Sunday, December 28, 2008

Worlds Collide

When the snow is good, I pick cross-country skiing over biking for my workout. You just never know how much good snow there will be in a season so it gets priority. The snow has been perfect and I have been out cross-country skiing quite a few times and riding, at best, a couple times a week. We’ve had some below normal temps so some of the skiing has been in the sub-zero range but when the snow’s nearly perfect you just go and sort out the cold toes after the fact. The morning of Christmas day was my last day of skiing and it didn’t get above zero until after we were done.

When I woke up the following day, the temp was already 35 degrees heading for 40. That’s 40 above zero. And just to add insult, it was threatening to mist/drizzle/yuck all over our beautiful snow. My plan for the warmth had been to head out for some skijoring since the pooch doesn’t do very well in the bitter cold.

Puttering around delayed my exit and when I let him out to do his business before heading to the ski trails, he came back in soaked after only a couple minutes. Sure enough, what I had thought was a light fog was actually a heavy mist/drizzle. I decided that skiing in rain gear didn’t sound like much fun so I bagged the trip. It was supposed to turn to snow at some point so I figured we’d go the next day.

It never did turn to snow. It stopped raining and then froze turning everything into a very rough skating rink. Skiing on ice isn’t my idea of a good time but taking the bike with the studded tires out can be quite a hoot. Before I got studded tires, I was terrified of riding on ice and parked the bike anytime it was below freezing. But with the studs, I could do so with little trouble. Riding on ice with studded tires is like hitting a patch of road that is covered with sand. You can’t ride it the same as you would dry pavement but by taking it a bit easy you can get through it with no problem. Don’t be stupid and you won’t go down.

So I headed out into the freshly glazed world, happy to have an outdoor workout option. I decided to take a spin around the trails that make a nice loop over here on the western side of the Twin Cities. We have the good fortune of having a great mountain bike trail right in the city of Minneapolis at Theodore Wirth Park. I’ve written about these trails before and ride them quite a bit since they are only a quick 6-mile ride from home. I also thought it would be fun to hit that trail system since two days earlier we skied this same park. How many places have a huge inner city park with both top-notch mountain biking trails AND cross-country skiing trails?

I only had my phone for snapping a picture and dusk was coming on so the shot didn’t turn out that great but an active mountain bike trail crossing an active ski trail (in really crappy shape...) seemed like a picture that had to get taken. So I did.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wide Christmas

I'll be enjoying this year's wide Christmas
I bid you have the best holiday season!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

15 degrees, heavy snow with light winds

15 degrees, 4” already down plus heavy snow falling, light winds. Why?

Upper:

Thin base layer tank top, Icebreaker Bodyfit 260 long sleeve, with a Gore BikeWear jacket for the outer layer. This great for the conditions since riding in heavy snow with 4+ inches already on the ground is one heck of a workout

Hands:

Perl Izumi lobster ski gloves with thin wool liners. This was perfect.

Lower:

Ibex Climawool pants over wool tights over Ibex merino wool cycling shorts over wool boxers. This was perfect.

Feet:

Medium weight wool socks, thin wool liner socks with Lake Winter boots. My toes got just a little chilly on the return ride but the only change I might have made would be to have aired/dried out my feet before heading back but Whole Foods my have frowned on that...

Head:

Wore my down-hill ski helmet with medium balaclava and cycling glasses. I removed the balaclava for the return ride, again due to the extreme effort of riding through this much snow.

Riding pace:

I’m guessing around a 6 mph. pace since the whole ride was on unplowed trails with 4+ inches of snow. The hardest riding I have ever done was today through this much snow particularly on the road portions where tire tracks turn the ride into a controlled fall, controlled meaning I never fell but anyone watching would have assessed me as very nearly out of control.

Etc.:

This was an errand ride of about 7 or 8 miles. I’ll put up another post on riding in these conditions that were about as extreme from a handling perspective as I have ever ridden in. Another ride like this and I would sell my soul for a Pugsley!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Good News on a Friday

 It's an exciting time for cyclists with more folks riding and getting involved in cycling. Two quick links to things I think are worth celebrating:
On the local scene, the National Park Service has some big plans near Fort Snelling where the Minnehaha bike trial makes a feeble connection to the Mendota Bridge. Pete had some questions and posted the exchange that brought the news to my attention. Another example of how easy it is to get involved, thanks for posting this Pete!
On the national scene there is a plan nearing completion for a national bicycle network, an interstate system for bikes. CBS put out this story:
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, working with theAdventure Cycling Association and other groups, recently approved a plan, four years in the making, that lays the foundation for the network. Now it's up to each state to create the routes and put up signs.
Pretty cool, don't you think?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Three More Reasons

Here are three more reasons
I like shopping for beer
at CostCo!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008

12 degrees, dusk into night ride, light winds

12 degrees, dusk into night ride, lightly snowing with light winds.

