Monday, May 29, 2006

Might as well be a Free Bike

My friend bought herself and her mother a bike from Bike Guy at my recommendation. Her mom lives in Fairbanks, a 6 hr drive from there to here or something like that. The mom came down on Mother's day with the father and picked up her bike. The father then decided he also wanted a bike, so my friend purchased one for him. But the right size bike was not on the sales floor, so bike guy had to put it together. It can take him a week or so to get a bike together because he is soo busy. My friend and I stop at the bike shop during a lunch time micro-ride. Bike guy tell her the bike is ready and asks her when her parents will be coming down to pick up it up. She says they aren't coming down, he needs to get the bike up there to them. Huh?? Bike guy is having all sorts of shipping problems lately. I saw the boot prints on the busted up boxes and the damaged bikes from his last UPS shipment. His local carriers are having issues also he says. My friend just looks at him and tells him the father would like his bike right away. So Bike Guy says maybe he can close the shop down on Sunday (yesterday), drive 6 hrs each way to deliver the bike. This is a $300 bike. I'm going to my friend, "don't let him do that". She askes if he would go there just to deliver the bike or if he had other reasons, he said just to take the bike. She just says "OK" and we leave. I was astounded. Didn't even talk with him about the shipping costs, didn't even thank him. I asked her if they arranged shipping when she bought the bike, she said "no" and it sounded to me like he didn't know he was supposed to ship it.

I am bothered and embarrassed by this. If it had been me, I would not have allowed this guy to shut his business, take holiday time away from is family, spend his own $ on gas and loose at least 12 hrs of his time driving. He has taken a loss on this bike, that's for sure.

I don't required my friends to be perfect, but come on, have some consideration for others, it's not all about "us".

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Yesterday's newspaper Posted by Picasa

The air-tankers take off close to my home Posted by Picasa

Loading up to head home, I'm laughing at myself because I almost got blown out of the back of the truck Posted by Picasa

Getting bigger Posted by Picasa

About 1 hr after we 1st spotted smoke, high winds blowing the smoke towards Anchorage Posted by Picasa

PT. Makenzie Fire as seen from Anchorage Posted by Picasa

Extra dry weather = Wildfire

Went to Anchorage yesterday, which is about 50 miles from where I live in the Valley. Went to REI, pickup up 2 light-weight sleeping bags, self-inflating sleeping pads, little cookset and a small single-burner camp stove. I got panniers from Nashbar in for Bikeboy #1 and myself the other day. $35 each set + $16 in shipping and they were here in a few days. I would love to get a Bob trailer, but can't afford it at this time. Another item on my wish list (hint: my birthday is in July!!!!! Gifts/donations welcome :) I would love a work stand, an Alaska Fireweed Jersey, road clipless pedals for my road bike - :)

**** and I brought our bikes, yes he actually has been riding with us!! He has a 20+ year old Cannondale, which was my 1st experience with a quality bike and got the desire to awaken and stir. We were done shopping and headed to downtown Anchorage to ride the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. I've only run 5K races on it, so haven't been down it very far. The day was sunny and beautiful with light wind. We headed out about 5 pm and about 15 minutes later, stopped at an outlook (the trail runs along the coast of an inlet of water, only a few miles or less so from the other side)when we noticed the smoke plume rising from Pt. Makenzie area, which is considered part of the Valley where I live because one must drive out and around 60-70 miles from Anchorage to get out there. The Valley is growning as Anchorage runs out of room so this area is being looked at for development. It't not too far from Big Lake, Houston, Wasilla area where people live and I work.
Then the wind picked up, suddenly and drastically, up to 30 miles/hrs. We were being pelted by sand, leaves, etc, hard to see and we stopped and watched the wind increase the fire within minutes. The wind was blowing the fire towards the coast line and away from civilization but it was amazing to watch it grow and grow. A sense of dread sits in the pit of the stomach. We call home, no one there even new what was going on, the wind was blowing it all the other way. We call my parents in Anchorage who live on the upper hillside. They said it looked like Anchorage was on fire. We stopped for some Thai food, the kid there asked us if Anchorage was on fire, no, we assured him, he was relieved.
Part of Alaska's uniqueness is we don't have many escape routes. There's only 2 ways out of everywhere, to the left or to the right, since there's only 1 main road that run through most every town. From Anchorage, you can go only north or south, Wasilla is basically the same. Palmer actually has 3 routes, north, south and west. One of Senator Ted Stevens' "bridge to no-where" isn't to nowhere at all but a bridge from Anchorage to Pt. Makenzie, where the fire is right now, lessening the drive to Anchorage and giving another escape route - (It's a very political subject and I am FOR the bridge in this area and that's enough of my opinion).

