Sunday, March 27, 2011


So for 5 weeks I have had access to TV, and not only regular tv, but cable TV. I have not owned or really even watched TV since 2004. It makes things a little challenging, and I often miss out on pop culture references and when important things happen. I was working as a guide in NC in 2005, and did not know the extent of the hurricane katrina damage until gas prices skyrocketed. If I needed to see something, I could usually got to a restruant or a bar to watch it.
I have really been floored at the absolute plethora of crap that is on TV. No wonder people are stupid. There were a few things that I found humorous, but for the most part I just felt dumber for having sat in front of it.
I was just blown away by how mind less most of the programming was. The Real House Wives of Beverly Hills? Jersey Shore. I thought the The Real World back in the late 90's was pretty dumb, but at least they had jobs and did something constructive. Then there was crap like Hoarders and Man vs Food. Only in America could a show about trying to eat 8 lbs of hamburgers make on prime time. A Lot of the stuff that he was choking down even appeared appetizing, until they brought it out in a bucket. However, I will admit that it is easy to sit down in front of the tube and just be mindless.
I will not miss it when its gone (and I get my geared bikes and books back out of storage).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Slick 50 Spring Classic

These are my people.
Its not often that I do group rides. They require planning, you have to be somewhere at a certain time, and having a mechanical on a ride where the route is unknown usually turns me off. The Slick 50 was so worth it.

Hurl lays down the rules to live by, "Don't be a dick".
Photos shamelessly jacked from the Minneapolis Musette.
We met up at the CRC coffee shop preride, and rolled out 5o or 60 deep. The ride lived up to its name for the first 15 miles of greenway and alley meandering. The temps were just at 30 degrees, it was enough to make me wanting to be sitting on the front as the ice sheets were stretching across tarmac. The temps caused me to do some serious reflecting on apperel.
I ended up rocking my OR gaiters to cover the bareness between the bottoms of my knickers and the tops of my winter boots. Earlier this week, I did some commuting to work on some really swampy trails, and found that my shins were the only things that were really getting doused. The real problem was that the water would roll down my rain pants and into my boots. It was really harshing my mellow. I have used the gaiters for winter commuting when the grey snow in the street might soil the bottoms of my trousers.
For all intents aand purposes, I happen to think that gaiters are one of the more useful accouterments that I have used for keeping my cankles warm and dry. Plus they are easy on and easy off. 30 bucks well spent. I also ended up leaving the bar mitts on the bike, namely because I could not find my Sugoi gloves.
Once we got off the greenway, we rolled along the river towards the STP. I got to sit and chat with so many different people regarding all the events and bike related soirees Jeremy, Aaron and John regaled me with bike related tales of what happens about town. Chris Skogen, the mastermind behind the Almonzo rides, was in town, so I got to chat with him for a few minutes.
Once we crossed the river, heading south from the STP, the group started the spread out. At about the half way point we took a break to adjust things, kill some tallboys, and just generally regroup. Then we rolled down along the river, with with 2 river bluff ascents looming. Once we hit the climbs, it was all grunt, then rolling back down the bridge to STP proper. The next bluff was a steep and greasy alley behind a church. People saw Jesus on that climb.
Then it was all old town cruisinlg back to the pub for brandy and ale. after trading tales with the MPLS bike courier crew I headed back. According to Corvidean we rocked 50 miles
I did stop at Freewheel Bike to pickup my I9 back wheel. I had the Stans ZTR Race rim replaced with a new Crest. The spokes were starting to pull through the rim, which is not surprising given the weight weeny nature of that setup. They lasted several seasons, first for Harlan Price, and then me.
Then it was back to the house to freshen up and take her Al-ness out to dinner for date night at the Blue Nile. It was a day lived to the fullest.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lebanon Hills snow bike

Well I can honestly say that I got in one really solid day of snow biking in MN this year. I made the trip down to Lebanon hills with the SS. The MORC guys at Leb figured out how to consistently pack trails without having to cajole a bunch of desperate bike wives to use snowshoes . Check it out.

They got a snow scoot (essentially a kiddy snowmobile), that is narrower and more agile, to pack the trails at night. Brilliant! With minimal effort you get a solid surface that even regular MTB's can roll on. But, now it looks like winter is over, and the snow pack will be gone in 10 days. Its supposed to be 50 degrees all week.

Meh, that just means that it will be muddy for a month.

My first day of "two a day" spin classes went ok. I had a new instructor at the 2nd class. Very loud, very charismatic, and very annoying, but she definitely had the best class that I have been too. She used the whole hour, and had a well defined workout, that matched her music. Not that the music could drown her voice out. Another thing was that she was not afraid o call you out. If she thinks that you are being a pansy, she will call you out.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

So I think that the spin instructor is reading this blog, because yesterday she was cranking the techno/trance music and took everyone to a session in the pain cave. It is really interesting to attend these classes from the perspective of a racer. On a bike you try to be as efficient as possible, and most racers learn proper form very early. Not the case in spin class. It wasn't until I looked in the mirrors to my left, that I realized how inefficiently these alot of the folks were at pedaling. I actually find it rather painful to watch people in the spin classes. knees wobbling, cadences of 45 rpms, death grips on the bars, hunched shoulders, butts bouncing, and lots of squares being pedaled. I really struggle not to help people improve their experience, but I refrain. I don't want to be that guy.

It irritates me sometimes when instructors tell you you to go from 40% to 60% to 80% then tell you to sit down and increase your cadence without reducing the resistance. Plus the ability to adjust resistance with these bikes is pretty crude. Then again I may not be smart enough to follow the instructions.

I have heard of people getting into racing shape by riding the trainer all spring. I always thought that the monotany of it would be too much for me, but given the oppressive nature of MN winter I will start my 2-a-day spin class regimen. This could get ugly.

Work has been pretty interesting , which is really nice. I was starting to wonder if I would ever have a job that I did not hate. I find working downtown a source of constant amusement. Some segment of every population is going to be considered weird, and when you have really high population density (like downtown) you have more weird people. I wish I had a decent camera phone so that I could actually capture some of the spectacular specimens that I encounter everyday. I could devote a post a week to riding the bus.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Yesterday Jasper, Ali, Brut-nasty and I went traipsing about.

Then last night I managed to slip away for a few hours to do some snow biking at Theo Wirth park on the west side of St. Paul. I had been biding my time waiting for things to firm up, and sent out a message on the MORC board enquiring as to whether or not the trails could be ridden on skinnies (2.2's).

I met up with another rider at the parking lot and followed him out to the trail sections that were really packed down. He expressed his dismay at how rutted it was. And it was not skinny ruts, these puppies could swallow up a 3.8 Daryll. Plus the ruts were usually going into and coming out of corners. It looked like someone was out there wailing in the soft snow with a YZ 250. The parts that were firm were absolutely awesome, but the SS made it tough to recover when you got off the line or really needed to apply torque.

It was good to get out of the house, and a snow bike is definitely going to have to be worked into the budget next year.

There is another YMCA about 10 blocks from where I work so about once a week I hit the spin class over my lunch hour. It is a markedly different demographic than the previous spin classes that I had been too. The classes are packed, and the instructor is female, mid 40's with a Jamie Lee Curtis haircut, and stares right at you, while singing along to "Hungry Eyes".

So creepy.

Anyhow, its Ali's birfday so I am gonna go make her some dinner.

Store bought cake. Don't judge me.

Making wishes

Rewarding Brutus with direct eye contact

I had a plastic bottle cages snap off on me with this wicked jagged edge. I am pretty sure that this is a bontrager bat cage. I have several of these on mtn bikes since they never launch bottles and are super sturdy, but this was sort of unsettling.