Saturday, December 29, 2007

I think I was Pretty Close to Being Arrested

It may be unknown to some of you, but I have the ability to be a smart ass. On Christmas Eve, I think my mouth almost got me arrested.

Bike Boy didn't get his Christmas shopping done, so I stupidly agree to take him to X-Mart. Off he goes shopping on his own, I wander around the store for awhile. I'm hungry... really hungry, so I decided to get some food at the McX fast food joint in the store. I rarely eat this type of food but I'm really, really, REALLY hungry.

It was crowded, with lots of people waiting for their food. I just placed my order when a guy starts talking to me. It's not just chatting type conversation...he's hitting on me. Even the EYE ROLL didn't stop him. He continues to go on about my eyes, smile, this and that, blah, blah, blah.

As I hand the girl cashier my money, he tells me his name is Steven and informs me he is not a weirdo (hmm, why does he feel the need to tell me that?). My response is "I'm not worried, I carry a gun."

Now that seems to me like a smart ass but fairly harmless comment. Sadly, I didn't realize the teenage cashier wasn't really listening to Steven's comments but she heard my comment LOUD AND CLEAR. And of course, I happened to say it while she had the money drawer open.

Suddenly the cashier hits the deck. Down on the ground she goes, hiding under the open cash drawer. Hmm, I think, that's kind of weird. I watch her for a bit, then I lean over the counter and asked her if I can have my change. She peeks up at me, then she looks around, realizing there is no gun waving around, no one else on the floor, no screams of panic or demands for money. She starts picking up my change, which she dropped when she went down. She gets up, sort of sweating and wild-eyed, hands me my money and food and wishes me a good day.

During all of this, Steven has disappeared.

I sit down and eat the goo. My brain starts to wake up from the starvation coma and I realize this girl thought I was robbing them. I'm probably lucky I didn't have a SWAT team with loaded guns drawn, sneaking up on me while I was eating.

Bike Boy then found me, I told him what happened. His comment: Sheesh, Mom, the guy was probably just trying to be nice (Image it in a tone of voice that says "your soo old, Steven was doing you a FAVOR by hitting on you")

At home, I tell my dad what happened. His comment: "You sure don't know how to take a complement....and you're lucky you didn't get arrested."

I think he's right.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, boys. Look quick. It may be gone tomorrow.

And if I find any of you peeking in my bike shop window after this, just remember that I have a gun and know how to use it. ;)

*****TOO LATE! YA SNOOZE, YA LOOSE*********************
see previous post if you don't get this. And I suggest NOT to do a Google image search for "fat legs". It's not pretty. Just don't. I may have to delete this photo...i find it disturbing.
***************New Photo**************************
This one will work, I couldn't handle the last one.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Tagged Redux

Today's ride: 14 degrees, lower body overdressed. Goggles on! I have today off work so I had a daylight noon-time ride rather than my 5:30 a.m morning rides in the darkness. It's been about 15 below 0 the last week or so, so I have been doing my morning rides on the Zing on the trainer. I took my dog K.C, he felt young and frisky but was smiley and glad to be back inside with all his balls. I almost wiped out riding through a little gully that had some really slick ice under the snow. I was able to catch myself before going down. I need to let a little more air out of my tires, I think the studs will grip better at a lower pressure.

I have been tagged by Biking Brady and Karen: Traveling With/Against the Wind: 5-7 Random Things about me.

1) I never saw fireworks in the dark (except on TV) until I was in my late 20's. Growing up here in Alaska - the Land of the Midnight Sun, it's 24 hrs of daylight during the summer, 4th of July fireworks in full daylight is rather underwhelming.
The 1st time I saw fireworks in the dark was here in Palmer, during the Colony Christmas celebration. Let my tell you, fireworks in the summer in Alaska is a waste of time and money. Save them for Christmas and New Year. Now I am a fireworks fan - as long as it's dark outside.

2) I like the dark Alaskan winters. Some people struggle with the cold and darkness: depression, fatigue, etc. Winter is the only time I see the stars and the Northern Lights. The setting moon is a spectacular sight - big orange or yellow ball setting behind the mountains is very beautiful. I love how the snow sparkles on the edges of my headlights as I drive. Playing outside on a dark, snowy, sparkly night, then warming up next to a fire or indoors with a hot toddy is the good life to me (after today's ride, Iced White Chocolate Mocha instead of hot toddy cuz it was like 1:30 pm, a tad early for a toddy)

3) I like my doctor. He told me beer is healthy in many ways and advised me to keep drinking it. He makes his own home-brew.

4) I swam in the Atlantic Ocean a few times when I lived a few months in Titusville Florida. The ocean tastes icky.

5) I don't play any musical instruments. I tried playing the flute as a kid but I would get dizzy so I quit.

6) My dream vacation is to go camping/hiking/biking/rock climbing/whatever in every National Park in the U.S. I would love to take a year off and just do this.

7) I have a couple of tattoos. When My mom found out, she immediately told me I was going to Hell. She has since granted me a pardon on the hell thing and decided that it doesn't mean I'm a cheap tramp bar bimbo. She still thinks I'm a rebel. I can live with that. I love my mom. I just hope she never finds out about the ****** piercings (joking).

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Addendum to Yesterday's Post

My eyes hurt.

I can't see without glasses. I wear contact for active activities but don't see as well with them as I do with glasses.

Yesterday, I put in my contacts for my ride. I couldn't find my goggles and daylight was fading fast, so I grabbed my sunglasses and headed out. The sunglasses quickly fogged up, so I took them off and put them in my pocket.

My ride went great and was very pretty and enjoyable, see post below.

A few minutes after my ride, my eyes were feeling pretty irritated so I went to the bathroom to take out my contact...TRY to take out my contacts is more accurate.

They were stuck to my eyeballs. I hate it when that happens.

I finally got them peeled off and they were all shrivelled up. The they were sort of freeze-dried. I put them in the case with lots of fresh solution and we will see if they can be re-hydrated but I think they are goners.

