Category Archives: Totally Irrelevant

Christmas throughout the World

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I found a wallet in the middle of the street the day I was leaving to drive up to Chicago for Christmas. At first, I drove by it, but thought I should go back. It had no money, but had a driver’s license, credit cards and a student ID from University of Arkansas Pine Bluff. I figured there wasn’t anyway I could find out the phone number to the guy, so I decided to drive across town and give it to him.

His address was at an apartment complex in West Topeka. I found the apartment, knocked, and no one answered. I could here people in the adjoining unit, so I knocked on their door. A Hispanic man answered the door and asked me if he could help me. I told him I had found a wallet and was wondering if he knew his neighbor. He told me he didn’t know who lived there. I thought that was weird, since their doors were virtually connected. So, I opened up the wallet and asked the man if he could look at the driver’s license and tell me if that was the man that lived there. He was apprehensive, but took the billfold and looked. In the background, I could see into the apartment and it was completely full of stuff. Every flat space was covered with things. There was an older woman speaking to the man in loud Spanish.

The man looked at the driver’s license and then seemed to relax some. I could tell by his facial expression that he wasn’t on guard. He said that it was his neighbor and that he wasn’t home, had left for the holidays, he thought. He suggested that I leave the wallet with him and he would give it to him. I felt a little weird about that, but knew I was driving out of town for a few days and that it would probably work out okay.

Anyway, I thought about the encounter on the 9 hour drive up to Chicago from Topeka. I still had a bit of uneasiness about leaving the wallet. I thought that maybe I should have just put a note underneath the guys door with my phone number on it and he could call. After the Hispanic guy lightened up, I felt pretty sure that he would give his neighbor back his wallet, but wasn’t positive.

Then I thought about missing out of the gratitude of returning the man’s wallet. I’m almost embarrassed to say it. I would have really liked to give the wallet back to the owner and receive the thanks for returning it. It seems so trivial.

I’m not sure why nowadays, people don’t seem to trust each other so much. The Hispanic man didn’t trust me when I knocked on his door. Then, I had to talk to him for a little while before I felt comfortable enough to trust him with the wallet. And then on top of it all, I feel “cheated” out of receiving gratitude for something that should be expected. It is all wrong.

Right now, we’re arguing between each other whether it is better for Americans to have the right to carry around assault rifles or if it’s better for society to not have them around. Man, what problems we have as group.

I don’t leave a small footprint on this planet. No Americans do. I drove my van 600 miles to spend Christmas with Trudi’s mom. And 600 miles back. We all drive or fly unbelievable distances to ride our bikes around in circles. It is a super extravagance. I would venture to say that the majority of the population of this planet has never been 600 miles from where they were born. In China, there are only 8 automobiles per 100 people. In Afghanistan there are two. It’s hard venturing very far from where you live by walking. In the US there are 81 per 100 people. We have more than we need. We have more of everything than we truly need. But, we all want more. Always more.

Anyway, since today is Christmas, I think we should all be thankful for the hands we were dealt being born in the United States. If only if all of us could realize how lucky we were from the get go, then maybe we would be more generous and understanding of those people throughout the world with much less. Less of everything. Food, medicine, safety, dreams, nearly all things. It could very easily be us.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas.

The Floyd Shirt.

Rarely Surprised Physically

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I’ve been riding really subpar recently. Yesterday was no exception. I met Bill out at the Governor’s mansion and planned to ride a couple laps before it got dark. It had rained a ton here on Saturday night, so the ground was slick with the wet leaves. I had no spunk. I wasn’t dying, but really couldn’t get out of my own way.

Then, I pinched through my front tire and didn’t have enough latex in the tire to seal the cut. So, I needed to put a tube in. Unluckily for me, the “bolt” or valve stem nut, didn’t seem to want to come off. I’ve had this issue before. I have a really small pair of aluminum, foldable pliers that I used to carry in my seat jar, but I don’t seem to have them now. Anyway, it was in the mid 30’s and our hands just kept getting more useless by the minute. We tried to grab the nut with a rubber tube, then tried a chain tool I had on a multi-tool. Nothing. We tried to put Gorilla tape on the cut, but it wouldn’t stick. Finally, I took the multi-tool and we stuck the torque bit down the valve stem from the inside and used another part of it, I’m not sure what it is for, to grab onto the nut and unscrew it. It was very lucky it worked.

