Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wheel sucking a Segeway

On my way home yesterday I ran into a lady on one of these things. I was intrigued as I've never seen one up close so I tailed her for awhile as she took a couple corners along the park sidewalk I was on. Then we chatted for a second. She said she could only go 10 mph, so she let me pass. 10 mph? What's the point? I knew simply walking somewhere has been out of vogue for awhile, but c'mon people.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Rough Weekend

I had quite the weekend. On Friday afternoon I rode up with a couple of other musicians to rehearse and play a show with Joe Piscopo. We stopped at the Thai Spice in Omaha for lunch (108th and Maple, best Thai food in Nebraska), then headed to the venue for a 2 1/2 hour rehearsal. Joe showed up for the last 45 minutes or so - nice guy, BTW, and a real pro. He sang, played about 5 different instruments, did comedy bits and impressions, interacted with the audience, auctioned off chances to dance with him, and generally brought a lot of Vegas energy to a room of about 200 (I kind of felt sorry for him - it seems kind of a tough way to make a living for a guy who had made it to the big time. Maybe he knew somebody on the board of the charity we were raising money for - or knew somebody who benefits from the charity). Here he is (sorry for the blurry pic) auctioning off a chance to dance with him after the show.

Anyway, we had about 2 hours or so to kill after the rehearsal before the show, so we headed to Old Chicago to have a beer - on the way I get a text message from my wife to call her - it seems my son snapped his ankle playing ultimate frisbee down at Cook Pavilion. She later sent me a picture message of his ankle before the doctors reset it (WARNING - don't click if you have a weak stomach) you can see the pic here if you want. It was pretty horrifying to see that and not be able to be at the hospital with my wife and kid. The gig went until about 11 pm, so I didn't get home in time to head to the hospital until the next day.

On Saturday instead of going on the Wilderness Perk ride, I went to the hospital where he was having surgery to fix his ankle. He came home Saturday afternoon, and we spent the rest of the weekend taking turns taking care of him.

So, no rides for me this weekend.

Hope that the FAC was fun, and that you all had a better weekend than I (or my kid).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

FAC on Friday

Where: Marz (12th & O street or thereabouts)
When: Friday (duh)
Who: the cool people
Time: 4:30-5-ish or whenever you can get there
How: Because we live in a free society
Why: Occasional chuckles and the slight possibility of seeing me turn Marz into a raging disco

Interesting Gig this Friday

Fun ride and post-ride hang last night. I'm going to miss those little gatherings when the weather and daylight preclude any evening group rides. We'll have to keep it going with FACs.

I won't make tomorrow's FAC as I have a gig in Omaha Friday night backing up Joe Piscopo (of SNL fame). Should be a fun gig - I would imagine we'll be playing a lot of Frank Sinatra arrangements for him to sing to in between comedy bits. We won't get the music until the run-through on Friday afternoon, so I'll find out how the show will work then. I'll keep you all posted on how it goes.

For those of you youngsters who were too young to stay up that late to watch when he was a part of the SNL cast - here is a video of Eddie Murphy as Stevie Wonder with Joe doing his Frank Sinatra impression:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

kew the music

I just wanted to be the first to say that...

So... whatever happened to our kew? Anniversaries and birthdays obligations got yer tongue?

Limbo Stick, part deux

After reading Nicol's Limbo Stick post on her blog, I remembered that we also got to play limbo with a construction truck on Saturday. Somewhere between Princeton and Cortland, the right lane of 77 is closed. There was a truck in the closed off lane, with a large hose running from the truck to the ditch over the shoulder of the road - about chest high to a cyclist. The nice construction dude saw us coming and lifted the hose for us to go under - with kind of a pained look on his face. I'm guessing he had done that for a number of cyclists that morning.

