Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year In Review

I've shamelessly stolen this idea for a post from The Rev. But... In my own defense, I've always had a profound distaste for the "Year In Review" that the local fish wrap, a.k.a. newspaper, does and this is pretty funny.

And here is one featuring the music of Jim's Big Ego...

Note: I love this band. Buy their stuff or at least download the free album for free.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ramblings Part II

Well... We made it back yesterday. It was a good trip. Got to drive back through some pretty nasty fog east of Des Moines, but it really just required a bit of concentration and attentiveness to things. Shoveled the drive and dealt with a big time ice dam on the roof, oh joy.

This morning's fun was the 0715 Cy-Yo class at the gym for 90 minutes of spinning followed by 30 minutes of yoga with the spin folks. They all think I'm Mr. Gumby. I tell them that they should see the folks that I practice with. It looks like the next real yoga class will be at the Shala tomorrow, weather permitting, just kidding.

It's kind of weird having a week off of work with nothing planned. I suspect that I'm going to be seriously abusing myself at the gym, on the bike, and at the yoga studio for the next week.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Well... We made it down to Kansas City with no troubles. One minor delay on I-35 while an accident was cleared, but other than that and the occasional snow squall, it was a dull and boring trip. Just the kind I like.

The image to the left is one that Apollo 8, the first trip around the moon, shot on this day 40 years ago. It still amazes me when I see it. If you look close, you can see the much younger version of me waving. (From the earth)
  • As seen on the menu at breakfast menu at Subway in Grimes, Iowa - Biscuit Gravy Juice. Mmmm.... The breakfast of champions. A little bit of punctuation goes a long way.
  • When eating pizza at Minsky's (my favorite) two nights ago. We had ordered several half baked ones to take with us for dinner the next night at my sisters. When the waitress person came back with the bill, she wanted to know if we wanted the half baked to go. Hmmm... let's see.
  • The lovely fire alarm during breakfast yesterday. It seems that a sprinkler pipe burst causing the fire alarm to go off when it sensed water flow in the sprinklers. One of the staff who was tell folks it was a false alarm said, "If you see me running, then you should run too".

The daughter and I did a practice at The Yoga Room in downtown St. Joesph Missouri. It was sparsely attended, but a good class. It's always interesting to take classes in other towns. We didn't do anything seriously hard, but the sequencing was interesting. I also have done the Primary Series (in an abbreviated fashion) thing for the last two morning here at the hotel. I will admit that it's not the easiest thing to do when I first roll out of bed.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Music Is The Best

Watermelon In Easter Hay

Information is not knowledge,
Knowledge is not wisdom,
Wisdom is not truth,
Truth is not beauty,
Beauty is not love,
Love is not music
and Music is THE BEST

And a very Happy Zappadan to everyone. Thank you and good night!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Helpful Yoga Tip

Well... It was another interesting class V3 at Tapas Yoga Shala. Lots of stuff way over my head, but it's always fun to give it a whirl. I might do some of those thing in this lifetime... maybe not. But it's all about the journey. That's really the important part. There is a post describing some of the fun up over at Subtle Bliss. You'll need to read that before the next paragraph makes complete sense.

Then there was today's Quotastic "panic or breathe" thing. It's always tough choice. Whenever we get reminded to breathe in a yoga class I'm amused. It always makes me think of this Looney Tunes cartoon, Dough Ray Me-ow.

The line that I hear in my head occurs about one minute into the clip - "Breathe, Stupid! Breathe! You forgot to breathe again!". I'm happy that all that time watching The Floppy Show during the lunch hour in college was well spent. I'm now sure if any of my fellow yogis read this, they will now be having the same thoughts when that reminder is uttered.

Dough Ray Me-ow

Two Tornados of The G-Spot Variety

The first one is the Ensemble Modern doing G Spot Tornado during the Yellow Shark concert. I really wish that they didn't have the dancers and showed more of the folks playing this impossibly hard piece. But... they did. At least you get to see some of the players

And now... The Marching Panthers of R. Nelson High School! This High School Band director has got to be one of the best. And you also get A Pound For A Brown too.

Welcome To The United States *laugh now*

More great stuff from Ensemble Modern. What Herr Kretschmar is reading is, and I am not making this up, an actual form that folks entering the United States are expected to fill out. Frank Zappa conducts this little number. Watch out for the terrorists!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Stunt Guitar

FZ seems to always have had a "Stunt Guitarist" on staff. The most well known is Steve Vai. My favorite, however is not Steve, it is Mike Keneally. Mike's web site,, is well worth checking out. He's always got some interesting stuff going on. Then there is the 1988 Tour Diary, required reading for all the Zappatista's out there. I had a hard time choosing, so in honor of the last Friday of this year's Zappadan, you get two. That's right... You heard right... Two. Without further ado, Mr. Keneally.

Inca Roads (Acoustic)

Echidnas Arf

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Son Of Cook (Orange) County

Dedicated To Illinois Governor Rod Big-Lie-O-Vitch

And in your dreams
You can see yourself
As a prophet
Saving the world
The words from you lips
(I am not a crook)
I just cant believe you are such
A fool

I just cant believe
You are such a fool
I just cant believe
You are such a fool

I just cant believe
You are such a fool
I just cant believe
You are such a fool

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Today's Workout

Well... We are currently in the middle of getting a +4" snow dump. I've even fired up the ancient Deere snow blower that I bought for my Dad some 25 years ago. It still runs, sort of. I'm not sure for how much longer though. It gave up after I had most everything done, but the sidewalks. That was after a bolt that holds the handle managed to fall out. I suspect I'll be finding it sometime in April. I did find the nut, so I should be able to find a replacement bolt for it at the world's best hardware store, K & K. Right now, it's being held together with a lovely black zip tie. Those are about the most useful things ever, right after duct tape. I finished the walks with the shovel.

I took the day off work to take a friend of mine's mother down to Galesburg to catch the Amtrak. She's off to the east to visit with one of her other son's and then is flying to California to visit with more of her children. I'm hoping that I can remember to pick her up at the airport in January.

Mark's class power yoga class at Indigo has canceled, as has my backup class at Gold's. With no yoga and no ride today, I'm not sure how I'll managed. I'm developing an overwhelming urge to sit on the sofa, drink beer, and watch some sort of sports event on the telly. I hope the madness ends soon.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Stick A Fork In It - 10,000 Miles For The Year

Play Above Music While Reading

Well... I did it. I got the last 8 miles in today. I am now sitting a 10,000 miles for the year. That was despite driving the car in and out of the office today. It was the first time I drove to work since early March. That was because it was something on the order of 3F with the wind at around 20mph. So, I wasn't too keen on the idea of riding into work. Then there was the freezing rain and sleet we got yesterday. I really hate to ride on questionable surfaces in the dark without having seen it in the daylight.

When I got home, I looked at the forecast for the week and decided that it wasn't going to be much better and now was the time. So I kitted up and rolled. The ride was pretty close to perfect, other than the cold. The freezing rain and sleet combination was absolutely the best for the studded tires that I have ever seen. It was almost like riding on asphalt with the slicks. Now I have to start thinking about staying on the bike until the weather gets "nice" again.

