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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Just when you thought it was safe...

Ben Stein heads what appears to be an interesting documentary on the beer industry in America.

List of theaters

Monday, March 30, 2009

Oh you gotta love lawyers

Came across this one and watched it over my lunch break. Wow, just wow. If you have a bit of time to listen to this it is pretty entertaining. Wonder what the 2nd half goes like, have to catch that later...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

ever think back on where you come from

Over the years I have had a ton of bikes. I came across an old post that I had put up on the forums. Here is a snip of that I posted in fall of 2006 over on MTBR:

This could take a while, mostly chronological...

- race inc bmx
- redline proline
- panda pro am
- champion
- schwinn predator
- GT performer
- MCS pro bmx
- Elf doublecross 24in bmx
- redline proline bmx
- Shimano skykomish mtb
- Scott chromoly mtb
- Torker 24in bmx

Adult bikes
- Marin bear mtn
- SC Chameleon (slalom)
- SC Heckler
- SC Chameleon (xc)
- Intense Uzzi SL
- Chameleon (2nd slalom)
- Da Bomb Sputnik urban rig
- Specialized enduro ht (setup as singlespeed)
- Surly 1x1
- Litespeed Pisgah
- SC heckler (new style, 5th element coil shock, AM build)
- SC Chameleon (xc build)
- On One Inbred SS
- SC heckler (AM build, dhx coil, etc)
- Surly 1x1 (basic build)
- SC Bullit (freeride/am build)
- Surly Instigator (am build)
- Specialized enduro ht (am build)
- Cove stiffee fr hardtail, urban rig
- SC Blur LT (am build)
- Rock Lobster road bike (lugged and brazed baby )
- Rock Lobster EBB SS, rigid
- Specialized Rockhopper Pro disc xc with custom build
- SE Racing Assassin 20in bmx bike (for nostalgia sake)

That should just about do it. I may be forgetting something in there but who cares, thats a lot of bikes and fun. Obviously there were some repeats in there. Some frames I tried in multiple sizes and build configurations. I am trying to settle down in my old age and spend more time riding / less time wrenching, buying, and selling

Bikes since that posting (2006-2009)
- Raleigh XXIX+G 29er
- Ventana X5
- Turner Sultan
- Santa Cruz Heckler

I am slowing down. Maybe it is that I have come to a point where I know more about my preferences. Or it could just be that I am not constantly in the bike shop. Could also have to do that they are more expensive now without a bike shop bro discount. Of the bikes since 2006 most have served a full year of trail time. The Ventana was the only dud there. Who knows how long the new Heckler will be around. I imagine it will need to be my ride for 1-2 years. Eventually I want another 29er, but that will have to wait until all the projects and improvements on the new home are done. For now I am resolved to just maintaining this bike and enjoying the ride.

And here is a photo show of most of my bikes since about 2000:

Monday, March 23, 2009

What's up with Kona bikes

They never seem to change much. Well, here's why...

Kind of thought Dave Turner was of the same frame of mind, but he flipped this year and jumped on the DW-link bandwaggon. Good timing since Iron Horse left a good hole in the market for a new leader in DW suspension last season. Apparently DW didn't renew their license agreement. Now Iron Horse is going belly up. Sucks to be $5 million in debt and trying to push Elsworth ICT as innovation to the cycling community ;-)

I got a good pedal in this weekend with a couple of riding buds. Turned into a 4hr run, but with less messing around the ride should only take about 2.5hr. We had something like 5 flats. Amazingly none by me. Hit Monte Sano top to bottom. First time I have hit Warpath on a 26in wheeled bike. It was a little bumpier than I remember, but no sweat. I am getting my shock pressures dialed in on the Heckler and it is feeling better with every ride. Swapping the bars out really helped make me feel at home. At any rate, about 12mi in the bag for the day and about 25-28mi for the week. I actually was able to pedal and push myself again. It felt like a real ride instead of a panting suffer fest.

Other news?
We went and got Austin kitted up for soccer. First practice is Tuesday. He wore his gear around yesterday and practiced in the yard for a couple of hours. We will see how he does on the field, but overall he actually looks pretty good at it.