The wind continued to roar all night long. I live close to the Palmer Airport and they air-tankers fly over my house, they actually use it as a reference from the air for positioning, we were told by a air-tanker pilot. Sometimes it sounds like they are going to crash into us, they are soo loud. Last night was so windy they were landing in the direction they normally take off, much quieter. They are supposed to start up again and the wind has died down so we are expecting a lot of air activity. It's pretty cool watching these planes fly over. I will try to get some pictures of them.

The fire is still spreading and not contained yet. The cause is not yet known.

I had a really good riding week, more miles than ever before. I rode at lunch every day, 10 - 16 miles depending on the wind (going 27 miles per hrs when it's at my back, 6 miles per hr when I'm heading into it - uhhggg). Add my weekend rides so my total riding was over 100 miles for the week. The shoulder protests but Advil beats it into submission.

I rode round trip from Palmer to Wasilla for the 1st time on Friday, got a little sunburn on my arms and chatted to a few people. I met a guy, Tom or Tim on a Novara road bike with aerobars, chatted for a bit. I told him nice to meet him and to say hello if he spots me riding again, he said he could tell when he's not wanted, I told him that's not it, I'm not a fast rider and I was struggling to keep up with him and was about to pass out. He chuckled and said his goodbye and off he went and I slowed back to my normal pace. Chatted with another couple guys, guys are more chatty than women..go figure, most women seem too serious or too focused to chat. Of course I notice the calf muscles of these guys as they zoom off ahead of me. They are like big softballs, just huge. Thighs also, lots of power. My legs aren't like that and I wouldn't want them to be but I would like MORE POWER! I was told by a dr. I have small lungs. I am a huffer and puffer for sure, especially going up a hill.

I wish everyone an enjoyable Memorial Day and the wind at your back.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Another slid/wash, really loose terrain.  Posted by Picasa

Busy Beavers Posted by Picasa

Happy me! Posted by Picasa

Parts of the trail taken out by rock slides and run-off. Had to carry the bikes CAREFULLY over these spots, its steeper than the picture shows Posted by Picasa

Bike Boy #2 got a flat, he was NOT prepared. Good think I was...hope he learned something Posted by Picasa

Perfect weather!!! FINALLY!!  Posted by Picasa

Sunday Ride Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Red Hook Blonde Ale, refreshing post-ride drink Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I like this tech t-shirt at Posted by Picasa

It looks like I have a big gut in this picture, it's really another shirt under there....maybe HA! Posted by Picasa

This was 2 weeks ago, it's finally getting green! Posted by Picasa

Bike Kid #1 doing Endo's Posted by Picasa
The Bike Boys and I are planning an overnight biking trip. For our maiden overnighter, we are thinking riding to the end of Eklutna, a long mountain lake with a trail which is equalivant to a dirt road. That will be a simple ride and will let us work out all the kinks before a longer ride. So I have been on the web searching for a light-weight tent and sleeping bags. I will also have to get racks and panniers. I sure would like to ride my Santa Cruz, its soo much more comfortable than my Cannondale but I'm not sure if panniers will work with full suspension. It will be great!!! Especially if the weather cooperates. We will go regardless of the weather, this is Alaska, gotta do it anyway.

Interesting comments on the $ put into this biking obsession: George is up to 5 figures in 10 years, Steve is up to 4 figures. I think he might be higher if he didn't do alot of his own stuff, the guy likes to resurrect dead bike parts with chemicals and electricity...hmm Dr. Bike-n-stein??