There - two updates in less than 24 hours. Nyaa, Nyaa, Nyaa. Time now for me to go teach kids how to make sounds on their instruments that will scare their dogs and horrify their families.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Updating the Blog

Adrian thinks this blog needs to be updated. I thought I'd wait until there was something moderately interesting to write about, but I guess that's never stopped me from posting before. On Saturday it was a pretty routine ride out to Hallam, except for the two flats (Kim and Paul). We need to show Paul the miracles of the quick release system, he pulled the whole skewer out of his front wheel before anybody could say not to.

I did try to get hit by a car coming up 77 as Roca road merges going north. The other four in the group at this point went ahead of the car as it was coming down the on ramp, but I waited. The car then slowed, making me think she was waiting for me, so I waved my thanks, which evidently was mistaken for me signaling the car through. The car then sped up, I stopped - accident avoided. I hate it when drivers try to give us the right of way when we shouldn't have it - causes too much confusion. They seem to do that a lot on that crossing on Old Cheney - I always just wave them through. You never know what the car in the far lane is going to do.

So, in lieu of anything else interesting to report, here is a picture of a bicycle with a fair amount of saddle to bar drop. I'm guessing the owner either has really long legs and a short torso, is really flexible, or bought a bike that may have been a tad too small :)

Credit to G60 from Bike Forums for the photochop job.

Friday, September 19, 2008

There's always a showoff

This little guy along the Rock Island Trail wanted to get the jump on Fall. I've been passing him every day on the morning commute and have been meaning to get a pic. Just so happens a swath of sunlight creeps through about 7:30 every morning lighting him up amongst his fellow trees. Probably knows he's in the spotlight.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Random Musings

  • teamFIRE's new name - teamDINE&DASH
  • Ya gotta love the weather in September.
  • Last night's ride was really fun for me - had no problem staying with a 28-30 mph paceline on the way into Roca, and stayed with the group (even passing a few) up the hill on the east side of Roca. Couldn't have done either of those things last year at this time. It's always nice to feel any improvement, no matter how small.
  • Great post-ride gathering - highlighted by margaritas, nachos, C-rad trying to avoid getting set up, and Jendeluxe's new hairdo.
  • Best line of the night came from a divorced rider (we'll call him Mr. Dasher) who was giving dating advice to cc-rider as Jen was trying to set up him up with one of her friends - "Let me save you some time and energy - just find a woman you hate and buy her a house."
Looks like Saturday's weather is going to be perfect for the Wilderness Perk ride - anybody going?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


The Monday Husker ride was interesting for me this week. I don't usually get nervous riding in pacelines, but there were a number of newer riders who I didn't know that well, and several factors contributed to me feeling a little cautious:

The pace was really slow, as in 15-17 mph (which is fine for what is advertised as an easy ride), but seemed to fluctuate a lot - causing an accordion effect, with people constantly getting too close to the person in front of them, resulting in grabbing of brakes, then speeding up as a gap opened, then grabbing brakes to slow back down to the line's pace, etc. This makes it hard to get into a nice groove with the line.

We were doing a double rotatating paceline, and some had never done that before - they would go too fast off when moving over, causing a gap. Chet did a great job coaching them on this, and eventually it got better.

We were riding about 4 inches from the right side of the road, and when the left side of the line would pass the right side, handlebars were getting really close. No actual contact, but it made me uncomfortable enough that after about a half hour, I dropped a few feet off the back and rode the rest of the ride just behind the line. Easier to hold a conversation that way, anyway. I feel like can only concentrate that hard for a given amount of time, after that I'm not doing myself or the group any good by tensing up, so better to just get out of there.

On another note, I'm trying to decide if I want to do the teamFIRE ride tonight, or go hear one of my favorite t.v. personalities and authors - Anthony Bourdain - speak at Kimball Hall. I'm thinking the weather will get me out riding - it's not going to be this nice much longer this year.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Motivation and Rainy Days

I woke up Saturday morning, looked out the window, and saw dark, overcast skies, and wet roads and sidewalks. I was temped to go back to bed, wake up late, maybe go to the bike swap, and then head downtown to watch my son's rehearsal at Memorial Stadium.