I mowed the yard yesterday! Well, front yard. It went very smoothly. Mower appears to be running good. Way less bogging down with the new bearings and sharp blades. I think it needs an oil change, but otherwise should be good to go for another year :)

That's all I got. Time to get to work...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Combining hobbies

Well, last weekend I borrowed a stand from a friend to put together my latest bicycle. I think I have finally graduated from the stage in life where I am okay working on the floor or on a bike hanging from the rafters. I t was bugging me not having a place to work on the bike. Well, Erin would have my head if I went out and purchased a new stand. So I thought about it for a couple of minutes. Light goes on upstairs. Hey, I could make something cheap and sturdy pretty snappy. I could also use that 300lb work bench as my base.

One benefit of being off the bike and taking up a new hobby, woodworking, is that I can fairly quickly do crude work now. Something like a bike workstand becomes very simple. I am not going to claim I busted this out in 30 minutes, but it took less than 2 hours from brainfart to bike holding

Construction materials:
1 - 2x4x12ft
1 - 3/8in T-nut
1 - 3/8in eye bolt
20+/- - wood screws
2sqft - scrap mdf 3/4in
3 - Washers
1 - 3/4in oak dowel approx 8in
3" - 3/8in steel rod for alignment (so the jaw can't rotate)

Build is simple. Double up the 2x4, or just start with 4x4. Use the mdf to make corner braces. I then used a scrap of poplar to create the clamp jaw. I use an eye bolt and T-nut to create the clamp pressure and a 3/8in steel rod to keep it from rotating. I mounted that up and then drilled through the middle of the clamp joint with a 1in drill bit. After drilling I relieved the outer sides to make getting the bike in and out quicker.

Now of course you have to have a vise that is strong enough to hold the stand. I suppose you could build this stand off of a wall stud or clamp/screw it to something as well. I have a twin screw wood vise on my bench. I can raise and lower the stand in the vise. I can also angle it in the vise to rotate the front wheel up if needed.

And a shot of the whole bench set up in bike wrenching mode:

Then of course there is Zoe, shop helper. She is cool with bikes and likes to hang out in the garage.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ever wonder...

how they sell sports drinks and "energy drinks"?

Dude I want to run faster than a Kenyan now. Where can I get me some of that?

The new ride

Okay, got the bike in at the end of last week. I also got in a few personal effects. I needed to swap the fork out to something that would work with my weight. I didn't want to get into swapping out the front hub, so I needed to keep the fork quick release. I have been happy with my RockShox air forks over the last few years, so it seemed the safe bet to pick up a Revelation Air.

I also needed some better stoppers. 6 inch mechanical brakes are not too impressive. I scoured around and found front and rear Avid Juicy Five hydraulic brakes with 7in rotors. I have been on Shimano hydraulics for about 3 years. Gotta say the Avids feel pretty good.

Still needs a couple of small adjustments, but it is pretty close to right. It is also pretty light, probably under 30lb. That is kind of weird for me.

I have a couple of rides on it now. Compared to the Turner 29er it feels small. The inch shorter top tube length and compact geometry makes it a bit weird to get accustomed to. Overall it is not as much of a plow as the 29er, but it also has it's advantages. I had forgotten how much more effort was required to keep the 29er wheels rolling. With the smaller wheels there is mechanical and weight advantage. It is much easier to maintain speed on slight uphills. Traction definitely goes to the 29er wheel. I find myself spinning out in the mud and rocks a lot more on the little wheels.

So 29er or 26er???
Still up for debate. I will have to cast my vote after a bit more ride time on the little wheels.

Here are a couple shots of my previous Hecklers...

Late 2004, early 2005
My first 2nd generation Heckler
Heavy, but a very capable build

Late 2005
Lighter, the "NEW" DHX coil
it was cheaper to buy a new frame than the shock alone
the crossmax wheels were very temporary, not stiff enough for me

I am still trying to get a photo of my original Heckler. Only photos in existance are with Ed. I think it was about 1999/2000. I rode the heckler for a while, but decided that full suspension was too bouncy. So I rode hardtails for about 4 years waiting for FS technology to get better. Fortunately for us all it has.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Right of passage

Not sure if this goes as one for me or for the boy. Pinewood Derby time has come and gone here in our house. It was important for me to keep Austin as the head decision maker. He drew up what he wanted the profile to be. I glued that picture on and rough cut it on the bandsaw.

Obviously Austin was thrilled. I helped him use a rasp to finish roughing out the form. Then I turned him loose with sandpaper. It was done when he called it quits. I routed a groove in it and sunk a steel weight into it to get close to the 5oz mass limit.

Last week we finished it up. Austin did the bulk of the painting.