Upper:

Thin base layer tank top, Icebreaker Merino short sleeve T-shirt, thin Patagonia long sleeve base layer, Bodyfit 260 long sleeve, Ibex Merino jersey with a Gore BikeWear jacket for the outer layer. This was pretty good for the conditions but I could have gotten along with one less layer, probably the Merino jersey though I may have wanted to add it for the last part of the ride.

Hands:

Perl Izumi lobster ski gloves with thin wool liners. This was perfect.

Lower:

Craft Windmaster bib tights over thin silk tights over Ibex Wool cycling shorts over wind front briefs. This was pretty good but a little chilly on the knees. Knee warmers would have been a welcome addition or perhaps thicker base layer tights.

Feet:

Medium weight wool socks, thin wool liner socks with Lake Winter boots. I also put in a  chemical heater pack under my toes on each foot. This was pretty good but my toes were a little cold at the end of this 2.5 hour ride.

Head:

Wore my down-hill ski helmet with medium balaclava and cycling glasses. This was nearly perfect but I did have to adjust my glasses to be outside the balaclava to prevent the cold from following the temples in and freezing my ears. Also, this was the first ride this season where I did have to cover my face. This is a loose-fitting balaclava and it allows my breath to come out the top which fogs up my glasses. It’s mostly OK when I am moving except for the occasional brief fog up when I look behind me but I have to pull it down right away when I stop or the glasses fog up on the first breath.

Riding pace:

I’m guessing around a 10 mph. pace since the whole ride was on unplowed trails with 1-2 inches of snow mostly with other tire tracks and footprints both of which make the riding a bit harder.

Etc.:

This was about a two and a half hour ride just for the fun of it and it was a very good ride. I did make one rookie mistake though; while I did bring water in a thermal bottle, I didn’t bring any food and nearly bonked about a half hour from home. The ride was just under 20 miles which was about the same as a 50 mile road ride in good conditions in terms of effort and I would never do a ride that length without some kind of a snack midway.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Silence of the Studs

I put the studded tires on too early (as usual) due to my paranoia of hitting a patch of ice and going down. I don't mind riding them on dry pavement. In fact, when they are new it helps get the studs to fully set making them less likely to pull out as I ride through the winter. Since part of my motivation to ride is for fitness, riding on tires with a higher rolling resistance, especially those with studs, just makes for a better workout.

Eventually our first bit of snow arrives and I head out to roll over that patchwork of snow and ice. I look forward to the first snow ride of the season as it marks the end of fall and the beginning of the winter riding season. It’s one of my favorite rides of the year.

Riding studded tires on dry pavement sounds like an old 78 phonograph record with the sound turned up and no music. As I roll around the trails, I don't often need to ring my bell or to alert folks with a polite "On your left". Most pedestrians turn around to see what in the heck is coming at them and give me plenty of room. I like to think it’s to insure my safe passage but it’s just as likely they are making sure they don’t get rolled over by an errant bike. Safely past, it’s just me and my old 78 spinning along down the trail.

Until I hit a patch of snow...

Then those studs become deadly silent. No sound what so ever. Road tires on dry pavement have a certain smooth hum, a supple sound track of soft rubber gripping the pavement. Mountain bike tires sailing down a hard-packed single track sound like an old man's slippers on a sturdy wooden staircase. A syncopated, soft padded dance step.

Studded tires on snow make no sound. No sound at all.

Being accustomed to the reassuring audio cue that my tires are providing a connection to whatever surface I am rolling over, the silence is deafening. It's the same silence one hears when a pebble tossed into a well has yet to hit the water. Time suspended, waiting for the echo of that distant plop.

My late fall rides have that old 78 as a constant sound track so I anticipate it being there. My ears strain to pull it in but all I hear is the winter quiet surrounding me. It finally ends when the studs once again find direct purchase on bare pavement and the old 78 spins up again. But the sound is short-lived lasting only until I roll over the next patch of snow. Then it’s quiet again. The snow brings back the magic of winter biking and wraps me in a suspended silence.  

Monday, December 1, 2008

21-23 degrees, 6-13 mph winds, sunny

21-23 degrees, 6-13 mph winds (that seemed stronger coming across the lakes), sunny

Upper:

Icebreaker Merino short sleeve T-shirt, Bodyfit 260 long sleeve, Ibex Merino jersey with a Gore BikeWear “Tool jacket” for the outer layer. This was pretty good for the conditions but my back got a bit sweaty since this jacket has windblock all around not just in front like the Ibex jacket I have been wearing. See jacket comparison below.

Hands:

Perl Izumi lobster ski gloves with thin wool liners. This was perfect.

Lower:

Ibex ClimaWool pants over medium weight merino wool tights over regular cycling  shorts. This was a little chilly at the start but after I warmed up it was very good but still on the chilly side.

Feet:

Medium weight wool socks, thin wool liner socks with Lake Winter boots. This was pretty good but my toes were just a tad chilly after a couple hours.

Head:

Wore my down-hill ski helmet with medium balaclava and regular glasses. This was nearly perfect but my cycling glasses would have been a better choice.

Riding pace:

I’m guessing a 14-16 mph.