Oh yeah... The daughter promised to buy me some beer if I got to 10,000 miles. It's going to taste really good.

Music Note: This is Four Ruffles and Flourishes followed by Hail To The Chief. This is what is normally played to salute the President. This particular version / recording is from The United States Army Band. It is free for download and duplication as noted on the linked page.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Why'd It Have To Rain?

Well... I managed to get in 14 miles this morning to the bagel shop and back. Got home in time to change clothes and hit the Primary Series class at the Shala. It's always a treat. I had my Santa hat on for the first three Surya Namaskara A's and could not deal with it any longer. Kelly and Brian were laughing when I yanked it off and tossed it, with feeling, into the corner. I did get it back on for all five rounds of boat. Alas... I don't believe anyone other than Evan saw it.

There was one humorous moment in class,isn't there always? Kelly had this little water sprayer bottle to make her arms a bit more slippery so she could get them through her legs for Garbha Pindasana. She just kind of slide the bottle toward the front of the room. It made a bit of noise. Evan picked it up and casually spritzed the plants. A number of folks were laughing at that. We had a couple of guest yogis with us today. They were from Iowa City. It seems that they teach at and own JRMiller's Freestyle Acadamy. It's always nice when new folks show up.

Got home, made some lunch and then got the coffee roaster out. It was about 50F and I didn't think I'd be getting another opportunity like this in awhile. So... I roasted up two batches of Liquid Amber and one of Classic Italian. It started raining with about a minute left to go with CI. I was standing under the umbrella while it finished.

I just couldn't bring myself to get kitted up and ride in the rain to get the last 8 miles in. So... it's looking like I'll be doing that tomorrow. That is, assuming that the forecast of freezing rain, snow, single digit temperature, and general icky winterness doesn't stop me in the morning. I'm not sure why I can get myself out in that when today would have been rain and 50F.

I'm going to shoot for the Santa hat in Mark's Tuesday night class.

Note - Now it's doing the freezing rain, sleet, and thunder and lighting thing. Grrr!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Mule

What does Government Mule have to do with Zappadan? I'm glad you asked that question! The Mule has been doing a number of covers here and there. I wasn't able to find a video of them covering Pygmy Twylyte, but this is about as close as I could come. At about 1:35 in, you get a little Pygmy Twylyte Teaser. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Present Days Composer Refuses To Die

Edgard Varese was a musical influence of Frank Zappa's. His composition, Ionization, in particular. One of the best groups currently performing "modern" classical music is the Ensemble Modern. The Ensemble Modern (Wiki) (WebSite) did a project with Frank in 1992. The level of musicianship of that little outfit (EM) is not to be believed. They have released several recordings of Frank's work. True "must haves" for the complete record collection.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tapas On Two Wheels

I "Googled" for a definition of tapas. Here are a couple of them:
  • Burning away impurities through self-discipline.
  • Penance, austerity, voluntary suffering to vanquish impurities and to achieve the higher.
  • Sanskrit word meaning "heat".
I think today's ride qualifies with respect to the first two and fails miserably with respect to the third. I rolled this morning around 0435. I was planning on a couple of laps of Sunset Park in Rock Island before turning for work. I did manage to do them. I hit the door at work with 21 miles to put me at 99 miles remaining. Oh yeah... it was raining... it was 34F. Obviously, there was no heat involved.

The ride home was short since I cleared work late. I am always running out of daylight at the end of the ride now. I can't wait for December 21st when the days start getting longer again. The conditions for that were snow and wind. It's so much fun to ride on/in fresh show. You hear nothing except the crunch of the snow under your wheels. The falling snow acts bike a blanket muffling all of the "normal" sounds. It also brings a stillness with it.

There was one little exciting bit coming home. When I applied the brakes leaving work, the rear calipers wouldn't release. They were literally frozen. When I got home, the bike went onto the repair stand so I could get the cables and calipers dried out. After I got back from the sparsely attended Tuesday night class, I got them working fine again and all is good to go in the morning.

Mileage Update - 87 to go. The end is near. I just need three good rides or three more ugly ones.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Muffins - Man.. It's What's For Breakfast

With the added bonus of John Smothers doing some singing

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Today's Ride & Practice

Well... I did wimp out a little and not go for the normal post practice ride. The energy level just wasn't there. That said, I did get out for a pre-practice ride. I headed over to the bagel shop for a bagel and a coffee, where I met the family. It was interesting when I got there. There was this table of guys in the corner that were looking at me. Turns out, they all ride and were in a bit of disbelief that someone was out riding (It was about 10F). I had a brief discussion with them about the tires and the generator setup that I'm running. It turns out that one of them is someone that I see on the bike path during the warmer months (the guy in the orange gloves). I got a refill for my coffee and rode home with it in my water bottle cage. When I got home, I had a delightful coffee slushy.

The practice today was interesting. I tweaked my left knee Friday or Saturday, it's not been being "happy". As a result, I was going pretty slow in the transitions to the vinyasa's. I managed two breathes in Setu Bandhasana then had to flop the hands down to keep me up. That was a first to do it correctly. I normally have my inner thighs lighting up into near cramp when my hands are where they should be. I'm think it's because the mileage on the bike has been in a reduced mode given the weather. I did have one good laugh in the class, in the fourth round of Navasna, Kelly goes, "Jeff is smiling" and I was. Kathy told me to stop and I just had to laugh at that.

Now for the interesting part of the practice. Given that I was going kind of half speed because of the knee, I found that I was being much more "mindful" of what I was doing. As a result, my breathing was nice and slow and I didn't really feel completely spent at the end. Which was good since we had a little student conference afterward. We had a good time talking yoga with Evan and Kelly. There were a few interesting insights to things in Mysore.

Mileage Update - With today's minuscule 12 miles and yesterday's daylight limited 14 miles, I'm now sitting at 147 to go. I need 5 good days and I'll be there. It's looking like I might get two good ones at the end of the week.

The Ed Palermo Big Band - The Grand Wazoo

In keep with the six degrees of Zappadan theme, I offer up the Ed Palermo Big Band. Frank Zappa played a major roll in Ed's musicial life with respect to influences. As a result, he's done two albums of Zappa cover's with his big band. From a post on his (Ed's) web site, Ed says that he will no longer be featuring the name of Zappa in his advertising for his shows due to issues with the Zappa Family Trust. That said, he has one more tribute album (due in May 2009) in the works and Frank's music will still have prominent roll at his shows, just not the advertizing. If you are going to be in the New York City area, I'd be checking to see if Ed's band is playing and take in a show. You will enjoy it. I'd also be getting on his mailing list, as they always have a number of interesting things going on.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Bamboozled By A Lonely Heart

I got started listening to Frank my senior year in high school. I'm not sure who headed me down the path, but who ever it was, I owe them a big thank you. I was lucky enough to see Frank five times live. The absolute pinnacle was the 1984 Thanksgiving show in Chicago that has a few tracks on You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Volume Three. While this is the 1988 band, this version features Frank absolutely on fire... Damn. If the vault mysters happen to be reading, how about releasing the whole show (1984 & 1988)? Might as well swing for the fences.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy Hour & Today's Ride

Well... I once again hit Happy Hour at the Davenport School of Yoga. It's always tons of fun. I urge you, if you are in the QC's, to show up. And the price is right folks... free!