And I did the detail work. Turned out kind of fun.

It was fast enough to qualify as a fast car from our pack, but we did get spanked at the division race last weekend. He was just excited to race and somewhat oblivious to his race results. Good thing. It was a learning experience and I am sure we can make a faster one next year.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bad news in Santa Cruz

Well, I must say that I was out of the loop on this one. Apparently over the last couple of months the Ranger Staff in Santa Cruz has gone from 1FT+1HT to 5 full time officers. They aim at cleaning up the joint. On the record UCSC trails dropping to Hwy9 are hot on their radar. Riders seen entering, exiting, or stumbled upon on the trail will be cited. Brings back memories of the good old days. I remember having to dodge, duck, and ditch rangers back in the days. Seems that the local mountain biking community has gotten a bit spoiled with how sparse the patrol has been over the last 4-5 years. Well, no longer.

Check out these discussion threads:

Sounds like it will be necessary to get involved now. There is no ignoring it. So how to get involved???
Mountain Bikers of SC site

Rumor is that first offense will run about $300. If they see you with a shovel or tool they can stick you with an additional $1400 for destruction of public lands. Either way, penalty is steep for getting tagged by the man right now. Tickets are rumored to have started flowing February 18th (happy birthday to me).

In other riding news...

Sneek a peek at the new ride. Well, new to me. Weather has been awesome here. I have been disturbed at the ever expanding waistline. So I started looking for a bike. It had to be realatively inexpensive. But I wanted to keep riding full suspension, too rocky here not to. At any rate, when looking for a deal I usually find one. Stumbled on this demo heckler from one of the touring companies in Moab for under $1K. Since purchasing I have been selling off anything that isn't bolted down so that Erin doesn't have my head. So far I have raised near $400 towards paying it off. Hopefully that buys me some grace time :)

So I am back on a heckler. Now I get to find out how much of the 29er deal was real and how much was placebo. I will have to do a write-up on that in a month or two.

That's all I got at the moment, hope everyone is doing well. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Big beers are in the house

Who'd have thought that just down the road a bit there is a good stash of high gravity beers. On Friday, at the recommendation of another Huntsville beer snob, I made the trek over state lines to Fayetteville, TN. The Liquor Locker looked like your average liquor store at first. It looked like a waste of my drive, then I rounded the corner to the back room. Hello gorgeous. I don't think I have seen a better collection of big/bold beers in one location. North Coast, Sierra Nevada, Chimay, Stone Brewing, etc. I don't know how this little shop gets distribution of these micro-brewery specials, but I am glad to have found them.

I walked out with a case in hand and about $70 out of the wallet. There goes the beer budget for the month, atleast most of it. Here is the goodie list:
4pk - Flying Dog Brewery, Double Dog Pale Ale (11.5%, 85IBU's)
4pk - North Coast Brewing, Old Rasputin Sout (9%, 75IBU's)
4pk - Nort Coast Brewing, Old Stock Ale (12.5%, 36IBU's)
6pk x 2 - Sierra Nevada, Bigfoot 2009 Barley Wine (9.6%, 90IBU's)

It was a good year for all these beers. Maybe they taste better because I am deprived of them here, but I don't think that is the case. It was weird to walk out without a Stone brew in the box, but the stone brew was all overpriced (about $10 for a 22oz). So for the past few days I have happily been sipping the good stuff and remembering the good'ol days. Looking forward to monthly beer runs across the state line.

Not a whole lot else going on. Weekend was unproductive. We had to scramble all day Saturday to get everything done and Mom to the airport. Austin had his second birthday party, a sleepover with the boys. We awoke Sunday morning with snow coming down, so playing in the snow and lounging around was all that was on order.

The desktop computer is giving hints that the main hard drive is on it's last legs (noise,random crashes, slow startup, hanging on apps). So I ran around and found a drive last night. Buying hard drives at retail is not nearly as good of a deal as I can find online. 250gb drives sell for $80-90 in the stores. I ended up getting a 1tb. I stayed up until about 2am backing up and transferring everything off of the 250gb storage drives onto the new 1tb. Next step will be ripping out the 80g system disc and putting one of the 250gb in it's place. I always say that windows works best with an annual re-install. It has been about 14mo, so I guess I was due anyhow. It just never seems to happen at a convenient time. Oh well. I am kicking around the idea of installing the 250gb drives in a redundant raid array (sorry, Ed is probably the only person reading who got that).

That's all for now.