Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cure for the common cold!

I've got really crappy sinuses. I had surgery to help open things up after having a sinus infection for over ten years.
Really, over ten years.
I had the good fortune of hooking up with one of the top surgeons in the country who did a bang up job. Hmm, I'm not sure that's the best phrase for a surgical procedure but for now it will have to do. It helped the structural issues (I now have two nostrils!) but even better is the Neti Pot.
It's a sinus flushing tool that comes in lots of different shapes but they all do basically the same thing; rinse out your sinuses. Mine looks like these and I prefer this shape over some of the ceramic ones because the flange you press up to your nostril is large enough that  you don't have to stick in, you just press it up to the nostril.
The effect is fantastic and with the right temp water, slightly above body temp, and the right amount of salt (they come with a measuring spoon) it feels great, not like what you might think if you ever had water up your nose while swimming. With my bad sinuses, I do it every morning but the sweetie just does it when she gets a head cold. I pretty much used to have a cold all the time, sometimes worse, sometimes not quite so bad but always there. Now I only get a cold a couple times a year and when I do I do it every couple hours and it really helps.
Unfortunately, today is one of those every couple hour times. I'll be glad to get back on my once a day schedule but am sure glad I found this option for clearing things out. Neti Pots are cheap and easy to use and just might change your life. OK, a small change but a very worthwhile one.
Here's a demonstration of how it works:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

7 Deadly Baiku

My response to Fat Lad's 3rd Riders Writing Circle:

The 7 Deadly Sins of Bikers and Cagers, based on the original 7 Cardinal Sins.

Lust (Latin, luxuria)

My bicycle lust

Leering at things I don't have

Serious wheel drool

Gluttony (Latin, gula)

I'll have another

Garage full, getting more too!

Do I need twelve bikes?

Greed (Latin, avaritia)

I must have still more

Have to have pretty precious

Yes I do, they're MINE!

Sloth (Latin, acedia)

But now which to choose?

Slumped in chair, I just sit there

Paralyzed, nap time

Wrath (Latin, ira)

No, dammit, no nap

Get your arse out there and ride

Don't make me make you!

Envy (Latin, invidia)

She dropped me again

Wish I could ride like she can

Yes, envious now

Pride (Latin, superbia)

Look at me, I'm good

Best I've been, better than you

Pride before the fall

Sunday, February 15, 2009

24 degrees, 5 mph winds, very bright and sunny

24 degrees, 5 mph winds, very bright and sunny.


Merino wool tank for a base layer, Icebreaker Merino short sleeve T-shirt, Bodyfit 260 long sleeve, Ibex Climawool cycling jacket for the outer layer. This was perfect for the conditions. I also rode yesterday which had the same conditions except for more wind and wore the same except no tank base layer but did have a wool jersey instead and this was just a bit too warm.


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


Craft Windtex bib tights over medium weight merino wool tights over Ibex wool cycling  shorts. This was perfect.


Medium weight wool socks, thin wool liner socks with Lake Winter boots with heater packs in the toes. This was perfect. I might have been OK without the heater packs but was planning to be out for a few hours so I just toss them in for a no worries ride.


Wore my down-hill ski helmet with thin balaclava and cycling glasses. This was perfect.

Riding pace:

I’m guessing a 14-16 mph. Pace is hard to tell since I don’t have a computer on my commuter and a 30+ lb bike with studded tires requires lots more effort than a lightweight road bike. Yes, thanks for asking, I will be glad when the weather allows the road bike to come out again.


This ride was for getting a good workout for a few hours on a bright sunny day. I started out easy but pushed myself pretty hard

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ring, Ring, IMBA Calling. It's For YOU!

It turns out you can do plenty for IMBA which is a very good thing because if you are at all into mountain biking, they do quite a bit for you
Before I go any further here's a bit about IMBA. 
The International Mountain Bicycling Association is a non-profit educational association whose mission is to create, enhance and preserve great trail experiences for mountain bikers worldwide.
Continued on the IMBA site...
So it's only sort of doing something for them. It's really doing something for yourself.
And what would that be?
Well it turns out that we are on the brink of having the National Parks roll out the welcome mat for mountain bikers.
It's more likely if you jump on board and answer IMBA's Call To Action and send off a letter. They make it really easy. Just follow the link, drop in some of your own comments if you like or just send off their very well written letter.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sometimes I run

I need my fix but there are times that the bike isn't going to cut it for the task at hand.
Today, for example, I had lunch with a colleague. It actually pissed me off a little that we were lunching at Quang Deli (I highly recommend this place) which is just off the greenway and I had urgent CostCo needs.
I suppose I could have ridden to lunch and did the CostCo run earlier or later but with the rest of the day's schedule it would have been very tight. Or I could even have taken the bike over to CostCo four times to break the trip into bike-manageable trips but that would have consumed the entire day. Don't get me wrong, I like consuming an entire day on the bike but I have to have one available to consume and today wasn't it.
While the bike wasn't going to work out for this trip, I was sure not going to let my workout fall by the wayside. So I took the shortcut and ran. With the pooch of course. Having skijoring equipment and a dog that knows how to use it is a good thing. I don't think I can really do 8 minute miles for 45 minutes that's how it comes out with the pooch assist. It's also akin to running downhill the whole time since he applies the equivalent force of downhill running.
In any event, I find running to be perhaps three or four times the workout of riding and perhaps twice that of skate skiing. So it's a shortcut for my aerobic workout. I like skiing much more than running and getting on the bike is as close to sex as anything other than sex but just sometimes, running really hits the spot.
Today was spot on!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Moment of Silence

"Let us have a moment of silence for all Americans who are now stuck in traffic on their way to a health club to ride a stationary bicycle." Congressman Earl Blumenauer (Oregon)
Shamelessly stolen from the quote line at A Midway Bike Blog who is setting a great example this morning.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Herein lies my response to the latest jolt from Fat Lad’s cattle prod. Our area is blessed by not having any MTB ride centers but rather some of the best single track to be found anywhere. I suppose there would be some value in the weather-free zone such centers create but to me the setting in which I tear up the course is nearly as important as the course itself.

I am a bike fanatic, a fact about which there can be little dispute. I ride in all kinds of weather, which is a good thing since here in Minnesota we brag about having more of it than most places. A silly claim if you ask me since weather is what’s always happening outdoors and we all have the same amount though I will grant that we may have more variety than many places.

If I were just an MTB’er then I might jump on the ride center bandwagon so that I could keep riding. As it is, when the trails are too wet to ride, I just hit the road and send my wheels over surfaces they won’t destroy as I seek my two-wheeled pleasure. If variety is the spice of life, then my cycling life is very spicy indeed.

So having no MTB ride centers in the area makes it easy for me to lambast them as the McDonalds of off-roading but I’m sure you have figured out by now that if they existed I would at least have to give them a go.

Oh and as for the existence of dedicated bike lanes to protect cyclists from cagers? The question has already been answered in Minneapolis. Here in the land of snow and cold we consistently come in near the top of cities with the highest percentage of bicycle commuters. This happens because we have the dedicated bicycling infrastructure that makes it possible including lots of dedicated bike lanes.