I made it out !!
Jumat, 13 April 2012
Kamis, 12 April 2012
This trip to Wichita has been hectic. Several oddities stand out that are worth noting. Before I go into detail, the duration of this trip is forcing me to miss the Ronde van Palouse road race which really pisses me off. My frustration will be clear as you detect the tone of this post.
First oddity. Wichita is a ghost town. As you drive down the street there is nobody walking around. The parking lots are huge and empty. When you pass homes at eight at night they are dark. Apartment buildings have lights on in one window and eight other units are dark. I checked Wikipedia and the population in 2010 was greater than 2000, so I don't have an easy answer. I feel like the protagonist in The Truman Show, and everyone is pretending this is a real town.
Second oddity there is nothing to do in Wichita
Q: Why do people work late in Wichita ?
A: Because when they get off work they are in Wichita and there is nothing to do.
Third (and most significant) oddity. People here hate it here. When we ask people what to do for fun they sound like convicts without a choice. "Yeah, there is nothing to do here.... I hate it here." Really ! I didn't see a fence so I don't know what is keeping them here but they seem to be serving some kind of sentence. "I used to live in ______, it was wonderful. Wichita is terrible." I have heard that a lot this miserable week. You know it is real when you can see the longing in their eyes as they ask where we are from. "Seattle; oh that must be nice..."
I had occasion to have coffee and a scone at a coffee shop. The coffee was COLD, the scone soft like a doughnut. I looked around and it reminded me of the Emperors clothing. All these people trying to look cool and pretending the coffee and food were good. They weren't.
Lots of famous people were born and raised in Wichita. NONE of them are here now. Nobody famous has decided to settle here. Like a lot of places, Wichita is a great place to be FROM.
On the bright side, they have good steaks and I am leaving soon.
Star is so afraid, she uses mirrors so she doesn't have to look directly at you.
Star your foster pop is on his way !!
Rabu, 11 April 2012
Here I am in Wichita. The weather is front page news. In my honor they are welcoming rain to the area.
On page A2 was the above breaking news.
Selasa, 10 April 2012
Hottie volunteered at the Greyhound halfway house in Woodinville and had an interesting experience. She helped with a bunch of Greyhounds in transition from track to homes. Some pups had been returned for various reasons such as owners illness, owners relocation and some dogs didn't fit into their new surroundings.
As she told me of her eventful day, she kept mentioning a scared female named Star. Star wasn't doing well and was terrified of everything. Since Tux the wonder dog is perfect in every way (except for his crooked face which just makes him more lovable) I felt emboldened to ask Hottie if we should foster Star to try and socialize her. When we first got Tux he was scared of cars and bikes and almost everything so maybe we could help this little female..
After some emails we loaded Tux in the wagon and went to see if they might get along. Nobody bit anybody, so we decided to give it a try. We brought home Star and she was scared to death of everything. She cowered in a corner with her tail between her legs.
Evo trying to share a treat.
She is making progress, but it isn't all happening at once. Hottie is doing nearly all of the hard work, and there is hope. We realized that if we can't get her to socialize, she may never get a home. Stay tuned..
Minggu, 08 April 2012
Minggu, 01 April 2012
Kyson offering a Fish Kiss
Sabtu, 31 Maret 2012
The email went out Friday. The ride rolls out from the cobbles at seven AM sharp. It was supposed to be wet. 100% chance of rain wet. I was up early and checked the radar map. The map wasn’t green; it was yellow. It was raining hard. We usually think there is fine line between stupid and epic, there was no line today; this ride would be both.
As I was gathering my stuff for the ride I spotted my camera. “Not today, it’s too wet” I said out loud. On the drive to the rendezvous, I plucked a pair of toe warmers out of the glove box. I game them a kiss before opening the pack and sticking them to my socks. The rain was slapping my windshield as I drove.
We gave each other fist bumps like most morons do just prior to all manner of foolish undertakings. It was raining pretty hard. Like solders following orders we rolled out with minimal emotion.
We stopped for a moment whilst Sam made a brief clothing adjustment. As I was stopped, a drop of water from a power line fell as if aimed by a sniper, and went down the back of my neck and chilled my whole body. A cold rain continued to fall.
I looked out across Lake Washington. It was so dark and grey it looked like a black and white photograph. The ride was going to be so epic, the story should have been told in monochrome.
As we crossed I-90 there were whitecaps and the wind was blowing. For the first time in two years I closed the pit zips on my rain jacket. Dave kept going off the front. We three chasers; El Hefe, Hardman, and Evo spent the early miles trying to catch him. It seemed to be raining harder now.
The rain was unrelenting and we found ourselves crashing through puddles the way one does the last lap of a cross race. We seemed to have a mindset of, “I’m already soaked, and it’s almost over.” The only problem was; we were not nearly done; we had just started.
We were in Medina when Dave needed to take a natural break. Considering the neighborhood, we stopped at a gas station. While Dave was using the bathroom, Hardman bought a cup of cocoa, to show some patronage while El Hefe hung out in the walk in beer cooler to try and warm up. He passed the cocoa around and we all savored a sip or two.
Dave contemplated taking a bus back home and his body language revealed how cold he was. He mentioned how his feet were soaked. The store clerk, I’ll call her Marge because I could believe she was a Marge, offered Dave her socks. She said they were men’s socks and that her feet were clean when she put them on before her shift. Even with all of the sarcasm I have, I can’t say anything except that was among the nicest things I’ve seen in a long time. It was bombing rain outside.
Dave did take her up on her offer of two plastic bags which he promptly inserted between his shoes and his failing Pearl Izumi Cyclone Shoe covers. We scarfed food in hopes of stoking a fire in our bodies and warming up. With our bellies full we again set out.