Today, my eyes are red and irritated. This is the second time I have had them happened and this verified that contacts are susceptible to being freeze-dried while in the eye.

No more riding without goggles/glasses in cold weather.

*the weather banner says the winds are only at 12 mph. I don't know where that is, cuz at my house, it's in the high 50's + mph with the power flickering on and off.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Cold is Back but Its Not Winter without SNOW!

This evening's ride. 15 degrees.

Frosty Sheep

Today, frosty field

The last patch of SNOW!

2 weeks ago

We have the cold back, but no snow. Everything is covered in thick frost but it doesn't replace SNOW! I took an evening ride around the hayfield, which are frozen solid, almost like riding pavement. Bumpy though, after awhile, my arms feel weird and tingly from the small, fast bumps, like running a jackhammer. Good ride though. Finished it off with a nice margarita!

Without snow, no snowmachine riding down to the river to cut down a Christmas tree unless we do it on the 4-wheeler. Which is do-able but being WINTER, I would like to go on the snowmachines.

Now that the temps have dipped down to normal, riding is again an experience in dressing in layers, temperature and moisture management. It's no problem when recreational riding but riding to work, which I have been comptemplating since the paths are snow-free. The Feds also made whoever blocked the road and bike path with boulders (which caused me to have to ride on the shoulder of the Parks Highway) because they were build with Federal funds, so I wouldn't have to ride on the shoulder of the Parks Hwy in the dark with crazy drivers going too fast on slick roads. But then it's different with sweat management in the winter. To stay warm enough, I layer on enough to work up a sweat which doesn't dissipate like in the summer. Then there is the balaclava hair. Oh whatever, those are just excuses. I'm just being a wimp.

I had a video of a ride I did last week but the camera again came loose and was swinging around, so it looks like I crashed and kept tumbling like in a washing machine. After a few minutes of watching it, I started feeling nauseated...motion sickness. Ugh. So that won't work. But Dan has pointed me in the right direction so I may have some clips to post later on.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Another Snow Bike Upgrade

5 minutes ago I was nice and healthy. In that time, it seems that I have come down with a cold: congestion, sneezing and wheezing. What's with that?? Just in time for Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving EVERYONE! I have 4 days off work!!! After spending 4.5 hours of testifying for a fraud case on Tuesday, I NEED A BREAK FROM WORK!!!
My new wheels are finished. 1.5 inches wide, downhill rims but also used here for riding in snow. Wider rim + lower pressure = more squared tire = larger footprint = more floatation on snow.

Everything was going smoothly to get them on my Kona winter bike. The cassette came off the original freehub fairly easy, I didn't have to round up any extra muscle to get it off. I got it mounted on the new wheel and then started working on realigning the chainline, the cassette is a seven speed and the new freehub is for a 9 speed so I had to add spacers. The cassette is now further out than it was so adjustments to both derailleurs and the high and low screws. I got it all shifting smoothly, the brakes adjusted for the new rims...ready to go except for the tires mounted on the rims....

That's were it all ended.

Nokians are really great but I just CAN"T get them off and on. Twenty minutes, hands sore from the studs, the rubber coating looking like it might separate from the bead if I continue. So I stop. Damn.

I grab Capt'n Balance's Schwalbe Ice Spikers and get them mounted with no problem. I go out for a test ride but pretty quickly notice the Ice Spikers just don't grab the same as my Nokian. It was a beautiful ride, it was snowing big, fluffy flakes and about 20 degrees. Perfect for winter riding. Bike Boy was on his snowmachine packing me a bike trail over the hill and through the woods. I tried filming it with my camera but I need to figure out a way to mount the camera, holding it doesn't work. The test ride confirms I want the Nokians on my bike.

So to Bike Guy I go with the new wheelset and the old wheels with the Nokians. Bike guy gets them off the old wheels in about 33.7 seconds and mounted on the new wheels in an additional 42.1 seconds. He says it's all hand strength and I ain't got it. Yeah, I know.

So my bike is ready to go with the new wheels and Nokians. I was looking forward to going for another nice snow ride this holiday weekend but the temperature was 48 degrees at 5 am this morning when I got up for my morning ride. Everything is melting fast, icy slush and puddles everywhere. Slush so thick the front wheel doesn't like to move. Sheesh, it's more like spring break-up than the end of November.

Some people like this warm weather but I don't. My winter bike is busting to get out and ride and so am I. Winter should be COLD!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Future Cyclist

In our video game obsessed world of full of obese kids, I think this is a GREAT idea. However, I don't know why they used a car graphic instead of a bike graphic. I'm sure the person who thought of this is a cyclist.

BTW, my daughter and her fiancee have moved back from Montana!!!! The job that Safeway had promised him down there never panned out because Safeway decided to delay remodeling the store for a few years so he was stuck stocking shelves at a very low wage.

Out of the blue, a manager at a Safeway store in Anchorage called him and they offered him a management job of a new department. Twice the pay and a staff of 4 to supervise. BUT he had to be at work at the Anchorage store in 3 weeks. After teleconferences, he takes the job and then it's a mad rush to get out of their lease, pack, ship the car and household items, arrange a place to live in Anchorage.

My (immediate) family is all now within 65 miles of each other again! :)
See the Smart Cycle here

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I HATE it when I do THAT!

I'm working away on my Kona Hahanna snow bike, changing out the grip shifters for rapid fire shifter, changing out the pedals and getting it all cleaned up and ready for some serious riding...if the snow actually sticks around.

A big dufus friend stops by for a visit. 1st he scares the sh** out of me by lurking in my shop window. So he comes in and visits while I finish up replacing and adjusting the rear derailleur cable and get it shifting perfectly. Then we have a beer and keep chatting. I start to work on replacing the front shifter. I go to cut the old cable and just as I am squeezing the cable cutter I realize I am cutting the REAR CABLE. The just replaced, perfectly adjust rear cable. DAMN! I blame it on big Dufus for distracting me with weird conversations and beer.

