Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hello Tahoe

Due to my son's weekend basketball games and baseball practice, we have not been to Tahoe in a while. Easter gave us a weekend free of sports, so we headed up.

I had a small window of time to get a ride in this morning before we had to go to Reno to order a new security door.  Not knowing how much snow was on the trails, I took the Pugs.

Conditions were pretty dry on the lower slopes, although the sand underneath was slightly damp and packed, which made for easier climbing. There is still enough snow on the upper slopes for picturesque views, though.

I climbed for a couple miles and over 1000 feet before finally hitting some snow. Since it was 45 degrees, the snow was soft and very slippery. There were also lots of tracks and holes, so climbing was nearly impossible. After walking through a few drifts, I gave up.

On the way back down I hit the first drift at high speed, like I have in the past, and nearly killed myself. My front wheel immediately came out from under me. I didn't crash, but it was a close one. Snow has an entirely different quality when it is below freezing; the traction is actually quite good. When thawed, it isn't fun to ride on.

Back on solid ground I opened it up and flew down. Downhilling on a fat bike is so fun.

That's about it. Short ride, short story.


Friday, March 29, 2013


I finished assembling my travel bike this morning. It's not as cool as Jen's but it will do.

It's mostly all the same parts as before, but I did treat myself to a new crank set. The old Truvativ cranks that came with the bike were creaking like mad in Monterey, and I can't handle any noises emanating from my bike. The new Shimano Zee cranks look pretty bombproof and should stand up to anything I (and baggage handlers) can throw at them.

It's been a long, costly project but I think it will all be worth it. I can't wait to do some foreign exploring with them.


Monday, March 25, 2013

One Down

I finished up Jen's bike today. What a cool little ride. Everything went together very easily, and the bike rides smoothly and quietly. I couldn't be happier.

Time to start building mine.


Sunday, March 24, 2013


Well, the frames came back from powder. No, not the really white guy from the movie:

From Performance Powder Coating in Orangevale. They turned out pretty good:

After a little overspray cleanup with a razor blade, the stainless couplers look really cool:

Space check—Jen's little frame fits in the case with with room to spare:

Now it's time to start building.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Dukes Up

I am sitting here drinking a beer and nursing my knee. And counting my blessings.

I went for a ride today, and I felt pretty good. Unlike yesterday, I had good legs and actually enjoyed my ride.

Two miles from home I was passing by our local Bel Air. I made it past the two main entrances. As I was passing the rear entrance, behind the store, where you rarely see anybody, I reached down for my water bottle. An Acura MDX came flying out. I looked up. The driver saw me and slammed on the brakes. The bumper stopped six inches short of my lower leg.

She mouthed "sorry" to me and I shouted the F-word as I rode by, my way of saying, "I accept your apology!"

The truth is I was more mad at myself than her. I let my guard down. I didn't keep my dukes up.

I have survived 28 years on the road by being ever vigilant. I see things before they happen. I scan the horizon like the Terminator:

Idiot driver right, unpredictable pedestrians ahead.

But this time I slipped up. If that bumper would have hit me, I was probably looking at a torn up knee or an unpleasant tib/fib fracture.

It was only after I had returned home and showered that I realized I had hurt my knee. I must have flinched when my friend tried to rearrange my bone structure.

Sometimes a close call can be a beneficial, a refresher course in vigilance, a reminder to keep your dukes up.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Long Friday

Today I worked a split shift, teleworking from 5 a.m. to noon, then from 6 p.m. to a little after nine. This is pretty normal for a server administrator, and the schedule has its good and bad points. It's never fun to work on a Friday night, but I did get to go for a nice ride in the afternoon.

Sleep has been difficult to come by lately. I think daylight savings and stress have both contributed to my restless nights. After getting less than five hours sleep the last two nights, I was feeling pretty lethargic today.

When my shift ended at noon, I really had to fight the urge to take a nap. It would have been so very easy to skip my ride and find a warm place in the sun to sleep, but I didn't.

I mapped out a loop in my head and rolled down the driveway. It didn't take long to realize this was going to be a tough day. On the first climb my legs felt like lead and I had little motivation. I couldn't even be bothered to take my camera out of my pocket, so no pictures today.

After about 10 miles I started to feel better, though, and my pace picked up a bit. Still, my average speed at the end was pretty pathetic. Click here to see the route and stats.

My server migration was successful tonight, so I am now free for the weekend. I'm hoping to finally get some much needed rest.


Friday, March 08, 2013

Another Update

We picked up the frames today from Steve Rex. Everything looks good.

Here's a close-up of a joint:

Opened up:

Two Pieces:

Additionally, I also had the brake cable stops moved to the left side of the top tube to improve cable routing.

Now they just need to go to the powder coater. Hopefully I can get them down there tomorrow.