Lots of articles in the Anchorage Daily New about biking in Anchorage and commuting on bikes. I think traffic riders are really brave. I would NOT try it where I live, in the Matanuska Valley. People here are crazy, it's a fact crazy people move out here because the land is cheap (relatively) and they can go live in there cardboard box homes and do their crazy behaviors without anyone bugging them. Now meth has become a HUGE problem in the Valley. Crazy people taking drugs which make them crazier. It was on the radio news the other day that this is the METH CAPITOL of ALASKA. I ride through some of the areas that tend to draw this type of crowd. I passed 2 women (these were about my age, grow up and get some help) getting high in a wooded section just a few days ago. They were stopped in the middle of the path, sharing their dope. A few hundred yards down is a row of junk, shacks, cabin with no water or toilet facilities, rented to anyone by the month. It's a gross place. It's a drop-out, drinking/drugging/desperate/crazy place. I get uncomfortable riding past there sometimes when there's groups of people sitting outside with nothing to do but their craziness and yell at each other and at me if they notice me. So in the end, where I ride has it's own kind of dangers. I prefer my drugs to be made of metal, leather and carbon and too big to swallow. And my bikes give me my own kind of high :)

More Tips Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Had a beautiful weekend! Weather was great! Went for an easy ride on Sunday around the Springer. Decided to buy my son a full-suspension bike for his birthday...I think I have a problem...My name is Michelle and I'm a bike-aholic...I have more bikes than people in my house. I also have a reputation around my office...I hear my co-workers wispering behind my back...they call me "the bike freak". I have had 4 different co-workers this week come to me and ask me bike questions and opinions. One guy even wants me to check out 3 old bikes that have been rusting around his house to see if he can get any $ from them. I guess I fake it pretty good, :). Either that or Bike Guy has hyponotized me somehow, I have spent mass $$ there over the last year.

Has anyone see the bike thing on the TV show "American Inventor"??? What do you think of that??? I only saw a glimps of it when the kid 1st tried out. An attachment so someone can sit on the bars and help with pedaling?? I don't know...

I gained a few pounds, acting the slug while recovering. I gotta get it off but I don't do the hunger thing very also isn't the same without a white chocolate mocha in the morning...and beer/cocktail in the evening. Sacrifice sucks, it hurts to be beautiful (ha!)

Shoulder update: Doing good, still can't put the arm behind me twist it out or pull with it as those movements hurt a bit but at least the shoulder is feeling connected again...except when I cough. That causes it to feel like it slips, which hurts. Weird, huh? I had my last check up with the DR and hope to be finished with physical therapy in about 2 weeks. I'm now working with hand weights instead of rubberbands, which is nice because it requires more stabilization overall than the rubberbands. The physical therapist told me today it can be up to a year before I don't "notice" the shoulder anymore. A YEAR???? Sheesh. I think I was a bit mis-informed. Anyway, I woke up this morning with NO PAIN at all. The shoulder FELT NORMAL. Then I got out of bed and it made it's-self aware but not painful. It's also weird that the right shoulder is stronger than the left one now, but weaker at the same time. I can only lift a max of 12 pounds with my right arm but I can do more reps with the rubberbands and weights, with out shaking, than I can with the right. So I am starting to work out both shoulders, I don't want to turn into a Popeye on the right side and Olive Oyl on the left.

Oh, I also FINALLY get my desk and chair at work ergonomically set up tomorrow!!! I had an ergo eval at work after surgery and learned a lot. I haven't sat back in my chair while typing (documenting everything I do is 90% of the job) in 6 years...6 YEARS! My the keyboard tray and the actual desk top are too low for my knees to fit under. I tried lowering my chair which caused my legs to splay allover and had to lift up my arms to type which caused carple tunnel type issues. So I raised my chair up so my arms wouldn't hurt, then I can't get my legs under the keyboard, so I sit on the front edge of my chair, knees against the keyboard tray and lean forward over the keyboard so I can reach it. It isn't a very friendly position and probably aggeravated my shoulder over the years. The ero people PROMISE they can fix it without having to raise my desk,which will probably never happen because it's a modular thing and the have to hire actual work crews to do it. I will finally be able to sit back...ahhh.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Trail of Remembrance 5K Race

The Bike Boys and I decided to do a 5k bike race. It was a last minute decision, while I was whooping it up at our Cinco de Margarita party on Friday night. Saturday morning weather was cold, cloudy and windy, the kind of weather that causes normal people who have the Margarita Effect still hanging on at 7:30 a.m, to roll over and go back to sleep. But, alas, who ever said I'm normal. So I drag myself out of bed, lacking sleep, choke down a banana, some Gatoraid, a Cliff bar, load the bikes and boys and off we go.

