really think that makes other people stuck in the traffic behind you really think, "Hmmm... I should get out and ride my bike"? No, it makes me embarassed to be a cyclist as it is. Even better when you think about the fact that here are 200 protesters, blocking traffic in an effort to reduce coal consumption, yet while they are blocking traffic, there are 100+ cars sitting in the street idling, burning fossil fuels and creating even more waste than if they were free to move along to their destination.

I won't even bitch about the number of traffic laws that the same protesters were breaking in an effort to make cycling look like a viable transportation option.

As a protest to people that don't make sense in the way they protest agains global warming which may or may not be primarily driven by mankind depending on who funded the given study, I fully intend to be one of the first to bid on my dirty fuel-burning lawn-mower powered Lazy-Boy Recliner.

Doesn't much matter either way, since the Mayan calender has already warned that we're all going to die from this shitty movie anyway.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Satan's Birthday

Sweet... almost time for Satan's Birthday again, so Jessica and I hit the pumpkin patch last weekend, laughed at the Boulder parents, and picked out some big ass pumpkins which we then pulled the gooey brains out of, and carved.


Scared you, didn't I?

I always like a bit of a laugh with my horror stories... a bit ago, I was in a local "bike shop" pretending to browse around the mechanics area, while I was enjoying the conversation involved with the owner of a mountain bike wheel with a flat tire, and TWO different shop employees; all three of them trying to determine whether or not the wheel/tire combo was currently set up as tubeless. Something new caught my eye though, so I went to check it out.

What's this? Oh yes, the newest chain lube from Finish Line. And if you are absolutely convinced that your ceramic bearings have changed the way you ride your bike, and since switching, you've won several races purely because of all those saved watts... well then, there's no way you can live without this lube!

I mean, it's "Ceramically Reinforced". Wow... the marketing in the cycling world is so far beyond laughable...seriously, it reminds me of commercials for diet pills on television. I have no idea how I've ridden all these years without ceramic chain lube. Especially when I read on the Finish Line website how it works;
"Ceramic WET ensures maximum drivetrain efficiency. This performance level often provides a physiological (reserved energy) and psychological (confidence) advantage for cyclists during climbs and sprints."

Yep, that's right, this chainlube even improves your confidence because you know that you have the power of ceramics on your side... and your opponents are stuck with old-fashioned dinosaur juice based chain lubs.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Balloon Fiesta

Last year Jessica and I hopped into the car to head down to Albuquerque, NM for our friend Stephanie's wedding. So this year we decided to hop into the car and drive down for a visit since she and her little family live down there now. Plus we had the added benefit of spending some time at the Albuquerue Balloon Fiesta. We were down on the same weekend last year, but Stefanie's wedding and some bad weather really thwarted any chances of seeing the balloons; this year the forecast looked much better!

Stephanie's dad pilots the Remax ballon, so we had some special access on the field, and even better, when one of the planned passengers bailed on Friday morning, a spot opened up and Stephanie offered up the seat to me. Kakow! I was pretty psyched, and started focusing on keeping my fear of heights in check. Jessica became part of our chase-crew in the van, and I was off...

It didn't take too long for me to adjust to the heights, and the way the basket moves around a bit. For some reason, flying is always way better than hanging on a rock face, or looking over the edge of a railing, when it comes to my acrophobia. And good thing, since there was plenty to look at. We were trying to get to the field, so we could throw a beanbag at the targets. The shear number of balloons in such a small space was amazing!

When it was time for a landing, we ended up coming down, outside of the United States of America... on Indian lands. I wish I would have taken notice of who's land it was... they had one hell of a casino just over the hill. No, really. Flying was fun, but it was also cool because we got to help inflate and then recover, deflate and pack up the balloon afterwards. Always cool to see how things work, and not something you get to do when you're just a typical passenger.

The Balloon-World is pretty fun; get up while it's dark, go fly, land, and regroup back at the field for some partying and celebrating another safe flight. By the time you've flown, had some food and drink, and are ready for a nap, it's only about 11.30. We relaxed during the day, and were back at the field that evening for the "Glow" where all the balloons inflate on the field, and then light up their burners at once, making all the balloons glow in the darkness. It was crazy, once again, how many people and balloons were there!

I really like the Space Shuttle balloon, even though this was the closest it came to flying that weekend.

And each night wrapped up with fireworks - we've gotten to see lots this year after missing most of the shows last year!

The next morning we were up early again, and it was back to the field for the Mass Ascension. ALL the balloons were on the field and taking off in waves. You could walk around and see balloons packed side by side, and be right there while they took off. It was like an hour of hundreds of balloons over-head all at once.

You've gotta love the Darth Vader Balloon - they even had their crew dressed in full Stormtrooper outfits.

Though I was mostly obsessed with the Creamland Dairy Cow Balloon. I'm not even a "boob-man", but those udders were huge...

I'm just glad it didn't leave any like-sized cow-patties;

I mostly can't believe that it didn't take out tons of people when it finally lifted off;

That thing was really, really huge!