We didn’t really ride much at all, only 15 miles, but I was really out of sync anyway. I could hardly follow Bill down any of the descents.

So, when I got home, since I didn’t get much exercise, I thought I’d try to do some situps, pushups and stretching in the living room. I figured it would be a bust, but at least should make an effort. Normally, when I’m riding really poorly, everything else physically follows. I started doing situps and it was a breeze. 50 not a problem, so I did another 50, no problem. I was thinking something was weird. So, I started doing pushups. I usually do 50 in a row. I got to maybe 10 and was pretty much done. I rested for 30 seconds or so and did another ten. My shoulders were so weak and sore I quit.

This is the first time I can remember in my life where my situps and pushups deviated from the same course physically. I have no explanation. If I’m not sore from situps later today, then I’m really lost for a reason. Normally when I’m riding this badly, my stomach would be sore from situps, no matter how used to doing them I am. Rarely, something like this changes. I’m not sure what to make of it as of yet.

I did a bunch of manual labor things yesterday. I recharged the ac on the diesel van. I had the ac lines welded where I had jerry-rigged some patches with JB Weld, aluminum shims and hose clamps. This worked for over a year, but since the engine was lowered to replace the fuel injectors, they were easy to get at. I only had a pound of 134a, so I still need to add nearly 3 more. Not a big deal.

I was playing on the kitchen table with my new Di2 shifters for my cross bike. I still haven’t put them on yet. It is kind of fun wiring them up and watching them move on their own. The front derailleur adjusts automatically for the trim of the rear derailleur, so when you’re shifting the rear, the front aligns it self.

Then later, I went over to my friend’s, Adam Gatewood’s house, to help him remove a cast iron tub. The problem was that is was built into the space it was in. I was going to take it to use, but the bottom was pretty beat up and I have no intention of getting it fixed. So, out came the sledge hammer. Cast iron is very brittle and cracks easily. Below is a short video of the carnage.

I’m driving over to Lawrence this morning to get a blood test. I ordered a ton of tests actually. I do it through a website call A complete blood test is $26. You can add what you want after that. I got a thyroid test, cholesterol, iron, and a few others. If you have a Lab Corp. near, you just walk in with the order you print out and get the results back the next day. Very easy.

Trudi and Bill are going too and Bill and I are going to ride back on gravel. It’s only 30 miles, but it’s not supposed to be very warm yet. I’m heading to Texas tomorrow. The weather there is in the 70’s.

Adam smashing his tub to remove. The thing weighed about 350 pounds, so we broke it up a little more.

Adam’s grandfather’s sledge hammer. It was a beast.

The pile of fuel injectors from my diesel van. They are way more complicated than I’d imagined. No wonder they cost $250 a piece. There is a $1000 core on these here.

Di2 functioning on the kitchen table.

It took nearly all our hands to remove this nut, which was seized on with dried latext. Luckily I didn’t flat a couple weeks ago in Berryman.

Southern California

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Yesterday was a blur. I packed up and flew out to California late in the afternoon. Sue picked me up at the airport and we’re driving to Jimmy Macs, editor of Mountain Bike Action, today, for the Mike Nosco Memorial Rideup in Newbury Park.

I haven’t flown for a little while. I really like the people watching at the airport. This girl checked in and I had to take a photo of her because her carry-on was a loaf of white bread. Plus, in her wallet, she had a get-out-of-jail-free card from the game of Monopoly in the front. Then, circumstances had it, but I ended up sitting right next to her on the flight from Kansas City to Denver. How weird is that? She said that she couldn’t crush the bread because it was for a school project. I’m not sure what she is going to school for, but as far as I remember, I never needed a loaf of bread for anything school related. And she told me that she hadn’t ever had a chance to use the card yet. I wished her luck with that, if it happened.

