Friday, August 31, 2012

Uncle Jerry's Day Off

I'm not sure I like this guy so much.

Every time he opens his mouth I seem to lose money. Every time I see him I feel a little Newman.

Hello . . . JERRY!
In the end his attacks on us as state workers will be worse than anything Arnold ever did. His pension reform plans will put the hurt to a lot of people, especially those families like mine with dual state worker incomes.

So why am I talking politics on this cycling blog? I'm getting there. Stay with me.

Currently we are enjoying a "personal leave program" where we must take an unpaid day off every month. Sounds like a furlough, doesn't it? It is in every sense except the impressive new name. Kind of like how a garbage man is now called a "refuse engineer."

So Jen and I both used our personal leave days today. This morning we realized we had the day to ourselves, with both kids at school and an empty house. Well, that's when things got interesting. Our eyes met and I immediately knew she wanted what I wanted. We both smiled and went upstairs. I led her to the bedroom and we both took all our clothes off . . . and slipped into our cycling gear.

We went on a nice 20 mile ride. It was a cool, breezy morning that felt more like October than August. It was the first time I have been cold this year, which was nice.

So thanks for the day off, Jerry. You're a real pal.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Back to School

When I woke up yesterday I had every intention of doing a single speed ride after dropping the boy off at school. Unfortunately, the motivation tapered off quickly. Getting all the gear together to mountain bike is a hassle. Instead I dropped the boy off at school and went right back home. After quickly getting dressed and filling up some water bottles, I hopped on the Fargo and took off.

My goal was to get about 40 miles, so I mapped out a ride in my head that I thought would fit the bill. Rather than describe the route, you can check it out here.

The morning was cool, which was nice. I have had my fill of summer. I have also had my fill of turkeys. The damn things are everywhere.

Lately I have been enamored with the water. I don't care if it's a river, lake or the ocean. I want to live by a body of water. I would even settle for this, especially since there is a trail between this house and the water.

Even though it wasn't the original plan, I enjoyed my first Wednesday ride of the school year. Hopefully I am better prepared on my next day off in two weeks so I can break out the single speed.


Friday, August 17, 2012

The Sliming of the Tubes

As we move into the latter part of summer, it's time to prepare for the annual war against goatheads. There are bad years and horrible years, and this year is merely bad due to the dry winter. Still, the damn things are everywhere.

Every year I have to choose a bike and a strategy. Last year I bought some fancy tires for my road bike that worked pretty well until I pretty much cut one in half.

In previous years I used sealant in my tubes, which works OK for thorns. However, anything larger than a pinhole usually won't seal up and might get messy. Once I hit a piece of glass that made a small cut in the tire and tube. The sealant spurted out all over the place as I rolled to a stop. I had green goo all over my bike, my clothes and my legs. It was awful.

This year I bought a bunch of 29er tubes made by QBP that have removable valve cores. This makes it much easier to inject the sealant.

I went with Slime this year because it's cheap and mostly effective. I'm sure a latex-based sealant like Stan's is better, but it is more expensive.

Pro tip: a 12-gauge spoke wrench fits the valve core flats perfectly.

I installed the tubes on the Fargo. It's not like the extra weight will really affect that tank of a bike.

Here's to a relatively flat-free thorn season.


Tuesday, August 07, 2012

End of Summer

Although the calendar might beg to differ, for our family summer drew to a close this past weekend. Grade school starts tomorrow and high school on Thursday, so we spent the weekend in Tahoe to close out the kids' summer vacation.

We spent Saturday walking around Incline Village, hitting garage sales and thrift stores, and relaxing.

On Sunday we went on a ride around the Tahoe City area on various bike trails, some of which we had never been on. All told we rode over 16 miles, which was a personal best for the boy.

On Monday I went exploring and found some new trails west of the old State Route 431 (which is now a dirt road). Some of the trails were nice, but I also did a little bushwhacking.

I think for the most part the trail is used as a downhill shuttle run from the highway. The stunts I found would seem to support that.

I finished up with a run down the Tyrolean Downhill, which is a local favorite. Most guys shuttle it with downhill bikes, but it's not so technical it can't be done on a hardtail, albeit a bit slower.

It was the first time I have done this downhill since I broke my wrist. I made it down alive, so that was nice.

Here's a video of someone motoring down. The section between minutes six and eight is the most difficult, and steeper than it looks on camera.

Obviously school starting will not prevent us from spending weekends in Tahoe, but it does complicate things and shortens our typical stay from three to two days.