Friday, March 31, 2006


less Sick...not so Crabby...still Tired

Took a half-day at home yesterday, combined with a full day off Tues. There are times I wish I had a desk job instead of one that requires me to be chipper and on every time I go in.

It's the booger zone. Besides teaching kids about reedin' and ritin' we also work with them on what to do with their hands, fingers and bodily exhalations.

They share, they do. They share their excitement and pain. Any confusion is obvious. Their AH-HAs are bigger than the Mississippi. They share everything.

I've got their latest offering.

Unfortunately, they'll love you to death...or the to flu, or to strep throat, or to the plain-old-crud. It's why we have a vacation every now and again -- vacations are the neutral zone. We all go there to regroup and after a few days we're ready to come back and face the love again.

My 10-day neutral zone starts today at 3:30 just eight six three one small hours away....

- TOB is feelin' well-loved these days

Thursday, March 30, 2006

OK, so Self-Extracting Bolts

So, the items on a bicycle I've never messed-with are the cranks, BB and headset. I'm pretty sure I need to take the cranks off (or at least off one side) so I can jigsaw-puzzle the sliced-n-diced LeMond into the case for the trip.

So I take a big ol' hex wrench to a crank tonight (Ultegra '02 or '03) and the bolt loosens for about 3/4 or a turn...then it tightens again?! From what I can dig up on the internet too late for a call to the LBS I just need to keep on keepin' on and it will pull/push/wrangle the crank off. I don't need to do anything with the outer ring that has the two pin-holes.

Got this from an old forum: That's what the auto-extracter caps do. As you "loosen" the hex bolts, they will "push" the crank arm off the spindle. The tighteness after the hex bolt is loosened is the hex bolt pushing the crank off.
But I'd feel better about it
if I get a "yeah baby"
from someone who knows
AND, are crank bolts like pedals -- do they loosen on both sides by turning the bolt toward the back of the bike?

I'll get on the horn tomorrow and make a call, but if you can drop a line, that would be great...I hate night...wor r y i n ..g......ZZZZZzz zzz z zz z z z z z z z

- T O *snork* B

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Sick...not so Crabby...Tired

playing with my newly coupled bicycle because I'm so excited to not be paying airline OR shipping charges AND I have to figure out how it all packs into that tiny suitcase

- the Bag's gettin' tired of those cherry-flavored zinc lozenges....

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


So, you'll have to go somewhere else for today's reads:
  • From both George and Todd: Bob Brown's copper plated nature bike that might be the thing that gets me into a custom frame some day.... I stopped over at Bob's today to pick up my newly coupled LeMond and just missed seeing the copper-plating. It was shipped out today.
  • Shawn has a nice story about his LBS of 30 years ago.
  • Tim needs your support now during the spring slog.
  • Every weeks CP posts some awesome photos over at Tatterdemalion along with words of wisdom and activity log. My personal fav is this one.
- TOB's hoping all y'all have a fine day

P.S. I finally jotted some responses to comments from Sat's post I'm sure you've been dyin' for these it was fun to hear from you all!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Jim, there’s been a Disturbance

It’s the LBS with two big, round papasan chairs just inside the front door even though its inventory is busting out the walls. It’s the only one in its chain of stores. Buzzing in-n-out for a quick spare tube or brake pad just doesn’t happen: there’s always someone and something to be talked to and about. There’s BS to fling in the midst of business to conduct. There are frames to debate, suppositions to be supposed, and -- on Fridays at closing time -- beer to be had.

It’s a guy-thing, the Friday beer. But, since I tend to happen by now and again at the end of the week AND, since I need to await the reversal of metro traffic patterns, I’ll tip one or at least BS for a bit before hitting the road.

Sometimes the group is just hanging, but last Friday the new service-area addition was in full-swing: Joe was working on his new build, while Joe was installing a new cassette/chain combo and is that wheel outta true??

I’d walked toward the door several times only to get caught up in the latest bicycle rag or in the end-of-day customer who’s getting a new carbon TT rig in lieu of an engagement ring this woman rocks! So, I eventually grab my bag and wave my final goodbyes. From the other room, Joe hollers: see-ya Jeanne.

I hear a different JOE: the Old Bag?!

WHOA. Rift in the space-time continuum.

For an instant, the real me and the online me stood side-by-side. While in the comfort of my own home I know I’m both, but in the real-time space of 3D existence, the two haven’t ever met much less been called-out by someone I don’t know. Like many others, when I started blogging my online persona was an anonymous one. But after enough entries and comments, intersections are established and it’s only a matter of time before direction arrows are posted. People eventually travel the roadway between the stories they read and the person behind them.