Etc.:

This started out as a quick errand trip but it was so nice I ended up riding for a few hours. The nice thing about the Minneapolis area is that I can ride for hours and almost never be off a trail or at least a dedicated bike lane.

The Gore BikeWear jacket was my main commuting/skiing jacket last year and I wanted to compare it to the Ibex jacket I picked up this fall and have been wearing for all my riding. The Ibex jacket has a wind resistant front with a more breathable, and not wind resistant, wool back. The venting in the back has made controlling my body temp much easier and I expect to take this jacket down into the single digits (we’ll see…) though I had expected to use it only for rides above freezing. Since even with a strong tail wind, I always have wind at my front it makes sense that this is working so well. I wouldn’t wear it cross country skiing in lower temps since I can’t always be certain a tailwind won’t hit me that I can’t out run like I can on the bike.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Oddball

We have an odd dog.
He's a Border Collie and 
they are very smart dogs.
But they can also be pretty odd.
It's what some folks like about them.
(Folks like me but then 
I'm a bit odd myself.)
I snapped this shot the other day.
Another day of oddball antics.
OK, so he can sit on a step.
That's not really that odd. 
Even the blind cat can sit on a step.
 (Humming; Even a blind cat can tell when he's sitting on a step...) 
So what's so odd about a dog sitting on a step?
Take a closer look.
Does your dog sit with his butt on one step
and his back feet on the same step as his front?
I didn't think so...
Oh, and the frisbee?
Always
gets the center bit out of it.
So he can carry it like this:
That way he won't trip on it when he's 
bringing it back.
bringing it back..
bringing it back...
bringing it back....
I'm still trying to get a shot of him
Drinking tea with his pinkie up...

Friday, November 21, 2008

16 degrees, light wind and sunny

16 degrees, 4mph winds, sunny.

Upper:

Merino tank, thin Patagonia long-sleeve merino base layer, Ibex merino wool jersey, Icebreaker Bodyfit 260 long sleeve, Ibex climawool shell. This was perfect for the conditions.

Hands:

Perl Izumi lobster ski gloves with thin wool liners. This was perfect.

Lower:

Ibex ClimaWool pants over medium weight merino wool tights over regular cycling  shorts with wind front briefs. This was perfect.

Feet:

Medium weight wool socks, thin wool liner socks with Lake Winter boots. This was perfect.

Head:

Wore my down-hill ski helmet with medium balaclava and my cycling glasses. This was nearly perfect for the ride out but I switched to the light weight balaclava for the ride home.

Riding pace:

I’m guessing a 16-18 mph as I was a bit late for the appointment heading out and it just felt good to push a little on the way back.

Etc.:

Rode over my physical therapy appointment in Plymouth. I was only a little sweaty when I got there and was completely dry aft the half hour appointment.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

25-21 degree night ride

25-21 degrees, tail leaning cross-wind out, head leaning cross-wind back, night ridesunny with west north west at 11-17 mph.

Upper:

Merino tank, Ibex merino wool jersey, Icebreaker Bodyfit 260 long sleeve, Ibex climawool shell. This was perfect for the conditions.

Hands:

Perl Izumi lobster ski gloves. This was pretty close to perfect. Started the trip home with thin wool liners but had to take them as they made it a bit warm for the conditions; reminded me that flexibility is key to winter riding.

Lower:

Ibex ClimaWool pants over medium weight merino wool tights over regular cycling  shorts with wind front briefs. This may have been over kill but I was very comfortable and since I was heading to the bar to meet a work friend, I didn’t want to show up in tights.

Feet:

Medium weight wool socks with Lake Winter boots. This was perfect.

Head:

Wore my down-hill ski helmet with light balaclava and my regular glasses. This was nearly perfect but would have been slightly improved if I had taken the time to put in my contacts so I could have worn my cycling glasses.

Riding pace:

I’m guessing a 16-18 mph average for the 7 miles there and about the same for the 9 mile, better neighborhood, ride home. When it’s later evening and dark I tend to avoid the Cedar Lake Trail between downtown and Wirth parkway because it’s very isolated and has had some crime problems and unfortunate vagrant encounters. I haven’t had any big problems but have been approached by folks that made me nervious.

Etc.:

Rode over to the west bank to have a beer with a friend so I knew I would have a couple hours in the bar between trips. I left a little later than planned so I rode a bit harder  than I typically do in winter gear and was a bit damp when I arrived. Thanks to the wonders of wool, I didn’t stink and dried completely well before it was time to head home.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

In it's own time

Grief takes time, takes it's own time

We can't control it, not for ourselves, not for anyone.

Nor can we judge how long it takes.

It passes like a hurricane, slow, devastating and ponderous

Or perhaps a tornado, quick and violent.

Time measured against nothing but itself.

Loss visits me again,

Stays as it will, like an unwelcome guest.

On a good day I understand

New only arrives, when old makes way.

On a bad day, I'm wracked with despair and wonder

Why the familiar recedes from my grasp.