A small turn out, only about 15 - 20 riders, all teenagers. There were more people signed up but they no-showed, according to the race organizers. By the time the race started I was freezing. Even had to put on my helmet liner so my head wouldn't freeze. I felt a little silly with all those teenagers, but hey, I GOT OUT OF BED so I'm riding, no matter what, and my teens tend to whoop my ass and leave me in the dust anyway. At the start, the Bike Boys immediately get to the front of the pack, I'm stuck behind a pink bike. We are on a bike path so there is not much room to get around anyone. It starts and off we go. Bike Boys take off like normal, I'm following Pink Bike, who is NOT about to let me past. She's looking back and cutting me off whenever I get close. It's ok, Margarita's are dancing in my head and gut, I can take it easy. Pink bike doesn't know about pacing, burns out. Lots of other teens doing the same. I'm on autopilot. I finally start getting warm and there is the finish line. Bike Boys grinning and waiting, they finished in 12 minutes, I came in at 13 minutes. We got really nice medals, t-shirts and waterbottles, then they gave us lunch - NO HOTDOGS WHEN HUNG-OVER, even if it's a mild hangover. Have a nice chat with a couple of the other racers, talk bikes, etc. Race director asked for opinions on promoting the race better, but it sounds like it was pretty well covered: newpaper, radio, in the Runner's calendar. Suggest flyer tucked into the newpaper instead of small ad buried in all the other ads. In my experience with running the little local races here, if the weather's bad, so is turnout.

Overall it was a nice event and they did a good job. It was a fundraiser for one of the schools here in the Valley and also Vet memorial, with names of vets who have been killed or served in wars posted along the route. It's riculously short for a bike race but it was fun. I was also talking with some of the teen boys, who were talking about how they could go "faster" if this or that, I told them what I saw wasn't a problem with their speed, but with their endurance. They poured it on and fizzled out quickly. I sure wish there was a riding program or something here for school-age kids. I don't think there is one in the entire state of Alaska. Our physical ed programs are pretty poor also. There were also running and walking events, we hung out to cheer them on.

After that, we went over to the Bicyle Center in Wasilla and the boys drooled while I throbbed. My son really wants a full-suspension bike, he likes the Kona Dawg. So maybe with grandparents and his dad pitching in, he will get one. We will see. Of course he also needs a new seat, tubes, clothing, whatever in the meantime. We left emptyhanded, he can wait until his birthday. Bike guy is great for letting us hang out.

We are going to go on an afternoon mountain bike ride today at Bradley-Kepler park, where Bike Boy #2 and I went last week with the Valley Bikers and Hikers. My husband actually WANTS to go!!! Wooohoo, I'm gonna have to kick his least I can pretend.

Tested out the bike rack, it worked AWESOME. I don't just have a nice rack, I have a DAMN nice rack!! Cost about $80 in materials and 2 or 3 hours of my husband's time.

My shoulder is popping today, which is painful but tolerable. I think I will ice it after today's ride.

Bike Boy #1, my son, 1st place in the Trail of Rembrance race Posted by Picasa

Bike Boy #2 of Michelle's Bicycle Club, 2nd Place in the Trail of Rembrance race Posted by Picasa

3rd Place in the Trail of Rembrance 5K bike race yesterday.  Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 05, 2006

Comments are back

this is driving me crazy. I spent wayyy too much time trying to fix this all yesterday. Just work, and work correctly!

Lost my Comments

Anyone know how to get the "comments" feature back?? I've checked the template, it's there, I just can't get it to show on the recent posts...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Back rack,. looking down. The sides fit into slots in the truck bed liner Posted by Picasa

The back rack is removable Posted by Picasa

Cab mount, adjustable brackets for bikes of different lengths Posted by Picasa