What's the weather like in Doug's neighborhood?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Winter slumber

Well, in typical Doug form I have been hiding out for the winter. At some point in the winter I find myself taking a minimum of 2 weeks hiatus from riding. It wound down with some crammed for time short rides. The last couple of weekends I haven't even rode. I have been happy being lazy, hanging out with the family, and working on the computers. Between that and waiting for some parts on order it was pretty easy not to worry much about the riding.

Pile of parts:
Well, my parts arrived on Saturday. I will need to build the rear wheel. After my recent string of flats I decided to go back to a tubeless setup. We will see if it fares better out this way or not. I also punked out and got an easier granny gear. This will be my first trial of Stan's Flow rims. The company throws convention to the wind and designed their own rim. Supposedly the design locks the tire on tighter and gives it a larger profile. I will give it a try and report back.

Yes, I am still tinkering with the computer. Now it is computers. With the buying and swapping I have amassed enough spare parts to keep the P4 running as a spare/Austin computer. The P4 works fine, but it has some serious drawbacks since it is from a fairly busy period of hardware changes in the industry. So I moved on and put a bit more money into the system to bring it into the new millennium. Basically this means new multicore processor, a good Abit motherboard, PCI-e graphics card capable of HD output, and RAM compatible with the above. So much for keeping it really cheap. I guess if it even lasts half as long as my last machine it will be worth it. It will also be compatible for upgrades for a while too.

Microsoft 1 / Doug 0
I broke down and bought a retail version of XP Pro. I had a good run on oem operating systems, but my oem XP was not letting me install on another system. So after more than a decade of getting away with running windows 98 and 2000 on multiple machines I figure MS can have my money for a legitimate license. Hard to shell out for one, but the upgrade in performance and driver support of XP can no longer be denied.

The family is well. Not much to report here in AL. Faith and Austin are doing well sharing a room. As Faith gets older Austin and her are playing more together. They are fairly good playmates so long as sharing of a prized toy isn't involved.
I did get a call yesterday from my mom in CA. Both my sisters and some additional family were in a pretty serious accident this weekend. Thank God they all came out of it with only bumps and bruises. Sounds like the equinox took the brunt of things and may not make a comeback. Someone ran a red light and t-boned the front end of it. Our thoughts and prayers are with them in their recovery.

Resolutions update:
Not a ton of news here. Despite the lack of riding I have been able to drop almost 10lb. If I can get back into a routine again I think that progress would be a bit faster. I have also been drinking less. Oddly enough I can't say that it makes a huge difference in my day to day life, but there are less 6 packs passing through the fridge. Still working on drinking better. I gotta try one of the online beer retailers to try and get some good 22oz beers shipped out this way. Kind of expensive, but apparently the only way to get some of the nicer micro brews that were so prevalent in California.

Anything else?
Well, the Tundra has been losing pressure in one of the front wheels. So I took it in on Friday for a quick service and to get that checked out. It turns out that the leak is actually through the rim itself. I don't even know if I can get a replacement for the TRD edition rim. If I can it would most likely be cheaper to buy a whole set of steel American Racing rims for it. I dropped it off today at a company that does wheel repair. They may be able to repair it for $100. Fingers crossed there.

that's all I got for now.
keep the rubber side down...

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Saturday report

Nothing much to report for the day. Robert and I loaded up a BOB trailer and headed out into the lower half of Monte Sano. We installed 4 trail signs in on Arrowhead trail. I am not sure riding in was a time saver, but it was more amusing. Since MS is so rocky the trailer was bouncing all over the place and we needed to stop and adjust multiple times on the way in or out. I took some video riding behind Robert watching the trailer and laughing. If I can get a hold of it I will post something up.

As it was we ended up digging 6 holes to plant the 4 posts. Twice we hit base rock before we has enough depth to place the posts. The soil here is interesting. It has a decomposed topsoil layer that is 4-8" deep, then it turns into clay, and depending on where you are at you will hit rock sometime after the clay is 6-12" deep. Since we have been getting rain (a little bit)the clay was very sticky.

Okay, so we planted some signs and then strapped everything back onto the trailer. Of course my string of flats continued with the trailer getting a flat on the way in. I had only a used patch that for some reason I hung onto and Robert had a tire patch that was probably 4 years old. Fortunately the tube had a pinch and a thorn hole so we had enough to make a marginal effort at it. Amazingly the tube held all the way out. I managed to wedge myself between a pair of boulders on the climb out. Apparently my pedals on the sultan are wider than the Raleigh. I pedaled into the crevice and leveled my pedals. Then I stopped. Just stuck. It was rather amusing since I was able to wiggle my feet out of the pedals and free myself.