Evan taught the class today. I find it very odd to walk out of one of Evan's (Kelly's too) classes and not be completely wiped out. I suspect that I won't be in quite the same shape after tomorrow's Vinyasa III class at the Shala.

I was out on the bike today for just shy of four hours and managed 38 miles. The snow tires and the nastified conditions of the bike path all contributed to the general slowness. I did have one little "interesting" moment. I managed to let myself wander for a minute and had my day dreaming self snapped back to instant clarity as my rear wheel started to try and come around. Nothing like the fear of imminent disaster to focus you on task. 173 to go... That might be hard. We are supposed to get two inches of snow overnight and maybe some more during the day tomorrow. I'm am really not liking the weather pattern that we seem to be slipping into.

Black Napkins

One of my favorites and my all time favorite version of said Napkins. Nuff said...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Welcome To Rock Island

Well... It was a different ride in this morning. It was a balmy 2F at the airport this morning when I rolled. Given that we had the 4 inches of snow yesterday I figured that I really didn't want to try the bike paths in the dark. So... I road the three miles over to the bus hub and hopped the Red Route 1 bus over the river. Good call

The ride home today completely validated my thinking. Moline had plowed things. Not problem there. Rock Island hadn't. It was really, really hard. In retrospect, I should have done the 7th Ave thing past Augie. It would have been more up, but probably easier that riding on that mess. Davenport and Bettendorf had things in really nice shape too. The hands down winner, though, was the Rock Island Arsenal. They had plowed, then salted the new connector. It was your basic dry pavement! I'm thinking that tomorrows ride is going to be on all city streets. It's the easiest thing to ride on. Now I just have to figure out where to go...

Oh yeah, it was the slowest 17 miles of the year... Just over two hours. That said, I was feeling ok in the sparsely attended Thursday night yoga class. Way better than last night, when I was pretty much skipping all of the vinyasas. My arms and legs were seriously worn out.

Merry Zappadan To One And All

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tough Commute

As I sit here typing this post, I hear the snow plow rumbling by outside. I'll be heading outside to find the end of the driveway again shortly. We had about a 4" dump this afternoon. It put the Fun-O-Meter for the ride home today at eleven.

Actually, it was way easier than I expected it to be. I was figuring that I'd be needing 90 minutes to get home and it took just 70. I was going very slow in a couple of spots, but being quite zippy once I got to Bettendorf. In fact, as I was buzzing down Central, past the QuickyMart, a guy there yelled out to me, "You should be 4 wheeling!". Hardly...

228 to go... Now I have to figure out how I'm going to get myself into work in the morning. I'm seriously considering driving. It will be way cold tonight, around 10F, and I really like to be able to see where I'm riding. I might ride over to the bus station in the morning, put the bike on the bus and then take the bus over the river. Then, I'd be riding home in the afternoon.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tough Guy Points

Wow... despite have pretty much an energy level of zero, I made it to the Sunday Class. It went way, way better than I expected. I'm not really sure if it was energy levels being low or more a matter of the finality of winter's arrival. For some reason, I could not get myself up into headstand in the middle of the room today. So... It was to the wall. After I bounced myself off it, I managed to do a fairly ok one. I then managed 6 breaths with the legs at 90. It must have been the "safety blanket" of having the wall there. What that really means is that I can do it, it's just a matter of doing it.

Today's ride was pretty brutal. It was the first outing on the studs. Man... does it take a lot of energy to keep them moving. So... it was something on the order of 34F when I rolled with the snow coming down. The bike path was mostly clear, but there were occasional patches of snow that had been walked on and patches of slush. I was pretty warm for the ride, but the toes were feeling it by the time I got home. 323 more miles to go.

And miles to go before I sleep

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Robert Frost

Well... The white crap is now falling from the sky. Ol' Man Winter has taken up residence here once again. The prediction is maybe 3" during the day and another 2" overnight. The last 350 miles to 10000 is now looking like it's going to be hard to do. Yesterday, I was thinking I had it in the bag. Such is the way of things.

That said, I haven't quite succumbed to the inevitable. Instead of hopping on the bike this morning for a cruise to the bagel shop, I was installing the studded tires on the bike so I am good to go for this afternoon’s ride and then the ride into work in the morning. It's time to finish cleaning up the espresso machine and start getting ready for the drive over to the Primary Series class at the Shala. More on that and this afternoon's ride in a later post.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Next Year

Well... Here's what it looks like I'll be doing in the way of week long rides in 2009.

  • GITAP - I've ridden this for the last four years. It's very low key and it falls at a pretty good time of the year for me. It works really well for me to get a bunch of plus 50 mile days in back to back. Then... it's pretty cheap from a cost perspective. I rode a single speed on it on the first year and I'm thinking that it may be time to reprise that.
  • RAGBRAI - It's a permanent fixture on my calendar. It's pretty much about the most fun you can have. It's pretty interesting, I've been doing this ride for so long now, I have a group of friends that I've met on the ride and I see once a year on it.
  • Cycle Oregon - I'm not 100% on this for next year, but I have already semi committed to it. I don't know what the route will be yet, but my CO friends are thinking it will be south west. The only limiting factor here will be the dollars. It's way spendy, but lots of fun.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mileage Update

I was able to get in 47 miles today. So... I am now sitting at 9608 for the year. Just 392 more to get to 10000. It's really looking possible. The weather just has to hold for another week or two.

I also hit "Happy Hour" at the Davenport School again tonight. That was interesting since Evan was teaching the class. That was the least sweaty I have every left one of Evan's classes. I suspect I won't be near as dry if I hit the Vinyasa III class tomorrow and when I leave the Led Class on Sunday.

Replacement Frame

I now have my Ti road bike back. I picked it up from the shop on Wednesday. It needed a new chain and bottom bracket, besides the new frame. I will also need to replace the 7th cog. It apparently was my favorite and it's skipping something something fierce under load with the new chain. I have the same cassette on a spare wheel that I'll swap on for now.

Trek basically did the absolute minimum to get the bike here. They slapped a Lemond decal on the downtube, taped a plastic head badge to it, and put it in a box. I also got to pay to swap the components over. Ah well... At least I have something rideable again. I fully expect this one to break in the same way, but I'm hoping for a few more years. Maybe Lemond Cycles will be back up and running by then. I still may write Trek a nasty gram, but I'll let that decision wait for a couple of days.

All of that said, it sure rides nice. I've put about 70 miles on it in the last two days. More is probably happening tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cool Stuff.... er... no... Warm Stuff

On Tuesday, I demo'ed the Sidi Heating Insoles. All I have to say is wow! The temperature was 27F when I rolled in my old road shoes with Pearl Izumi shoe covers on. I had just one pair of socks on too. I was out for close to two hours before I got to work and my toes were nice and warm. The return trip was at about 40F without the shoe covers on. Nice and warm too.

One basically plugs the insole it to charge the integrated lithium polymer battery in the insole. There is a little wireless remote to turn them on and off. They were a bit thicker at the heal and mid-sole than I like, but.... wow... warm feet. The only down side to these things is the pricing, $300. That and they have about a three hour run time. I am really being tempted.

