Friday, October 26, 2007

The 1st Century

Last weekend Howard and the Hypoxians went for a little 100-mile ride. It was to be SuperNana's and Popeye's first century. It was a great day, as you should see from this video:

"Hauntingly Beautiful" Doesn't Even Begin to Describe

Time to rattle your cage.

Here's a clip called "The Host of Saraphim" from a film, Baraka, made in 1992 by a three-person crew over a period of 14 months in 24 countries across 6 continents. The film is difficult at times to watch, is not cynical and is deeply and spiritually uplifting, and has no conventional plot but still has plenty to say...

Baraka is an ancient Sufi word, which can be translated as "a blessing," or "essence of life from which the evolutionary process unfolds".

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Clif Bar 2-Mile Challenge

Always on the search for new ideas and signs of progress, Howard came across this goofy presentation of a very good idea:

If Howard posts this, is there any way he could get free Clif Bars? Probably not since he's already done it for free...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

If This Don't Make Your Booty Move...

(with thanks to John's archives -- see below...)

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Tale of Two Pacelines

Howard has an internet friend -- someone he's never met before and may never meet. We'll see, you never know. His name is John and he posts comments here fairly frequently. Howard posts comments over at John's blog too at Time & Distance. I'd guess it's because we write in similar styles and with similar senses of humor.

Anyway, John recently posted a discussion about two different cycling groups that he rides with from time to time in his State of Michigan. One group, the Wolverines, sounds like a fairly tight-knit, well-led, and strong group of riders. The other group is quite friendly but could hardly be called a group as they break up into half-a-dozen sub-groups of varying ability on every ride. Not cohesive, not particularly supportive, no natural leaders that I could discern from his descriptions, but still they are much friendlier and John can always find a few riders near his ability level to ride with... or at least push him.

Still, it sounds like he prefers the first faster group, even though he gets dropped by them regularly, and then has to be eased back into the fold by drafting behind someone who drops back to help him.

Very interesting discussion of two groups, I thought. And I told him so.

Here is what I posted to John in comments:

I have to say, John, that the Wolverine group sounds by every descriptive adjective, except for two, to be the better group of the two for you (and for me). The two exceptions? 1. Not enough social interaction going on so far. 2. They're too fast for you right now. How to fix those? Gee, come on! I don't have to explain everything for you, do I? :-D

Here's where I am: I have two riding buddies -- my best girl and Deadhead. My best girl is fast and strong and has terrific endurance... for a girl. (Careful here, Howard!) Compared to 100 other 40-something women who bike, my best girl would be among the top 10. But alongside me? Well, our rides average about 16-17 mph, which is fast by the standards of many, but not fast enough that I get a great workout, if you know what I mean. But we love each other... and love each other's company.

To get those great workouts, I have another buddy who pushes me -- Deadhead. Actually, we push each other. He's three years older than I am, very thin, with an extra year of cycling experience on me... and he's a fairly small man. That matters in Colorado because this is climbing country, where the small, thin, experienced cyclists catch all the breaks. Plus, I don't get the best draft behind him, while he coasts all day long behind me. But other than the physical advantages he has (I can't believe I just wrote that about someone nine inches shorter than me!), we are cycling equals. He goes uphill just a tad faster than I do. I go downhill just a tad faster than he does. On the flats, we're exactly equal. Exactly!

I'm lucky. I found my cycling equal on my first try, someone who does everything I can do yet can push me when I'm feeling lazy. He's the first member of BikeJournal I met in person. And he lives less than 10 miles away! I'm lucky, I tell you.

I don't do large, fast-paced group rides. Deadhead does some every now and again. And I might too someday at his urging. I like riding alone and I have the discipline to push myself very hard. I like riding with my best girl. I like riding with Deadhead. And I like riding with the northern chapter of Club Hypoxia, representing a total mishmash of abilities where our rides always slow to the LCD (lowest common denominator), which isn't that low, actually. But none of us mind that because we enjoy each other's company so very much as you can tell by the posts to BikeJournal. Yeah, I'm lucky there too.

And that's a perfect cycling arrangement for me.

Yours is out there somewhere, John. But I suspect the Wolverines is a good place to begin, if you can get just a bit stronger and faster, and become a bit more outgoing socially.

