Category Archives: Fun Stuff

Tardigrades – The Toughest Critters

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tardigrade

Since we had a little science with Prince Rupert’s Drop, I thought I’d share this crazy guy. It is a tardigrade. It is obviously extremely weird looking. It is super special though. These guys can live just about anywhere, the hot sulfide vents in the Marianas trench to the top of Mt. Everest. They can survive near absolute zero to well over boiling, and can be revived after sitting in the dust for years. And in years, I mean they can go for 120 years without food or water. They are very, very small. A huge one is about a millimeter in length. Most are only .3 millimeters long. They are commonly know as waterbears or moss piglets. Personally, I like those names better than tardigrade. Anyway, if you want to read more on these strange little survivalists, click here.

Bopping Around Austin

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One of the best things about riding a bike, especially in a new place, is using it to discover new terrain and just get the lay of the land. Austin is one of the best places for this. I’ve been to Austin a ton in my life. It is sort of grown out of control, like most desirable places, but it still has a ton stuff that interests me.

I’m pretty much into architecture. I don’t study it or anything, but I like to see how people put buildings together in different places at different times. Austin has great building/house viewing. Cruising the streets, especially close to the center of the city, the mixture of old and new is nuts. South of the river, the neighborhoods between Congress and 1st are great. Lots of original houses, with new modern renovations galore.

Anyway, I could to it for days on end here in Austin. I’m house sitting my friend Ann’s dogs for a couple days and installing a dog door on her porch. It’s in a screened in patio, so it’s a little more tricky that just the normal deal. Ann got a new puppy to keep Stanley company. Lulu is her name and she’s a handful. Last night I had Stanley, Lulu and Bromont all upstairs with me. It was nearly 90 degrees two days ago, but yesterday it was in the 40’s at night. I didn’t think Lulu should be sleeping outside. She was pretty good, but like all puppies, doesn’t have a time frame really set, so she bugged me at all hours.

It is super windy ago here, which I don’t think is usual. It’s supposed to be in the 70’s today, which is nice. It snowed yesterday in Topeka, all the way up to Cable. I heard it dumped 11 inches in Iowa. It’s May, go figure.

I skipped going by the training race here in Austin last night. I figured it would just depress me. I had a small set back on my shoulder, maybe over did it some. I talked to Stacie last night and she said that I probably just tore up some of the scar tissue in the muscle and it was pretty common. Whatever the reason, my arm is pretty sore and doesn’t work so well. Hopefully, it will just be a short term setback.

Alright, I should get working. Here are some pictures from yesterday.

This is on the North side of  the river, close to 6th street.  It is kind of surprising finding it in a residential neighborhood.  If you look carefully, on the third tier, you can see a woman, with a mask, spray painting.

This is on the North side of the river, close to 6th street. It is kind of surprising finding it in a residential neighborhood. If you look carefully, on the third tier, you can see a woman, with a mask, spray painting.

I saw this in the back yard on a small side street off 1st.  It is the biggest slide I've seen in years.  Super cool.

I saw this in the back yard on a small side street off 1st. It is the biggest slide I’ve seen in years. Super cool.

This was over at Zilkler Park, where cross nationals are going to be held next year.  It is near Barton Springs.

This was over at Zilkler Park, where cross nationals are going to be held next year. It is near Barton Springs.

Cactus are beautiful when they bloom.

Cactus are beautiful when they bloom.

This guy was just walking around a neighborhood at the end of 35th street.

This guy was just walking around a neighborhood at the end of 35th street.

Bromont walking by some pirates on South Congress.

Bromont walking by some pirates on South Congress.

And catching a little music.

And catching a little music.

Lulu and Stanley.

Lulu and Stanley.

Bromont and Stanley swimming at the dog park on Redbud.

Bromont and Stanley swimming at the dog park on Redbud.

My shin after slipping on a rock, extracting Stanley from the river.

My shin after slipping on a rock, extracting Stanley from the river.

San Diego to KC, Via Denver

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I left San Diego yesterday and flew to Denver late. The Advantage Rental car company is a complete disaster. It took more than an hour and a half to get on the shuttle and actually get in a car. I drove to the Springhill Suites, by the University of Denver and got in a room at 1 am. I’m supposed to view some testing on Garmin’s Tom Danielson at 10 am. It should be interesting. I’m really not sure exactly what is going to happen or what I’m supposed to witness, but it should be a learning experience at least. Jonathan Vaughters is coming too, so that will make the trip worthwhile. If I have any extra time, I’m going to head over to Arvada and go for a ride with my friend Vincent. He did a 100 mile MTB race last Saturday and I’d like to hear the blow by blow. He butt must be sore. 7 plus hours.

I rode around North County yesterday. Didn’t really have an agenda. I finally made it up to Pannikin in Encinitas. The bakery items there are from the Land of the Giants. Muffins that are bigger than grapefruit. It is awesome.

I have a short turn around today. Just in for the physiological testing and then out tonight, flying back to KC late. The Tour of Kansas City starts Friday evening. It is just 3 criteriums now. I’m not sure, but I think that it is the longest running stage race in the country. This is the 50th edition. I first rode the Tour of KC in 1974 when I was an intermediate. I was 2nd in the Pro 1/2 race when I was 17. It was an Olympic Developement race then. There is a traveling trophy, but my name isn’t on it. And it won’t be on it again. I have no ability to race at a winning level now. Baby steps. It is funny, but I’d rather be doing a NCC race and just sit in than a big regional race that takes a lot of energy in the wind. Strange.