I may see if I can find a pair of the Hottronic m3 or m4 foot warmers to try. Or... I may just buy them out right. The real difference that I can see between these and the Sidis are that these have an external battery pack and they cost half as much. The run time is considerably longer and I think that I could probably re-battery them when the batteries fail. Or... just buy the replacement power packs.

Then there are those electric gloves....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Sunday Class

Kelly was nice enough to take a couple of pictures of the class today for me. Here are a few of them.

Here we are on the left side of Parivritta Trikonasana.

And now for Uttana Padasana

She even got a little video of us doing Garbha Pindasana. It's always way fun.

Got home, had some lunch and then got a ride in to get everything all flushed out and relaxed again. I now have 572 more miles to get to my 10k year. The weather is looking like it is going to hold.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

2 Below

Well.. I learned something the other day. I have always looked forward to Christmas time since that means we head to Kansas City, where The New Belgium Brewery (NB) line of fine beers is available. Normally, I buy the beer at the Red X in Riverside, Missouri. It has to be one of the oddest stores that I've ever seen, but... it has a beer department that is second to none. They stock something on the order of 300 different beers. And then there is the outrageously good wine department. Mmmm... Tattinger's and Gruet Champagnes.

Now, in the last year, Iowa has seen NB products finally showing up. Anyway... NB has this really fine seasonal beer, 2 Below. Normally, I bring a case of it back with us when we come home. I figured now that NB was in Iowa, I'd buy local. So... off to the HyVee I went. Lots of NB product, but no 2 Below, so I ask the smiling helpful person in the aisle about it. He tells me that they can't sell it. Apparently, 2 Below has an alcohol content of 6.6% which makes it "too strong" for us puny Iowans. Fortunately, the folks that live just east of the Mississippi are made of sterner stuff.

So for my post yoga class recovery ride today, I took a little trip east of the Mississippi to the HyVee in Rock Island where it's available. Then, under cover of darkness, I brought this potent beverage home. I'm currently enjoying one as my post ride recovery drink. Now, I have a real incentive to make my arms move.

If you'd like to see the "set list" for today's Vinyasa III class, have a look here. I think I know why my arms are tired. And then there was that Virabhadrasana III with the arms foward, to the side and then forward again. For some strange reason, I am learning what the number 15 is in Sanskrit. I think it's pronounced, "ouch". I'm hoping that I'll be recovered for tomorrow's festivities.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Marc Broussard

I went to the Redstone Room to see one of the best shows that I've seen in a long time. The lineup was Josh Hoge, The Gabe Dixon Band, and Marc Broussard. Any of these folks is worth seeing and to see all of them for $20 was the deal of the week. The house was rocking and totally into it. They claim that they loved the place and will be back. The one theme that ran through the show was that they all thought it was cold. Nashville must not be. Good thing that they came in November instead of January or February. If I was you, I would be checking out YouTube for videos of these folks and buying their current recording.

One thing that I found interesting was how much Gabe Dixon reminded me of Jon Cleary. That's another act that is on my list to see.

Just a note about the Redstone Room. It is a very small, 250 capacity venue. That said, it has absolutely great sonics and is a great place to see folks up close. It also has a great staff and some tasty beers on tap.

Ti Frame Update

I wandering into the Trek Store yesterday to see if they had a replacement part for my Giro helmet. They did and... the replacement frame was there. It's a bit odd. Trek looks to have slapped a Lemond decal on it the downtube and shipped it. I'm not really complaining since I have a replacement frame. When Jim was starting to swap parts, he discovered that the Campy Record bottom bracket was shot. I decided to put another one back on the bike instead of the cheaper Chorus one. The only real difference is that the shell in the Record is carbon fiber instead of aluminum. It's also back to a Record chain. That was because the shop had one and not the Chorus one that I'd have put on it. I will be paying for the swap over. It seems that the labor to move the parts from the bad frame to the replacement isn't covered. But... I'll have the bike back when the parts that need to be ordered show up and get installed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Harbinger Of Winter

Well... On the way home today, in the mostly lovely 35F degree temperature and with the wind blowing 15 to 20 out of the northwest coming across the river, I saw the first bald eagle of the winter. This was on the Rock Island Bike Path between the Cresent Bridge and the Centennial Bridge. I normally don't expect to see them this early. I am hoping that this is merely a fluke and not a sign of the next ice age dawning.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Recall Warning

Here's a recall warning that everyone that has purchased one of these should heed. Double click the Image to read the fine print.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's Not Over Till I Say It's Over

Well.. Despite my statements that I would not obsess on the numbers, I find that I'm in complete denial. I now have just 858 more miles to get in this year to get to 10000. I haven't been at 10k miles since my racing days in the BH (Before House), BW (Before Wife), and BC (Before Children) days. It's looking like I can do it without any serious suffering or stupidity. Yesterday, I had to deal with a cut sidewall and a flat on the ride. Oh yeah... and then there was the little bit of snow and the closely related temperature. Nothing really hard. I'm not looking forward to the day I have to put the studs back on. That will make the commuting much, much harder.

In a semi-related note, when I stopped in at the Trek Store yesterday to change out the flat, I asked about the Tete de Course warranty replacement. Mr. Bill, indicated that the Trek road rep was there on Thursday and took more pictures. Trek has still not sent the pickup tag for the fork. I am starting to think that maybe Trek isn't going to make good. I am still optimistic.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Christening The New Room

I was lucky enough to be one of the folks that "christened", aka sweat, at Evan and Kelly's new yoga studio, Tapas Yoga Shala, today. This was the first practice at the studio. It was packed with total of twenty people. There was room for maybe two or three other folks, but as it was we were still very "friendly". It was a real hoot when we got to Garba Pindasana. I liken it to an Indiana Jones movie with many narrow escapes from utter disaster at every turn. It was a great practice today, the energy level in the room was amazing. I still have a smile on my face.

This wasn't the Grand Opening (see this link). That was last Thursday. Evan and Kelly were lucky enough to get Sri Narasimhan and Dr Jayashree of Mysore, India to lecture on the Yoga Sutras and Chanting. They were in the States doing a number of appearances at some of the larger, aka "name" yoga studios. As it turns out, it is looking like the numbers on Thursday night were in excess of anything that they had on the tour so far. The QC's were representing in the yoga world.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

When They Pry It From My Cold Dead Hands

Wow... We had an interesting day at work last Friday and I wasn't even there to enjoy it. Work called me about a problem today and while I was dialed in looking at things I fired up the work email. That's where I found out about the problem.

A message was sent to everyone that there was a bike in the rack that needed to be removed ASAP so the maintenance folks could put the bike rack away for the winter. WTF? The story is that they needed to move so that they can remove snow. The other folks that ride managed to provide enough "feedback" that it will stay until / if it becomes a problem. The rack has been in place for years without things being a problem.

I'll have to buy the rest of the bike commuters coffee or a beer for taking care of this. I am the prime beneficiary of it since I am pretty much the only year round rider.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ti Frame Update

I've been pleasantly surprised. The folks at Trek Corporate didn't bat an eye. The local Trek Store folks (Thank you Jeff and Bill) took a couple of pictures, made a couple of calls, and I'll be on a new frame in a couple of weeks. The thing that I find amazing is that there were a pair of bare metal Ti frames in 53cm available. That really has my head spinning since they haven't made these in about five years.