The weather is not very winter-like. It's too warm and any sloppy snow melts quickly and everything is covered with ice. The ramp to my bike shop was extremely slick this morning. There was a beautiful rainbow the other day. I don't think I have ever seen a rainbow this time of year - we don't normally get rain.

In expectation of snow, I am getting some new wheels built for my Kona with wider rims. It will flatten out my Nokian tires and provide more floatation (surface area) or I can forgo the studs and get some other fatter knobbies. Nokians are hard for me to mount, so I will probably stick with them and decided later about other tires. Much cheaper than a $5000 titanium FatBack.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Bear, a Butt and a Titanium Snow Bike

Many of you have see pictures I have posted when we rent a yurt in Eagle River (see July 2006 and July 2007 archives for pictures) while backpacking. This yurt is our home base before moving back further into the valley and where we meet up with one or two of our friends and have a pretty active night of drinking, eating the tons of food the guys pack in (lightening up our load), bald guys wearing moss wigs reliving their hairy glory days, bike boys wearing moss moustaches dreaming of manhood, telling lies, etc., under the midnight sun.

We always seen bears on these trips, some quite close up, all black bears so far. We now always have a gun and bear spray, try to make adequate noise but with a 35 lb pack on my back, I get into a zone where I don't want to be talking or making lots of noise. The tinkle of our bear bells isn't really very loud, especially when hiking in the rain or wind, as in this case. But this is the risk we take whenever we go out mountain biking, hiking, camping, whatever. I was also surprised of the bear activity still going on this late in the year. Life in Alaska. I'm glad this girl is OK but I don't quite agree with her conclusion. A bluff charge is a warning, a bite is aggressive.

Jogger survives bear by seat of her pants
EAGLE RIVER: Sow grizzly bites woman in rump before being run off by a protective pooch.
Published: October 27, 2007 If there's an ideal way to be mauled by a bear, Sarah Wallner lived through it Thursday.

Wallner, a 32-year-old Anchorage nurse, was sore but otherwise fine Friday, one day after a grizzly bear attacked her about two miles from the Eagle River Nature Center in Chugach State Park.
Everyone from the victim to state biologists to the person who carted the injured woman to safety agree the encounter near the Rapids Camp yurt took every good turn imaginable -- other than the part where the bear took a bite out of Wallner's butt.
The grizzly was a sow protecting a cub rather than a fresh carcass, and she fled the area after the attack, Fish and Game biologist Rick Sinnott said.
The victim was a Providence Medical Center nurse who, despite the shock of being mauled, remained calm because she knew her wounds weren't life threatening.
"I knew I wasn't gonna bleed out from a wound on the butt," Wallner said.
The first person on the scene was a man on an all-terrain vehicle who is trained to respond to wilderness emergencies. Paul Hanis got Wallner safely away from the scene of the attack, stopped about a mile down the trail to check the wound, and decided emergency treatment could wait until they reached the visitors center.
Topping the list of best-case-scenarios was the presence of a genuine hero: A year-old husky-shepherd mix named Genaro (pronounced Hanero).
Genaro belongs to Hanis, but the medium-size dog was running on a leash with Wallner, who said she was about 20 yards from the yurt when the bear attacked.
"She was about 25 feet away on a bluff, and in a blink of an eye she was on me, just like you read about," said Wallner, who came to Alaska five years ago to attend nursing school and decided to stay.
"I was just trying to get down on the ground. I was turning to go down, and that's when she bit me -- that's why she got my butt, because I was turning.
"During that, the dog got loose and got between us and the bear let out this roar, and she went after him. He's really the little hero, because she ran after him."
Wallner propped herself up against a rock but was afraid to stand up, because she thought the bear might be guarding a kill nearby. After what seemed like an eternity to Wallner but was actually about five minutes, the dog returned, unharmed.
"I couldn't believe that a dog was able to get that bear distracted," Wallner said. "If I had really been alone, I think the bear wouldn't have lost her focus on me."
About 10 minutes later, Hanis -- who, like Wallner, is a volunteer at the nature center -- arrived on an ATV filled with firewood for the yurt.
He drove Wallner about a mile from the scene of the attack, toward the visitors center, before stopping to check her wounds.
"Judging by the rip in her pants I didn't think it was that bad, but then upon seeing the wounds, it was a little worse than I thought," he said.
They continued to the center, where Hanis washed two deep punctures. Wallner then drove herself to an Eagle River clinic, where she spent about four hours getting four puncture wounds, two of them quite deep, cleaned.
"The doctor said 'I can't believe you're not just shredded.' Even where she bit into tissue, she didn't hit the hip bone or joints," Wallner said.
Sinnott said park rangers and state biologists followed tracks that indicate the bear was a sow with a cub.
Some brown bears are already hibernating, he said, but it's not unusual for them to stay awake and on the prowl this late in the year.
What's keeping them up?
Salmon that a couple of months ago migrated up creeks feeding Eagle River and have since spawned out.
"They're not finding live ones, but there are certainly dead ones that they weren't willing to eat a month ago that look pretty good now," Sinnott said.
"We haven't had a cold snap or a deep snow, so they're hanging out," he said.
The Albert Loop Trail, which crosses the river in several spots near the visitors' center, is routinely closed each fall because of bear activity, Sinnott said. But Wallner and Hanis weren't on that trail Thursday.
Strong winds probably played a part in the attack, Sinnott said. Wallner was downwind from the bear, and the wind was loud enough to obscure any noise she was making.
Had she not been jogging, she might have noticed bear tracks, Wallner said. But she runs on the trail often and said she's never had a scare.
"It's one of my favorite places to run," she said. "I've spent the last couple of years making myself brave enough to go out there by myself.
"Usually I have bear spray with me, but I didn't that day because I wasn't thinking they'd still be out and about."
And even if she had bear spray, the bear charged so quickly she likely wouldn't have had time to use it.
Sinnott said the main trail remains open, and Hanis said anyone with yurt reservations needn't worry.
"I'd not be nervous at all," he said. "Fish and Game didn't find a kill, and they think it was just a sow-cub issue, which could happen anywhere."
As for Wallner, she plans to return to the trail soon. She doesn't think the sow is an aggressive bear, just one protective of her cub.
"I think she was just warning me," she said, "and then the dog nicely distracted her."

