Sunday, June 27, 2010

Updated:No Hope for this one

Update: Hope had a new hubshell in the mail to me within 48 hours. No Questions asked. That is customer service.

Last night Noah and I got in a good 4 hour night ride from Traquility down to Swanson via the Papio and the Keystone trails.
We didn't have to fire up the lights until the latter half of the ride, and even then we rode by the moonlight on the paved sections. A quick stop at McD's so I could get something to drink, and indulge in a hot fudge sundae made for a perfect evening. Good times!

Then I found this today.

Sad times. I can honestly say that I have 10,000 miles on this hub as it was my gravel/CX wheel for 2 years. It has outlasted a surly cog and two different rims. I am told that Hope has great warranty service. Gonna find out.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

a life not wasted

"Its tough being this awesome" Mel Apel

This weekend was supposed to be full of bike racing, but work kept me from sneakin up to Ponca and we got word that Crocodile Rock was rained out. So after screwing up a crop study saturday morning (its a long story) Al and I decided to head down to Manhappenin, KS for some shenanigans with the rest of the the flock.
Lil Meener (like lil kim but Persian) and two ton Tanner were in town, Waller had the Jet Ski in tow, the Apels were fresh from a wedding, and we all converged on City park for some grilling and slack lining. Then we drifted to the big ol' front porch of the brick house for more good times as a huge thunderstorm rolled through.
We all met up for brunch where Waller and I busted out blueberry pancakes, Bacon, and shrimp n' grits. We then proceeded to the river.

Now, the KS river is not what I would consider clean or even really something that I would consider safe from a water quality standpoint, but its the most fun to set up on the sand bar, cut the dogs loose, play with the Jet ski, and generally while away a hot KS afternoon.

The BGR Ladies livin la vida mal cabra

We call this game "river fetch".
Someone on the sandbar gives the 'friz a sling, and you must chase it down. It is much harder than it looks.

Team Fetch lets things get a little more crazy as the passenger is obliged to leap from a moving watercraft after the friz

Herr Apel takes off in hot pursuit.

Dog was happy as a pig in poop

Speaking of pigs in poop, Mel and Waller decided to investigate the qualities of a KS river mud wrap

Waller does not know that Brutus just peed upstream of him.

During a break in the action, Tanner explained how fork trail affects steering. Tanner splits his time between designing bikes and making things fly.

Waller busted out the wakeboard. This section of the river is a really great place for power water sports. Its fairly deep, with a well defined channel with a course sand bottom.
Waller run a older model 2 stroke jetski so if it sucks up any water in the event of a turn over it can just be blown out by cranking it a few times. I personally think that its the best investment that he has ever made.

Skiing or boarding is also really easy to learn on a river. You can start knee boarding directly off of the sandbar. Plus the water surface is a 100 times smoother that what you would find in just about any lake since there is no other water craft.

We can be awfully creative when it comes to having fun.

Friday, June 18, 2010

What gets you paid

This week has just been draining. We have gotten so much field work done, and I am so thankful for that. However, we are still going to be pulling some huge hours as de-tasseling and tasseling note taking is going to start real soon. Which brings me to the subject of temporary labor.

The need for temp labor is a huge factor in our economy. Often in industries like Ag there is a need for large numbers of man hours in a relatively short period of time, so we rely of 3rd part staffing. The folks we get through our 3rd party staffing company are always a surprise. Some are totally worthless (and I do not make that statement lightly), some are just lazy, some are casing the joint so they can rob it later, some are really great workers that for some reason are not able to get or hold better jobs, some just need extra hours and some do not want full time jobs.

We are pretty lucky this go round. Its kind of like a bad joke.
  • A pregnant woman that is always feeling nauseous
  • a 6 foot, 5inch tall Canadian Blackfoot Indian that will describe, in detail, how to scalp people.
  • a Mexican immigrant that also works the night shift at a packing plant and is always asleep whenever he is not standing up
  • One young lady (that was previously a MMA fighter) that is perpetually late.
I can't say enough good things about this crew. There is never a dull moment.