After 5 hours tooling around in the park I wasn't really feeling like heading out for a ride. So I went to the bike shop and picked up a few goodies. Of course a new patch kit was included :-)

New Years resolutions are holding up well. I am a couple pounds lighter and drank a few less beers this week. Not sure if they were better beers, but the Pete's were tasting good to me.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Some additional thoughts on the new year

Well, I was in a bit of a rush yesterday and forgot to mention a couple of items.

Trail Conditions:
Things are looking up. The leaves that have been piled high and slick are mulching down and turning to good traction. There are still plenty of sections that are slick, but it is nice to see an end in sight for it. So long as the rains stay brief drainage also is looking good. I had a couple of short mud bogs and puddles on my ride, but no slog fest. That's great considering we have had on and off rain for the past week.

It is hard to figure out what attire to bring around these parts. One day it is near 70 degrees and the next it is in the low 40s. It is just weird. I have heard that our geographic location is the cause of this confusion. We are located where the cold Northern system and warm Southern systems meet. This is also why we get tornadoes. As the line where these systems drifts North and South it has a pretty drastic effect on the temperature here in Huntsville. We have had some snow flakes, but only light fluff that melts on landing. Still pretty cool though. I even saw a bit of that this morning. BTW, it is fricken cold this morning. Currently the bar at the top of the page is giving a real time temperature of 23 degrees. With wind that chills right to the bone.

In other news...
I forgot to mention that we had our second visitors stop by about a week ago. Rodney Lewis, one of my best friends from high school stopped by. I haven't seen Rodney since 1997, but tried to get in touch with him as soon as we moved out this way. Through a series of fortunate events we ended up getting in touch and as he was passing by to go to some family in Birmingham he stopped in for a visit.

It was great to see him. He really hasn't changed much, which is good. It didn't feel odd or like we hadn't seen each other in a decade. It was just easy to pick right up as friends. I am glad to have a close friend who also lives close by (relatively close at 80mi).

Rodney is still slender. He probably doesn't weigh more than 150lb. But he looks healthy and happy. The only thing unhealthy is his cigarette smoking. Guess you can't win them all though.

Rodney was accompanied by his wife Cara, their daughter Skyler (6 years old), and their new born son Jack Douglas. They look like a nice all American family. Cara is a nice girl who is born and raised in the south. She has a couple of uncles who are mayors of towns up in Tennessee. From the looks of it she will keep Rodney straight and he loves the heck out of her, so I am very happy for them.

We visited for a couple of hours and had dinner. We will need to take a road trip out to their house soon to check it out. Sounds like they are a bit in the woods and off the beaten path. But they are happy where they are at, rent a nice home, and have property to play on without anyone bugging them. Sounds like Rodney's dad has a camper and lives there as well.

Rodney's parents split up years back. I don't remember when he said, but it was over 5 years ago. His brother did grow up to be bigger than him and a bruiser for a while, but it sounds like he has slimmed down very thin. Rodney's descriptions of him are a bit mixed. Basically he mentioned that he was something like 6' and 250lb, but now he is smaller than him. So my interpretation is that Jed is 6' and 150-165lb at current. After getting into some trouble he has straightened out and is in the Army. When he finishes up there he should be in good shape.

That's it on the Rodney front. Let me know if you would like to get a hold of him.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Ring in the new years

A new year dawns and with it the promise of great things. I have never been huge on resolutions, but I think I need a couple this year to change things up.

1) Drink less, and drink better. Haven't solidified the rules on this one yet, but I have been noticing way too many 6-packs coming and going over the last couple of months. Although it is not wreaking havoc on my mass I am sure that it doesn't help in reducing it. Like anything excess isn't good. Studies have proven that beer and wine can be good for you, but in quantities more like a glass/beer a day.

2) Lose 20lb. Yes at current I am tipping the scales at 232-235lb. 230lb is my cutoff limit, so something should be done. This last year started well, but from spring until about now life has been too busy for regular exercise. Not really acceptable, but unfortunately the way it has been.

Okay, enough of that.

Started off the year with some house cleaning, purging of Christmas, and a short ride. I did a fast loop at the land trust. It was cold, but not freezing. I decided to try out the new leg warmers. They work well, but apparently Erin still thinks full riding spandex is quite humorous. She snapped a series of pictures while laughing as I was running out to catch the final daylight. Reppin for Cyclesport...

The ride was nice. I came down with a bit of something on Sunday and still wasn't 100% on Monday, so it was nice to get out for a good hammer today. I was a bit chilled and worried about the amount of time I had, so I rode hard. It felt nice. A bit of pain here and there, but since it ended up being only a 45min ride it felt more like a cleansing.

Hopefully all your new year's days were as productive.