And on a bike note, I went into Anchorage this weekend and stopped in Speedway Cycles and checked out the titanium FatBack snow bike....sweet! Way light. If I was going to buy a specialized snowbike, this would be it. The Bike Dude got it down to 25lbs. I heard Surly Pugsleys average around 35 lbs and I imagine it takes a lot of strenght to push those fat tires and rims around on the snow. I don't think I would last long on a Pugsley. Of course, a featherweight isn't cheap, about 5000 smacks. The Bike Dude said he would let me take it for a test ride when we get some snow, how COOL is that! I will drive back into Anchorage just for that ride (Anchorage traffic really sucks)!

Check out the FatBack HERE

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


To the North

To the East

To the South

To the West, taken the evening of 10/13/07, before snow

Bike Boy, Jumping off his bike at high speed, sliding on the ice, then jumps back on the off! As soon as I got home today, we jumped on our winter bikes and went for a ride. It was really, really nice.

A corner in my bike shop

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Kitty JuJu

I'm really glad this week of over. It's been a difficult one.

It started off routinely enough, then progressively went downhill to a new level of yucky weirdness.

It started on Wednesday. I hit a cat on my way to work. It was one of those dark, dark mornings that suck up light rather than reflect it. I'm going about 55 mph when this BLACK cat runs RIGHT under my wheel. Thunk, bumpy bump. There was absolutely NO WAY to avoid it. I was freaked...I have never hit an animal before. And I like cats, squirrels, fuzzy bunnies....that kind of thing. But I knew there was no way this cat survived. And I have to say I was too much of a coward to go back and move it off the road, I couldn't handle seeing that cat. My cowardice made me feel even worse.

I called Capt'n Balance, he took care of it.

That evening, Capt'n Balance told me he was walking past an empty dumpster behind the shop where he works and heard a frantic meowing. He look in and there was a little white kitten stuck in the dumpster in about 4 inches of dirty, cold water. He got a box and a plank, dropped the box into the dumpster and leaned the plank on it up to the top of the dumpster (the plank was too short on it's own) but the kitten was too little and couldn't get up on the into the dumpster Capt'n Balance goes. The kitten is really scared so he scooped it into the box and climbed out. He set the box on the ground and walked away from it and then the kitten took off to where ever it came from.

So I kill a cat, he saves one.

The week continues on, one of my young clients is killed in a car accident. Uhhh, no...

I end up working a 50 hour week and I'm burned out. The sky is heavy with gray clouds and looks like I feel. All I want to do is go home, drink a beer or 2 and watch mindless TV and sleep. I did all that but sleep was difficult to come by.

I wake up this morning to about 1 inch of snow. It's white, light and beautiful but melting fast. I start my day, wishing I could sleep longer but it's no use in trying. Bike Boy needs a haircut so I go into my garage to get my truck out....and there....sitting on my truck bed A BLACK CAT. Kitten to be more specific.

I got home Friday night after 7 pm and pulled into my garage. The only time my garage door is open is when I pull in or out. No one has been in the garage since I got home from work Friday, the door hasn't been open. So how and when did this kitten get into my garage?? Did it stow away in my truck while I was at work or at the grocery store????

I get the fuzzy's shaking and scared. Bike Boy and I are just going "What??? How???". Now what are we going to DO with it??? Bike Boy wants to keep it and takes it into the kitchen to get it food, water, give it a name, make it a bed, give it bath, whatever. We can't keep it. Again, I do like cats and I am a tad tempted....maybe to redeem myself after Wednesday? Maybe this is the dead cat reincarnate?...but I don't believe in that hokey.

I call Capt'n Balance and tell him. He agrees this is getting sort of spooky and asks what I'm going to do with it. I decide we will go around to the neighbors to see if it belongs to any of them or if they want it. No one owns it or wants it. I go to the vet down the road to get the location of the Animal Rescue no-kill shelter. The girls at the vet tell me they just called the shelter and it's full, not accepting any animals. The only alternative is the pound and most likely this little fuzzball will be put down in 48 hrs. Damn. 2 cats gone in less than a week. Bad kitty juju.

One of the girls then says she will take it...YES!!! I'm relieved........the kitty will live. Good kitty juju.

So now I'm home again. The snow has melted and everything is starting to freeze up. I'm tired still. Ready to open a beer and watch mindless TV again. But tonight, I think I will sleep better.

I was taking my road bike to work to ride at lunch but I have been working through lunches. Next week I will take my Kona winter bike with the studded tires and just go for some slow, fresh air rides. I just feel drained.

I have some nice pictures to post but blogger is having some issues and I just keep getting error messages. I will post them later.

Friday, October 12, 2007

How to Communicate with the OTHERS

Now I understand how to communicate better with the OTHERS that we share this island with.

Written by Elden "The Fat Cyclist" on

"The fact that you are reading this tells me all I really need to know about you. You're a cyclist. I'm a cyclist. We therefore both know what's really important in life (riding). We see the world as it truly is (a place to ride our bikes). If we were each to answer the question, "What would you do with a million dollars?" our answers would vary perhaps in what equipment we'd buy and where we'd go to ride, but in little else.

If we were to have a conversation, we'd have an understanding of how each other thinks. Maybe you're a Cat 2 roadie and maybe I'm a cross-country endurance geek, but we both know that turning the cranks in a perfect circle is the ultimate form of self-expression.