JOE came through the doorway: I’m JOE -- I'm TGD!

I KNOW THIS GUY! We’ve never met! Until that moment, I wouldn't have been able to point him out to anyone. He's a fairly new blogger whose entries pack a punch -- what a writer. We chatted about education, women in sport, blogging, racing, babies.

I was once asked by an older-than-me :-] co-worker about blogging and whether or not I consider the bloggers I know to be friends. I wasn’t sure how to answer. We know a bit about each other’s families and work, we share some humor, we have common threads. We’ve had similar experiences. We worry, we encourage, we share advice. We know each other well enough that when we finally meet we smile and say oh man, how are you?! like buddies who haven’t seen each other since last cycling season. If we could, we’d all hang-out after a ride and tell some war stories over a beer.

Isn’t that how it all starts?


Friday, March 24, 2006

I Didn’t Want to Like This

In the wake of my cholesterol concern of a couple weeks back, I did a pretty hefty examination of my diet compared to current nutrition trends. Not a bad comparison except for ditching a few snack indulgences but the dark chocolate stays. I’ve taken to making my own granola, stocked-up on edamame, packed the fridge with vanilla yogurt...protein powder, almonds, peanut butter...apples, oranges, raspberries...whole grain anything. I haven’t bought Tostitos, ice cream or pizza since the cholesterol news arrived.

I look at fries and bratwurst with a jaundiced eye.

The gradual switch from a high carb diet to one that’s more in balance has been underway for me for the past eight months or so. But, I’m finding I don’t snack as much throughout the day now that I’m eating more protein. And, my sweet tooth is more easily overwhelmed these days. I tend to be happy with some yogurt and fruit or granola for dessert.

BUT I tried to hop off the wagon. After a recent Sunday ride we went for a midday meal. Starving. I’ve been craving bacon for weeks and figured I could indulge since I’d just finished a ride. I ordered a BLT. White toast. Kettle chips. And I was planning to like it.

Only, I didn’t so much.

I jealously eyed my neighbor’s carrot and celery sticks he’d opted for instead of chips.

And, he had whole grain bread with his turkey.



Wednesday, March 22, 2006

No Dogwoods Here...

...but they're bloomin' in Tallahassee and this post got me off my duff and on the bike after a long day in the salt mines. My intention had been to let let the daylight slide away as I looked the other direction and then I'd feign surprise.
These days make me crazy. Drunk from the tea olive. Ready to walk off the job. What is the value of one single Spring day? Do you really think you can afford to squander it?
Juancho '06
- that's all it took for TOB

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


but not soon enough

man I need outta
the house, the job, the routine
spring break in AZ


- TOB's countin' down t w o m o r e w e e k s

Monday, March 20, 2006

Saturday at Carver Park

- The Bag doesn't mind early spring when it's like this

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Rite of Passage

It's just something we do, but some years it’s fleeting. Hesitation means the day is lost until next spring. It had to be today. Today had the perfect balance.

In January, the snow has creep...if it tumbles onto the roadway it stays there and spreads, forming a hard pack. In March, snow hitting the road meets the same fate as the Wicked Witch -- it evaporates leaving behind its pointy little hat and broomstick.

We've had three days of clear skies and pounding sunshine. Snow is still piled from Monday's blizzard, but the high March sun is unrelenting. Everything drips during the day, refreezes at night, only to get soggy again the next day. Creeks are open and running.

We've been off skis for weeks, but today we hit Carver Park in the AM for a few sloppy loops -- after months of perfecting graceful skating technique this winter, we’re now each a mass of flopping sticks and skis. Snow in the sunshine of meadows is different from snow under the trees...skis stick then glide stick stick glii iii ide making consistent balance difficult. Any uphill struggles were accompanied by exhalations and flailing arms.

Temps reached 36 today, but five feet above the snow it felt like 70. It was a sauna under those black ski clothes -- perfect for tipping over into a snowbank and dropping-off into a snooze.

But we didn’t. We had cycling to do next. With the open streams, kayaking would have been third on the list...hmmmm, don't have a kayak yet....

It's the spring handoff.

- and now The Old Bag needs a nap!

* thanks to Mark for the pics *

Friday, March 17, 2006

Life During...