AWE GEEZ, I just gave it away!
I may have missed some important considerations, I may have focused on myself too much, or I may have been just plain wrong. Drop on over to John's post, read his discussion for yourself, and offer up some words of wisdom, advice, consolation, support... or even ridicule. He can take it! I KNOW the guy! After all, he's Howard's internet friend.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

And It Even Rhymes

Thanks to inspiration from Dave Moulton and his Bike Blog, Howard composed the following poem:
(with apologies to Joyce Kilmer)

I think that I shall never like
a poem as lovely as a bike.
A bike whose hungry pedals crank
upon the Earth's sweet rolling flank;
A bike that rides towards God all day,
and lifts her rider's heart to play;
A bike that may in Summer wear
a bonking rider's distant stare.
Poems are made by fools like me,
reminding us to ride with glee.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rockies Win & Win & Win & Then Win The Pennant!

Mendoza 5280 says it perfectly:
"... if we're tied or losing and there are 2 outs and runners in scoring position and Rockies are at home and it's the later innings, Torrealba is who you want up. He's one of those rare players who you can really see getting better if the crowd is behind him; it's quite a thing to witness in baseball actually because it's rare (more of a football thing perhaps). I could care less if the stats agree or not, Torrealba's the man in that situation...

"However, if it's a HUGE
MUST WIN game (like 9th inning in the 7th game of World Series or a wild-card tiebreaker) you probably couldn't go wrong with Helton. Helton's got the ultra-rare 'super-star' gene which allows him to steal your breath away in an ultra-rare 'must hit or lose' situation by getting a hit that no one sees coming, except of course Helton."
Check out Mendoza 5280's Rockies baseball blog here. He saw this coming seven months ago during Spring Training.

Congratulations Colorado Rockies, Rockies fans, and Todd Helton. Your dream begins now!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Some Kind of (Awful) Record

Yesterday was no fun at all. I left for a 40-mile bike ride with two previously patched tubes and one CO2 cartridge in my seat bag. Just a block from home, I realized the front tire was way low, so turned around and went back home, where I replaced the tube and went out again. 2 1/2 miles from home the tire went flat. I replaced the tube, used up my one CO2 cartridge to air up the tire, and then watched as the tire instantly went flat again. Bad patch. Without air or a pump, I got to walk home.

At home, I replaced the tube with another patched tube (I have about ten patched tubes sitting around, but no new ones, I go through them so fast.) This time I grabbed my frame pump and a couple more tubes. Off I went for a 30-mile bike ride.

Made it one mile from home when, yup, another flat. This time it was a thorn. So I replaced the tube once again. A few miles down the road I noticed that the tire was squishy -- the tube had a very slow leak. I could go about 2-3 miles before I had to pump it up again. So I did this about three times. Finally, I stopped at a nice place by the Poudre River to replace the tube. As soon as I did this and then aired up the tube, I could hear air leaking. Argh! So I took the tire apart. Yup, another leaking patch. Apparently I got a bad batch of Park patches and none of them were holding.

So I pumped up my last spare tube without installing it first... and it leaked too! Now I was really pissed off. I was about 10 miles from home without a cellphone and in the boonies, and my only chance at getting home was to fix one of these three tubes. Two tubes with leaking patches weren't going to work because the patches couldn't be removed without destroying the tubes.

I went back to the first tube with the very slow leak and was able to safely remove the patch and apply a new patch, which I held in place for about five minutes before installing it on the tire.

Back on the bike again, things were moving along well until... yup, the tire was getting squishy again. I decided to keep pumping it up every 2-3 miles and just get home! Which I did, with a stop along the way at my LBS (local bike store) to buy five new tubes, some different patches which the manager recommended, and some bicycle food (GUs and Shot Bloks). The manager said he had heard complaints from another customer recently that the Park patches weren't holding for this guy either. So it wasn't just me and my incompetence, thank goodness!

Oh yeah, when I got home, 28 miles later, the tire with the slow leak went flat as we all knew it would.

So there you go -- five flat tires while riding and two more flats while trying to repair the flats. Seven flats over 28 miles. Yesterday was the worst day riding around town on the bike since I took up bicycling two years ago on October 12th, 2005.

Whew! There's no place like home!

Today's ride? Uneventful and fast!