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

Monday, June 22, 2009

Really cool high frame rate video

I-Movix SprintCam v3 NAB 2009 showreel from David Coiffier on Vimeo.

Amazing what 1000fps will campture. The Jello is at 2500fps.

Father's day in the books

Well, another uneventful holiday round these parts. Erin and I are somewhat resolved to just buck the system and not celebrate forced holidays. I think we agreed to celebrate some sort of a joint parental holiday on our own next year. At any rate, spent most of the weekend working on the patio. More money. More work. I need a vacation.

Here is how we are looking...
Inside, looking North:

Inside to the South:

View from under the deck:
Faith is using the strategically placed dog door.

Walking out into the back yard:

One more for perspective:

I don't recall exactly when we started the project, Erin would know. I think it has been about a month. Cost is sitting at about $1000. That is more than we had wanted to spend, but it will be worth it in the long run. The room itself is about 10ft x 25ft. Still to do is the final sealing of random holes and the installation of a sump pump. Our lot is slanted in such a way that on heavy rains the patio turns into a lake. A sump pump is the easiest and least expensive way to fix the problem.

Oh, there is furniture, lighting, and electrical to tend to as well. Knew I was forgetting something.

So there you have it. Told you guys I would get some pictures up eventually.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Still not much blogging

Sorry guys/gals. Not much blogging lately. I am not a fan of just coming over here and babbling along. Gotta have some pictures or news. So when I have not compiled either of the afforementioned it gets a bit quiet around here. I am giving thought to picking up a bike only camera, something so that I can snap pics and video with more regularity on my rides.

I have been riding. Not a ton, but enough to keep me happy, covered in bites, and bruised. Oh, and feeling good. It has been hot and humid here. Talking 80-90% humidity. So despite the rain starting to taper off the rocks and roots are staying very slick. It is like our very own Southern rain forrest when you get out in the woods. By about an hour into a ride everything is soaking wet. Sweat doesn't seem to evaporate so much as it drips to a lower elevation. Eventually it finds its way to something that absorbs it or it just drips off. Okay, enough talk about sweat.

Crashing? Yeah, been a while since I had any noteworthy falls. So I decided to double down and take a couple of good spills. First tumble was last week. I had my dry weather tires on (WTB Mutano 2.24 front, Specialized Fast Track 2.2 rear) so no real traction to speak of. I was heading down Goat Trail and my rear tire kicked off a wet rock. My now altered direction put me right into an off camber root. The front tire decided to follow it right off the trail, taking the bike out from under me in the process. I find myself covered in mud,dirt, and laughing. Later I did discover some poison oak, must have rolled in that too.

Well, that wasn't too bad. Let's do that again! Next crash was on the most tame trail in the park, the family trail. It is a nice rolling 2.5mi out and back. Well if you downshift a few gears and sprint the trail takes on a whole new feel. Definitely get some of that flying, cutting, carving, and ripping through the woods feeling. So there I was ripping along. I was pedaling out of the corners and pumping into them. As I compressed into one corner and grunted a pedal out of it I was struck with a new sensation. With a solid clack the left pedal stopped, triggering a chain reaction of sorts with the final result being me flying over the bars after being ejected clean of the bike. Again, I am on the ground laughing. The bike found it's resting point a few yards back of me. A bit of dirt packed into palces it shouldn't have on the bike and I picked up a few scrapes, cuts, and bruises but the ride went on. We did marvel at the root that had caught my pedal. It was perfectly placed for a low bb bike to get a pedal smack coming out of the corner. Figures.

Wednesday marked the 2nd time since moving to Alabama that I have cleaned the climb back up from Mountain Mist. It is a stinker of a climb up a heavily rooted rock garden. Fortunately the worst of it is only about 50 yards. To make matters worse though it has been very slick lately with the moisture and humidity. So I hefted into it with minimal hopes of success. After clearing the first section of it though I figured I might as well put in 110% since I was still on the bike. I did just that and at the next switchback I was rewarded with an ill feeling and a pegged heart rate. I am not really conviced that some of these rock garden climbs here are worth the effort. They are good for bragging rights, but you expend soooo much energy just to stay upright and moving forwards that it makes the next 5 minutes of recovery pretty painful. Fortunately I was first up and we took a couple minutes to rest before racing back down the family trail.

I have started a tire co-op. Yes, some may not understand it but I have a tire fettish. I like to try out different tires and pick my favorites for given riding conditions. Well I ended up with a few other people who also wanted to try out other tires. Between the group we have 14 different tires in circulation and testing. That's a lot of tires and far more experience with selection than any of us would get out of their own pocket money.
Here is our list
Pretty fun way to get some miles on tires I wouldn't normally buy, but have been curious about.

Still playing contractor in my spare time. I found myself doing the contractor's equivalent of painting yourself into a corner. I finshed my framing and put up the 2x12 pine siding. Towards the end of the day I had the thought that my miter saw and stand may not actually fit through the door in 1 piece. Doh! I will have to give that a closer look this weekend when I have to get the saw out of the way. I swear, pictures will come eventually. Erin has a few of me working, but I don't think anyone wants to see me all sweaty, beer bellied, and plumber cracked. So I will grab some shots of the patio instead ;-)

Austin is still off in CA. Erin is settling into her job at the Church. That seems to be working out well. I get Faith up and running in the morning. After attempting to make her look presentable I shuttle her off to class for the morning and mosey into work. Not all bad. We'll see how things pan out once the school year fires back up at the end of summer.

Other news? Nope, I am pooped. Nothing else whatsoever.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What's going on

Not much.