That night we were back for more glowing, and more fireworks. The morning glow-flights were a sight to see as well; (I stole this photo from the site, since I didn't capture any good ones)

And our last night there, we went for the glow, but the wind picked up so the balloons had serious issues staying inflated and standing up. So what do you do in that case? Well, everyone still just uses the burners all at once, just without the balloons. And really, who doesn't love crazy-big flames!?

Jessica and I were a bit sick that weekend, and we were running all about with the balloons, but spent all that time also hanging with Stephanie, Craig, Addie and Lil' John. So a good visit all around and we made it back home safe without too much hassle, and of course with a stop in Colorado Springs at Dunkin' Donuts.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Frisco Cross

This past weekend was the double-header that they call Frisco-cross. I always try to make it up for both days, because the course, the scenery, the competition and the vibe are all usually pretty awesome. But sometimes the drive and/or the weather conspire to beat the motivation out of me. When I got up there on Saturday, the weather was awesome, and I was bummed that I didn't bring both bikes, so I could do the double-header, and then not feel bad if I bailed on Sunday. But I was just there for the singlespeed race...

The race went fine... started out hard, crested the "actual climb" at the start in first place, and never looked back... riding on for the win. It was a pretty fun course, and tricky to keep the momentum smooth and fast on the singlespeed. Not to mention picking the right places to pass the Cat3s so that it wouldn't spoil your movement. I love when they have that fast 4 or 6 pack of barriers... more races need those!

Oh what the hell... it only took 1.5hrs to get there, Scotty Borque and Tim Assor do an awesome job setting up the course and the race, LG was on the mic, and I'm not racing this coming weekend... I might as well head back up for some more fun on Sunday I figured. This time I was taking both bikes though, even though it was likely to kill me. The Open race started ridiculously fast thanks to Chuck, crushing it at the start. From then on it was constant chase mode, fighting the ugly headwind and going cross-eyed on the climb every lap racing at 9k feet. I came apart a bit with 3 laps to go and got caught by a few, but I didn't push overly hard knowing I had another race coming.

By the time the singlespeed race came, it was colder, with more clouds, and of course, more wind. We started out relatively sane, but I knew right from the start I was on the limit and the legs were burning, so I was happy to follow most of the first lap. I had a better line going down the steep drop though, used it and dropped to first going through the line the first time. Soon I was back to second though, and that was the best I was going to do. Of course, I had to keep it drilled as much as I could, since D-Strong had me in his sites and wasn't about to let up. 90% of the race looked like this with D-Strong close behind;

I tried to escape with 2 to go, but he came back again. Going into the run-up I knew he'd accelerate quicker than me, and that I had to be in the front going into the barriers since he was hoping them on his mountain bike (cheater!)... so I ran a bit further to carry the speed after the run-up, and then totally fucked my remount. Doh! Derek was gone like a shot, I was cooked, and I wasn't going to bring him back. Still on the podium though, and a little motivation to make D-Strong hurt a little more next time! Really, it was a good race with him, and I definitely hate it during the race, but he kept me honest the whole time, working as hard as my legs would allow and forcing me to keep the lines as smooth as possible.

Seth... reportedly... is still alive and out there in the big wide world. He put me onto this story of the milk protests in Europe, with an awesome photo gallery.

Let's face it... Americans just don't have the moxie to protest like this - shooting fresh cow-juice straight at the cops in full riot gear, burning tires, clogging streets with tractors, showering everyone around with fresh straw... Nah, we're too busy hiding in our own houses, because we have a fever and jeebus! What if it's Swine Flu!? Where's my anti-bacterial soap!? What do you mean Swine Flu is actually a virus!?

Lupus? Is it Lupus!?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Roller Derby and Singletrack

It was a rough, getting home from the Interbike trip at 2am, but good to see Jessica, be back in my own bed, and actually have a full weekend ahead of me to purge out the Vegas toxins. After a slow start, the legs did their convincing that I shouldn't really go down to Louisville for the cross race. But it was awfully nice out, so I still got out for a singletrack ride on the cyclocross bike, which was really, really nice. Good to pedal some circles after all the walking (and drinking) in Vegas.

On my way out though, I noticed that the winter-winds had crushed one of the big trees that was on the list for coming down this year. Good... that thing was huge, and was going to be a pain. But it was in the road as well, so I had to chop it back before the neighbors got all bent.

Luckily it didn't take too long to at least get the offending bits out of the road, because it was time for us to meet some friends down at the Denver Roller Dolls match! Woo hoo! We were there plenty early, and got our trackside seating.

The Bad Apples killed it again... though it got way too close for comfort at the end.

The highlight was the halftime show though, when Jessica and Brittainy were chosen to compete in a little halftime racing;

The ladies on the start line;

Jessica "drove" first;

Then it was Brittainy's turn... hands on the wheel Brittainy!

And of course, no visit to the roller derby is complete, until you make sure the newbies get a chance to meet Dumptruck... this time it was Jill's turn;

Somehow I still had the energy to get out Sunday morning for 3 hours on the singlespeed mountain bikes with Fitch. But it was well worth it! The weather was awesome, the leaves colorful, and the trails fairly quiet. Plus it was awesome to ride the SS mountain bike, which I hadn't done in quite some time.