So... the only hard thing about the deal is picking a paint color. I decided to go with the Chi Red. I already have a yellow Lemond and I wasn't really sure about an orange bike. I really liked having the brushed metal frame, but I'm quite happy to have the Ti frame vs "plastic". The only real delay in getting this done is that I want the fork painted to match the frame. All things said, right now, I'm a happy camper.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I Was Just Riding Along - Again

Well... I went out for my normal post Ashtanga led class recovery ride today. I met Jen on the bike path and we headed out to the end of it to loop down to the river. We were just about to turn onto the road for the twisty descent to the river when I heard this noise. I told Jen that I needed to stop and check because that wasn't a good noise. I had changed a flat out on the front wheel the day before and I was thinking that I must not have gotten the front wheel in right, quick release having issues, etc. Didn't see anything wrong there. I rode another 50 feet and heard the noise again and stopped to look really closely. Now I could see the problem. A very nice crack in the down tube that is almost 80% around the tube. I was glad I stopped.

Now comes the fun. Trek and Lemond have severed their business relationship. I may be screwed with respect to the warrantee. Time will tell. I have a friend that had exactly the same issue with his Ti Tete de Course too and it wasn't a problem getting things fixed then. Now might be a different story. I'm hoping that they will still have a Ti 53cm frame in the warehouse. I don't want a plastic, aka carbon fiber frame. But that would be preferable to nothing.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Boo! - Very Scary.... You Go First

Zombies... Yoga... Can anything be more scary? Oh yeah... two words... Sapta Again!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Busy Day

Holy Socks! Today's ride sucked, or to be more precise, blew. The wind was super nasty, 20 to 30 out of the north west with gusts to 45. I gave up 45 minutes in and turned for home. That part was easy. I'm dreading the ride into work tomorrow morning. Low of 29 with... flurries in the forecast. I may break the winter shoes out.

I was hoping that the snow would stay away until December. That said, I'm now over 8.4k miles for the year and should have a 1k miles for the month by the end of the month. 10k for the year is starting to look possible without being stupid.

I did get to the gym Saturday for the spin class. It was fun and not fun. I still seem to have lots of leg speed. I find that surprising since I haven't been working on it at all. The single speed must help keep it there. I also made the last of Evan's classes at Indigo. That makes eight days in a row for the yoga. Today's led class was fun. You've heard of hot yoga? Well... this was cold yoga. The heat in the building isn't working too well and my toes were cold pretty much throughout the class.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Happy Hour or But Where's The Beer?

The Davenport School of Yoga had the first of it's Yoga Happy Hours yesterday. My daughter and I were among the crowd in the packed room. The instructor de jour, Johanna, was thrilled with numbers in the room. It was great to practice in that kind of energy filled room. There was a quite a mix of folks in the room. From people doing their first class, us folks in the middle, to other yoga teachers. The two best quotes from the class were at the end. One guy asked, "But when does happy hour start?" and the other was someone commenting on Kelly (one of the instructors taking the class), "I think you must be missing several bones". That was in relation to when we did Upavista Konasana (wide angle seated forward fold) and Badda Konasna (bound angle). Kelly had her head on the floor in both of them.

I am stoked for the Sunday, Led Ashtanga Primary Series class. I expect the room to be packed since the first round of the Intro class ended last week. I expect a number of folks to get their eyes opened. Or at least one...

Last Tuesday, a woman that has been taking the Intro class commented in Mark's Tuesday class at Indigo, "This class is much harder than that Sunday class will be". At that, Brian, Jill, Julia, Mark, Mike and myself all start laughing. Should be interesting .

Friday, October 17, 2008

You Got That Right

So... I'm on my way home yesterday. I am just getting ready to turn up one of the climbs on the commute route and I see this kid on a bmx bike. He says to me, "Great day for a ride! Isn't it?" I smile and reply, "Everyday is a great day to ride". He replies... "You got that right!"

I really have hope for the future with kids making statements like that.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Maybe You Can Win The Tour On Mineral Water

It seems that two more riders from the 2008 edition of the Tour de France have been found to have been doping. Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval) and Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) both tested positive for CERA, an EPO variant. The UCI press release is up at VeloNews.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thank You Dr. Evil or I've Been Bailed Out

Wow... It seems that in the expanded version of the 700 Billion Dollar Bailout Bill, originally 3 pages and now +400 pages, was a good thing for cyclists. It seem that the long sought after
Bicycle Commuter Provision was slipped in. From the League of American Bicyclists Site:

After seven long years, the bicycle commuter tax provision has finally passed both the House and Senate as part of the financial bailout package. President Bush said that he would quickly sign the $700 billion bailout bill (Look for Section 211). Thanks to all of you around the country who have contacted your congressional leaders over the years, and also thanks to Congressman Blumenauer and Senator Wyden for their continued insistence on having this benefit provided to bicycling Americans. Keep checking back here as we work on the implementation process.

Now... I have to figure out how to cash in!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cycling and Yoga

Well... I survived yet another Sunday class. I am finding it very interesting how fast the time appears to go in there. One moment we're doing Surya Namaskara A, then all of the sudden we've made it to Navasana and next thing you know, Shirshasana, and then we're outta there. The pacing today was markedly faster than the last few weeks. Everyone is getting it down and I'm really glad that I'm in good aerobic shape.

One interesting thing about today was during Navasana. Kelly was thinking that we'd done five rounds, the class caught it and then then we did two more for a total of six. The interesting part is that some people in the class swear it was five rounds total and others... swear it was six. I believe that this is because that everyone has lost all high order brain function or maybe it's everyone's mind repressing the memories.

I'm about to crack 1000 miles for the month and 7500 for the year. That is just amazing me. This is shaping up to be a really big mileage year. I'm now starting to think about what I'm going to be doing ride wise next year and how to work in the spin classes, yoga, and limited outdoor riding this winter. I think that one of the reasons that I'm tolerating the bigger mileage is the yoga practice. It is work for the body that is very different than the limited range of movement and position on the bike. It is stretching those same over worked muscles, helping to flush out all of the lactic acid, and providing general body strength work. (Some of you might scoff at that last statement, but... believe me, it's 100% true.) Then there is the work for all of those little muscles that don't get used on the bike.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Seven Hundred Billion Dollars

I will destroy your economy unless you give me Seven Hundred Billion Dollars.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ahoy Matey

It's International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Here is some helpful advice to get it right.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Semi Monthly Post?

It seems that I'm slipping into that mode. All is going well. Still putting the miles in, although not at the same rate as last month. Let see...

