Monday, December 25, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
all day last Thursday
four days before Christmas
as my mind wandered 10 degrees lower
and saw inches of snowfall
floating to the ground
my reality had slush and disappointment building
and the days remain gray and overly warm
keeping us in the limbo that's neither fall nor winter
because running on the neighborhood streets now is dicey
and I haven't picked-up those studded bicycle tires YET
and while spinning on the trainer is good for
my NetFlix subscription
I'd just rather be outside
sliding through the woods
on the skinny skis
BUT, I'm closer to buying those tires!
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
1. My baloney has a first name
2. My hairdresser really doesn't know
3. I'm obsequious, purple and clairvoyant
4. People hate me because I'm beautiful
5. I'd gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today
And if you recognize all five of those, you're at least as old as I am.
1. I used to paint. Not walls, but on canvas. I drew also...and chalked and sewed and played the flute and built stage sets and ran track and played basketball and wrote -- some of those things up until just a few years ago, a couple still. And, by a stroke of luck I was halfway decent at it, not great by any means, but decent. I was one of those kids who could've been great at something if I'd have applied myself heard that before? It took until I was in my 30s for me to realize the thing I'm really good at is trying small bits of everything. There's always something more out there to understand. AND, it serves me well in my profession -- I get the computer geek, the jock, the art nerd, the musician because I've been there.
2. I don't want to be a teacher anymore. I like what I do. I'd just rather not have to be somewhere every day.
3. I believe the Brady Bunch lied. I know. We tried putting together two families and it just wasn't all smiles and Alice.
4. My latest nickname was Weezie, but I'm only called that by buds from back home...other nicknames have been Bean, Ruby, Umbie, and Jeanne-Weenie in her Teeny Bikini damn you Markey Odegard!
5. Joey Peterka's crying was music to my ears. I was five. It was Kindergarten. We got four-pronged TB tests in school. I'll never forget lining up, rolling up sleeves, and one-by-one holding out our arms, squeezing our eyes shut, and getting the four-pronged prick. The class bully, Joey Peterka, couldn't or wouldn't? move his sleeve up very far so he got the stick on his inner wrist. I cringed as I watched the poke. There was a split second of silence, then my eyes got big as Joey howled and cried real tears. Looks of amazement crossed the room as he went to the teacher for comfort. No one else cried. Joey lost his power that day.
Sending the tag along to the four corners and across the sea: Tim, XBunny, George, Juancho, Alberto
- TOB being triple-tagged, does it mean I need to write 15 things?!
Sunday, December 17, 2006
but don't tell anyone
because four days ago I wrote about hating it
then yesterday we wheeled over to midtown
breakfasted, shopped, watched the aztec dancers
and today we rolled to coffee
but took the long way home
and I forgot about the skis
Saturday, December 16, 2006
And that night The Sweetie says to me, he says I'm thinking of driving to that one Park-and-Ride lot and commuting from there...it would cut my 19-miler to 12.
And I think to myself, I think there are a couple Park-and-Ride lots on MY commute! even though buses don't actually go that direction when I need to be going that direction. So I scope-out the Metro Transit site. I can cut my 12-miler to an eight-miler or even to a four-miler...
...a four-miler...I wonder to myself, I wonder How long does a four-miler take when I really need to get somewhere?
So the next morning I haul the ride outta the trunk and commence to commuting four miles.
I ped- I’m there?!
therehere? that was IT?
So the bike and I stand outside the front door of the building and I think to myself, I think HUH.
So I could DO this year-round...even on those days when I need to get to classes after work but I'd have to buy those studded Nokians!
-OB because then I'd be a stud
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
We've said it over and over this fall:
I've got so much to do, but this is the last nice day of the season.
If we don't ride, we'll miss out on the last one
Gotta get out -- this'll be the last nice day of the year.
Well, the last day has been here and gone several times. It comes. It goes. It comes back again. It leaves. Temps high...low...high, low, highlowhighlowhighlow. Now, it's 45 drizzly degrees and it's mid-December.
Don't get me wrong. I had a wonderful Saturday of mountain biking. I bicycled my Sunday errands I rode to the mall? and it was like really cool?