My life has been rich with loss

Making way for lives I'd have never known

Loss never gets easier; practice little helps

Still I fear being one who fails to lose,

Sees loss as a terminal state rather than

The manure that powers the next harvest

Sometimes, in fact at this time, now

I feel up to my ears in the manure of loss.

It's putrid, disgusting and as necessary

As the air that I breathe.

I know this, I hate this but

I can't (but want to) live without this.

Science projects in the fridge rot for no purpose, 

Serve no good and just get tossed.

Moldy loss, festers in its own juices,

Can't be tossed, stays unbidden,

Unforgiving, unrelenting, unwilling

To help the loser understand.

But losers that accept not knowing, not understanding,

Wallow in their loss, stew in their own juices,

Accept putrification as their destiny,

Truly lose the opportunity to grow, to capture

Future nutrients, life manure, shitty for sure but

No doubt the strength, sinew of life's thread.

I may never understand why those once near

Can no longer appear, to me, dear,

Some not any where, some there never here.

I know loss as my exhale blown to the wind,

Beyond my inhale giving life to my uncharted path.

Just now I am breathless looking for my next giddy inhale.

Friday, November 14, 2008

34 degree night ride with 20-30 mph. wind.

34 degrees and falling, night ride, strong winds 20-30 mph.

Upper:

Merino t-shirt, Icebreaker Bodyfit 260 long sleeve, Ibex climawool shell. This was perfect for the conditions.

Hands:

Perl Izumi lobster ski gloves. This was a bit warm at the beginning but not bad for the return trip.

Lower:

Craft wind bib tights over regular cycling shorts. This combination was perfect.

Feet:

Light weight wool socks with Lake Winter boots. This was perfect until the very end when my toes started to get just a bit chilly.

Head:

Wore my down-hill ski helmet, light balaclava with my regular glasses since I didn’t take the time to put in my contacts which are required for the cycling glasses. This was also perfect.

Riding pace:

I’m guessing a 14-16 mph average. Stress relief ride at the end of a frustrating day. This was my first ride with both my new studded tires (Schwalbe Marathon Studs, 700c – 40) and I am even more impressed with how well they ride. Several miles were on crushed limestone and they rode like normal tires on that.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

27 degrees, sunny with wind at 11-17 mph.

27 degrees start to finish, tail wind out, headwind back, sunny with west north west wind at 11-17 mph.

Upper:

Merino tank, merino t-shirt, Icebreaker Bodyfit 260 long sleeve, Ibex climawool shell. This was perfect for the conditions.

Hands:

Thin wool liners inside Perl Izumi lobster ski gloves. This was a bit warm for the conditions but not to the point of getting too sweaty.

Lower:

Craft wind bib tights over cycling liner shorts. This combination was pretty good but regular cycling shorts for the base might have been a little better.

Feet:

Medium weight wool socks with Lake Winter boots. This was perfect.

Head:

Wore my down-hill ski helmet with my regular cycling glasses. Added the light balaclava under the helmet for the return trip as I was facing a headwind. This was also perfect.

Riding pace:

I’m guessing a 14-16 mph average. Just a utility ride to pick up my new fenders and test out my new studded tires (Schwalbe Marathon Studs, 700c – 40) which are a vast improvement over the Schwalbe Snow Studs I rode last year.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Mom

She stood elegant and beautiful

Graceful through time

Strong through trials

Cheerful through loss

Born in a long past May

In the fertile soil around

Como Lake

Waters of life

Life itself for me

She was for me

Of me,

Of her am I

Small and helpless she came

Such as she left

But with a strong wake

Fanning out, together apart

Each to our own but all from one

Joined with one

At the center 

Our from where

Grey November follows a bright life

Our from where comes here

Apart together, from all

Our then touches now

Rain falls from us, on us

A moment of sun,

A gust of wind

The flower succumbs

We remain, our immovable from where

Is now just the shadow

Elegant and beautiful

Together fanning out apart

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

President Obama!

I will sleep better tonight and thank every single volunteer and voter who made this dream possible.
Now it's time to get back on the bike and get those wheels dancing...

Monday, November 3, 2008

VOTE Dammit!

It's pretty simple really. 
The government is run by those who show up.
Unless you're a candidate you just have to do a little research and then show up to vote. That's it. Obligation fulfilled.
I hope you will vote for Barack Obama but the fact is that our democracy is only as strong as its' citizens participation level and diversity builds strength. If you don't agree with my choice, I need to hear from you even more than if you do because I already know what my ideas are. If your ideas are different than mine, they shed light to help me see my own strengths and weaknesses. 
I don't get to decide who runs the country and neither do you.
WE decide who runs the country.
Our direction stays most true with a diversity of perspectives so
everyone
 should get up off the damn couch
and vote.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Upper 30's start, 50 at the end, low wind, bright sun

I have been trying to keep track of what I wear for different riding conditions and I have a spreadsheet that I use as a guide but it's pretty rough. I am going to start capturing what I wear for my own review but thought that others might find it helpful too so I'll start putting it here for all to see with the Chilly Dress Code label. It'll look like this from today's ride:

Upper:

Merino tank, merino t-shirt, Icebreaker Bodyfit 260 long sleeve, Ibex climawool shell. Should have left off the Icebreaker and just went with armwarmers which I still would have had to remove for the second half of the ride but they would have been easier to stuff into a pocket.