  1. All of the tri folks that I was training with did well at IronMan Cheeseland. Jen kicked butt and qualified for Kona next year. I think that is a good thing... I'm suspect that I'm going to be getting hammered more than this year.
  2. The weekly Ashtanga practice continues. I believe that this is the third week for the Sunday class and myself now. I still am muddling through. I had the sweat going big time today. It was also the debut of the cloth rug for the seated poses. It worked really well, much better than the bath towel that I'd been using. Although, I think a wet-vac might have been in order at the end.
  3. Did the Heartland Century yesterday with Laurel, the person that does body work on me. That was fun. It was raining big time the whole way. She was time constrained so we did the half. I believe we were two of the maybe twenty people that rode. I suspect that I was the only nutter that actually signed up day of the ride. I rode the 1x1 with the fenders and lights. Did ok for a single speed (40x17), something like 3:30.
  4. I came close to having a zero day today. It was nasty cold and rainy this morning. Fortunately, it stopped raining and I was able to slip out for an hour and a half. I'm going to have to manage 33/day to hit 1000 for the month. It's do-able, but I have to keep this fun and not obsess on the numbers.
  5. Cleaned the espresso machine and the grinder today. It was past time. The shots were starting to be a bit off. I'm also going to need a dry day to roast. I'm getting down there to the point the coffee won't have as much rest as I like. Stupid rain...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Another Post?

Wow... My posting has been slacking off. I guess that's because I have been spending lots of time on the bike and in the yoga studio. I guess I'll just do them in list fashion.

  1. Big mileage month... I wound up with 1392 for the month with just one day off the bike. I seem to be tolerating it. I don't think I'll have anything approaching that in September. I'm hoping for something between 1000 and 1200. We'll see...
  2. Yoga - That has also been picking up. I'm how managing to practice four times a week. Two with Mark at Indigo and two at Gold's. Today was a "bonus" practice. The daughter and I showed up for Evan & Kelly's Ashtanga class at the Davenport School of Yoga. That consisted of the full primary series. I managed to get through it with a few substitutions here and there. I haven't sweated like that in a long while. Then it was lunch and 30 miles on the bike,
  3. Last Friday, I meet up with Rick and we did a little ride to the Chief Blackhawk Antique Motor Cycle Swap Meet and Races. That was way cool. It was very interesting to see all of the very old motorcycles. It's very evident how much motorcycles have in common with bicycles when you see the old ones.
  4. I also wandered through a WWII ship that was in town. The ship was the LST 325. It was brought back to the US by a small group of veterans in 2001. I can't image taking that across the Atlantic. It is the only remaining one out of 1061 that is still in use in the original configuration.
Well... That's all for now. I think I need to have a little nap... about ten hours worth.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Woah... It's Been Awhile

Holy Socks! It's been almost a month since the last post. I've been shirking my blog responsibilities, such as they are. Here are the last few items of interest.

  1. I managed to ride RAGBRAI and not fall down or flat. A good time was had by all. I was hanging with ShortBus and riding with them some. I'll try to get a RAGBY post together before all of it gets out of my head.
  2. I also managed to win the Tour de France. Well... at least I won the Kim West Radio Cycling Show Tour de France contest. I'll be claiming my t shirt when I head to Ames later this month.
  3. I've been stacking in the miles and I'm starting to feel a little bit of fitness returning. RAGBRAI was an almost 500 mile week, followed by a 300 mile week, and this week is looking like it will be around 350. W00t!
Today's little ride was just a bit over 90 miles in just a bit over 5 hours. That averages out to about 18mph for the ride. And it was in the rain too. Tough guy points might be in the offing. That depends if I do the 50 or so planned for tomorrow.

Gotta go... I feel the need for a beer and some tunes. Hard Quarter is playing at the Bier Stube tonight. I'm not to wild about the beer there, but they do have Warstiener ,which will do in a pinch. Or I might just slip next door to Bent River and get either an Uncommon Stout (a coffee stout) or the Pale Ale. Maybe I can listen to the band from there.... the best of both worlds.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Le Tour Begins

Le Tour begins for real. The high mountains have arrived. We'll finally get a glimpse of who's going win. Given the 24 km descent to the finish today, nothing should really change. The stage tomorrow ends on a climb and that will cause the first major split. CSC has been very quiet so far. Given my pick in an online contest, CSC needs to wake up.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Another Doper

Ah... Manual Beltran has tested positive for EPO after the first stage of Le Tour. It seems that his pre-race values were a bit "high" causing a bit of additional scrutiny. Let's see... this now make five others that were teammates of Lance Armstrong's to have had doping issues. The others would be Frankie Andreu, Floyd Landis, Tyler Hamilton and Roberto Heras. I'm sure it's just coincidence. Yeah... that's it. Read about it here and here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Information Overload

Wow... My head is spinning. Yesterday the UPS guy dropped off 15 pounds of green coffee (French Roast Blend, Espresso Monkey, and my current favorite, Classic Italian Espresso Blend. Sweet Maria's also roasts once a week and they happened to be having the Classic Italian as their espresso offering, so I had a pound of that too. That gives me an example of exactly how they think this coffee should be roasted. It looks like I've been getting it pretty close to right.

The information overload in the title of this post is coming from a book that I had them include in the box. The book is The Professional Barista's Handbook by Scott Rao. I'm barely through the first chapter and I am very impressed. This seems to be the most concise source of espresso information that I've come across. I've found bits and pieces of the information in this book here and there on "The InterTubes", but nothing that pulls it all together.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

3 or 17 Days To Go - You Decide

July is here. That means two things, the Tour de France and RAGBRAI. Two of my most favorite cycling events. I'm not sure which is the most important. I'm leaning toward RAGBY. The odds on favorite to win Le Tour is Cadel Evans. I'm pulling for Carlos Sastre of CSC. We'll see how things turn out in Paris on the 27th.

This is yet another "Health Tour". It seems about every ten years there is some sort of doping scandal and the following year is a "Health Tour". With the ASO giving Astana (including the defending champion) the boot, no prologue, no team time trial, and shorter stages, Le Tour is going to be very, very different. I'm hoping for the better. I'm not sure that it will ever be clean, but at least Pro Cycling is really testing. With the specter of gene doping now in the laboratory, I think that it may need to adopt more of a car racing format, Stock or Super Modified.

RAGBRAI also has a possible challenge to get over this year too. Given all of the rain that we've been having here in Eastern Iowa and the attendant flooding, the ground is completely saturated. July is the third most rainy month (June, August, July), there is some real potential for problems. Hopefully, it won't happen. Although... we'll need at least one rainy day to add a little suffering.

DBax has just finished up Jack And The Magic Bean Bus. It's been filling that empty time from August to June. It's a lovely tale set in and about the RAGBY. It's required reading on The ShortBus.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

GITAP 2008

Well... my now annual RAGBRAI tune-up ride, GITAP, is in the can. It was a pretty good one. The weather was as close to perfect as you could ask for. No flats. Didn't fall over. Got a bunch of miles in. Not as many as I was planning on, but a 400 mile week is always good. I was also planning on taking a few more pictures than I did, but that's ok.

Monday's ride was a bit disappointing for me. I'd planned on taking in the Lincoln Highway Headquarters when I rolled through Franklin Grove, but I didn't really feel like waiting two hours for it to open. Ah well... should have seriously slept in.

Tuesday we rolled by one of my all time favorite road side memorials. Here's a picture of it.

Damned insurgents!