As for me, I am starting to count the hours. I look at what I got paid in the public sector, and compare it to all the extra hours I have to work with this job.........I can see why so many people burn out. I have gotten five 65+ hour weeks in the last 2 months. At least I get to be outside when I log my long hours, and not having to sit in front of a computer screen.

It was kind of interesting. last week When I was In Minnetonka, for our new hire "on-boarding" I was really surprised how much I liked the corporate philosophy, and what the company offers to its employees at the Minnetonka Facilty that is LEED certified, has subsidized dining with a full time Dietitian/Chef, public transit, and a "come and go" schedule. But the real disconnect is that 90% of the employees work at locations with none of these amenities. I walked away thinking, "wow, what a great place to location really sucks in comparison".
Oh well.
Its 4 am. I can't sleep.
In 2 more hours I "get" to start rating a herbicide study.
Races this weekend. If it does not rain anymore Crocodile Rock on Sunday, and Ponca on Saturday.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Afton Avalanche:pwnage

Well that was hands down the hardest, steepest, gritted teeth, grinding race I have ever done. It continues to amaze me just how high the tempo was at this event. I was very pleased with how I rode for the first 2 laps, but after that things quickly went downhill.

I got a really good start considering I started on the back row, but was somewhere mid pack when we rolled into the single track. A few positions got juggled as a rider would drop a chain or hurtle off the trail, but I stayed pretty static for the first lap. I was definitely pushing the pace beyond what I was capable of sustaining, but whatever.
There were 3 distinct climbs on this ski mountain, and 2 of them involved switchbacks that totally took me by surprise. Living in KS and NE does not exactly hone your switchback skills, and I bobbled a couple times, but was able to hold my position. the laps finished with a screaming descent down to the chalet. Great fun.

you can see the St Crouix river in the background
2nd laps was really fairly similar but I accidentally dumped my chain into granny while I was climbing and I lost about 5 spots trying to get that sorted out on the mountainside. By the 3rd lap (of 4) I was cooked, and I realized that this was gonna be a "just finish" race. I managed to catch a few guys that exploded in a little more glorious fashion than I, but they had the sense to quit after the 3rd lap.
I do need to really focus on being a better seated rider. Too often I found myself out of the saddle pushing a big ring, whe I did not need to be. I just am more cormfortable standing, but it is not efficient, and the traction sucks. I was really pleased with the Scale and how the bike performed. I do think I will try to get some Cane Creek Ergo bar ends. I was witsing for some other hand positions on the long open climbs.
The Crossmarks hooked up really well
The middle of the 3rd lap was also when the Sport "Comp" guys came blazing through. Apperently the fields are so stacked in MN they have a Comp class that sits in between the true "Sport" class and the Pro/Expert field (a fertile spawning ground for sandbagging I am told) The last lap it started to rain. just enough to make me nervous about all the offcamber rooty sections. Right after I finished it started pouring rain.
One thing that has been bothering me is I have this really sore/raw feeling in my throat and chest that started right after the race and has continued through today. not sure if it is from the dust (wasn't real dusty) or exertion related.

Overall impressions:
The promoter did chip timing so that was nice, and it allowed for almost instantaneous result posting on a large flat screen. There were easily 500 racers, so it definitely helps with the scoring.
The course was extremely challenging.
The fields were SO deep. I was also impressed with the courtesy and skill of must of the racers up here. I only saw one guy screaming and swearing after he got dumped in a sandy section when he was jockeying for position going into the singletrack.

Minneapolis is pretty pimp. I couchsurfed with a UMN grad student, and he took me to a really awesome mexican restruant last night (there was even a band with an Accordian player that was rocking some serious latin/gypsy fusion sounds).
Now I have 2 days of business meetings here in Minnetonka. I can almost smell the yuppy greed in this part of town.