Monday, May 26, 2008

It's Still Cold

The weather is cold...COLD! My morning commutes are cold...mid 30's, not counting wind chill. I am still wearing my cold weather clothing, gloves and helmet liner, which still haven't been warm enough some mornings.

The afternoons sort of reach up to 60, add the wind chill and it drops back down to 40 degrees. Some brave leaves have come out of the trees but some are still waiting for warmth before they make their appearance.

It snowed on the mountains this weekend. Here is a sunset shot taken at 11:30 pm last night.

I finally filled up my gas tank and was shocked that gas is now $4.06. It's still climbing, I'm told.

The state maintained bike path I ride on is covered with an inch or more of road sand. State maintained means it not maintained at all. I called the Dept of Transportation last week, only to be blown off, just like every year. So tomorrow, it's it's not swept off, I will send off my annual email to the director, just like I have done for the last 3 years. Every time I email the director, the path is cleaned off the very next day. I just wish the state would figure it out, especially with the high gas prices, there are a lot more people riding bikes.

Highlights of last week's commute: The mailman squirted me with a lawn sprinkler as I was riding past, he was moving it and didn't know I was riding on the path right next to him. Wet legs on a cold morning...but it was sort of funny, gave me a chuckle. After a few years of no corners on the sidewalks/bike paths the City of Wasilla is FINALLY putting in the corners! They were ripped out awhile back in order to put up new street lights and never replaced until now. It's really nice that the sidewalk/path doesn't just end with a 4 inch drop offs anymore. I see 2 elderly gentlemen walking their dog every morning...but I don't think they have ever seen me even one time. They are always looking down at the if waiting for it to do it's thing.

I bought my daughter a bike and a kid trailer for the baby. I'm fixing up her old bike for her husband so they will all be ready to ride. Anchorage has a lot of nice (maintained) paths they are close to. I think they can put the baby in her car seat and put it in the trailer. It would be great if they got into riding.

I'm not digging my new job right now.

Capt'n Balance surprised me with a way early birthday present - bicycle bathrobe and pj's. He says it's an early gift but I really think it is related to a motorcycle that is just sitting in the barn.

I have started a new batch of beer today, a red ale. I'm still drinking the Whiter Shade of Pale Ale (REALLY GOOD), slowly, so it will last. I have a honey pale ale lagering and the red ale fermenting. I have a smack pack of wheat yeast growing and will start a bath of german Hef in a day or 2 when the smack pack is ready.

We have been watching "The Alaska Experiment" occasionally. It sort of pisses me off. Especially when these fools decided to hike 40 miles through the wilderness in 4 days, in the winter. They run out of food, barely make it and now will rely of the others to feed them and supply them with enough food to get back to their own cabin. We are just astounded that some will not go outside to relieve themselves, or figure out how to store food when it's 30 something degrees outside, or even how to get water. Oh well. Put me in a desert situation and I would be in major trouble.

I hope everyone had a great Memorial holiday - send warm thoughts my way!

Friday, May 16, 2008

The new Bike

I have finally gotten a picture of my new road bike, the replacement of the Kona Zing. It's not on the same level as the Zing but I am starting to bond with it. Being a women's specific model, it fits me better than the Zing did, much to my surprise. My wrist don't hurt near as much and I feel more secure because I can reach and grip the hoods and brake levers better, the Zing's levers were really just too big for my smaller hands. I sort of poopawed the whole women's specific sizing thing but now I'm a believer. And no, the computer will not stay there on the top tube, it's there only because the bike has been on the trainer, the sensor is on the rear tire.

It has lower end components but they are working just fine, smooth and snappy. The brakes suck, however, I will be upgrading them, maybe also the wheels. For now, I have replaced the brake shoes and that made a big difference. I will be replacing the seatpost.

The bike is much pinker in true color. The first comment my mom made when she saw it was "Wow, that's a PINK bike!" I've come to like the pink. Some of the women's cycling forums really put pink down. My new philosophy is that only real women can ride a pink bike with lower end components. Women can throw more smack than men. Yep, it's true.

The wind has been blowing hard and I hate riding in wind more than any other weather condition, so this last week I did not ride to work. Work has also been extra stressful and lots of overtime, plus I will have to start working in Eagle River and Anchorage. Ahhhggg. That is 2 lost hours of my day due to driving time. My external family appears to have lost their marbles so they are all fired until they can find them again.

Anyone want to buy a motorcycle? Capt'n Balance was looking to buy a motorcycle a few weeks ago to zip back and forth to work, but it sold before he got to look at it. I checked Craigslist last week and found this nice yahama, street legal, that I though would be perfect. I bought it, got a good deal (I think..I don't know anything about motorcycles) and brought it home as a surprise for the Capt'n. Well, turns out he doesn't want a motorcycle anymore. So he is fired also.
Now I have this motorcycle. I have no interest in riding it, I don't know how to anyway. The funny part of it all is Bikeboy. He has spotted an opportunity to maybe score a motorcycle. I can see he is just quivering inside, his eyes wide and hopeful, a dreamy smile on his face, when he asks me what I'm going to do with it. He doesn't have much bargining power at this point, due to less than steller grades and a high cell phone bill.

I let him ride it this afternoon. Maybe I can use the motorcycle as an object of motivation. As long as he can also show me he is responsible enough to ride a motorcycle on the roads and not get hurt. If not, he's fired too.

So enough bitching. I really need a bike ride to burn out all the bad juju and sunshine, beer and music to sooth the soul. I'm hoping to go for a long, long ride this weekend.

It's finally starting to green up and sort of looks like Spring. When spring comes, it's almost like I breath a mental sigh of relief, even though I love winter. It's good to have a break from icy roads, chopping wood, keeping the wood stove burning, huge heating bills.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I started riding to work last week. The mornings are still very cold, averaging around 35 degrees. There is still ice on the lake that I ride past and the wind is usually blowing icy air off of it. The bike paths are in crappy shape and haven't been swept off, inches of road sand and rocks in some places. But it's really nice to be riding again.

I have only had one encounter so far with drivers knowing right-of-way rules of the road, I wasn't sure if the lady was going to suddenly gun her big SUV and run me over or if she was actually going to stop. Since I'm typing this, it's obvious that she stopped.

I have noticed that when people do this, they usually pretend like it didn't happen; avoid eye contact, no friendly or apologetic or "oops" type of signals, just sitting there looking off with a scowl on their faces. When I screw up, I always try to make eye contact and offer a "sorry" type of signal. Manners. But that's just me.

We were in Anchorage over the weekend. This moose was in no hurry to cross the street. Traffic was backed up as the moose mosied along.

Flocks of Canadian geese are everywhere. So are the eagles, preying on the geese. The other day the sky was filled with hundreds and hundreds of freaked out geese, 3 Bald eagles were on the hunt. It was quite a sight.