Hands:

Nike wind-proof cycling gloves to start, regular long finger cycling gloves for the second half. These were perfect.

Lower:

Ibex wool boxers under Ibex wool cycling shorts with midweight tights. This combination was also perfect.

Feet:

Wool socks with Lake Winter boots. Perfect at the start but a bit warm for the second half though I would do this again since I don’t think regular cycling shoes with covers would have been enough for the first half.

Head:

Light balaclava for the first half under my regular helmet with a helmet cover. This was also perfect.

Riding pace:

I’m guessing a 16-18 mph average for about 35 miles with a very long coffee stop in the middle. It wasn’t a ding around ride but there were no real hill hammering or sprints either. I was on my commuter, the Surly Karate Monkey.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Enough whining, time for action!

I often rag about the situation but don't always get off my arse to do something.
But sometimes I do.
I have made a commitment to the Obama campaign by donating my data skills to the cause. Campaigns run on data and I'm a data geek (I think in 3NF...) so it's a perfect match.
I am an Obama Data Fellow.
It will take all the time I can offer and it's a volunteer position so I get no compensation.
Except for securing a sustainable future for us all.
How about you? 
Do you have an hour or two over the next few weeks to help get us back on track? There are lots of simple ways you can help, just go to the Obama site and look around. Perhaps you won't find as perfect a match as I have but wouldn't it feel good to have participated in changing our world for the better?
"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no bird sang except those that sang best." - Henry Van Dyke

Friday, October 10, 2008

PBS asks if Palin is qualified; go tell them NO!

PBS has an online poll posted asking if Sarah Palin is qualified. Apparently the right wing knew about this in advance and is flooding the voting with YES votes. The poll will be reported on PBS and picked up by mainstream media. It can influence undecided voters in swing states. Please do two things -- takes 10 seconds. Click on link and vote yourself. Here's the link: http://www.pbs.org/now/polls/poll-435.html Then send this to every single Obama-Biden voter you know, and urge them to vote and pass it on. The last thing we need is PBS saying their viewers think Sarah Palin is qualified.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Why McCain doesn't want to discuss the issues

So Johnny and his girl-friend have announced that they will be launching a new phase of their campaign where they focus on smearing Barack Obama rather than discussing the issues.
Remember the Keating Five and the S&L crisis? No, not the SNL Crisis, the savings and loan crisis. Remember how John McCain was at the center of that crisis, not as a faux saviour like he has been in the current crisis, but as a participant in creating the problem. That's why he was called before the Senate Ethics Committee. 
If that were my legacy, I wouldn't want to be talking about it either. That crisis was huge at the time with a federal bailout of $124 billion, pocket change compared to our current mess.
Fortunately, the democrats have decided to help the voters understand McCain's role in the S&L crisis and the economic policies he favors that have brought us to the current financial debacle. 
Take the time to educate yourself on what it is that McCain doesn't want to discuss.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Safety, Awareness & Memorial

We've had a run of bad luck in our cycling community. Of course we are only sort of a community since we all ride different ways for different reasons. But our loose community, brothers and sisters all, rolling on two wheels for joy, health, and reasons unknown all have stories of near misses and worse...
It goes with the territory.
But does it have to? 
Sure we swim with fishes a hundred (or more) times our weight and many times as fast. We still each take our actions with a singular human brain whether it's pushing two pedals to propel us forward or only one. There are more two pedal people these days so it stands to reason there will be more problems but perhaps with more awareness for one and two pedal people, we can all be safer.
In order to reach that goal we all need to come together and look out for each other. It's easy to say it's the cars that need to pay attention to us. Just the other day I watched my sweetie nearly get T-boned by a car pulling out of a side street onto the busy road we were on. It was dark but we were lit up like christmas trees. Damn drivers I thought but then a day later when I was in a car, I saw a couple cyclists, also in the dark but wearing dark clothing and without lights weaving in and out of traffic. Damn cyclists I thought but it's really damn people I should be saying.
We all need to think how our transportation choices interact with everyone on the road. 
While we're thinking about this perhaps it would be a good start to join the memorial ride this weekend.
It's times like this that our loose community gets tight. If you can't make it this Saturday, Oct. 4th at 10:30 in the morning, pause for a moment right at that time and ask yourself if you are doing everything you can to keep us all safe.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Won't Get Fooled Again