Sadly, not everyone is like you and I. I am sad to say that there are people out there who rarely - if ever! - ride bikes at all. It's possible you even know someone like this. A coworker. A family member. You'd be surprised at how common non-cyclists are, actually. You probably encounter them several times per day and simply don't notice them, because they aren't interesting.
Mostly, you can safely ignore these people, simply by riding away from them. Sometimes, though - at a company party, say - it is impossible to avoid non-cyclists. Surrounded, you have no choice but to communicate with them.

Don't worry. I'm here to help. Just follow these five simple rules.

Rule 1: Understand their bizarre world view
You need to understand that non-cyclists don't realize that cycling is the most important thing any person can be doing at any given moment at any point in the universe. Non-cyclists' eyes - and minds - are shuttered, leaving them to believe that things like friends, community, work, and even family supercede what they naively call "just exercise." It's sad - OK, it's pathetic - but it's true.
To appease non-cyclists, when asked about what matters to you, you must from time to time mention friends, family, the environment, or some other such nonsense. Otherwise, they'll never leave you alone and it will be hours until you can get away, back to the comfort and kinship you feel when with your bicycle.

Rule 2. Use metaphors from "real life"
Non-cyclists aren't ready to hear about your exquisite existence in its unadulterated perfection. No, you will need to translate the sublime cycling experience into terms they might be able to understand. Naturally, you and I know that the following metaphors don't do the actual cycling event justice, but they'll have to do.
To describe how it feels to ride down perfectly banked, twisty forested singletrack on a cool autumn morning: "It's like that scene from Return of the Jedi where Luke and Leia are zooming on their flying motorcycle things. Except you're the one powering the flying motorcycle. And you're not being chased by stormtroopers. And you don't have to tolerate the constant chattering of Ewoks."
To explain why you gladly get up at 4:30am each weekday morning to ride your road bike for three hours on an entirely unremarkable road: "You know how you have to drive your car in stop-and-go traffic to get to work every morning? Well, imagine if you didn't have to stop. And imagine your car going as fast as you can make it go. And imagine starting the day feeling perfect. It's kind of like that."
To explain why you pay $200 to participate in a race you have very little chance in winning: "Ever play the lotto? It's like that, except much, much more so."

Rule 3: Pretend to be interested in their life
This one's going to knock you off your feet. Believe it or not, non-cyclists sometimes think they have something interesting to say, have an interesting hobby, or an interesting experience to relate.
This, of course, is utter nonsense.
Still, for the sake of propriety, you must act as if you care. Feel free, as they talk, to pleasantly daydream about biking. Just smile and say, "Absolutely," from time to time.
Warning: It's entirely possible that a non-cyclist will say something with which you disagree. When this happens, do not engage. If you do, you will have unwittingly stepped into a non-cycling conversation, and who knows where that will lead, or when it will end.
Always remember: Be polite, be brief, be gone.

Rule 4. Act like their theory on doping in cycling is very interesting
A tactic non-cyclists will often employ, once they have discovered you are a cyclist, is to try to talk with you about cycling. This usually takes the form of trying to talk with you about doping in cycling.
You will, no doubt, be tempted to gouge your ears out rather than hear their simplistic, uninformed opinion ("Doping is bad") to its rambling, incoherent conclusion. After all, as a cyclist, you have no doubt been pummelled with story after story after story about doping. You have heard so much about doping that you could now be called as an expert witness at the next doping trial. Or open a lab. Or be the next president of WADA (and you're rightly confident you'd do a much better job).
But if you point any of this out to your non-cyclist "friend," he will no doubt take that as a sign that you are interested in continuing the conversation. So, instead, repeat this simple phrase, "Yeah, doping sucks."
Your friend will feel like he has made his point, whatever it was.

Rule 5. Don't tell them the truth about how much your bike cost
Few people ever own anything that works, fits, or looks as well as a truly well-built bike. And yet, when they find that your bike costs as much as their high-end computer or mid-range stereo, they will fake a heart attack, guaranteed.
The solution? Tell non-cyclists you paid $499.99 for your bike, no matter how much you really paid for it. This number has been scientifically formulated to sound like more than a non-cyclist would pay for a bike, without otherwise drawing attention to itself.
No matter how you try, you can't always avoid non-cyclists. All you can hope to do is minimize contact with them - so you can get back to what's important.
And I think we both know what that is.

Elden "Fatty" Nelson blogs as The Fat Cyclist, where he says ridiculous things about bikes, biking, and bikers on a daily basis. Oh, and sometimes he gives stuff away, too. So that's something.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Just Wondering...

What is your general opinion on tattoos???

On guys?

On girls?

Ugly/Evil ones?

Pretty ones?

Do you have one (or more)?

Would you get one?

I personally I don't get the evil/ugly ones. And some canvases are better than others :) And I have to wonder what this guy has tattoo'd on his ass that is making this lady look at it that intently.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The End

Of my commuting has arrived. Not because of the weather, although it has been getting down to freezing, but because the City of Wasilla has dug up almost every street corner and a large portion of bike paths/sidewalks that I use to get to work.

It has become dangerous to be riding along in the morning, pitch black except for my little bike light, and suddenly have to stop so I don't ride into a big hole in the ground or wipe out on gravel and sand or even run into boulders. Yep, they have blocked off part of my route with huge boulders. They have thoughtfully placed plywood over some of the deeper holes they have dug, which must be about 4 ft down. Pallets in other locations, nothing but orange cones elsewhere. The boulders are spray painted orange. So helpful.

I have to ride along the highway and in roads because of the boulder, torn out paths and sidewalks. I'm loosing my nerve riding along the highway in the dark in the mornings. A couple of close calls has gotten to me. So it's turning out to be more stressful than enjoyable. Which bums me out.

On the upside, at least I won't have "balaclava hair" at work anymore.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Cut (in)To the Bone

I was putting my crock pot (how mundane) away about 2 weeks ago, when I accidentally knocked a heavy glass vase off the shelf.

It fell and made a direct hit on my right outer ankle bone.