However, I dragged my butt out of bed, slathered on the bag balm, threw on the kit, and headed out the door at the last second to join up with the Wilderness Perk 8:00 ride. I'm really glad I did, as the only three who were there - Paul, Avery, and Kaylee (sp?) are all graduate students new to the Lincoln area, and had no real idea of where to go. With a light west wind, I proposed that we ride to Sprague, then head to Crete, and then back through Denton. Perfect route for me - if they drop me, they can't find their way back home!

We had a great ride, in absolutely perfect riding weather - the road was a little wet for the first 40 minutes, but then the sun came out, the road dried up, and the long-sleeve baselayers went in the jersey pockets.

No grasshopper infestation on this ride, but an unusually high amount of roadkill - toads, frogs, snakes, possum, even what looked like a porcupine.

Thinking back on the ride later, I realized that, although sometimes the process of getting out of bed and getting geared up for a long ride seems like a pain for an old guy like me, I never regret it once I get moving on the bike. In contrast, I always regret it when I don't ride in perfect weather like we had on Saturday - we just don't get that many days that offer perfect riding weather, along with the time for a good ride.

Friday, September 12, 2008

New bike unveiling tonight

No, not for me -- for my boy. He turned 5 today, and has outgrown his toy bike. So dad found a non-toy boys bike off craigslist for his b-day present -- $25! Can't beat that with a frame pump.

The training wheels I had to buy cost me as much as the bike -- a Trek. So the unveiling will be tonight. I don't think he's going to like wobbling around with his training wheels initially, so we'll see how it goes.

Can't wait for that blissful moment for him (and me) when I release the bike and he flies down the sidewalk without the training wheels. Maybe it'll happen this year.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A lot of "peeps" went out of town today. Is anyone riding today for the BR&F ride?

An additional question... anyone want to meet up for lunch on Thursday? I'm thinking sometime after 11:30am... cuz I have a stuh-pid training meeting that day.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Maybe I Don't Need a New Bike

It was a great day on Sunday to ride, and I didn't feel like riding on the highway, so I got out my old Trek hybrid (now essentially my wife's bike) and hit the Jamaica trail. This is the bike that I used before I bought my road bike - I really hadn't ridden it more than a couple of times in the last two years. It sets up and feels a lot different than my road bike, so I tried to make some adjustments by taking the platform pedals off and putting my old spd pedals on, and then put my old Fizik Aliante road saddle on in place of that big Bontrager pillow that came with the bike. I tried to get saddle height and reach about the same as the road bike, but there was no way to get the handlebars any lower (they are slightly above saddle height). Oh well, getting aero really isn't a priority on the trail.

The bike is a picture of fredosity - reflectors, big pie plate on the back wheel, suspension fork and seatpost, adjustable stem, twist shifters, and so on. I'm sure I looked hilarious riding it wearing bibs and a jersey instead of jeans and a t-shirt, but as I'm used to looking ridiculous, I didn't really care. The bike was comfortable and reasonably quick (I have 700 x 28 conti ultra sport tires on the bike) on the trail - no problems riding out to Princeton and back on the trail (about 31 miles from my house) in less than 2 hours.

The sunflowers were all over the place - especially out by Princeton.

The only negative part of the ride was that I didn't see much wildlife. No deer, no turkeys, just one squirrel for cryin' out loud. The only significant interaction with wildlife was the almost constant pelting from these:

They were everywhere, landing on my legs, chest, rattling around in my helmet vents - I even had one land on my nose at one point. Surprised the hell out of me.

On another note, all sources seem to be reporting that the road race hosted by teamFIRE went well this weekend - great job by everyone involved. Having put together some large events myself a number of times, I really admire the way da terminator had everything and everyone organized in the face of consistent applications of Murphy's Law. I am only sorry I couldn't do more to help the day of the race - it would have been fun and really interesting to me as I've never really been to a race from beginning to end.

