Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Jazz is an accident...

Spinal Tap on jazz music:

Monday, September 28, 2009

Jazz @ Brewsky's

If you are too impatient to wait for the upcoming Kew tour announcement, I am playing at Brewsky's in the Haymarket with my quintet this Wednesday from 7:30-10.  Come on by if you have time.

ho hum

What's everybody been doing?

I've been off the road bike for awhile. Strictly a commuter now, and that's cool with me. I've got plenty keeping me busy.

A little birdie told me a couple people were bummed about not getting an FAC invite last week so let me explain:

I only had time for a quickie (beer, that is) and since I knew Gravy always has a few anyway on Fridays, I decided to go minimalistic. It wasn't a full-fledged FAC, you see. The whole thing lasted 25 minutes so I didn't feel it warranted a big announcement/invite. You know I wouldn't forget my FAC peeps.

Now ride safe out there.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Best Week Ever

Ever have one of those weeks? The fun actually began two weeks ago, when I got a call to go on a nice easy ride. I rode over to the home of the ride host, and upon being invited in and noticing the nice wood floor and stairs, removed my cycling shoes. After a nice conversation, we were ready to go. Not remembering that I had super slippery cycling socks on, I managed to fall down a flight of stairs, wrenching my injured shoulder and adding a nice bruise to my backside in the process (be thankful there are no pics of the bruise).

After sitting there for a minute to make sure I wasn't really hurt, we continued on the ride, which turned out to be a lot of fun - until we were on the way home and I discovered that my rear wheel was badly out of true - as if the wheel had fallen down the stairs with me. The wheel was too bad to ride any further, so I had to call my wife for a ride home. My companions insisted on waiting with me, even though it was growing dark - much appreciated.

Then, on the next Saturday, we left for Oregon to take Paul to graduate school. We loaded his car and our car up with his stuff, and headed west. Somewhere after Kearney, my wife turns to me and says, "I just hope we get there with no car trouble." We had just taken Paul's car to the mechanic for a trip check and had put almost a grand into it to make sure it was ready to drive cross-country, but still, when she said that the first thing that came to mind was that now we're jinxed.

Sure enough, shortly after passing Cheyenne, Paul calls us on the cell phone to let us know that his battery indicator light is flashing in his car. To make a long story short, (I'll tell the long version at the next FAC or bike ride, whichever comes first), we ended up being stuck in Evanston, WY, from Sunday afternoon through Tuesday mid-morning waiting for a part to arrive. Ironically, Evanston, while having almost nothing else going on, has a lively cycling club which hosts a national level race (Levi Leipheimer is one of the past winners) and has a number of great ride routes posted on their website - and I had my cross bike with me. In keeping with the theme of the week, however, it poured rain the whole time we were stuck there.

The McDonalds in town (fine dining for Evanston) had an amusing theme in the play area:

We left Evanston about 11:30 am and reached Bend, Oregon at about 10 pm. After spending the night in Bend, we drove the last stretch to Eugene. The road here carries you over the Cascades past rain forest, volcanoes and lava fields. This is Mt. Washington, with a lava field in the foreground:

At the summit of the pass, there is an observatory which is built entirely of lava:

You can get a nice view from there of two of the Three Sisters volcanos, again with lava rocks in the foreground:

We finally arrived in Eugene late Wednesday morning (we were supposed to get there mid day on Monday) and got Paul checked into his apartment. We had the rest of the day to find furniture, rent a truck, move the furniture into his apartment, and return the truck. Luckily we found a Goodwill superstore that was pretty much one-stop shopping for cheap furniture. By the end of the day, he was pretty well situated:

Julie and I had big plans to do some more wine tasting, go to the coast to go whale watching, and then take our time heading back through Portland and up the Columbia river gorge, taking time for side trips to see Mt. Hood and some waterfalls. We had to scrap those, although we did have time on Thursday to take Paul to the King Estate winery for a tasting and some lunch.

We left Eugene on Thursday afternoon, still hoping to get through Portland and have time to stop at scenic sites along the Columbia river, but we ran into a huge traffic jam due to a pileup on the interstate, and it was almost dark by the time we started up the gorge. We still got some pics of the gorge as the sun was going down:

and we made it to Multnomah falls just in time to see it before it was too dark (although it was actually much darker than it shows in this pic).

This is the second highest waterfall in the lower 48 states - more than 600 feet. Driving on, we stayed the night in the Dalles, and then drove to Ogden, Utah the next day. During that drive, we were going to take a break in Pendleton, and take a look at Pendleton Mills, but all of the roads were closed due to a huge week-long rodeo taking place in town. Foiled again.

We had intended to leave Ogden early with the intention of being in Fort Collins in time to see the Husker vs. Va. Tech football game, but overslept and left town late. The GPS unit we had been using to navigate also was unable to find the satellite, and the one road we could find on the map to get back to the interstate was closed, so that cost us some time as well. Are you sensing a theme here?

Anyway, we got to Fort Collins in time to catch the 2nd quarter at a local sports bar that hosts the local chapter of Coloradans for Nebraska - they even took our picture and put it on their website.

We enjoyed the game - until the last minute and a half. That was the cherry on top of a week where nothing seemed to go right. After the game we went downtown and had some great Mexican food with some friends who now live in Fort Collins, and then spent the night at their place.

We returned to Lincoln on Sunday, and I managed to get out to the chit-chat ride Monday night for my first ride in two weeks - brutal wind, but we all stayed together and shared the work into the wind and had good fun. I'm looking forward to tonight's teamFIRE ride.

Looking back, I guess that if that counts as a lousy week in my life, then things are pretty good.

How was your week?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nice Moves

There are unsubstantiated reports that the kid in the red shirt saw Kew dancing and has copied all of his moves.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Bring your flippers

No gravel ride Thursday night this week, but I did ride the Surly down to see what the 3 inches of rain yesterday did to the pond and the bike path. There were several places where the water was within a couple of feet of the bike path.

Anybody want to do a ride on Labor Day? Saturday is full of football, and we're heading to Omaha for family stuff on Sunday, so I hope to get a nice ride in on Monday.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A study in contrasts

On Saturday Adrian organized a ride in the morning.  Six of us rode out to Bennett, through the Roca rollers and back home via highway 77.  It was a fantastic morning - temps in the low 60s, almost no wind, and lots of sunshine.  Armwarmers were almost a necessity at the beginning of the ride - and it's still August!  One of the riders, Tom, has an interesting goal he has set for himself.  He just quit smoking recently, and has no family or business obligations at this point in his life, so he has decided to train to ride from Lincoln to California this spring.  We should be seeing him on lots of the group rides as he gets ready.  Here we are taking a pause for the cause towards the end of the ride.

On Monday, a number of friends and I were evidently part of history, as we took part in what is being described as the largest group ride ever in Lincoln (as far as anybody there could remember).  Before we left, I counted 46 riders, and I know some joined us on the road, so there were close to 50 riders at some point during the ride.  We broke apart on highway 77, but everybody got back together at Sprague.  It was quite a sight to see the pack heading up Sprague road - it looked like it stretched for almost a quarter of a mile, with people riding 2 and three abreast.   Maybe we can break 50 next Monday!