It shattered when it hit my bone

It also sliced into my ankle

Right into the bone

Lots of blood, especially for a place that I really thought couldn't bleed much, just skin covering the bone.

It's going through that weird stage where it's "knitting" together or something, it itches deep in the bone and all around the cut about 2 inches out.

I have another scar to add to my collection.

All my scars have a story to them. Some more exciting than others. This story isn't as exciting as my last set of scars from my road bike crash and medical advice from Drunk John (I don't do that anymore - take medical advice from guys named drunk John, that is. Crashing doesn't seem to be optional)

Thursday, September 20, 2007


No, I don't mean the SH** word, I mean the SN** word, the cold, white stuff. It's getting closer. I couldn't ride to work on Monday because of the 1/4 inch of I**, that frozen water stuff, coating everything. It was S*** (the sh** word) having to drive to work. This photo was taken over a week ago, the leaves are much yellower more of that S*** covering the mountains, I think.

My bike commute takes me on the back roads when I get into town, so I had NO idea of the road construction that has been taking place on the main hwy through town. It makes driving that much worse. Definitely faster getting through town on my bike.

Tuesday, things thawed out and I was able to ride, but it was in lots of rain and headwinds so strong I had to pedal to get down the hills. Still, it was better than driving. My co-workers made comments to me that day...disbelief that I would RIDE in that weather. Well, it was either that or walk back, and I don't walk, unless I have a pack on my back and am heading out to the wilderness where bikes aren't allowed.

My riding gear is waterlogged and I feel perpetually soggy for the last week, but the rain has finally stopped so I should dry out a bit.

Do you know what the worst thing about colder weather commuting is??? Getting to work, pulling out my work clothing from my panniers and shimmying into those COLD clothes. It makes me feel cold for the rest of the day. I started putting my coffee into my nalgene waterbottle and wrapping my clothing around it but I just end up with cold coffee along with cold clothing. But, as my friend pointed out to me, this discomfort is not enough to stop me from riding, just gives me something to complain about...Hmmm, maybe I should be more silent about my suffering.

I cleaned out the garden, had lots of monster cabbage, zucchini and some romanesco broccoli, which my mother-in-law planted but refused to eat, she though it was regular broccoli and was freaked by what it turned out to be. Summer is offically over in South Central Alaska. S***.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


I almost got splattered on my ride home today. A young girl going the opposite direction tried turning right into me....not very smart...she saw could tell she just has no idea of pedestrian laws...yes, I had my feet on the ground and had the "walk" sign and the right of way. Anyway...

Here a pictures of yesterdays sunrise on my ride to work. Big flocks of Sandhill cranes are filling the skies, loudly squawking, heading south. This horse checks me out every single morning. It watches me intently, as if it is trying to figure out what exactly I am.

The nice old man with the not-nice, would-be cyclist-eating dog, isn't walking the monster in the mornings anymore. I suspect it's too cold. The only other commuter I see now is Camo-backpack/duffel-bag guy. We give each other big smiles, waves and say friendly greetings which are lost to the wind as we pass each other. He has been the most consistent commuter I have seen. Maybe I will stop and actually try to talk with him some evening, but I'm fairly shy so we will see if I can get the guts up. I have seen various other people commuting over the summer but they only seem to last a max of 5 commutes and then I never see them again.

Capt'n Balance pointed out today that I rode to work every day for at least 2 months, getting up an hour earlier than I would be if I was driving and then asked me when I was going to stop. STOP???? Why would I??? I told him I will keep riding as long as I can and maybe will ride my studded tire clad Kona to work as long as the paths are clear of deep snow. He doesn't like that idea. But I gotta do what I gotta do.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Cool Ride

Check these guys out. Riding from Washington to Maine. Yeah, I think that is my dream ride. Their blog and webisodes are cool. Viewing their webisodes helps them raise $ for their cause. Go ahead...give it a view.

Bike the U.S. for MS

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The moon was beautiful and full on my morning ride to work the other day. The sunrise behind me, the moon in front of me. Cranes, ducks and swans flying overhead, going south for the winter. The leaves are starting to turn. Streams filled with salmon, spawning finished, wasting away. Fireweed gone to seed. Summer's end.

My daughter and her fiancee were her for the last 10 days visiting from Montana. They left this morning so I feel sad again. It sure was great having them around. We had a good time, they got to visit with all their friends, go to the state fair, hiking, an evening 4-wheeler ride to the river and bonfire. The time went too fast, I could only get 2 days off work to spend with them, plus the weekends. My daughter really wants to move back, Nathan likes Montana (darn).

The weather has been nice, it is getting nippy during the nights and my morning commute has been pretty chilly. It sure is harder work and slower to ride when I am frozen. So I ordered some fleece tights and warmer gloves. I have a wool jersey on order. 40's in the mornings, mid 60's in the evenings. I pack extra riding clothing for the ride home. My pannier get pretty full some days.

Darkness comes along with the cooler weather. I put my lights on my bike. Last year I was able to ride to the end of September before it got too dark. I have a new light this year, maybe I will be able to ride longer. Maybe not though, it depends when the ground starts frosting and icing up and things get slick. Summer's end...winter begins.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Shimano Disk Failure

While riding my Santa Cruz, I noticed there seemed to be some play in my rear wheel when I had my brake on. I thought I needed to replace the pads. I got it on the workstand, the pads were fine.

So I started troubleshooting. The metal part of the rear rotor was slipping a little, the rivets connecting the metal disk to the black centerlock were loosening and the play was wearing the rivet holes bigger. Darn. I call Bike Guy, he says to bring the whole bike in.

He calls Shimano, they say they have had a few rotors fail like this, about 3 over the last 5 years. Which isn't bad, when you think of the numbers of rotors they pump out each year. But I just happen to be one of the LUCKY ones. It must have a new rotor. I go to pay for the new rotor, Bike Guy says no charge, Shimano is covering it...WooHoo. It was ready the next day.