And after I was finished, I hung everybody back up on their garage hooks, turned the padlock key, headed indoors and commenced to waitin'
because I should be seeing white when I look out the window. The routine is that the warm-ups last for a day or two, then we get blasted with low temps and eventually snow. It's SUPPOSED to happen that way. By now, I should be shoveling the stuff out of the driveway at seven in the morning because of the overnight snowfall. I should be wiping the crud off the windshield because of the road slop and spatter. I should be able to ride to the grocery store without need of my headlight because in winter the brightness emanates from the ground.
Because all of that means it's ski season.
I love cycling...love the bike, love the freedom, love the opportunities it offers me. But to everything um, turnturnturn, there is a season turnturnturn.... Spring, summer, fall, and winter. In the first three ya ride. In the last one the bicycle gets a rest and ya ski. It's just what you do. So what's this thing we're in right now? Post-Autumn? Pre-winter? There's not a season called GrayBarrenDrabMiserableRainyExistence yet that's what has arrived.
- TOB yeah, and ho, ho, ho too
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
between now and next December
I'll be spending nearly $6000
to drive 40 minutes
and sit through coursework
but really it's alright because
the legislature DOES know my job best
and after all I didn't really need
that brick patio
with the sidewalk
or the front steps repaired
or that walkout from the diningroom
where the window is now
onto the brick patio that I don't have
and those appliances really still work fine
after 20 years
and the half dozen vacations would have been
- the PO'dOB
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
My third Pilderwasser arrived on my doorstep late last week...awesome fit, waaay great graphics wrapped around a perfectly-fitting, soft, girly-styled T. If you haven't stopped by Pilderwasser yer missing out. Get there. Besides, it's that time of year -- pick up a couple for cycling friends don't worry, not all the shirts are girly. Take a look through the slide show on the lower left side of the T-Shirts for Sale page to get an idea of the variety.
Gotta love it.
Hand Made in Seattle. One at a time. Delivered via bicycle.
Contact me and I'll answer your questions. Tell me what you want, what you really really want. And I'll tell you what you get. Keep in mind American Apparel shirts run smaller than "traditional" t-shirts. see: www.americanapparel.net
If you are ready to buy, then Buy Now, with secure payments through PayPal. Please be very specific on the vague order form found below.
Sizing: the American Apparel shirts tend to run a bit small. I'm usually in for a M t-shirt even though they're a tad loose. However, the unisex American Apparel M of my other Pilderwassers (#1, #1 again, #2) fit a little closer than a typical M. My new women's L (top) fits the way I'd expect a women's M to fit.
I dare you to get the nipple driver.
And, visit the blog while you're there.
- OB mine wasn't delivered by bicycle
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
...and I have a Murray hanging in my garage.
I don't own Murray, mind you. It's just hanging in my garage. My dad bought it years ago at WalMart the $54.88 pricetag is still on the front reflector when he decided he'd like to putter around the retirement community. It's a mountain bike that's way too small for him, weighs a ton and shifts terribly
so it's been sitting in his garage gathering dust. He and Mom have been downsizing and they wanted to get rid of things so I brought it home with me...with the good intentions of giving it away on FreeCycle.
My niece, however, being a college student and all, knows plenty of others who can use a cheap alternative to walking around campus so she found Murray a new owner on my stipulation that New Owner never, ever take Murray on any actual mountain bike trail except now that it's turned cold, New Owner doesn't really need Murray until next spring so can I store it for her?
I couldn't really say no....
- Baggie if I leave it parked in the back alley, do you think it'll be safe until next spring?
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
...well, what women really prefer is variety in their lubes...a bit-o-White Lightning or Pedro's Ice goes a looong way over multiple
but now and again something with a bit more durability is required
especially for those moving parts of like materials
...in which case, Phil Wood Tenacious Oil is a good choice.
And of course, there will be times when the Poly Lube 1000 needs to make an appearance, because after all it has an extremely high shear strength to protect vital parts under extreme conditions...
- OB THAT search query popped OB out at #6 on Google page 1!
Thursday, November 02, 2006
next to the tracks
the dusk blew-in dark and cold
tumbled most trail souls home
except for the lone walker on an overhead bridge
clutching a briefcase hunched
against the wind
looking beyond the underpass
down the train rails to where the city ends
a blotch of pink-purple-orange clouds
meant it was still afternoon somewhere
warm and soul-filled
I could hear them partying
dancing the rumba
maybe it was the pompons from my stocking cap
tapping my head as I ran
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Pearl Izumi along with the words screaming yellow and/or rack...not necessarily a flattering post
Bianchi Cross Concept
LDL but I bet their ratios aren’t as good as mine are!