I’m mildly worried about the heat in KC. It is supposed to be in the mid 90’s all weekend. Yesterday, it was 65 on the coast. That is a 30 degree differential. But, you have to get used to it sometime. I’m not yet like Jens Voight and can acclimate to the heat in two days, like he did at the Tour of California.

Okay, I need to get scooting. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Last meal of each trip is at Ichiban in PB.  Sue and Don always order an unbelievable amount of sushi.

Last meal of each trip is at Ichiban in PB. Sue and Don always order an unbelievable amount of sushi.

Don was replacing the CV boots on his Ferrari yesterday morning.

Don was replacing the CV boots on his Ferrari yesterday morning.

Bill
It was Bill’s birthday yesterday, so I guess a bunch of people met over at the Flying Monkey/PT’s and drank a few beers. Missed out on that one.

This guy, on one of the those duck-bike-things,  was following Don and I up the coast for a couple miles.  He was going really good, over 20 mph.

This guy, on one of the those duck-bike-things, was following Don and I up the coast for a couple miles. He was going really good, over 20 mph.

I was riding by the cove and this guy was about to head in to dive.  He must have looked strange to all of us.

I was riding by the cove and this guy was about to head in to dive. He must have looked strange to all of us.

Last shot of Torrey Pines for a while.

Last shot of Torrey Pines for a while.

I love watching the pelicans glide back and forth down the coast.  They fly so effortless.

I love watching the pelicans glide back and forth down the coast. They fly so effortless.

This machine is detecting something in my shoulder each time I go through it.  I had to get patted down on the way out and then again on the way back.  Must have been one of the anchor screws in my arm bone.

This machine is detecting something in my shoulder each time I go through it. I had to get patted down on the way out and then again on the way back. Must have been one of the anchor screws in my arm bone.

This monitor is right after you clear security in the San Diego airport.  I guess it is just there to remind you what nice weather you are leaving.

This monitor is right after you clear security in the San Diego airport. I guess it is just there to remind you what nice weather you are leaving.

Switching it Up

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During the Tour de France, it is easy to blow the whole morning. Well not the whole morning, just the morning until 10 or 10:30 depending on the length of the stage. Up in Cable, there are lots of choices of things to do.

Yesterday I decided it was about time I try to ride off road some. I haven’t ridden a MTB bike this year. I was pretty sure that my shoulder wasn’t going to be up to it. I was pleasantly surprised that I was wrong.

The MTB riding up here is wonderful. There are so many options. We rode from Telemark Resort to OO on singletrack the whole time. They just completed the final section from the Firetower base to Bodecker. I didn’t realize how much I missed riding in the woods until I did it again. We rode back from OO on the Chequamegon course up to Cable.

I did have a few problems. My butt hates me right now. It is completely chaffed. Last year, Bill, Catherine and I had to stop in Hayward, after 3 hours, and buy some Vaseline to limp back home. I wish I would have had it yesterday. Bill and I ended up riding about 3 1/2 hours and had to stop because of our butts. Man, are we pussies.

My shoulder didn’t work perfect, but I made due. A couple times, when my rear wheel slipped, while I was climbing off my seat, I ended up with my chest on my handlebars. I don’t have any ability to stop my forward momentum if something unexpected like that happens.

I’ve been swimming a fair amount the last couple days. Yesterday I swam 15 minutes, 3 times, for a total of 45 minutes.. It seems to be pretty good therapy. I love swimming out in the middle of nowhere, alone, under the sun. I say alone because I can’t seem to get Bromont to take a timeout of his time romping in the woods to join me. He always comes back soaking wet, so he obviously is swimming, just not with me.

My friend and orthopedic surgeon, Stacie, has been feeding us at night the last couple days. Grilled salmon, chicken, plus tons of fresh fruit. Since Trudi had to take off to work some, the food supply here is slim pickins.

Watching the finishes of these flat stages of the Tour makes you want them to be over and the mountains to start again. I hate seeing all those guys laying on the ground. Most of them are just trying to stay out of trouble and they end up hitting the pavement. Seems like Kittel has gained a lot of confidence and Cavendish’s number. He pretty much just out drag raced him today.

Alight, guess I’ll head out for a morning swim.

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My MTB is a mess.  I have one Sram and one Shimano brake.  I still have the heated grips I used last winter on.

My MTB is a mess. I have one Sram and one Shimano brake. I still have the heated grips I used last winter on.

This is Karl, Stacies husband, who rode with use yesterday.

This is Karl, Stacies husband, who rode with use yesterday.

This is where Bob Dylan was playing a couple nights ago in Duluth.  The boats are there for some free listening.

This is where Bob Dylan was playing a couple nights ago in Duluth. The boats are there for some free listening.

A draw bridge that was going up for an ore ship in Duluth.

A draw bridge that was going up for an ore ship in Duluth.

Everyday the print a Shipping News saying when each ship is going to come into port.

Everyday the print a Shipping News saying when each ship is going to come into port.

Dropping Trudi off at the airport, we took a walk and ended up at the new VW dealership.  Bromont wanted to chase this guy pretty seriously.

Dropping Trudi off at the airport, we took a walk and ended up at the new VW dealership. Bromont wanted to chase this guy pretty seriously.