Fall is on the way here, the birds are starting to migrate: Sandhill cranes, Canadian Geese, ducks. There were 5 ducks on the bike path on my way to work the other day. Neat to see. The daylight is getting shorter and it is getting dark now. We are losing a bit more than 1/2 of daylight per week. The nights are getting cooler, my morning rides are also. This summer has gone by way too fast.

I won't get to go to the cabin this fall. I'm really bummed about that. There are new, stupid caribou hunting rules in effect this year which is supposed to help lower-income hunters, a person who is drawn for a permit can't use any vehicles over 1500 pounds to take the meat out of the hunting area. This eliminates planes, most boats, swampbuggies, etc. It does not eliminate 4-wheelers.
The idea behind this is a low-income person can't afford to use a plane, boat or other "heavy" vehicle. So most people will get their game out by 4-wheelers.
That's a load of dookie. It costs us $400 a season to hire a bush plane to fly us into our cabin, we have always shared the plane with at least one other person flying out to our area, so we pay only $200 to $300 for the plane ride.

4-wheelers average cost is about $5000. I can afford a flight much easier than a 4-wheeler. So now we have a caribou permit with no way to get the caribou out because it is now against the law to have it flown out with us, because if we can afford a yearly $200-$300 flight, then we must be over-income, but if I make a monthly $250 4-wheeler payment so I can get my caribou out, I must be low-income. Who makes these rules??? We have an old rebuilt 4-wheeler, but it would take about 10 hours of HARD riding through bogs, tundra, muskeg to get to the cabin and it would really be a disaster if it broke down in the wilderness. Rant, Rant, rant.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

My Week

I have been happily commuting all summer, 8.2 miles each way. It's been different this year due to a lot of construction going on, sidewalks and bike paths are torn out at multiple areas in the town I work in. Finding alternate routes as been interesting at time. I live in a different town, so I load my bike into the back of my truck every morning and drive to a parking lot and ride from there to my office. My ride to my truck in the evenings has better scenery than my ride to the office, in the morning my back is to the mountains and sun. The evening ride I have some beautiful views which always make me happy to be alive and on a bike. Here is a few pictures of my favorite views, they certainly look better in real life.

Last week, I noticed it felt like my bike was trying to ghost shift or maybe a stiff link. Last Sunday I put the K2 on the bike stand. It was soon obvious that there was no problem with the chain, cables or derailleur. I could hear sort of a ping or popping noise on the drive side as the wheel rotated. Darn. So I took apart the rear hub. I immediately noticed that the normally blu grease that Ritchey hubs normally have, was absent, replaced instead with watery, rusty looking grime instead on the drive side. After cleaning the bearings and races, found them all toasted. All bearings are pitted, some are cracked and look like chunks missing. The races in the cup is also pitted, worn and cracked in a few places. The non-drive side is in almost perfect condition. Damn. So I hop in my truck and head to the bike shop, knowing I will have to purchase a whole new wheel if I want to keep commuting the following week but secretly hoping Bike Guy can rebuild the wheel with a new hub IMMEDIATELY, like my situation is critical ya know? I really do know this is unrealistic but the little spark of hope is there. I get to the's closed. Turns out, for the very 1st time in my history since going there, Bike Guy has decided to close down on Sundays. Good for him and his family, Shit for me. I go back home, frantic about what to do. I start calling bike shops in Anchorage, the only place that will still be open by the time I drive an hour+ is REI. Rush to Anchorage, get the wheel -which was an adventure of it's own- rush home, spend a fricken LONG and DIFFICULT time getting the cassette off the freehub. Get everything installed on the new wheel and the bike back together and ready to ride the next day, fall into bed very late and tired. But the bike is good to go and working great. I had Bike Guy check out the Ritchey hub yesterday, he said it will cost as much for a new hub and rebuild as it does for a new wheel. The other option is to ride it until the hub actually fractures. Hmm..I don't think I like that idea.

Thursday after I got home, everyone decided to go fishing down at the river behind my house RIGHT NOW! I hadn't had time to eat and wasn't ready to eat yet anyway. Capt'n Balance, the Bike Boys and Computer Guy had everything packed up on the 4 wheeler and ready to go, all I had to do was change. So we did a tequila shot (not the boys-duh) with lime and off we went.

It was one of those PERFECT Alaskan summer evenings. These nights are indescribable, one has to experience it. Perfect temperatures, sun still shining although getting lower on the horizon this time of year, no bugs, beautiful mountains, water, flowers, wilderness, fresh air, moose tracks in the mud, snowshoe rabbits running across the trail...perfection.

By the time we got to the fishing spot, about 40 minutes later, I was starving. I scarfed down the spicy chicken with ranch sauce, washed it down with water and Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale and started fishing. The rivers are full of a lot of dog salmon, turning into the scary monsters for spawning and then rotting. There are also Reds and Silvers running. I caught a dog salmon, we didn't catch any reds or silvers and too soon it was time to head back. My nephew, Bike Boy 2, and Computer Guy stayed longer and came home with a red and a silver. Even though we had no fish to bring home, it was a glorious evening.

Now it is an overcast Sunday afternoon, I'm overhauling the front hub from my K2 commuter, it looks like the grease was a little corroded in there also. Just in time, I don't want to buy another new wheel.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


I was tagged twice last week by A Midnight Rider and Karen of Travelin with/against the Wind. So here is a few random facts about me:

1) I was given a car the other day: 1969 Datsun 2000 Roadster convertible with a hardtop and soft top. Sweet! Needs some work but it's pretty nice. Took it for a spin last night, the brakes whet out heading into a 90 degree corner. I was ready to eject but the hand brake worked! :)

3) I HATE LIMA BEANS and canned BEETS! Lima beans have the same taste and texture of the old Elmer's paste, beets (at least canned beets) taste and smell like Play-Dough. Both of these turn my stomach. Yuck. I also don't like shredded coconut, it can't really be chewed, just swallowed and it seems to hang around in the mouth for awhile. When I was a kid, my mom would occasionally buy those gross Hostess Snowballs, pink or white shredded coconut covered marshmallow, chocolate cake confections. My brothers would tell me the coconut was dried worms. I think that stuck in my subconscious. I won't eat anything with shredded coconut. I do, however, like coconut smell and taste, just not the texture of shredded coconut. As for Lima beans and beets, you may wonder how I know they taste like old Elmer's paste and Play dough? Lets just say I was a "sensory" kind of kid.

