Operacion Puerto

Holy shit - Ullrich, Basso, Mancebo, Beloki, Sevilla and dozens of other non-contender riders have been dropped from their teams and are out of the tour. Is this the wake-up call that pro cycling needs to clean up its game? Will this the the most boring tour or the most fascinating tour in decades?

Shapely baby cows

I ran by some kids fishing off a bridge at lunch today - as I passed, I heard one of them say, "Dude - look at her legs!"

Next I'll guess your weight

After the photo shoot for the '07 catalog this morning (a story I'll tell with pictures once I have some pictures), I came to work to find an e-mail inbox stuffed with hungry customers - hungry for information, and for bikes. I exchanged four e-mails with one Stanford-area rider, from which bike would be right for her to what shop would be a good one to buy it from. About 10 minutes ago, I got a call that went like this:

Me: "BikeCo - this is Jason."
Guy: "Hey - this is Guy, with Bikeshop. I just need to see if you have a bike in stock for a customer"
Me: "A 17" [bike he wanted] in a ladies' frame?"
Guy: "Uhhhhhhh.......yeah? Buut..? how did.....?"

Top five albums, last five years

It's a quickie - go!

Mine, in no order:
White Stripes - White Blood Cells - 2002
The King of France - s/t - 2005
Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News - 2004
New Pornographers - Mass Romantic - 2003
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - s/t - 2005

What? What.

There seemed to be some confusion regarding my Mono-goose's drivetrain, so I thought I should clear that up. Get us all on the same page. Marching to the beat of the same little drummer boy. Weed out this duck-duck-gray-duck nonsense.

This is my drivetrain - a single 32-tooth chainring paired with a single 18-tooth cog in the back. In a perfect world, that gear ratio would put enough tension on the chain that it wouldn't bounce off. That tall brunette from Nickelodeon's You Can't Do That on Television never got the successful indie film career she deserved, though, so it's clearly not a perfect world. And in a clearly not perfect world, you need some sort of device to put tension on the chain - a "chain tensioner" if you will. You can also see how massive the 29" wheels are in this picture - I feel like a semi truck on the trails. Breuuuuuu-breuoooooooo!


Enhance. Enhance. Enhance. Ah, there we go. This black bar is my chain tensioner, in macro-zoom view. See the red roller? That was a much smaller black roller, until I lost it and the bolt that holds it on during my ride to work Friday morning. That part is unique to Rennen (the company that made my tensioner), so it's not like I can just grab another one out of my parts bin. Instead, I found a brake bolt, which has a male and female end, and sandwiched some washers and a lower pulley wheel from a rear derailleur. It worked absolutely brilliantly at Kettle Moraine on Friday afternoon.

Near-miss

I rode my "Mono"goose 29er to work today, since our department is taking the afternoon off for a group mountain biking trip to Kettle Moraine state forest. On the way to the grocery store to pick up some post-ride snackies, I went off the road to hit a short, super-steep grass hill near the bus line's west transfer point. Halfway up, disaster was lying in wait - a broken chain! A lost plate! No extra links in my bag! On my geared bike, I could just shorten the chain a link and keep riding, but that kind of trailside fix doesn't work on a singlespeed. So I started walking. And then I scooted for a while, but that looked stupid so I stopped.

When I got to work, I realized that the easy-to-fix chain wasn't the only problem - I had also lost the roller for my chain tensioner! I called Rennen to get a replacement, called Missy to have her bring my other mountain bike, and pouted. Then I decided to grab fortune by the nads and jerry-rig a roller using a brake bolt sleeve, some washers, and a rear derailleur pulley. And it worked! Joy of joys, it worked!

Horribly and hilly and, thus, aptly-named


A few of you have asked me where the race report from Saturday's stupid-fest is. Frankly, I didn't realize anyone really read my reports, so I'm kind of sillily (well, then it should be a word) pleased at that. So it's up. It's long, so if you don't want to read the whole thing, here's the summary -

IIIIIIII'm on tonight,
my hips don't lie,
and I'm startin' to feel ya boy

Homecoming

Alvin's home, but he's unhappy about his cone and Emmett, usually aka Friendlycat McSmilepurr, seems unhappy that he has to share again. They'll be pals again soon, right? Right?

Balestrino

An Italian coastal village, just west of Genoa, abandoned in the early 1960's after a landslide.



HHH

I'll post a longer Horribly Hilly Hundred report, with pictures, later today - right now, I'm starving and I need a Panera Bread cinnamon crunch bagel with hazelnut cream cheese. Right at the point I'd convinced myself that riding home in the SAG car wouldn't be shameful, someone had chalked "You'll forget pain - you'll remember quitting" onto the road. It sounds like a silly high school football cliche, but when you're dehydrated and cramping, you're more susceptible to high school football cliches I guess. I turned it into my mantra for the next forty miles, finished without walking up any of the climbs, and chopped over an hour off my time from two years ago.