The road was being resurfaced, so it was as rough as the cobbles we had started on. We kept the pace conversational and asked about each other’s gloves and shoe covers. Today was the test for all of our gear. I opened and closed my hand. My (waterproof) gloves were soaked. The temperature was in the upper thirties. The rain wasn’t ever going to end.
We climbed out of Kirkland and my glasses fogged up. My feet were now cold. My core was still good. Our bikes were covered with road mung. They looked like they had just finished a Cyclocross race. Mud on the chain stays and seat stays and down tubes.
We stopped in Kenmore for a second natural break. Would the bathroom have hand dryers that blew warm air? No such luck. For a moment I thought the rain had stopped. It hadn’t.
As we pointed south for the return to Capital Hill we were greeted with a stiff headwind. We had the weather trifecta; cold, wet, and windy. We plodded toward home. We were on the home stretch and each of us suffering quietly. I took some solace that there would only be thirty-nine more days and thirty-nine more nights of this biblical storm.
Dave kept popping off the front, not so much because he was aggressive, but because he was trying to warm up. After passing through the University of Washington we began to climb. Standing on the pedals only served to stir the water in my shoes and pump the warm water that had been close to my pruned skin away, and draw the colder water close to my skin.
“Guys,” Dave offered in a tone that concerned us. He sounded like he was about to confess something serious. “I’m just going to go straight home and sit in my hot tub.” We continued to climb and as we neared Dave’s house he bid us farewell. I don’t know if Dave changed his clothes or just dropped his bike and stepped into his hot tub in full kit. Either way, I respect him.
Hardman, El Hefe and I stopped at Fuel and started to acknowledge reality. I wrung out my waterproof gloves and then winced at the resulting puddle. I searched in vain for my second cleat cover and had to concede I had lost it somewhere along the way. It was still raining.
We were all soaked. What was the best part of the ride? The end was the best part. We all knew exactly what we were getting into when we started. It was as rough as expected. We didn’t whine and our bravado was all tongue in cheek. The warm coffee was good, but we were so cold we knew the path to warmth involved a shower, and so our respite was brief.
I didn’t even think about putting on my soaking gloves, I just wedged them into a back pocket and rode the half-mile back to the war wagon with bare hands. At the car I plopped my wet clothes in a pile and climbed in.
I drove home sitting on a towel. Once back I had to do the full Post-Cyclocross Race routine. I hosed my clothes off and washed everything. I hosed off the black gunk that coated my rims.
The shower was welcomed and the washing machine did its job as well. My boot dryer was called to service and my shoes are there right now.
I think I’ll get up early tomorrow and do it again.
Selasa, 27 Maret 2012
Senin, 26 Maret 2012
Minggu, 25 Maret 2012
Jumat, 23 Maret 2012
Senin, 19 Maret 2012
Tux and Kyson shared a moment..
Minggu, 18 Maret 2012
Kamis, 15 Maret 2012
Rabu, 14 Maret 2012
Sabtu, 10 Maret 2012
Boy scout – Your choice: Frame pump and two tubes
We all rest a little easier when one of the guys on the ride rolls up with a broomstick sized frame pump. Nothing is faster or easier. If you think a CO2 is faster, you forgot to add in the time we all take to double check everything before holding your breath and pulling the trigger. The downside is they are heavy. They mount so as to be drawn like a sword when needed. If you carry one of these, you are always welcome.
Frame Pump ? Welcome friend...
Set it and forget it –Your choice: Pump mounted to your bottle cage
In the spectrum, this is the middle. Bigger than a mini pump, less weight and size than a frame pump. It works well enough. The pump gets crusty with mud in season. On the down side, if you are into aesthetics, this isn’t your pump.
I am a racer! - Your choice: Pump in your back pocket
A bike without a saddlebag looks like it is in a race. If you have your race number mounted as well, you look even more PRO. Some riders like the look of a pump on their pocket. A sleek pump peaking out of a pocket can be visually pleasing. When a pump is in a pocket under a jacket, it looks like a misplaced hard on. There; I said it. Sorry. The thrashed Ziploc that holds the tube, patch, levers and some Clif bar crumbs also detracts from the PRO look.
We’ll cross that bridge when we get there – Your choice: Micro-pump
A Micro-pump fits inside your saddlebag. This is a great choice if you assume you’ll never get a flat. You will get a flat. If your ability to deny this is well developed you can lean on your friends who will have pumps that work better, because none work worse. On the other hand, if you flat when you are by yourself, there won’t be anyone looking bored whilst you pump out two-hundred and fifty strokes and lose the use of your hands for the rest of the day.
Speed at all costs – Your choice: CO2 in your saddlebag
First off, you have to carry two cartridges (just in case). Whenever you compare the weight of your CO2 choice, you always compare using the weight of one. Denial is a well worn tool. If you misfire with a CO2, you’re screwed. If you are dialed in, it works well. Each canister costs money. If you care about the environment and carbon footprint, etc. then you may offend some with this selection.
Your name is Brendan - Your choice: "All I need is a cell phone"
Your bike is filthy, you never clean your chain, you don’t even own an extra tube. You pump your tires with a floor pump and head out. You are fast and respect the sport. If something happens, help is just a call away. To the utter disgust of the frame pump carrying Boy Scout, it all works out for you. If you do get a flat tire, a movie star stops and by the time you get home, you’ve been invited to a premier party.
If your name is Hottie, you carry a tube, a tire lever, tissues and hand sanitizer. The fellow who changes your tire will have a pump. This plan has worked for a long time..
Kamis, 08 Maret 2012
Rabu, 07 Maret 2012
Senin, 05 Maret 2012
If the truth is told, I actually only follow about three blogs. I enjoy the writings of two Oregon women who write of things bike, and things not bike. Their sites are listed on this blog under the heading, "My Blog List."