Girly Posters bet this guy was disappointed!
Raleigh Grand Prix
Now, none of these searches pop The Old Bag blog to the top of search engine listings, but some people dig deeply enough through search results to get to page 6 and decide to stop by for a visit, hoping to find an Average Joe's or Typical Betty's comment -- someone who has experience with what they’re thinking of buying or who has stuff like theirs. It also made me realize visitors don't always find quite what they're looking for...because when I write about something I tend to not write: I love PRODUCT NAME because it has THIS CHARACTERISTIC and works in THIS APPLICATION.
Instead, I write Betty can get me out when no other ride can. Betty??? She's a 2003 Bianchi San Lorenzo. The team I was on had been outfitted originally with 2000 EV2 frames that eventually developed cracks, and Bianchi sent out the San Lorenzo frame as its replacement. It has a perfect center of balance: lower through the trunk and hips. I did hear from some who changed out the fork to something stiffer, however. The San Lorenzo isn't comfy like an old shoe...that isn't what it was built for. She wants to GO. She's a race frame, she's built to move and she's a ball to ride. She's quick, light (16 lbs complete...I believe that includes the Speedplays), and knows climbs. I recently replaced the way old wheelset with Mavic Ksyrium SLs because I got a screamingly good deal on them through team sponsorship (as has been the case with all of my hardware). Lightweight and true so far.
And, it's not a 2006 Bianchi Cross Concept. It's the pony who goes her own way and surprises on every ride with how smooth, solid, light and versatile she is. I love that bicycle. Love it. Looooove it. There are a couple things missing (like rack eyelets), and a couple things different (the cantilever brakes take some getting used to after road calipers) but given the reason this bicycle was made, it's spot-on for its purpose. I use it for a 24-mile round trip commute, hauling a bit of gear over some rough stuff through the industrial park and down the limestone trail. I use it for some swoopy singletrack. Perfect. The Scandium frame with that bit of carbon in the rear triangle was a mistake though...it made the ride so supple that now visions of a full carbon road frame are dancing through my head don't tell Betty. There's a reason I never test-ride certain materials: I know I'll like them. Two things I'd been able to avoid up to this point because I refuse to go near them: titanium and carbon. The Cross Concept was a bit manipulative in that it underhandedly slid some carbon underneath my bod. And I liked it.
After the headlight fiasco of last winter (and given difficulties I had with the ancient cord that was soldered onto the new battery yes, fire -- NOT the solderer's fault, the cord is from '97), I saved my pennies and recently picked-up a 5-watt DiNotte LED headlamp. This light rocks. Love it. High, low and flash modes. It's bright: the equivalent of a 12+ watt halogen, and the beam is wide without washing-out. The mounting mechanism (mechanism...yeah, can you say o-ring?) is a breeze. When the batteries are running low, it shifts to low power mode but doesn't turn off and leave me in the dark. It's lightweight: 210 grams includes the batteries. And those aren't proprietary batteries: they're rechargeable AAs. Buy one. If you want more info, search Lactic Acid Threshold for DiNotte find a dozen posts or go to Gear Review.
Any mountain bike. Get one. Quit being exclusive and get off-road. It'll give your road skills a huge boost because you'll use your mind and body in ways you don't on a road bike. It'll turn 20 miles into a huge workout that you'll be able to counteract with the greasy burger and cigar you enjoy afterward. Mine's a used '04 Specialized Stumpjumper hardtail -- light, nimble, upgradeable.
S and S Couplers: These babies turn an ordinary bicycle into a travel bicycle, and for the money you'll pay out on the conversion you'll save $$$ in shipping over the years. My old Lemond Zurich became check-through luggage this past spring. No packing up the ride and sending it out a week early. No extra charge for flying. No questions at the ticket counter. I debated for years on this one...if you're in that same boat GET OUT NOW and git 'er done. The one difference I've noticed is that the couplers seem to have made the frame a tad stiffer, which may be due to their relatively close placement near the seat tube, required of early 853 butting. If you're in the Twin Cities, go to Bob Brown for the conversion...beautiful work...but do it before the February rush.