We came home from the ride to find cat vomit in no less than four places and Alvin, our younger cat, laying on his side and breathing really heavily. When he saw up, he hissed and growled and generally told us to fug off. Our regular vet isn't open on Saturday afternoons or Sundays, so we called the Emergency Animal Clinic, who told us to get him there as soon as possible. They quickly diagnosed him with a really serious urinary crystal blockage and had him anesthetized within 10 minutes to start flushing his bladder. If this had been an overnight cycling weekend or we had waited until Monday morning to make an appointment with our regular vet, the blockage would have poisoned him.

Alvin's still at the cat hospital this morning, but may get to come home tonight, depending on how well the flushing went last night. Emmett, our other cat, hasn't had the house to himself for three years, and seems very concerned about Alvin's absence.

The horribleness begins

It's just after 5:00 a.m. on Saturday the 17th, my bike stuff (including some blang wheels I borrowed from Michael) is prepped and ready to go, the forecast is 92 and windy with a chance of thunderstorms, and I'm still trying to convince myself that this was a good idea. Even though it means carrying a few more grams, I'm putting a disposable camera in my jersey pocket. There are lots of pictures of the ride, but no one ever takes pictures from the ride.

Quiz it up, homies

1) Do you think you're more attractive from the front or from the side?

2) What's the largest bill you'd refuse to reach into a full port-a-pottie to get?

3) Did you know that today is M.Bro's birthday? Update: And that she and Mel were attacked by a beaver on their walk to work this morning?!?

My answers:
1) Definitely from the front - I think my noggin is elongated from the side, but looks pretty normal-sized from the front view. Also, I look less bald from head-on.

2) $20 - a twenty just seems to common of denomination to excite me enough to do something that requires disinfecting my arm. If I told someone I dove in for a twenty, they'd say, "Man, that's disgusting - I have a twenty right here in my wallet that I would have given you not to do it". But a fifty on the other hand - that's a bill you don't see every day.

3) Yessiree. Update: Yes, but not until five minutes ago - but ha! Beaver attaaaaaack!

Beaver Update 2: Here's the whole beaver story from M.Bro:
It was sitting along the edge of the sidewalk by the soccer fields, looking at us. Mel spotted it a few seconds after I did and asked me nervously whether I saw it - I hadn't said anything because I assumed that, as we got closer, it would run down the hill away from us. Just as Mel finished asking, though, it kind of jumped toward us. Mel pretty much ran into traffic (except there were no cars on the road), and then we both ran across the street and crossed back to our side at the next stoplight.

Customer Service II

Two customer service posts in one day - one of me not giving it, one of me not receiving it.

Three days ago, I ordered 2 rims, 2 hubs, 100 spokes, and 100 nipples from a parts distributor (who I will not name until after they decide whether or not to give me the refund + 25% that I asked for). Pretty obvious what my intention is, huh? Apparently not, because the jerks at this distributor just threw all my parts in a box and shipped them to me. No one at this place was smart enough to think, "Huh - spokes, nipples, rims, hub - I'll be he's building a wheel!" and put it together for me. Jerks.

So I threw my hands in the air, swore up a right-good storm, and built the wheels my own damn self!


It turned out to me a good deal simpler than I thought it would be, and various people at work today (who have lots of experience building wheels - not, like, an accountant and a marketing dude or something) told me that they looked and felt really good. I can't decide whether I'm more confident or more nervous riding wheels that I built rather than some random guy (or machine) at Nashbar.

Market crap

Hey, it's the intro to my third chapter!
The fundamental insight is that there is nothing irrational about trying to learn from what other people in the market are doing. Remember that shares have a true value based on the future stream of company profits. But nobody knows what that value is. Smart investors should realize that other smart investors will know things that they do not. If they don't take into account the private information held by other investors, they will make bad decisions, and they can learn only by watching what other people do.

Salt, pepper, and Phil Wood grease


From Chris King's website -
No matter how hard we try, a certain number of hubshells just aren't going to pass our quality control standards. A bore is a tiny bit off, a wall thickness is little out of the tolerance, maybe the shell's surface finish was not quite right. Into the scrap pile it goes. Unless it would be OK for a shaker.

No MSRP online, but if all of you want to chip in for some sort of summer solstice gift for me, you could probably call them for the price. I like green.

She's got diamonds on the outside

If you've put a lot of bling on something, have you blinged it, blung it, or blang it?

Ch-ch-cha-changes

1) M.Bro's 16 year-old sister, Mel, is going to be living with us for a few weeks. As christian-youth-group as it sounds, we're excited to get a chance to have a positive influence on her, and to maybe show her that living outside Nebraska isn't quite as terrible as people have led her to believe. On the other hand, I can't walk around the apartment naked anymore, so there's that.

