Category Archives: Fun Stuff

Last Minute Christmas Ideas for Cyclists

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I guess the best Christmas presents are things that someone wants, but won’t buy it for themselves.  At least that is what some people say.

I seems like our society has turned disposable.  I’m not sure if that is because there isn’t anyone left around to fix things that are hard to fix or it is just more affordable buying it new again.  I tend to like stuff that works really well initially and then if it does need repair, it is repairable.

I haven’t thought through all this, but here are a few ideas that might not be too late to get.

I think anyone that doesn’t have a Strava Premium account would love it.   It works best for a rider with ability to measure power, but that isn’t all it offers.  Plus, Strava is so great in so many respects, it’s a no-brainer paying something for their great service.  Here is a link.

Anything that Silca makes will work.  They make the best stuff and you have to pay for it.   But, it for sure fits into the category of something you might not buy yourself, but want.  Sometimes badly.  The Silca Superpista Ultimate floor pump is the best floor pump on the market.  By far. At least it’s the best I’ve used.  I don’t have one yet, but will soon hopefully.  Silca is making a frame pump and some tools that are just as perfect as their floor pump.  Here is their link.  

The guys at Barfly make super cool mounts for Garmins and cameras.  Plus other stuff too. Their products are made by cyclists, so they are ahead of the game in that respect.  Here is their link. 

If your person rides indoors, the Zwift might be the answer.  I haven’t used it yet, even though I’ve been nearly forced to the last couple years.  I plan to soon.  It is a good way for interactive riding.  I think it is best with a power meter, or trainer that does wattage, but that might not be correct.   The link below explains it.  I think there is a 7 day free trial, so maybe start there and see if it is for you.  Link is here.  

Everyone I know rides with something to record their ride.  Garmin started the movement and they still make a wide array of products that work great.  You nearly have to have one if you have a powermeter.  Plus, Strava only works with a way to record the ride.  You can use Strava on your phone, but having a bar mounted unit is way better.  Here is their link. 

Garmin isn’t the only company to make cycling  computers.  Wahoo came out with a new unit this year.   It is called the Elemnt.  It does a lot of cool things.   I’ve never used this either, but I’ve heard pretty good things about them.  They work great, obviously, with their trainer, the Wahoo KickR.  It measures power and it a top of the line trainer.  Pretty important for Zwift races maybe.  Okay, their link is here.  

Socks.  I have a sock fetish sort of.  Or maybe I’m a sock snob.  I try to only wear super nice socks.  Cycling and not.  I like wool socks.  Defeet initially came out with the first wool cycling socks.  Actually, Defeet should get credit for all modern cycling socks.  Before them, it was pretty much Italian thin socks, or K-Mart nylons.   Anyway, they still make super socks and tons of different styles.  They are everywhere, but they sell them on their website too. Check them out.

I can’t leave out Donkey Label sock too.  Donkey Label sells way more than socks.  High rent cycling clothing, skin care products, etc.  But their socks are great.  Wool and great.  If socks aren’t your deal, then their base layers are great too.   Donkey Label link.  

Okay, that is enough.  These are just a few ideas, as late as it is now.  All the companies above are great people that have really helped the sport a ton.  They’ve all contributed to make our sport much more enjoyable.  You can most of this stuff at your local bike shop.  Happy holidays.

The best of the best. A Silca floor pump.

The best of the best. A Silca floor pump.

Donkey Label socks. Merino wool. Love them.

Donkey Label socks. Merino wool. Love them.

The Wahoo KickR trainer. Pretty great for a long winter.

The Wahoo KickR trainer. Pretty great for a long winter.

Barfly makes a ton of different stuff.

Barfly makes a ton of different stuff.

 

Lawrence Christmas Horse Parade

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Yesterday I went over to Lawrence and watched the annual Christmas Parade.  I normally ride the 30 miles over there, but that wasn’t an option this year, but it was still super fun.  I think they have over 120 different groups of horses that come to downtown to celebrate the holidays.  Anyway, here are some photos from yesterday.