Going through security, for some mystical reason, I happened to have a Swiss Army Knife in my backpack. I say this because I vividly remember taking it out of my backpack and putting it in the pocket of my checked luggage. The TSA lady gave me the knife back and I went outside and buried it by a tree across the street from the gate. There is a 63% chance that I’ll remember to get it next time I’m there.

Anyway, that’s about it from here so far. It will be good to catch up with Jimmy. I about only see him once a year now. That seems wrong. Okay, better get going. I need to spend some time on Mac’s pump track tonight.

Here is the girl checking in. If you carefully look, you can see her Monopoly card in her wallet. (I wasn’t really spying.)

I’ve been mainly using the same bags since the Levis days. These are close to 30 decades old.

The spot where the knife is buried.

Must Be Getting Old

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Halloween was last night, as if you didn’t notice. I don’t know how it is where you live, but in my part of the city of Topeka, Halloween is slowly dying and becoming a non-event. There is an area of Topeka called Potwin, and I’ve ridden over there on Halloween night and they estimate that most of the houses get around 1500 trick-or-treaters. That is almost as extreme as the meager 20 or so we got last night.

The first couple kids walking by our house came by right after I got back from riding to Lawrence. It was around 6:30 and just getting dark. They looked like they were going to walk on by, but I told them to go on up, there was pretty good candy inside. Anyway, I was putting my bike into the Isuzu to take it to the car wash to spray it off (it was super dusty today riding). Anyway, I sat there for a minute and realized that there was a car, with a woman in it, smoking a cigarette, following the kids, a house back. Man, what is going on now. These kids weren’t that young, maybe 11-13 I guess. And, if the parent is so worried, why not just follow on foot. What kind of example does this send our children? And how much fun could it be for them going out, knowing that their mom was watching ever move? I kind of understand why there weren’t that many kids, if this is the norm.
I was riding through town earlier and couldn’t believe, once again, how many people have put of plastic trash bags full of leaves for the trashmen. I was thinking how it got to be that each house has these lawns that we have to mow and upkeep.

I think it must of been back over 100 years ago when only the very rich could afford lawns. Then, when the regular guy could afford a house, and the invention of a push mower, some people decided that they would like to be perceived as wealthy and planted a yard. Pretty soon, the combustion engine was mounted on a wheeled mechanism and there was a power mower, which made lawn care that much easier. Now, many Americans pay other people to cut their grass. We have matured and became wealthy enough that we hire others to tend to our grass. It seems so silly and valueless in many respects. It seems to me that if you want to take pride in your yard, you should be putting some personal effort and sweat equity into it. That only seems right.

But, we seem to be migrating away from things like these above. No real Halloween. No kids mowing lawns. Lots of the things that I cherish from childhood have become nearly extinct in just over a generation. I guess that is progression and aging. I’ll have to mull it over for a while to try to figure it out some more.

My friend, Jim Thiele’s dog, Moots, getting ready to go out on Halloween night. And yes, all the clothing was originally mine I believe.

Riding back from Lawrence on Halloween day. This is Brian, Bill, Catherine, Joseph and Matt. Not necessarily in that order.

This is sunset when I got back to my driveway at dusk. Pretty great.

And finally, a Halloween night dinner. Quiche, reheated mixed, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.

The start of the modern lawn?

Shitty Flight

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Yesterday I didn’t get out of California until nearly 6 pm. So it was going to be a late night already, but it got worse. There were a bunch of thunderstorms mulling around Eastern Kansas all night, so the last 30 minutes of the flight were pretty choppy. Coming in to land, it got much worse. Bad enough that I got motion sick during the landing. I didn’t like it at all. It takes a lot to get me motion sick on a plane. Guess that was the case. On top of it all, the flight was late, so by the time I got my bike and took the shuttle to the car it was nearly 1:45am.