 
John McCain is attempting to extend the 9/11 panic, you remember, the one where we gave away our civil liberties and adopted a perpetual state of panic and fear? He wants to postpone the debate scheduled for September 26th with Barack Obama to focus on resolving the financial crisis and leave the campaigning behind for a while.
If I had been at the helm, say chairing the Commerce Committee "that oversights every part of our economy." I might want to avoid having a debate on the topic too but leadership is facing the issues not side-stepping them. Of course if McCain had an actual VP caliber running mate, that person could continue to drive the campaign and contribute to the solution rather than draining resources trying to get her up to speed for the second spot in world leadership. It's only in the cartoons that "Hold everything!" works, not for the President (or any other serious leadership position).
Seriously, the feds are prepared to dive in (with our money!) and save Wall Street but if we let our government fail, who will dive in to save it?
How about we leave behind the Henny-penny 'The Sky is Falling' approach and NOT put rational thinking on hold to deal with this financial crisis?
We need to be here:
We do not need to return here:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The real difference between liberals and conservatives

Jonathan Haidt presents this talk, from the TED Conference. It's just under 20 minutes long and he lays out the five moral values that form the basis of our political choices.

1. Harm/Care

2. Fairness/reciprocity

3. Ingroup/loyalty

4. Authority/respect

5. Purity/sanctity

The center of his thesis is that political leanings are determined by where people fall on a major personality trait known as openness to experience

"Open individuals have an affinity for liberal, progressive, left-wing political views, whereas closed individuals prefer conservative, traditional, right-wing views." (R. R. McCrea, 1996)

In order to progress through our current political season, perhaps we all can benefit from the realization that both perspectives are necessary. Since we have been swinging towards the conservative for the last eight years, perhaps its time the balance shifts, how ever temporarily, towards the liberal to balance out the equation. 

He includes the following quote from a Buddhist visionary:

"If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between "for" and "against" is the mind's worst disease." Sent-ts'an, c. 700 C.E.

He then juxtaposes it with this:

"You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror." George Bush, Nov. 2001

Then he asks if we aren't also guilty of falling into the trap of being for or against.

Think about it...

Back in the saddle!

Rode with  the sweetie on Friday, 13 miles.
Afterwards, I was pretty sore.
Not short or slow enough I thought.
Rode the Monkey with my crew last night, 20 miles.
I bailed early and afterwards I felt great.
It was longer and faster.
Perhaps next week I'll park the commuter.
35 lbs. of steel on balloons makes for a soft ride
16 lbs. of carbon on rubber bands makes for a fast ride.
Today maybe I'll do an errand run.
It'll be a recovery ride so perhaps...
I can do the full Thursday ride.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

It's time for Obama to refocus

So there you are riding a sweet line, single track swooping through the beautiful woods of Minneapolis' Theodore Wirth Park. Knobbies caressing mother natures' gentle curves rolling out before you. It's easy to forget your worries and just keep rolling. 

MORC does a fantastic job (MOCA partners on this one too) of laying out single track that tickles the landscape, draws out the smoothest path. 

Then you suddenly get jerked back to reality with a challenge that requires your full attention.

The first time you see such an obstacle your eyes are drawn to the potential failure points. You can't take your eyes off the terrain that will dine on your tender flesh and leave you with the fleeting vision of your knees passing over your no longer moving handlebars.

Turns out that  your full attention isn't enough. You need to know where to focus your full attention. It's not on the logs laying across what had been such a sweet, smooth path only a curve ago. No, your eyes need to stay on the smooth track that will carry you over the disruption.

You may even enjoy pausing on the other side to see how true the line really was on the approach. Now that you are over it you may notice that the downslope that you couldn't see (so you weren't worried about it) was the most dramatic part and you simply leaned back and rode it down.

So what does this all have to do with Obama? Well it had been a pretty smooth ride up until the announcement that Palin had joined the competition. Just like the log pile dressed with planks, this was a big disruption to the Obama candidacy and suddenly the excitement was all about this new feature on the trail to the White House.

When we step back and take a look at this disruption, we see why McCain selected the beauty queen; she is just a younger, more attractive George Bush! Just a simple country bumpkin but better than Bush since she has oratory skill and a cuter smirk. So the Republican platform is that the leadership doesn't actually have to have a clue, (he can't figure out email and she hasn't thought about Iraq...) they just have to come across like someone you'd run into at the grocery store. With this comfort level established they figure, and lots of conservatives are swallowing hook, line and sinker, you will put them in office. Who wouldn't want their buddy in the White House? 

So it's time we divert our eyes from the beauty queen and focus on that clear line that will carry us over this diversion.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Paroled!

I had a hearing (Dr. Appt.) about my case this morning and got some good news! 
The Judge granted me early release, commuting my sentence to time served.
He did, however, make it clear that I am still on probation (Physical Therapy) and could be tossed back in the slammer with additional time to serve if I don't toe the line (ride like a sissy).
So who's up for a slow, short ride with someone guaranteed to have more fun doing it than you?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Nice pair!

Baiku

I rode on Sunday

Two days later my shoulder

Was the best it’s been

 

Didn’t think I should

Sweetie said “How was last time?”

She is my beacon

 

So tonight I rode

Cocky perhaps but oh my

This biking thing’s good!

 

Meditation Yes!

Wheels, gears, pavement sooth me so

I am addicted

 

Not the hard road ride

Just a spin on the Monkey

Velo orgasm!