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Cleaning up the poop at the end.

Cleaning up the poop at the end.

Sunflower Party

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Last night Sunflower Outdoor and Bike had its annual customer appreciation party.  It is usually the first holiday deal of the year around here.  At least for me.  I was a little apprehensive about going there, thinking that I only have a short amount of time I can keep an energy level up good enough to enjoy a holiday party.  But, I did alright.

Downtown Lawrence Kansas around the holidays is great.  It is really decorated and pretty.  The downtown area is sort of the original downtown from the 1800’s.  Many of the building, including Sunflower, have limestone foundations and walls.  I like that.

Dan Hughes is the proprietor of Sunflower, so the MC.  It is a great shop.  If you ever have a chance to go by, you should.

Dan has won the DK 200 more than a handful of times.  Anyway, Dan is great and keeps a festive atmosphere.  He gives away a ton of stuff and does a raffle that gives away a lot of other stuff too.  A guy I ride with from Lawrence, Marcos,  young daughter won a Rockshoc Sid 29’er fork.  She said that she was giving it to her dad for Christmas, which is sweet.

Everyone there was so nice to me.  Wanting to know how I was doing and saying that I looked so much better than they thought I would.  I guess that is good, I think.

Anyway, I held up okay.  I took a stroll down Mass. St. during the middle to get some fresh air, which really helped.

I slept nearly 8 hours last night, which is a record by miles.  I don’t feel that great, but it has to be a good thing.

I have two doctor’s appointments today.  This will be the last ones for a couple weeks.  I’m sort of tired of the whole routine, even though I understand that it is important.  The deal is I’ve learned just about everything I’m going to know about what is the matter with me. And that seeing a doctor isn’t really going to help much in the near term.  At least if it stays status quo, which is good.

Okay, tomorrow is the Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade in downtown Lawrence. Over a 100 horse-drawn carriages.   I usually ride there, but not this year.  But it will be great getting out of the house for sure.  Hope you have a good weekend.

Dan talking to the masses.

Dan talking to the masses.

Upstairs at Sunflower.

Upstairs at Sunflower.

The parade a couple years ago.

The parade a couple years ago.

Massachusetts Street is all like this.  Very festive.

Massachusetts Street is all like this. Very festive.

 

 

 

NYC Marathon Today – Gwen Jorgensen is Running

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This weekend is packed with athletic events.  The two UCI cross races in Louisville, Iceman Cometh was yesterday in Traverse City, plus the NYC Marathon is today.    I’m looking forward to the later.

My friend, Gwen Jorgensen is running her first marathon this morning.  I haven’t talked to her in the last month, but back then, she was just going to do the race and enjoy.  I hope that works out for her.  She did the US 10 mile National Championships about a month ago and finished 3rd, less than 30 seconds out of winning.  She ran 53:13.  I know a marathon is 2 1/2 times as long, but she can run.

I’ve received a few texts from Pat, Gwen’s husband, the last month.   We didn’t chat about Gwen, but they both know it is just testing the waters.  She is hoping to run under 2:38, which I think she can do easily.  I say that as I’m having a terrible time trying to walk around a short block at night.  I’m thinking she’ll run 2:34, probably faster.  And it is going to be pretty hard the last 30 minutes. I think that is how marathons go.  They were down in the Bahamas, doing the Island House Triathon, which she won for the 2nd year in a row.   Now just a marathon and her stellar season in done.  Pretty big year.

I have never ran that far.  I did a 1/2 marathon a long time ago.  Cold turkey.  I hadn’t ran a step in a year or two.  I did 1:15 and walked the last couple miles.  It wasn’t like I was cramped up, it was like my legs were so tight they couldn’t extend more than 8 inches.  But, I never could run as fast as Gwen does continually.

Anyway, the NYC Marathon women’s start is at 9:20 eastern time.  There are 50,000 people running the event.  How crazy is that?  Anyway, I plan on watching the race.  I know I have a few more hours until the start, but I’ve been up most of the night, so at least it is getting close.   It is supposed to be great temperatures for running there today.  High of 57 degrees, which is good.