It was raining like crazy for the 80 mile drive home. I decided to stop at a Waffle House to eat a waffle and get some hot tea, thinking it might calm my stomach. Plus, sitting out the storm for a little bit wasn’t a bad idea either. There were two guys and a girl that worked there, standing outside under a awning, smoking, watching the storm. No one was inside. I said hi as I walked in and they all followed. I told the all I needed was a waffle and hot tea.

One of the guys asks me about the my van and if it came diesel standard. I told him yes. We talked about the van for a little bit and then he went back and made the waffle. The three of them were talking about just lots of different stuff. They started about their hours and how none of them planned to work the next night, but all of them thought they might have to. Then it was about brothers and sisters. They had talked a little bit when the guy that was making the waffle says he has 6 brothers and 5 sisters. The other two didn’t really say anything about his comment. I was thinking, “Wow, how could you pass up a comment on that?”

Anyway, when I left, I asked the guy if he really had 11 siblings. He said yes. That is why he was so interested in the van. He said they all drove around in one, but a bigger one with 4 rows of long seats. I wished the 3 of them a good night and then thought most of the way back upon my 15 minutes at Waffle House. Those guys were working all night for 7 something an hour. The one guy grew up in a family of 14. I felt a lot better after eating. But I think I felt better because I got a stark reality check on what it is like to have a hard day/life. Their situation made my life seem enchanted. Even with the shitty landing.

I ate lunch at the Torrey Pines Glider Port yesterday.

Here's Sue at the Glider Port.

I finally made it to my favorite bakery, Thyme in the Ranch, at Rancho Santa Fe.

I got a cinimmon roll, which was great.

I love Waffle House waffles. Especially at 2:30 am in a thunderstorm.

On a sadder note, the artist Leroy Neiman died yesterday. He was most famous as the artist of the Olympic Games, even though he did much work for Playboy magazine. He was 91, so he lived a long, productive life.


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I don’t really hardly ever open mail any more. I rarely get a letter that I’m surprised to get. And when I do, I’m pretty surprised. When the subject of eliminating Saturday mail delivery, most of the people I talk with are against it. I couldn’t care less. They are losing billions of dollars a year and if it is going to save a bunch of money, then I think they should consider it. I guess most people are against it because no one likes to lose a service, even if that service isn’t being used. I guess the internet has really hurt the mail big time. It is sort of sad, but I guess that is progress.

FedEx and UPS are different. I get packages all the time. And I always look forward to the packages. I look more forward to the packages when I’m not expecting a package, when the doorbell rings and I can see the FedEx truck out front. The internet is just making these companies more and more busy. Shipping has increased dramatically the last decade.

Yesterday was a prime example. Doorbell first thing in the morning. Small package for Trudi. She had no idea what it was, then she saw it was shipped from Europe. Inside, a Tour de France yellow jersey from Cadel. Pretty nice.

Today, was my turn. It wasn’t a surprise. I knew last night. UPS has a new RockShox 29’r fork for me. But, no, when I went to UPS website this morning and put in the tracking number, it says the plane has a mechanical. That’s all. I need to leave for Berryman tomorrow morning, so I hope that plane gets fixed.

I’ve always respected UPS and FedEx. They seem to have their shit together. They seem to work like a finely tuned clock. At nearly every bikeshop I’ve been associated with, the UPS guy is a standard fixture. Usually the UPS man will hang there a bit when he’s ahead of schedule. I’m not sure why that is, but it is common. Maybe they just like bikes.

It does seem sort of strange that we have 3 companies doing are essentially the same thing. I don’t know why the post office never got the package delivery service down. They tried about 10 years ago with the 2 pound, 2 day, $2 thing. But, that didn’t work. Probably because they never delivered it within two days. And there was no tracking. It seems to me, if some guy is coming to my house, everyday, bringing something, they should be able to leave a letter or package. But, that isn’t the case with the USPS.

I’m so racked from riding rocky singletrack two days in a row that I might not even ride today. Yesterday I was better than the day before. Hopefully I’ll be back up to snuff by Saturday. And that UPS does their magic and gets that fork to me sometime soon, like today.