Of course, all it did was make me itch again, to build a nice, tricked-out SS mountain bike...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Time To Nut-Up, or Shut Up

Last night Jessica and I braved the campus to catch a premiere of Zombieland... and while there was a point where I didn't think I was going survive standing in line, listening to the conversations around me, it was WELL worth it.

The uncut trailer;

AWESOME movie, best one I've seen in awhile. Especially if you like Woody Harrelson, who was just incredible. I already can't wait for this one to come out on DVD.

Interbike Dump

Last week Jesse, Brittainy and I bolted for good ol' Vegas, to catch the Interbike show. After a few years away, and another few years saying "Man, I should have gone", I decided to bite the bullet and take the opportunity to hit the show again. Unfortunately, it was a real bummer that Jessica wasn't able to make it because of work. But other than that, the trip started off well... we left Denver with 42 degrees and rain, with all of 11 passengers and 4 flight attendants for our flight to 83 degrees and dry, Las Vagas. And once we were settled with our room, it was right out for the usual Vegas activities!

Saw this on the counter as we were picking up some beverages... seemed perfect for a trip to Vegas! The new 4-day supply of Extenze in the easy-serve, fast acting liquid... in "Big Cherry" flavor no less;

And also had to see the usual Vegas sites, like the water show;

We stayed at the Excalibur this time, which was just fine... no complaints. Excellent price, along with a free upgrade and some free drink coupons;

Always funny to see the New York skyline across the street;

Unfortunately the Excaliber is on the far end of the strip from the Convention Center, but it wasn't a big deal since we just went down to the valet who had our rental car waiting for us each morning; our shiny Phantom Drop-top;

Wednesday morning was a tough start to the show though, with the vast quantities of liquids consumed the evening before, but luckily (one of the reasons we chose the Excaliber) the hotel had a Krispy Kreme right on the premises. Plus, once we got to the show, Jesse and I picked up our escorts that were there to help show us around;

...and Brittainy got her escort as well (I think we did better)

Brittainy quickly upgraded though, and upgraded her choice to none other than Bobke, complete with Black Sabbath tour shirt.

One of the first things that caught my eye at the show, wasn't even a bike... but rather a real live GT40 race car;

But, as the rumors would tell you, there were actually bikes there. And I'm not just talking about the retarded hipster fixies that I think every booth had at least one of, regardless of whether it was related to their display or any products they were hocking. One of my favorite moments at the show, was watching some dude in his girlfriends skinny-jeans and Pete Wentz haircut, trying to snap the best possible picture of a Colnago fixie... completely oblivious to the limited production Colnago-Ferrari CF7 immediately next to him. But I digress... there were a lot of sweet bikes that caught my eye. Like the Tony Martin time trial bike, complete with Di2 group, which was awesome;

Storck had their TT bike which has had a serious buzz about it, and it really was a sweet looking set up. A TON of attention to the details. There are so many TT bikes out there, that make me crazy because they have all these little gimmicks - that I just don't see being aero at all. This wasn't one of them;

Pelizotti had a couple bikes at the show, but his Polka Dot bike from the tour was the best looking one;

This dude comes across as a real douchebag. And the first pictures of this special bike looked as douchey as him, but in person, it really was a much sweeter looking ride! Though just remember... I know lots of tools that ride really cool bikes...

I think my real bike-crush from the show though... besides maybe that Storck, had to go to the new Look 596 TT bike.

The matching track bike was unreal, but of course, completely too much bike for nearly everyone, especially on our little track here... but gorgeous in it's combination of technology and simplicity.

Some quick blurbs about things that caught my eye and didn't seem to be complete marketing BS...
- Metrigear is trying to bring some awesome looking power meters to the market. Awesome all around... clean and light and simple. I really liked how the gauges were able to individial measure also any lateral, wasted energy you were putting into the pedals.
- It's been a year and a half that I've been crushing on the Bont A-one shoes, especially knowing how awesome their skate boots are. I was pumped to see they had a booth there, and even better, shoes to try on. Simply awesome... some should be on the way shortly!
- Di2... yeah, it's retarded-expensive, but I am telling you right now... don't even think about test riding it, unless you are ready to put down the money for a groupo. It's completely UNREAL. Worlds better than expected, and there's going to be a real future with this stuff. The biggest reason I don't have a set already on order (besides that whole cash-thing) is because I know it will completely ruin me for any other groupo. Shifting with cables and levers will feel completely stone-age within a week. Seriously, it's awesome.
- The Alchemy rear hub - finally got to see and play with it. As insanely smooth and free-running as the front hub. Should be an awesome product - once it's finally, officially a product.
- The updated Easton TT wheels are sweet... really sweet. Other than that whole bit with the ridiculously sized graphics. I had to step back 10 feet, so I could read what they said.
- Eddy Merckx - totally got his autograph on a great poster. This one needs to get framed for the house. Unfortunately, way more impressive than the EM bikes this year.

Definitely fun to be back at the show, and I'm sure I'll babble more about some stuff that caught my eye, especially since I know you can't rely on Velonews for any substance on the topic (Seriously!? WTF? Who cares?). It took a few days to recover from the effort of interbike, but more to catch up on soon!