 

Haiku too!

Many choices now

Some hard, some not so much so

Control’s not mine now

 

Fitness sets the stage

It’s something I can control

Employment, well no

 

Waiting can be hard

I can always take action

Choices careful now

 

Go or not, do we?

Tea leaves unavailable

Gut wrenched, how to know?

 

Plans are all laid out

Cash too, wheels set in motion

Roll dice, take the risk?

 

But is it a risk?

Skills? Check! Experience? Check

Isn’t if, just when

 

Life isn’t a noun

Life is an action, a verb

Do it! Not have it!

 

Confidence survives

Actions pave the way ahead

All will be just fine

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I did it and I'm not sorry

The last time I rode my bike was July 28.
July 29th was the beginning of the end.
Banned from riding for two months.
The bike was lonely.
I could hear it sobbing every time I went into the garage.
The road bike is set up on the trainer so it gets a 
short fix every few days.
But not the Monkey, it just hangs in the garage.
Sobbing and sniffling.
So...
On Sunday I went for a ride.
A short, slow ride.
Sort of what Jonathan Vaughters was expecting
Without the Bermuda shorts.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Elitist Juxtaposition

I'm not planning on turning this into a political blog but with the looming election the conservative agenda is really pissing me off it's on my mind... So my newsreader drops these headlines in front of me: “It's GOP's world; elitists just live in it” This piece talks about the salt of the earth connection the new Republican Party is presenting. It dismisses the eloquence of the other party as a representation of intellectualism, which is just another term for elitism. Elitists, you know those folks that have those fancy college degrees and have way more money than us normal Joes, are the real cause for all our problems. It goes on to underscore that “...John McCain and Sarah Palin are your kind of people.”
Next up was this headline:
This piece compares Cindy McCain to Jacqueline Kennedy with respect to her fashion sense and her impact on political fashions. Turns out that just one of the outfits she wore has an estimated value of $313,000.00. Another way to compare it’s value is to say it is greater than 150% of the median home value in 2008 in these United States of America.
My kind of people my ass!
The value of my home, everything in it and all the vehicles parked or hanging in the garage is still less than that one single outfit. Let me make it clear; I don’t begrudge anyone for their wealth but when one of your outfits costs more than all my worldly possessions I don't think you have much chance of understanding the dilemma I face trying to decide between groceries and health insurance this month.
So here’s how I decode the Republican platform:
We’re all equal but some are more equal than others. Sound familiar?

Monday, September 1, 2008

What is Freedom anyway?

Seems the RNC fear machine is working over time... Thank god we are safe from the Earth Activist Training Permaculture Demonstration Bus since there will be less shopping if people start thinking sustainability. What is it about the conservative mentality that dictates if it's out of their mainstream it's wrong needs to be stopped? Isn't the foundation of freedom letting folks you don't agree with have their say? In fact, isn't the whole fucking point of our democracy letting diverse perspectives have the talking stick? We don't learn from the people that think like us; we learn from those who don't. If we silence those with a different point of view we become more ignorant and engage in little more than intellectual masturbation; enjoyable at the moment but it produces no legacy. It's the diversity of our intellectual gene pool that assures our survival and is the source for the creativity required for our survival. Do yourself a favor and listen to someone you don't agree with. They may not change your mind but it might change your life. For the better.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The End Is Near!

First of all, WARNING - SURGICAL PICTURES BELOW... I crashed on my bike last fall. Broke my elbow. Proximal radius fracture. What I didn't know at the time was that I also separated my shoulder. It turns out I have a high pain tolerance so the extent of the damage wasn't detected until we did an MRI. After I got the MRI, I had a conversation with the orthopedist... I am starting a list of things you never want your orthopedist to say and the first entry is: "Whoa, turns out there's lot's of stuff going on here. I'm going to refer to you to my shoulder guy..." I'm processing this, thinking... Wait a minute, I thought you were the shoulder guy and then he clarifies by saying "I mean my shoulder surgeon..." All well and good, I sign up to do the surgery which is introduced in pre-op as: "...one of the more painful surgeries you can have..." So that's how I got to this point. Just great, I'm thinking knowing that I have signed up for up to six months off the bike if there is ligament or tendon damage. MRIs are great but don't always show everything so I go in not knowing what all is going to happen but I do know that their will be lots of bone cutting to resolve a bone spur and the shoulder separation results which included bone grinding on bone situation that is going to require two bones getting 'shortened to open the space between them back up'. Anyway it does in fact hurt like hell but not enough to keep using the narcotics which turn out to be worse than the pain. Well they worked well for the first four days but after that, holy crap am I ever NOT cut out to be a drug addict! So why did it hurt so bad? Well consider this:
Bone Spur Before Surgery: Surgical Roto-Rooter tool: ...in profile: and of course you can't just leave the crap in there so you need to head in with a shop vac as well: and when all is said and done what was a bone spur now looks like this: I just can't get a good feeling about having power tools inserted into the living flesh of my shoulder in an arthroscopic procedure Except... A concentration of pain in a short period will relieve the long term pain I have been dealing with and, as the title sums up,

The End Is Near!