...Wartime March

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco
this ain't no fooling around
No time for dancing, or lovey dovey
I ain't got time for that now

...because I'm out shoveling @!#$!! snow

- but at least TOB's got some decent tunes

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Friday's sun was insistent
warm, soul-filled, life-affirming
early-spring, mud-scented air
possibilities inherent
in long, slow, base-building miles

clouds gray on Saturday
windy, damp
warm in an odd way
as flow out of the deep freeze can be
in the moment where cold meets warm
drawing-out focus and determination
good day for a strong ride
especially with breeze from behind

Sunday, more of a middlin' ride
on a middlin' type of day
in fine weather
with cooler temperatures
hinting at an unwelcome arrival

the storm descended Monday
as spring blizzards do
whirling, growling, tossing
flailing about our morning
as we wrapped inside warm homes
resting, growing, gathering strength
content, calm, waiting

Tuesday, March clambered for hold
but had no claws
attempted its half-eyed wintered stare
while the sun was high
warming the streets
dripping snow from rooftops
deceiving its weakness

- of course, TOB wrote this before today's 5" came down....

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

'Round the Compass Rose

Facing west:

Facing east:
They're saying up to a foot and more "fell" on Monday...looks moreso like it blew-in from everywhere and hit everything in every direction. The windows on every side of the house were plastered with snow globs. On Tuesday morning street signs were covered with white-out regardless of the direction they faced.

But it's March. It's only a matter of time....

- The Bag's waitin' this one out

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Demise of the LBS

The Plight of the Goofball

is that redundant??
So, how do you like yer bike?

Greatest Betty I’ve ever had.

Yeah, my good bike is an unobtanium Speedoflite.


Yeah, this old Ralphie is my winter ride.


Yeah, I stopped over at *LBS* and they wanted $UntoldMillions$ for for my unobtanium Speedoflite AND it was one that had been test ridden all summer like I want to BUY a test-ridden bike so I got on the internet and found one at *MASSIVE CATALOG OUTLET* for $SlightlyLess$ and THEN I went to E-Bay and found one for $SoCheap$.

...and there goes the Local Bike Shop...

Well, what do they expect when they’ve got 100% markup, come on.

Bicycles have a mark-up of 30-35%.

... . . .. .

So, where do you plan to get yours serviced

- this guy didn't know TOB does some work for *LBS*

Just as I was Lamenting the Snowstorm

- TOB's hunkered-down and doin' the happy dance

Where are Them Wimmin??

Now, I’m not complaining here, but at yesterday's club ride there were four women in the group of about 25 riders. Saturday, two. For a single gal, these aren’t bad odds...if one is men...


...just not all the time. I LIKE riding with men, but I also like riding with strong women. The conversation is different. The purpose is different we don't feel the need to pip each other at the top of every hill.

The recreational club I ride with now and again is huge, with rides of varying distances and speeds to accommodate those with hybrids riding 15 miles, all the way to the hard cores on their race bikes. I can only speak to that middlin’ to higher-paced segment -- there’s a direct correlation between faster rides and fewer women.

I know my entry into sports was influenced by a try-anything group of high school girlfriends who were up for it all -- that, and the passage of Title IX which finally provided women's sports beyond gymnastics, tennis and golf. We’d never touched a volleyball before, never dribbled a basketball, and we threw a softball as though we were in the shot-put circle; but there we were standing on the baseline in our red, canvas, high-top Converses ready to absorb it all.

According to one source in my non-exhaustive search:
  • Before Title IX, young women were 7% of the students participating in high school sports. In 2001, young women are 41.5% of the students participating in high school sports. In raw numbers, we went from 300,000 to 2.7 million athletes-a gain of over 800%.
  • Before Title IX, women were 2% of the college students participating in sports. In 2001, women were 43% of the college students participating in sports. In raw numbers, we went from 32,000 to 150,000 athletes -- a gain of over 400%.
But where are all those athletic women now? I can understand not seeing as many women my age since I was on the cusp. But what of those in their 30s and below? Shouldn’t we be seeing them? After they got out of school, what'd they do? Where’d they go?

Why aren’t they out on bicycles?

- things that make TOB go hmmmm

Friday, March 10, 2006

Looking for Trolls

In my Cat. 4 years I just rode. I did a sprint now and again. Got on my bicycle. Put in lots of miles, got fast. It was a throwback to my competitive high school days -- that feeling of being pushed to the limit and beyond was exhilarating.

I’d always been a decent athlete, but never exceptional, in whatever sport happened to be on the calendar at the time. But, I was also a flute player and a painter and a back-stage hand. It was all so cool!

And there was so much of it!