And now the requisite picture of the bridge between Sabula, Iowa and Savannah Illinois. I think that I caught the light pretty close to right to get the reflection in the river. We were camped at the Mississippi Palisades State Park for two nights. Then it was down the Mississippi River path to the Quad Cities. That was pretty interesting given the flooding that we've had in the QC's. At dinner on Wednesday, I volunteered to lead a ride from Augustana College to the Duck Creek Bike Path. That day's riding was supposed to be the river front paths, but the flood still had them underwater. I was shocked when I showed up Thursday morning and had a group of something close to thirty-five people. I don't think that I lost anyone, so I guess it turned out ok.

Friday's ride was the high point of the week for me. I took all of the mileage options, had a couple of wrong turns, and wound up in Rockwood State Park in Morrison 108 miles later with an average speed of 18mph. That was all by myself. I was pretty toasted, but a shower and a couple of beers later (this is one of the few state parks that allows alcohol), I was reasonably recovered. Then it was a short thirty-four miles on Saturday back to Sauk Valley Community College to catch my ride back home. Then it was unpack and start cleaning my camping stuff for RAGBRAI.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Long Time - No Type

Wow... Time flies when you're having fun. It's hard to believe that it's been a month since I last posted. Lots of things have been going on. In no particular order...

  • The Flood is back and is it pissed... Lots and lots of rain up north have driven the Mississippi River levels up to near historic levels at Lock & Dam 15. They started talking about a crest at 17' and kept bumping up the forecasts. It peaked last Monday at 21.4'. Lots of local flooding by the river. The flood walls are now starting to come down again and I'm hoping that my commute route gets back to normal in a week or so. That is a trivial concern when compared to the absolute suffering that the folks in Cedar Rapids, the second largest city in Iowa, have going on. I have friends that live there and while they were spared the rest of their town was not. It's basically a mini Katrina.

  • The weather here has been seriously odd. A week a ago Thursday, we had 3" of rain in a bit under 6 hours. That caused a huge amount of local flash flooding. There were roads washed out, some bike path ripped out, lots of flooded basements (not here), etc. My ride into and out of work on the next day was very interesting. The parking lot in Lindsey Park was completely under and I had to ride back off of the bike path and into the East Village. There was about a foot of water geysering out of a blown off manhole and making a nice little stream to ride through to get to dry ground. The high point of the ride was when I rode past a TV Talking Head doing a remote shot in parking lot across the street from there. I'm sure it was an "OMG... This is really bad here" piece. Nothing like a guy riding a bike through the background of the shot to make it seem not so bad.

    Then on Sunday morning, while I was waiting for my ride to The Ride (see below), we had an inch of hail between pea and dime sized. Eek!
  • The 2008 edition of GITAP. I'll post more about the ride with a few images later.
Now... It's time to clean up the camping stuff, clean the espresso machine, and hope I survive this afternoon's Ashtanga yoga class.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Snake

Well folks, it is once again Memorial Day in Eastern Iowa and that means that it's bike racing time. The best event of the weekend is the Snake Alley Criterium. This race makes a number of folks top ten races in the country. Snake Alley is a one block long climb on a historic brick street, dubbed "the crookedest street in the world." The 276 foot long Snake Alley has 5 switchbacks in a sixty foot climb. The average grade is 12.5 percent in that one block. I'll be hanging out with "The Devil" on the Snake. Wander on by and enjoy the show.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Late Night Blues Brothers

I went to the Redstone Room last night to listen to The Late Night Blues Brothers Band (MySpace Page). This is a tribute band and they do a righteous job. This genre is the stuff that I grew up listening to. I have a real soft spot in my heart for it. I'd met the bass play on a bike ride that I've been doing for a number of years now. Now... If they could only work up Electric Flag w/Mike Bloomfield's cover of Howlin' Wolf's Killing Floor.

My daughter went with me to the show. We saw them last year at Taste Of The Quad Cities. It was nice to get to do this with her. The only odd thing was when I asked if she wanted something to drink and I got to fetch her a Captain and Coke. I was feeling a bit old.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

But What Happens If....

I'd like to welcome a special guest to my B2WW Blog. Please give a special B2WW Blog welcome to Obviousman. Obviousman, I was hoping that you can answer this vital question, "What happens if it rains?"

Obviousman - "You get wet".

Thank you, Obviousman

Seriously... The little bit of rain that that occurred during my ride home today was no big deal. It wasn't even worth pulling out the rain jacket. Now I will admit that I do have fenders on my commuter bike and I was wearing clothing that will keep me warm if it gets wet. The only real consideration was to be careful turning onto the Viaduct Bridge and the Government Bridge. Wet metal is very slick and you do have to be careful. The same goes for painted lines and cross walks on the road.

I did have my first Gold Finch sighting of the year today.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Bike To Work Week

Well... We had the first event of Bike To Work Week this morning. This was put on by the QCTag group. They are an advocacy group that it trying to get folks out of cars and onto their feet, their bikes, or the city buses as an alternative to driving a car everywhere. This was a familiarization ride for folks in Davenport and Rock Island to show how easy it is to get around. They had a city bus there so folks to get a chance to see how to use the bike rack that is on the front of all of the city buses.

The next event that I'm planning on attending is the Commuter Breakfast on Monday morning. It is starting at 0630, so I'm taking some time off of work in the morning. I'm normally in the office at 0600. I am also going to be doing some blogging about B2WW on the QC Times web site. I think that I might find that a bit challenging since riding the bike to work is pretty much an everyday thing. I think that I'm going to write more about the things that I see. It looks like I might be able to include pictures. So here is going to be my first offering as to why I ride to work.

This was the view I had riding into work the other morning

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Few Flood Images

There are a number of better ones in the QC Times, but here are a few that I've taken in the last few days.

This one was taken from the Centennial Bridge looking down at the baseball park, Modern Woodmen Park (I have zero clues as to what a Modern Woodman is. Perhaps it is one that uses a laser instead of an ax.)

This one is on the Illinois side of the bike path right between Rock Island and Moline. If one clicks on the image and looks closely, you can see a blue heron that is in the water where the bike path runs. I think it is enjoying the water more than most folks here are.

Here is a view from the Government Bridge. The water on the left side of the image is the Mississippi River. The water on the right side is where some railroad tracks are that run parallel to the bike path. The water here is something on the order of 10 feet deep. You can also see that they have the roller dam all the way open.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Little Detour

This morning's ride into work was a little different. I had to make a little routing change. Last Thursday, the Quad City Times ran a story about how Davenport handled the flooding on the Mississippi River. The height of the river at Lock & Dam 15 (where I cross the river via the Government Bridge) topped out at 16.5 feet. To sum the article up, "Flooding? What Flooding? 16.5 feet? Hah! That wasn't anything, we handled that so easily. Bring it". Well... Thursday night / Friday morning there was a little bit of rain up north... about 4" in a few places. So... the 16.5' easily handled flood is now forecast to be a 19.5' flood, cresting this coming Wednesday. (See Coming into downtown Davenport Saturday around 2:00pm at the end of a lovely ride, Davenport was busy sand bagging, building several earthen walls in downtown, and building a big wall around the water company. I ride by the water company normally on the River Front Bike Path, so it was going to be un-ridable.