3) I used to be deaf. I had surgery to restore my hearing about 5 and 6 years ago, 1 ear at a time. I started losing my hearing after the birth of Bike Boy, in 1991 from a genetic condition called Otosclerosis. Going deaf really sucks, especially here in Alaska where the doctors just don't have a clue or at too egotistic to care about patients getting the best care. When I got the news I was going deaf, I asked my doctor if there was anything that could be done, he said "no", just hearing aids. So I went progressively deaf for the next 9 years, spent thousands of dollars on hearing aids, dropped out of my social activities and avoiding friendships because I couldn't participate in a 2 way conversation anymore. I became pretty much of a loner. I was at my audiologist, getting yet another pair of more powerful hearing aids and was really bummed, I was functionally deaf by this time, when my audiologist - a fairly young girl from out of Alaska, full of the latest technology and teaching- told me "off the record" that I didn't need to go deaf and could actually have my hearing restored. She told me there is surgery to fix my condition and gave me the website of the House Ear Clinic in East L.A. Went down deaf, came back hearing. I also met some pretty amazing people while I was in L.A. for the surgeries; A brother and sister in their 40's who were born totally deaf, both got cochlear implants at the same time and were learning how to hear, a man who had fatal tumors in his hearing organs so they were all removed, he then had a brain stem implant at the House Ear Clinic and was also learning how to hear, his brain interpreting the sounds that were being directly sent to a part of his brain...additional amazing people and situations and the House Ear Clinic does amazing things. Life changing stuff.

4) I love rocks, always have. Where I grew up, there was lots of undeveloped land. I would get a kitchen spoon and go across the street and start digging holes, looking for the prettiest rock. I would spit on the rocks to see the colors, if it was pretty, in my pocket it went. When I ran out of spit, I would lick the rocks. When my pockets were full, I was stagger home with my treasures, go into the downstairs bathroom, fill the sink with water, then lovingly wash each of my rocks. I would line them up on top of the clothes dryer while they dried. I was always soo disappointed that they turned into dull, gray looking rocks again when they dried, so I started leaving them in the sink of water so they would say pretty. My mom would get mad at me sometimes for making such a mess: I didn't realize my clothing was totally coated with dirt, my shoes full of dirt, my face streaked with dirt, mud and spit, my hair (long and usually in braids), all dirty, in my mouth half the time and pretty ratty. Muddy hand prints everywhere, dirt from the front door to the bathroom, the bathroom floor covered with mud from the dirt and water. My mom tells me sometimes I had so many rocks in my pockets my pants would be falling off and I would constantly pulling them up. Then I would gather my rocks, get a hammer and proceed to smash them looking for geodes or whatever was inside. I remember getting a rock chip in my eye once. It hurt for days. I didn't tell my mom. She still doesn't know. Now I use clear coat instead of spit to keep my rocks pretty!

5) I don't really like chocolate. I will eat it if it has nuts or caramel, but not plain.

6) I don't really like the color red. Some reds are ok, but am not drawn to red.

7) My favorite perfume is Be Delicious by Donna Karan, it smells fruity, like sweet apples. I like fruity smells, my favorite shampoo is call Fruit Cocktail, it really smells GOOD!

8) I love to sing, but no one else loves for me to sing - HA! So now I only sing when I'm riding my bike or driving in my truck alone. Capt'n Balance thinks I'm in trouble sometimes when we are riding out bikes and I'm singing. He can't tell if I'm complaining or groaning or whatever. That is not a complement.

That was a lot of work. Whom should I tag??? I don't know. If you want to be tagged, let me know in the comments or I might just tag you randomly!!! I want to tag Ned Overend and Floyd Landis but I don't think they will play.

It's raining and Saturday night. I need to change the cables, brake shoes and add the front fender on my commuter bike. It's ghost shifting lately, the rear shoes are really worn and it's pretty wet out lately. I also need to put the new 50/50 pedals, replace the brake pads and maybe bleed the brakes on my Santa Cruz. My wheels are moving about 1/4 inch when I have the brakes squeezed tight. That wasn't happening before.

I have a little bottle of Patron tequila that I bought myself for my 40th birthday that I haven't opened yet. I think tonight will be a good night to open it. Just me and my dog, tequila with lime, the rain, the music, working on my bikes. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday night!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's Worth It

My hands and legs are splotched with mean looking burn-ish marks from riding through fields of cow parsnip and Devil's Club on last Friday's Johnson Pass ride. The trail was overgrown so badly, there were times I totally entombed, couldn't see the trail or more than 2 feet in front of me, just followed the less dense area ahead of me and hoped it was the trail. The splotches are worth it, even when they blistered 3 days after the ride. Johnson Pass is on my top 5 list of places in Alaska to be. The black flies were exceedingly bad also, we had to keep moving to keep from being swarmed. Can you see Capt'n Balance riding through the vegetation?

We then spent the night at

Hope and partied all night on the deck of the Seaview Bar, dancing to the music of the Denali Cooks. The bike boys went fishing, both caught salmon, which they released.

We then moved on to Whitter, through the single lane tunnel which is shared with the trains. It was rainy, we toured the harbor, fished (kept 2 salmon this time) and rode around the micro-town that it is. Most residents of Whitter all live in 1 big building as land is not available. It's a neat little fishing town surrounded by glaciers.

I'm tired, so no more writing for tonight.
Take care, everyone!