And I'm really, really sorry to have missed the celebration Saturday night - although that might have just given Nicol more fuel for her assassinations on my character when she next runs into my colleagues, former students, and sons at a Westbrook Music Building event.

In honor of the great job you all did running the race on Saturday, I would like to propose that next year we run a race that is organized like this:

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Old hermit crab says sorry

I was a grumpy gravy all day.

I let my flighty-ness get the best of me and just headed home.

I'm old and stuck in my gravy ways, and when things go unplanned I get reclusive.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wednesday Ride PSA

If you haven't been to the teamFIRE blog, it has been announced that the Wednesday ride will start at 5:45 p.m. beginning next week (September 10).  More time for post ride festivities!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Rating recent bike rides in chronological order:

- last Wednesday I had maybe my worst day ever on the bike. Much of it was due to the fact that with the start of school and some other commitments, I had done only one ride in two weeks. Some of it was due to a wicked head wind, some of it was due to being stupid. After leading the group out to 14th street, as I was rotating back I let a gap form at a stoplight. As the front group was only about 50 yards ahead of me, I decided to try to hammer and catch them rather than wait for the group behind me - putting me in my usual no-man's land. No dice - I couldn't close the gap, and I could feel myself beginning to blow up so I decided to just relax and ride my own pace. Just about then, Gravy pulls up behind me with the rest of the group, so I figure I better pick it up and see if we can catch the lead group again. Gravy sensed I was struggling and came around me to take the lead, but it was to late for me, I was completely gone. I made it about 5 more minutes and had to pull out of the line.

I finished solo - riding just out to Roca road and back on 77 - a total of about 19 miles at a blazing average pace of 14.5 mph. I almost had to get off the bike and rest going up that hill south of Saltillo :(

- on Saturday I went out with the Wilderness Perk group to Hallam. There was very little wind, and for the first time in a long time, the pace going to Cortland was quite reasonable, allowing the whole group to stay comfortably together. It was also nice to have a bunch of new people from UN-L show up for their first group ride. There was a new guy from Denver (Trevor, I think his name was) who was really strong.

We averaged about 16.5 mph out to Cortland, but once we headed for Hallam, it was ON. There were about 8 of us who continued to Hallam, and the pace picked up to about 22-25 mph all the way back to 77. I was quite happy to hang on all the way to 77, but when the pace picked up to 28-30 mph on hiway 77 going home, Bill G. and I hung back and rode home together. We still ended up averaging over 19 mph for the 46 mile ride - much better than Wednesday.

Bad - the headwind on Labor Day. I couldn't get up in time for the Mahoney Park ride, and I found out on Sunday night that a friend of mine was planning on riding out to Cortland with a buddy on the Jamaica trail on their mountain bikes, so I decided that I would ride out there, do the Hallam loup, and by the time I
was finished they would catch up and we could meet at Leann's for breakfast. It worked out perfectly, but man, that headwind was a killer. I did manage to get some nice pics of the sunflower field on the way to Hallam, though.

Now the good, the bad, and the ugly from recent blog posts:

Good - I am liking the trend towards posts about FACs and rides ending with either margaritas and/or chalices of beer.

Bad - I was unable to make the recent FAC, nor did I have the energy to make it to Las Margaritas on last Wednesday's ride (see above "Ugly" ride description). Also, what is the deal with the recent teamFIRE crashes? Kevin M. and Nicol having mishaps in the same week - are the green jerseys losing their magic? :(

Ugly - Regarding Kew's recently withdrawn post (suffering from blog vulnerability, hmm?) - I wasn't there at the FAC last Friday, but suffice it to say, in my 30 years as a professional musician playing bars, wedding dances, etc. - I have seen an enormous number of 40 year old Caucasian males dance. Generally speaking, it's not pretty.