There is a user pointable web cam right by the sky bridge that can be found here -

So... It was down the Duck Creek Bike Path this morning to Farnam and then two blocks east to Iowa to get down to the Government Bridge. That was a bit different, but not too bad. The worst was the 37F and rain this morning. The rail bridge that goes onto Arsenal Island had a bunch of water under it, but it was still rideable without getting into the river. It won't be in another foot of river, so I'll have to work something out for that.

More on Saturday's ride: That was the annual QCBC Tailwind Century. So... we hopped on a pair of school buses and got dropped off in South English Iowa. Basically, it is 100 miles west of the Quad Cities. It was a good one. The wind was out of the west at 20mph, with gusts to 40mph. I was back at Scott County Community College with 98 miles in about 4:40. It was nice to remember how it was being able to ride big gears for miles and miles at speed. Made me feel like I was fit again. The wall clock time for me was about 5:20. Made two stops, once in Riverside Iowa (future birth place of Captain James T. Kirk) where I had a Gatorade and a doughnut. The other stop was in Buffalo, where I had a Coke and an energy gel. I decided to blow lunch off since I was certain that it wouldn't be something that I'd like to eat on the road (read fried "stuff"). Coming in, I think I found the World's Longest Rubble Strip, aka Rockingham Road. There were holes that had holes! It was a pretty hairy dodging them.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Another Sunday With The Tri Folks

Well... I managed to have a much better ride this Sunday than last. We rolled from the Iowa side today from the house of some folks I never met before. I did get to drive through the round-about to get there and back, plus twice on the bike. It was Ms. Jen, Ms. Nancy, Ms. Ally, Ms. Laura, and Mr. Eric. I knew it was going to be a hard day when I could barely hang onto Jen's and Ally's wheels in the first 10 miles (Jen is a sponsored racer and I believe Ms. Ally rode junior nats). It started to get a bit better for me, but I was a hurting unit all day. I haven't been riding that hard all year. Eric bonked serious hard about 35 miles in and that basically split the ride in two. Jen and Ally, and then the rest of us. I did a bunch of work and was feeling better from the 45 mile mark to about 78. The little climb up from under I-80 put the hurts to me, but I suppose I could have ridden it smarter (read easier). We got back to Laura and Eric's with 82 miles in 4:40. That was a pretty respectable 17.5 mph. Jen was hanging out working on her tan.

Got home... and then did the shower, food, and rest bit, sort of. I needed to roast coffee and this was the first good day to do that. I was roasting some Espresso Monkey blend. I get that from Sweet Maria's. It is the best green coffee you can get. Period. I've been using the Espresso Monkey for the last three weeks. I think I might have gotten it close to how Tom roasts it, but I think it was a bit to the dark side. I did three batches, stopping it at different times. Now to let it rest a few days and see.

Now to stretch a bit and think about a nap.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

O Spring... Spring, Wherefore Art Thou Spring?

With apologies to Willy S. I got out on the road bike for the second time this month today. I road with a tri-athlete friend of mine. It was maybe 43F or so when we rolled north up the river into a 14mph wind out of the north. I was not having a good day. My legs are now starting to feel ok again after a bit of food and an hour and a half of doing nothing. A nap is starting to sound really good. The low point of the ride were watching the snow flakes bounce off my jacket for a brief period. I'm suspecting that we really aren't going to have spring. It's just going to step function right into summer.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Stupid Drivers - aka Dim Bulbs

I guess it's really spring. The folks in the cars are back being seriously stupid. I had two head shaking incidents today. Both on the way home. The first was when I was coming over the bridge by the casino boat. I'd crested the bridge and was starting to coast down to get to the red light. Dim bulb passes me to dive completely across me to get to the right turn lane. I was going straight. Couldn't wait 2 seconds until he got to the turn lane.

The other was going down a hill. I stopped at a stop sign. Dim bulb was behind me. I go straight. He follows a couple of seconds later. I'd pedaled a little, but then started coasting since I'm going to be making a left at the bottom. Dim bulb passes me, never mind the car coming up the hill toward him. At least the guy in the car going up the hill was paying attention. He brakes hard to leave enough of a gap for the dim bulb to get into his lane. Dim bulb was making a right at the bottom on the hill. I was within 5 feet of him by the time we both got to the bottom. Stupid drivers!

But... In another sign of spring. I saw the first heron of the year. I was a bit surprised to see it. They will be here until fall. The ones here are the are of the Great Blue variety. I'm not sure about the range map in the link. I don't see them in the winter.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

An Interesting Ride

Well... The swapping on of the slicks didn't cause a major ice storm here... yet. Here is the promised story of yesterday's ride. I had just about reached the Government Bridge when I came up on a guy walking his bike. In his left hand was a rather large beer in a paper bag. I asked if he was having bike problems and then we got to talking...

"No... I ain't having bike problems. Just thinking about problems with my old lady. She hit me with a lamp right here (point to his head) and now she's in jail. I don't got no money to bail her out. I need like $500 to get her out. I just got out of the Scott County jail myself. (I didn't ask) That's a nice light you got you your bike. Where'd you get it?" I said it came from Europe and suggested that a light like my backup would be easy to get at a bike shop for around $20. "I got this ticket in Rock Island last year for riding my bike without a light at night. It was $75! Man... I didn't got no $75, so I did community service. I been riding my bike cause I can't afford gas. It's all that Bush's fault." I allowed that he's a bit of a problem. "Yeah... I don't like him at all. Hell, I'd vote for Hillary before I'd vote for him. I was driving my car to where I work, I work construction, so I got to get to all sorts of places. Man... I'd be buying $5 of gas to get there, then $5 worth to get home. It was costing me, like, $15 a day to drive my car." I said that I really had to be getting home. We shook hands, said our goodbyes, and I head off to home.

The other thing of note about the ride yesterday were the birds. The bald eagles have moved on to be replaced by the American Pelican. I saw about a dozen of them flying and then landing over by the lock. Man... those things are big!

Monday, March 31, 2008

From Stud-ly To Slick

Well... I may have just played the biggest April Fool's joke ever. I decided it was time to switch from the studded tires to the slick tires. I am hoping that we don't get any more snow and the temperatures stay up over freezing when we have water on the roads.

I run the Nokian Hakkapeliitta W106's in the winter. I get these from Peter White Cycles. I have no connection to them other than being a very happy customer. The only downside to these is that they weigh a ton and have a very high rolling resistance. But then... what do you expect when there are 106 tungsten carbide steel studs per tire.

I've been using the Continental Contact Sport tires when the roads are free of ice and snow. These roll really nice. They also can be run up to 80psi. I also get the version that have the reflective sidewalls. I figure every little bit helps to be seen. I should be somewhere between five and ten minutes faster into, and more importantly, out of work.

I met an interesting character on the ride home today, but that is a post for tomorrow and I won't be making any of it up.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Not Exactly Like Belgium

Well... There weren't anywhere close to this many people out riding today. I think I was basically the only nutter out there. It was very early season Belgium like conditions today. Rain... 40... head wind... A very lovely day. I managed to get a few "bonus miles" in this morning. The only part of the ride home that truly sucked was getting to wait for a train. Not more that 40 feet from work. Just standing in the rain watching it roll on by. The only goodness there is that it had nothing but metal towers for wind turbines.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Happy Pi Day!

Have a most irrational day!