Castelli full Windstopper jacket: Windstopper on the front, back and sleeves. Two zippers in front provide venting without opening my warm insides to 30-degree breezes. Unfortunately, I don't think they make this one anymore. Mine was given to me as a gift in the winter of '99 or '00 thank Dude and if I'm ever without it I'll search high and low for another one like it. It's the one thing that I'd be willing to actually put out full-price for because I have a temperature comfort range this wide | | and it allows me to ride well into the cold season.
SmartWool: socks, lightweight zip T baselayer...godsends both. Wool that's soft and comfortable next to your skin. I watch Sierra Trading Post for these.
And a Zefal HPX frame pump. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a group with a flat and inevitably the frustrated flatter leaves behind their compact mini-pump (even cartridge models): “Does ANYONE have a DECENT pump I can use?!” We all think we’ll be able to get by with a pump that will provide enough air to get us home...what we all really want is a pump that will let us continue the ride. Get one. Parts are fully maintainable and replaceable.
Oh, Speedplay road pedals...if you're hooked on road pedals, I love these: double-sided with lots of float. That cleat finds exactly where it's supposed to be every time -- no using the toe of my shoe to flip it over as I fumble to find the correct side. They're a can't-miss snap-in. Set my foot down and I'm there.
So, there it is. I’m such a product whore...wait a minute, it’s not like they’re paying me anything for writing this. WHY THE HELL AREN’T THEY PAYING ME ANYTHING FOR WRITING THIS?!?
- TOB I sooo want to be a product whore.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
searching for strength
split-second reaction time
where did it go
the arm muscle
massive cleavage er wait, that was someone else
-OB outta shape
Sunday, October 22, 2006
It's a yearly pilgrimage. Cable, Wisconsin. Mountain Biking. Fall Colors. Beer and potluck (after all, this IS the Midwest).
It's the last hurrah, the curtain call to the season. We gather, ride hard, and breathe-in the crisp smells of the waning fall days. We tell tales. We cuss. We challenge ourselves physically before the gray season of rest comes to impose upon our psyche.
We'd gotten unseasonably early snow in the Twin Cities earlier that week...a few flurries, some white dust on the grass tips, but it was gone. Early reports had temps at our destination, Cable, WI, listed near 40 for the weekend. And as the days grew closer, 50 was mentioned. Of course, any snow Cable had gotten would be gone with those temps.
We drove-in Friday night and about 10 miles out there was actual accumulation on the ground.
Spirits plummeted, but gradually resolve gained ground. We'd thrown every possible warmie in the bags as a justincase: balaclava, windstopper, wool socks, winter tights, booties, glove heaters...we were going to have fun dammit.
On Saturday, we stayed away from singletrack and hit the Birkie Trail instead. It's a rolling, hilly, spruce-lined highway through the woods, not the most exciting for off-roading, but great for cross-country skiing: the yearly proving ground of the American Birkebeiner Ski Race. We took it easy and took-in the woods. Without having to navigate slippery-leafed singletrack, we were free to look
and with snow on the ground, to imagine.
There's an energy to that spot -- all 50 k of it -- and it seeps upward with the will and excitement of Birkie winners and challengers from as far back as 1973. I’ve felt it before...it’s greatness and courage and agony and celebration, barely discernable in October, but with the snow it swelled ever so slightly
We were there to bike, intending to pay our last respects to autumn, but the Ancients were whispering. The ending of autumn isn’t the grey season. It’s the start of preparations.
- Baggie already thinking skiing
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Dammit I Forgot Them for the Second Year in a Row!
need to come with
to prance up the uphills
to pound through the ditch
Next year the knobbies
will clutch, paw and dig
careen down the downhills
on my mountain rig
This year the knobbies
were up on the hook
high in the rafters
- The Bag forgot them again and this time there was snow and #@!%!! wet leaves
Monday, October 09, 2006
Goals -- they're dangerous.
Now, think about it. Riding an off-road century is a feat, to be sure, but let's consider this one...reeeaaaally think about it. The Salem Hills trail system consists of a north loop and a south loop...for a total of 4.5 miles. Given what Salem Hills IS, that glorious, challenging statement then translates into:
Twenty-two laps. Since each lap takes just under 30 minutes to ride, 22 laps means:
Ummm....So let's take that statement and extrapolate out to the available daylight. Suddenly what's REALLY being said is:
and I will spend 11 hours riding the same 4.5 mile loop
over and over for 22 laps until it's dark.