I can't tell you how ready I am for that end but I really, really, really am! And then I can get back on the bike (which is what it's all about anyway!) Chronic pain is best experienced in the past!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Great eMail offer!

[fullname]] we can deposit this 1500.00 to your account today This was the subject line of a message in my inbox. I am really looking forward to [sender]] depositing this in my account...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Stabbed through the blog with an Icicle!

I was tagged by Tim a while ago and as I pull out of my narcotic fog, I've wrapped up my response...

If you could have any one — and only one — bike in the world, what would it be?
An impossible question but I suppose the point here is what do I care for most in a bike. I have a very diverse collection of riding styles, which is of course why I have a diverse stable of bikes. Out of all of them, I would have to pick my Surly Karate Monkey because it is the most versatile of them all. Currently it’s my commuter wearing Schwalbe Big Apple tires which as a 29er makes it look like the Big Foot of bikes (until a Pugsley rolls up and it starts to look like Pee Wee Herman). With these tires it rides like a Cadillac but not nearly so hard to push as you might think.
In the winter she wears studded tires just to make sure she stays under me. I have it built up as a 7 speed with a triple but no front derailleur, disc brakes on a wheel set that supports either disc or rim brakes since the frame support either. I used to have rim brakes but the discs are much better for winter commuting.

I pick this bike for it’s versatility so that I could configure it for commuting, road (well sort of…), mountain biking or as a single speed/fixed gear since it has horizontal drop-outs. I rode this bike all winter and loved it so much that when spring finally showed up, I was a little disappointed that I would have to leave her behind in the stable when the roadie season kicked off (until I jumped on my carbon steed one day and nearly gave myself whiplash as it launched forward under light pedal pressure).

If you had to choose one — and only one — bike route to do every day for the rest of your life, what would it be, and why?
Well perhaps now I can start to get the rhythm of this silly one bike proposition since my Monkey can take me everywhere I want to go. It’s gonna be a long day so I won’t have time to head into the office and that in and of itself will be a bonus.

I’m going to start out with a mountain bike fix on some sweet single track in Lebanon Hills Regional Park. After a handful of loops I’ll head out of the park for some road riding up towards Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis then up along the Mississippi River into downtown Minneapolis. The road ride dumps me off into a gritty commute ride snaking through the crazy heart of the city. At the northwest edge of downtown I’ll slip out of the chaos and onto the greatest bike highway on the planet, the Cedar Lake Trail. This is a three lane divided path system with a path dedicated to pedestrians and one for each direction of bike traffic; too sweet to pass up and the perfect yin to the frenetic yang of the rat race in the core city. This commuting segment of my route then brings me to up to Theodore Wirth Park for some more sweet single track this time in the heart of the city though you would never know it when you’re sailing through the woods. (A big THANKS needs to go to MORC for these trails!) Well I’ve put on about 80 miles so far so I will don my last cycling hat, the utility cyclist one and head for home by way of the grocery store and call it a day by hauling home a loaf of bread, a half gallon of milk, some salad fixin’s and a six pack of beer.

Do you ride both road and mountain bikes? If both, which do you prefer and why? If only one or the other, why are you so narrowminded?
I ask why this question is so narrow minded since I have at least three bike classes; Road, Mountain & Commuter, maybe four if the Utility bike is a separate category from the Commuter. I prefer whichever one is between my legs at the time I am gitten’ er done.

Have you ever ridden a recumbent? If so, why?
Nope, never have but having just had shoulder surgery I may pick one up off Craig’s List for my convalescence. I work with a guy that rides a 'bent since he injured his back and his almost looks like a bicycle...

Have you ever raced a triathlon? If so, have you also ever tried strangling yourself with dental floss?
Nope, never have. I recently had the chance but decided having Tim the Tool Man tear open my shoulder, head on in with the Binford 2000 Shoulder-Rooter to grind down my clavicle and acromion and suck out the muck from around the bursa would be way more fun. I’ve seen the terror on the faces of those tri riders wobbling down the trail hoping to get their water bottle back in it’s cage without wiping out and just barely making it so I think I made the right choice. I know my drugs are way better and I will deny the entire dental floss incident so just let it drop already.

Suppose you were forced to either give up ice cream or bicycles for the rest of your life. Which would you give up, and why?
Riding a bicycle is like having sex, eating ice cream is like having had sex. I relish what I'm having now and leave the past behind so ice cream would be history for me.

What is a question you think this questionnaire should have asked, but has not? Also, answer it.
What is the most neglected bike component you see/hear while out riding?
Clearly the bicycle chains of America are stark victims of an oil shortage. Some day I will head out with a pile of rags and bottles of chain lube to silence the shrieking masses of rusty department store bikes.

OK I know the rules say I'm supposed to tag someone else but it seems the entire world has already been tagged with this one so I am putting an end to the tagging right here and now. Then again, if I actually had some friends I might have someone to tag...