2) From my front door, around the Ironman loop, and back is 52 miles. In early April, when I started worrying about the HHH (this Saturday!), I rode this as hard as a I could, sort of as an early-season fitness test. I finished in 3:10 (~17mph) and mentally marked the spots on the road where I hit 1:00 and 2:00 for reference. I rode it again yesterday, probably for the 10th time since that first test, and even with a 15mph headwind from the southeast, my times were much better. I hit the 1:00 mark at 49:15, the 2:00 mark at 1:37, and finished in 2:37 (~20mph). I also cut a minute off the time it took me to climb Old Sauk Pass. 9:30, including stops at the aid stations, is my goal for Saturday.

3) I'm skipping the aquathon on Thursday night. My calves and quads were tender for days after last month's cramp-fest, and while I'm reasonably sure there won't be a repeat, I've been looking forward to HHH for too long to risk it.

CUTE-OFF XV: THE CUTENING

THIS SUNDAY...AT ALIANT ENERGY COLISEUM....A CONTEST TWO HUNDRED YEARS IN THE MAKING...NOW YOU CAN MAKE THE CALL! WHICH YOUTUBE VIDEO IS MORE QUICKLY CRUSHED UNDER THE WEIGHT OF ITS OWN ADORABILITY?!?!

PUPPY V KITTEN!!!

KITTEN V MACBOOK!!!

Selle Storik

Broken Blogger makes J.Bro sad. Selle Storika saddle makes him smile again -

Update: Crap. Not being able to load pictures of the Storika saddle because of still-broken Blogger makes his smile turn upside down

Goings-on at BikeCo

-2007s are being shown and being seen, including a fully rigid singlespeed 29er with matte white paint called the Peace. Egad, I wants one.

-There's a giant crane in the parking lot. It's probably trying to figure out how to lift our roof to feast on the building's gooey insides.

-BikeCo has a bike commuter program now - $2/day for a round-trip commute by bike. 'bout time, BikeCo.

Ho Chi Minh is a son of a bitch


OleNelson and Spice - this is what I missed beers on the Terrace for. WORS Nine Mile race report.

Baked good dilemma

Close your eyes and imagine yourself toasting a bagel (toasting it with your eyes open - safety first). Now this bagel is maybe an everything or a cinnamon sugar or a sesame seed - the deal is that all the good stuff is all on the top.

After you toast this top-loaded bagel, you have a choice to make, and here is the dilemma - do you eat the yummy top first?

Addendum:
And why or why not? What's your rationale, dude?

The good news and bad news post

Bad news: I missed my TMM goal by a hair over 200 miles. I could blame the rainy 10 days in the middle of the month, but it would be more accurate to blame my odd lack of motivation the last week or so. Can't explain it - can only accept it and move on.

Good news: Maybe there will be pictures when I get home, but I was given a cool new frame to build today. It's a 29er (road-diameter wheels, which are larger in diameter than mtb wheels, with big 2" knobby tires = a bike with giant wheels) and I'm going to build it as a fully rigid singlespeed mountain bike. I might take it out to Blackhawk Ski Area for their Wednesday night race series, and then race it at some cyclocross events this fall. I still need wheels, tires, and a chain tensioner, but it already looks great.

Bad news: Bears.

Good news: I spent the last two days at work unloading and building sample 2007 model year bikes for the annual sales meeting next week. They look pretty great - keep an eye out for glowing reviews in bike mags this fall.

Bad news: I see a bad moon a'risin'. I see trouble on the way.

Good news: My ride tonight was muy excellente. All the way up Old Sauk Pass in my big chainring and 2x times up my secret training hill (no, I won't. OK - one hint: it's in Ohio). Two weeks and two days until Horribly Hilly Hundred and I'm on pace to lower my time from two years ago substantially.

Bad news: My new shoes are still a little rough on my toes. I think I'm going to mess with the inserts to see if I can relieve some of the pressure on my little toes. If I can't figure out how to make them really, really comfy before the HHH, I may end up riding the last stage with my bare feet on top of my shoes.

Good news: WORS race at 9-mile state forest this weekend - it was my first mtb race (and my third-ever mtb ride) two years ago and still my favorite course. Lots of big ring riding, especially on the first lap. I'll do my best to keep up with Burrito Eater, and then pass him when his headset, brakes, rear derailleur, stem, and/or frame breaks.

Bad news: I don't have enough bad news to keep up the Good news/Bad news/Good news pattern.

Good news: From beck.com:
Beck has just completed his new album, which he's been in the studio working on with producer Nigel Godrich. The album is due out this fall - check back here at beck.com soon for more information.