The plight of the easily-distractible: as soon as I got a handle on something and got comfortable with it, my fascination would wander whoa! What is THAT? I want a piece of that! When I was eight it meant endless hours walking the four blocks home from school because of bugs and sounds and people. In the early days of Title 9, I suddenly had the world of sports opened unto me. Me. Shooting hoops in the spring? That’s track season! Besides, right after practice I had to be in the auditorium for rehersal.

So, there I was 20 years later: Cat. 3.

I hadn’t realized this group would be that much faster than the 4s. Man, I was toast. I wasn’t getting better by accident or happenstance. I should maybe train. This was a new concept. Training. Purposeful riding. Staying away from junk miles. Sticking within a certain zone and staying out of others. Spending time riding junk miles meant I may as well be standing around eating donuts oh man, donuts with those little sprinkles. Intervals. I did intervals. I rode with the team. The bicycle lived in the car and the car lived on the freeway which took me to the team so I could train. The bicycle lived in the car.

But, I lived for the ride. I couldn’t quite seem to figure-out how to keep cycling inside constraints. I loved being on the bicycle, but I wanted to be out all day, stopping for coffee and lunch and donuts. I enjoyed looking at the various numbers tick back and forth on my heart rate monitor. I found myself fascinated with the HRM display and how it functioned rather than with the numbers themselves and what they meant for my fitness.

I started sneaking-out.

I would ride recreationally every now and again. At first I didn’t like it. Who were these Joes who couldn’t hold a line, who didn’t understand a steady paceline? And their legs! With hair!?! They’re all out here fighting the wind on their own? But there’s a crowd of people around! All they need to do is get organized MAN, LOOK AT THOSE HORSES BESIDE THE ROAD! THE WAY THEIR MUSCLES MOVE WHEN THEY RUN!

And the trees.

I couldn’t help it.

I turned 40 couldn’t help that either.

Tiny flowers at the base of the fenceposts.

I did a supported tour, just one, since I hadn’t in several years.

My mother had heart surgery.

I bought a fixer-upper.

I wanted to race. I loved racing, but I just couldn’t shake that soul at the core. The one who’s been with me from the start looking out the window during math class making sure I didn’t miss anything important...the one whose desk wasn’t a holder of books but was a multi-leveled underground home for trolls.

I just never know when they'll show up again.

- and The Bag sure doesn't want to miss them

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Saturday, March 04, 2006


This is your bike. You ride it. It’s what you do. You get on it and you ride it. And you like it. Year after year.

This is the saddle. It’s what you sit on. It’s comfortable. You make it comfortable because it’s what you sit on. So get used to it. Those are handlebars. They help steer the bicycle, but so do your hips that are on the saddle. Lean forward and grab the bars. Way forward. Lean more. Yes, you rode it like this last fall. It’s the same.

These things attached to the rings -- they’re the crank arms. At the end of the cranks are pedals. Your feet go into shoes which attach to the pedals. You move your feet in circles with the pedals and they make the bike go forward. It’s what they’re for. They make the bike and you go forward. Sometimes you go forward fast. Sometimes not. Right now it would be not.

You don't go fast, but you go. Because it’s what you do. And you like it. Year after year.

- OB's knowin' there's SOMETHING familiar about all this....

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Off the Bicycle for 6 Weeks

is this a bike saddle
or the narrow



So, this Cholesterol Thing...

Been doing a little digging since I've found out my arteries are closing shut. Turns-out it's not enough to know one's triglicerides, HDL and LDL numbers. One has to know ratios.

Ratios?! Preliminary internet findings have turned-up two different ratios to keep track of. I'm finding different numbers those ratios need to be beneath, but roughly:
  • Total Cholesterol divided by HDL (optimum is under 4:1)
  • LDL divided by HDL (optimum is under 3.5:1)
Both ratios are more important than all the individual numbers. I'm happy to report I am off to buy another tub of ice cream!


Those numbers would indeed both be under 4 and 3.5 respectively -- and the crowd goes wild...bwaaaaaaa! Niacin, man, niacin.

- The Old wahoo! Bag

...and my students ask me when they'll be ever using Math out in the real world when you're pushing 45 that's when

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Drastic Steps

marched home from work today
determined to rid my kitchen of fat-filled
unhealthy foods
banish those things that tempt me
out came the remaining bag of Tostitos
a fourth-filled
the hunk of leftover Velveeta
the third carton of frozen vanilla
rid the kitchen of the nasty LDL-producers
for the sake of my health
I had to
ate all of it
won’t ever hurt me again

what, you think I’m going to throw away good food?!?

- OB's not that drastic