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.