Anyway, I wish Gwen luck.  Along with all my friends that are racing again in Louisville.  I’m missing out.  The race is live on ESPN2 at 9 am eastern time.

Gwen Jorgensen on a training run in Minneapolis, MN on 03 November 2014

Gwen on a training run in Minneapolis.

Would be pretty fun doing this, huh?

Would be pretty fun doing this, huh?

 

 

Tucker is in Training

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Tucker has spent the majority of the last month romping around the Northwoods.  He is going to be 10 months old in a few days and has really gotten a ton more agile.  I know I haven’t put many Tucker pictures on the past week, so here are a few taken recently.

Tucker and his partner in crime, Hawkeye.

Tucker and his partner in crime, Hawkeye.

He has been swimming a few times a day, even though the water is getting colder.

He has been swimming a few times a day, even though the water is getting colder.

His "I'm not done look."

His “I’m not done look.”

He is pretty skinny even though he is eating twice as much food as normal.

He is pretty skinny even though he is eating twice as much food as normal.

His ribs are showing pretty good.

His ribs are showing pretty good.

I got this Whistler GPS tracker that he is now wearing all the time. It shows his current location on a phone.

I got this Whistler GPS tracker that he is now wearing all the time. It shows his current location on a phone.

Roofing on my Mind

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I went over to the Walberg’s and did some measuring of a porch roof that needs to be redone. It is a super cool porch, with a tongue and groove ceiling and skylights, but has an ancient tar and gravel roof that leaks.   And I happen to know how to adhere rubber roofing, so it is a perfect fit.

I put a huge, well maybe not huge compared to warehouses and giant manufacturing plants, but huge for a few bike racers learning how to roof as we go, rubber roof on.  This roof was on a building my grandmother bought back in the early 50’s.  It had continually leaked and should have been replaced a decade earlier.

This was 7 years ago.  I probably wouldn’t have started the project without Michael Fatka just showing up in Topeka ready to work.  He ended up staying there for over a month, helping out immensely.

It took me nearly 60 days straight of 16-20 hours  days to complete.  I am still amazed that I didn’t really run out of steam with so little sleep.  I owe that to bike racing.  I saved somewhere are 80K I figure.  I spent $16000 and half of that was on insulation.

I only rode 3 miles in two months.  The longest I’d ever taken off the bike since I was in high school.  And it worked out fine.  I felt better that February than I had in years.  Weird.

Anyway, it was the biggest single project that I’ve continuously done.  Normally a whole roofing crew would have been involved.  Roofs usually need to be replaced in a hasty fashion.  We got pretty lucky with the weather.

The Walberg’s roof is much smaller.  I learned a ton, so it should go way quicker.  Micheal still needs a new roof too.  I patched that one together last fall and it has been problematic, so it needs to be completely ripped off and replaced.  I didn’t realize how many flat roofs were out there.

There is a certain comradery working together in manual labor brings.  I didn’t realize it so much until after this project.  It is sort of like a bike racing team.  Pretty rewarding.  Okay, here are some pictures of the project.  I had just started writing web posts and had Google ads back then.  All the ads changed from bike related subjects to roofing advertisements.  That was the sign I needed to finish up the job.

Original roof.

Original roof.

Trudi and Michael removing the rock.

Trudi and Michael removing the rock.

They did things right in the 1800's.

They did things right in the 1800’s.

The back of the building was a mess.

The back of the building was a mess.

We rebuilt the whole thing.

We rebuilt the whole thing.

Catherine and her mom came by to visit.

Catherine and her mom came by to visit. She wrote her initials in the concrete.

She was also working on the weekends.

She was also working on the weekends.

Michael in a skylight.

Michael in a skylight.

Bill carrying roofing felt.

Bill carrying roofing felt.

Busy bees.

Busy bees.

We stripped it down to the sheathing.

We stripped it down to the sheathing.

Insulation.

Insulation and a roll of rubber.

This is what it looks like now finished.

This is what it looks like now finished.