And, given that Salem Hills is a great little swoopy, loopy, curvy set of trails with a feature that would be one, THE rock feature one could say that Salem isn't overly challenging. Add wind gusts of up to 33 mph on the prairie section and what you're ACTUALLY saying is:
and I will spend 11 hours circling the same mind-numbing 4.5 mile loop
over and over for 22 laps
in order to ride 100 off-road miles on the windiest 80-degree day of the year.
One could set different goals. I'm kind of partial to these:
or until my brain gets tired.
I will arrive sometime in the morning
after my morning coffee and newspaper...priorities!
I will cheat and ride my 'cross bike
instead of my mountain bike
and I will deserve an extra lap just for being smart
come-on, 700 wheels?! nobrainer
I will take breaks when I'm hungry
or when there are other people hanging out on lawn chairs
I will leave to run an errand.
I will return and ride more.
When my body hurts, I will quit
and then I will drink beer with other people hanging out on lawn chairs.
Do I need to ride 100 off-road miles? Heck no.
CAN I ride 100 off-road miles? Heck no! But my helmet's off to those who did!
Saturday, October 07, 2006
I had joined The Sweetie for part of his commute the other day. We were taking it easy, heading home on a combo trail/road ride following a passageway through the labyrinth that makes up the Grand Rounds. Work wasn't so bad on a day like that one, regardless of whether one was in a car or on a bicycle. Car windows were down, trail users were out. Everyone was enjoying one of the last days of afternoon sunlight and warmth.
We were on the Minnehaha Trail closing-in on the intersection of the Parkway and Cedar. The light was green for us, and traffic started rolling through. An old VW van in the street next to us was making its way slowly at about the same pace we were going. Sweetie, ahead of me, and I both checked the situation: no blinker, driver looked at us. Sweetie rolled off the trail and into the crosswalk.
At the same time, VW took its right turn into the crosswalk.
I grabbed for my brakes.
Perhaps it was Sweetie's high-vis jersey that caught VW's eye. The driver's face showed its realization at the same time his passenger gasped a breath and grabbed at him. The van braked.
Ohhh Dude. I said it out loud. It wasn't accusatory, wasn't directed to the driver...but I wasn't talking to Sweetie either. The van's windows were open and it was close enough for those inside to hear me. The driver's silent eyes Yeah. Dude. darted from Sweetie to me at the curb.
Who was I talking to? Was it an expression of relief? a prayer? an "oh man, what coulda been"? I grew up in a home where saying G-O-D wasn't appropriate outside of church and prayers. Who then do I exclaim to during tough situations? Who do I talk to under my breath? Whose name do I take in vein when I cuss?
Is DUDE some supreme cyclist who reigns on high? Is it DUDE who watches over us during those near-misses? Is DUDE really G-O-D but in lycra? is the idea of GOD-in-lycra sacrilege? If so, is s/he a dirt-lover or a roadie?
- The Bag does DUDE look like Sheldon Brown and rule from atop a Fizik saddle wielding a scepter of triple-butted steel with a blue Park Tools handle topped off by a Dinotte?
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Boys, if you want to know what it is that we women really notice, check out this DC's Craigslist posting....
In case it's gone, here's a pdf.
- OB from BikeHugger by way of 42
Monday, October 02, 2006
heroic and impressive in quality
We've all had one -- an epic ride -- whether mountain, road or commute.
We know when we're in ITS midst. We know we've been there after IT'S gone. IT leaves faraway wildness or wistfullness on our faces as we struggle to capture the hugeness while we retell the tale...our tale of THAT ride.
Yet, we're content in our inability. IT can't be readily explained. And those listening nod with understanding.
Your epic: what are the components? Juancho explains his over at the Circus "no matter how many miles I ride, my body will never catch up to the distance my mind travels when in the saddle."
Thursday, September 28, 2006
who came to be
just one short year ago
like you and me
just chasin' off life's woes
who would agree
that cycling's apropos
she spews for free
'bout Betty and some joes
some say she's me
or some old coot who blows
- um, T O B