Some people have entirely too much spare time...

Me, I am just keeping busy being busy.
Spent a bit of time on Tuesday swapping out my rear wheel and brakes. Always the bargain shopper I managed to score a complete saint rear wheel for $36. How could I say no?

The only down side of the older Saint hubs is that you are stuck with either a 6in or an 8in rotor. I chose a 6in in attempt to get a bit more ground/rock clearance. I nicked my 7in rotor a few weeks ago pretty bad and bent it. So in order to maintain the power of the larger rotor I opted to use a 4 piston brake caliper.

That little purchase did catch Erin's attention. Not supposed to be spending a bunch of money on bikes. Doh! At any rate, Jenson was blowing them out for about 20% off so it wasn't too bad price wise. I thought about swapping just the caliper, but for $20 more they threw in a rotor, frame mount, and the lever/hose. Overall the Code caliper lives up to expectation. Even though I am running a smaller rotor it is right even on the power. Surprising since it is an organic pad. This thing is probably too strong to run with a sintered metalic pad. If I get bored I may try that out for S&G, but it doesn't appear necessary.

Yep, here and there. I got a couple rides in this week. Monday was an arsenal loop. I reported about it in my last post, so I won't blabber any more about it here.
Yesterday was a scheduled group ride with the SORBA club, but mid-day rain and thunderstorms scared off most everyone. I rang up Clay and we decided that we would have a go at riding Monte Sano anyways. The rains had lasted about an hour and it had been clear for about 4 hours when we hit the trails. It was mostly dry, but it was very humid. The rocks and roots were just slick as they get. I ended up being the pinball in the rocks. As luck would have it I was anticipating an end to all this rain and I mounted my dry season tires. These have a hard compound and tighter spacing on the knobs (specialized fast track rear, wtb mutano front). Yep, I dumped the bike after about 3 miles into the ride on an off camber rutted section with roots. The back end slipped out, putting me off course, the front wheel tracked right into a root and slid it right off the trail, me in tow of course. I laughed as I pulled myself from the poison oak/ivy and righted my bike. The ride was filled with lots of spun tires, slips, bad bounces, and general good fun. All you can do when conditions are like that is to have good humor and enjoy the challenge. So another Monte Sano ride restricted to the upper trails by wet trail conditions. One of these days summer will get here and dry the place out.

Mowing the lawn?
You know it. Had a good bout of lawn mowing action on Monday evening. Mowed the lawn and did the trim work with the weed wacker. Good times.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Overdue for an update

Getting close to 2 weeks since I posted up. I managed to sneak in a couple of messy rides at the end of May. The last storm system left things very slick. Of course I had just mounted up a tire that is notorious for being a poor wet condition tire. True to form it didn't disappoint. Super slippery over wet rocks and roots.
The tire in question:

WTB Prowler XT 2.3
At about 850g it is a bit on the heavy side, but it mounts well tubeless and that is about the right weight for a 2.3 tubeless tire.
My last few rides have been dry though. Oddly I really like this tire when it is dry. It has a good compound and low rolling resistance. So I am somewhat torn. Do I just keep this one on and pray for no rain rides? As a side note, do not buy this tire if you have OCD. It will take about 20 minutes to cut out all 600+ of those molding hairs (don't ask how I know :)

I got my shock back from Push Ind. on the 28th.

They ripped out the stock damping piston and shims, replaced all the seals, and added a bottom out bumper. I gotta say it felt a bit overdamped on my around the block test ride. I was having a bit of buyer's remorse. However out on the trail I was quickly won over. The shock no longer wallow or dives too deep into it's travel. On DH sections it is smoother and feels just dailed. It rivals a coil shock for how supple it is. Very good work from the boys in Colorado.

So here it sits, "the Homewrecker" in all her glory

In the background is Chattanooga. That is the river that runs right by the aquarium.
I can't remember the last time I ran this long of a stem, but it feels good. It is what I needed to make the shorter top tube work for me. I have no idea how John, at 6'5", rode this size heckler with a 60 or 70mm stem. Crazy.

Speeking of Chattanooga. Here are some shots from my ride there on the 31st. I headed out there with some of the Sorba crew, Cam, and Clay.

We stopped and grabbed pictures along the way. There is an experts only playground a little over the half way mark. It is dubbed the "Chunk" section. We didn't grab any pictures there, but I will have to spend some more time there next time I am out that way. Some decent 3-5ft rock drops, tech downhill lines, and even some smaller jumps.

I snuck in a short lunch ride today and did the 8mi lunch loop with Clay and Jeff. Weather was great, not too hot but still nice and warm. Oh and SPOON!

Yep, that's right, ticks are everywhere. Not sure what is up. Must be the rain this year. Instead of a gradual ramp up it is a full blown explosion. Every few miles I find I need to stop and pick a few of these critters off of my lower legs. Out on the arsenal I have been picking up 5-10 per loop. Not much out on Monte Sano, but the overgrown trails on the arsenal are ripe. Fortunately I have been catching them before they get anywhere too exciting and latch on.

In other news. I have been playing contractor. Erin decided that a screened in patio trumped her planter boxes this year. So we launched into construction. We are screening in most of the area under the deck. It should go a bit faster now. I spent 3 days so far anchoring 2x4s to the concrete and getting the vinyly roof panels attached to the bottom of the deck. I am moving into the framing and closing it in, then it is just adding netting and a bit of paint. I will get some pictures up once it is in presentable condition.

That's about it. Some riding, some construction, maybe mowing the lawn in my spare time. Time is flying...