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

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Another good stretching video

Okay, gotta get past the guy in spandex. But otherwise some good stuff.

He addresses some of the upper back and arm areas that can become tight.

I haven't been stretching much lately, but I also haven't been riding much. At any rate I have been a bit stiff without the regular riding and stretching. Check out this and the Luke Wold video I posted previously if you are also getting a bit stiff on/off the bike.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Definitely giving in to the winter blues. Weather has been cold or wet. Or when I am lucky enough to get out for a ride it is usually both. Seasons are cool and all, but sometimes I do miss the CA year-round riding. There is year round riding here, but I definitely have to fight the elements a lot more.

Last week we had unseasonably warm weather culminating in odd skies. Living in the SE when the sky gets a weird color that pretty much means one thing, a tornado is brewing.

This is a shot Reggie took looking over the top of my favorite LBS here in Huntsville (borrowed w/o permission for my own vices). A few hundred yards behind the shop it touched down wreaking a bit of havoc on the neighborhood. Just crazy. No direct effect on my life though, just had to wait at work for the tornado warning to subside before heading home.

The bike has been creaking, squeaking, and clunking, so it got a tear down and lube. The clunk is in the new rear shock, so it is on the way back to the mfg for a rebuild on their dime. Hopefully that gets sorted quick as I was really enjoying the shock aside from the clunk. The Heckler had it's longest clean spell since I built it up last year due to weather and owner lethargy. The latter reason is a bit rediculous. I am just not feeling like fighting the weather this month, so I haven't. My mileage for the month is pathetic. I would need to put in about 25mi this weekend just to eclipse last months feeble mileage. With another storm coming in tomorrow that isn't very likely to happen.

My only solice is that I am not the only one getting demotivated by the weather. The other blogs I follow are about as stale as mine. That makes me feel a bit better, but at the same time the lack of appropriate lunch time reading is a bummer.

New parts? Not much love for the Heckler in that respect. I picked up a couple of wrenches so that I can work on the Saint hubs. I ran my M800 hubs a full year on the Sultan and never even needed to adjust them. Now I have 3 wheels built around the hubs, so I should get the tools to work on them. That includes 23mm & 24mm cone wrenches and a 12mm allen key. Still waiting on the local shop to order up the allen.

Playing Mr. FixIt
Yep, been doing a lot of this lately. Erin's truck has been going through a tough spell. The quarters that the kids put in the CD player finally shorted something out, so that the radio would create a deafening squeal without warning. I remedied that situation by yanking the radio. In process I managed to knacker up the hazzard light switch. So for a week I cludged together different methods of holding the switch down. Most failed, resulting in the hazzard lights going off until it killed the battery. During the week I went around to find a replacement switch. Turns out that the hazzard switch is not sold individually, but is packaged as an entire unit of almost every control on the column (hazzards, brights, turn signals, CC, etc). Dealership had one in stock for about $250. God only knows how much they would have charged to swap it out. Judging by my half day of work and complete disassembly of the dash to do so I am guessing it would have been $500-1000 in labor.

I was able to locate an replacement part online for under $100. So I was feeling a little better about things. Big improvement from $250 down to $100. Fact still remains that the broken part is only a $2 piece of plastic. It can be swapped individually, it was replaced under a recall in 2002. But outside of the recall the switch lever is not available individually. Lame. So there I was all morning on Saturday grunting and contorting to get all of the hidden fasteners off of the 5 dash panels that needed to be removed. Then there was the fun of figuring out how to unsnap the panels and release all the electrical plugs. Have I mentioned I don't really like working on cars yet??

At any rate, all things worked out and her truck is back to working as well as it had before the whole radio fiasco. That is, of course, running poorly and sounding like death.

Other fixit lately was our desk chair. I guess it wasn't designed for a 240lb ape to lean back on it. I snapped one of the arms clean through. After putting it in the corner for a week I decided to heck with it and fixxed it up. An evening in the garage, some scrap plywood, and a few fender washers and we are back in business. Not necessarily pretty, but functional. At least we don't need to go out and spend another $100-150 on another disposable chair.

Next up the heat pump decides to start acting up. $350 later it is supposedly fixed. Funny part is the fan that went out is the one that they replaced 13 months ago. At that time the repair only cost $250. Lame. Last night was the first real cold we have had since the service. Guess what, heat pump issues. The heat pump can keep up, but the blower is running continuously. I mentioned this to the tech last week and he blew it off (no pun intended). Well, time for round 2 with the heating and cooling guys. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2009 Retrospective

Seems like as good a time as any to throw up a year in review. I am gonna keep this to the bike side of the fence. Lots of pictures, click them if you want to see the larger version.

Well, March was the month riding and obsessing over bikes began this last year. Towards the end of the month a new steed joined me for the season. Up until then I had been without a bike and obsessing over woodworking tools, techniques, and plans. That came to a grinding halt with the arrival of the bike Erin has since crestened "the Home Wrecker"...
HW v1.1

March 29th I took it down to Birmingham's Oak Mountain park for a bit of mud

By mid April HW v2.0 was on the trails (shock, seatpost, rims,and handle bars swapped)

A fun group ride on the same day, rather a motley crew

By the end of April HW v2.1 comes around (another new shock, thanks Stu!)
Took it out for some air on Arrowhead

May came and with it HW v2.2 (new tires, new stem)

Took her for a spin in Chattanooga at the end of the month

June came and went with no pictures
weather may have had something to do with that

By midway through July weather was a bit better. Jim took this picture up on Warpath in Monte Sano.

August and September also slipped away with not so much as a snap shot.
This stupid tree may have had something to do with that...

Once the late summer rains have subsided the riding around this end of the US gets a lot better. Temperatures cool off, rain is more predictible and less of it, trails are great. October was a big month and the start of a somewhat uninterupted riding season.
HW v3.0 rolls into the picture (another shock, tires, fork, wheels, stem, and seatpost)

Monte Sano FTF, always a great weekend of riding

the company isn't too bad either...

Next weekend it was off to Tsali, NC
Great trails and agian a fantastic group of guys to hang out with for the weekend.

By November the leaves are falling and everything is brown, yellow, or red

enter HW v4.0 (different forks, r-derailleur)

self portrait from a ride I caught with Steve out in the Land Trust. Note, they don't name trails "High" in California...

Despite November being my biggest milage month of the year I took no more photos :-(

More of the Same in December. Milage down to about half of November due to the holidays.

enter HW v5.0 (warrantied swingarm, another shock to try out, tires, SRAM derailluer, 31.8mm bars and stem)

and the last ride of the year...
Clay took this picture of me as I showed him one of my favorite mini-DH lines on Warpath

Well, I hope you enjoyed the ride. A couple of things come to mind for next year:
1. More pictures (at least once a month)
2. Less bike part swapping (I aspire to stop playing the shell game with bike parts)
3. Lose some weight tubbie ;-)