Thursday, February 28, 2008

Are you kidding me?

To quote adam's post on PerfectDuluthDay-

"Let me get this straight: we can get $40 million from the MN legislature for a F'ing hockey rink, but we can't get $13 million to stop putting poop in the lake?"



I'm glad we've got a bunch of smart people running our state. They decided we can get money for the DECC but not for the overflowing sewage problems... Insane... I hope that it doesn't happen...

Looks nice...





(Sorry, not bike related but very Duluth related)

And that's why Monster sponsors downhill / freeride, not road biking...

There I was, 2 pm Wednesday afternoon, sitting at my desk trying hard to continue to work debugging a difficult problem when it hit me. I needed some caffeine. My co-worker loves Caribou Coffee's Tea so we walked over to canal park. Typically I'd get my fix there too, a Turtle Mocha- ohh those are good... But today was different- I wanted more, the Turtle Mocha was too small for me today and I didn't feel in the mood for something hot. What did I decide on? My other caffeine fix- Monster L0-Carb Energy drinks. These are the best energy drink I've ever had- hands down. The first attempt at scoring some failed, the ICO connected to the DQ was a no-go luckily there's another store right next door. Bingo- Monster L0-Carb XXL 23.75 ounces of caffeinated goodness (I would have got the BFC if the had them).

Within about 30 minutes of cracking that open I was doing great! The clouds opened and the sun was shining, angels were playing harps overhead- it was great (ok, a little over-exaggerating there).

Easily by 4 pm the drink was consumed. I figured I had 1 and a half hours to drink a lot of water to try to clean out my system in preparation for the ride home. Not that it's far, but being amped up on caffeine and then riding home by bike can cause problems. By the time I reached my door I could hardly stand and my hands were shaking, it was all I could to do to get my boots and jacket off and find some milk and a yogurt and a banana.

Needless to say, you don't see Monster sponsoring many endurance type sports, sorry, riding a bike down a hill does not count. I love Monster and I would love if they made a drink for endurance type sports but for now, I'll keep its use limited to keeping me awake on long Sunday drives :)

This was another funny post about Monster... http://www.theimpulsivebuy.com/wordpress/2005/09/21/monster-energy-xxl/

Image from http://www.bevnet.com/

P.S. they "may" sponsor such events, but not to my knowledge...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My next shoes

These are sweet! I've gotta get me some...

The company called Simple makes the ecoS shoe (shown above) where the sidewalls are recycled bike tires and the bottoms recycled car tires. Sweet! From their site:

The men's ecoS contains no animal byproducts or even regular animal products. This shoe is vegan friendly and veggie friendly.
Hemp uppers
Yes, the sidewall of the ecoS is made from a recycled bike tire
Organic cotton linings
Recycled PET (that’s recycled plastic bottles) laces
PET pedbeds
Yes, that outsole used to be a car tire
100% post consumer paper pulp foot forms


Friday, February 22, 2008

Ugghhh

It's been a long, long week, or so it sure seemed. I only rode a few times this week, late nights at the office and meetings up with my wife to run errands let me leave the bike at work overnight. Today I took the car to work, had to bring it to the repair shop for some warranty work. Even if I had wanted to ride today I couldn't have as bike is only mostly together right now. On my Wednesday or Thursday ride in (don't recall what day) the temps were about 9 below zero and I felt like my bike was really working against me that morning, I barely broke 11 mph, even on the slight downhills. I felt like I was pushing sludge in the rear wheel and sure enough, I was.

My bike had been quite overdue for a cleaning for a while, but what put it over the top was when I ran out of tri-flow spray lube and went to the store to not find any and, instead, bought Justice Brothers Chain Lube. This stuff is like tar practically- not suited for cold weather use by any means. My back end was so coated with black oily dirty grungy slime that I had to clean it. I took most of the rear apart and gave it a good cleaning with engine degreaser- worked pretty well. In putting everything back together though, I had an slight problem. my cable for my rear derailleur got all messed up and frayed so I decided I'll get some new cables and see how that works out. I'll have to find time to finish working on it this weekend though (which is going to be quite busy already) otherwise I won't have a way to get to work Monday.

I've got the original '96 grip shifts on the bike, the rear is a 7 speed and it's hard to find 7 speed parts. I would like to upgrade but don't have extra right now and the 7 suited me just fine. Now I have to figure out how to re-wire my grip shift with the new cable.

I also plan to bring my bike to the car wash to give it a good cleaning to get the chemicals off (I know about high pressure water so don't bother :o) ...)
Should be like new come Monday morning!

Have a good weekend everyone!
Jeff

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Sunday Ride

Had a really good ride today. I went out with my neighbor Tone who bikejors quite regularly with his dog. We went out on the snowmobile trails from Lester Park and ended up somewhere near Lismore Road, about 10 miles + away. On the way back when we got onto 7 Bridges Road again, we headed up skyline to hawks ridge and took a fun little single track down to glenwood. All told it was about 21+ miles and 2 hours 20 minutes of ride time. I felt a little bad for holding him back, he did get some help from his dog but he's generally a much better rider so I don't feel too bad :)

Last time I took the trails it was quite hard packed and icy, perfect conditions for a non-pugsley to be out riding but today, having temps of 40 1/2 above and a lot of snowmobile traffic, the snow was very soft and even letting out a lot of air didn't help much with my 1.9 inch tires. If I want to ride the trails more I'll need wider tires for sure. I'll stick to picking my days on the trails better and staying a road rider for a while yet. (need new bikes, one's just not enough :) ... )

Jeff

Friday, February 15, 2008

Burrrr

I'm home again for a few days, probably more travel again next week. I'll try to find bike time again but need a more bike friendly vehicle next time. I did ride home from the airport today and dang, it was cold. I wish I would have had my shell pants and another bulkier layer on top because my torso was literally red from being so cold. I decided it was best to forgo the trip down 7 bridges road because Glenwood is much faster :) also my main 50 watt battery was not doing so well due to the cold. Would like to find a li-ion battery for that but for now, it will do as I have two led lights that work well.

So, near 13 miles today in some really cold temps, probably the most uncomfortable ride I've had yet, by far. But it was still nice. Tomorrow they are expecting 32 or so above so I'll try to get out on the trails again.

Stay warm tonight!
Jeff

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Stuck

Reporting in from Pequot Lakes again. Here's what's new...

Wednesday:
I had to pick up a rental car and the timing wasn't too perfect for having a nice ride from my wife up the hill to the airport just about 8 miles away. I looked up the directions on Google and also used the Duluth trail maps to try to find the best route up the hill to Rice Lake road. I had my route planned but, of course (short term memory is non-existent) I forgot them in my office. So, I winged it. Ended up riding pretty much straight up the whole hill up 7th ave east. Not too fun mind you. The whole trip was pretty much up hill 820 feet up to be exact. That took me an hour which was pretty good considering. The people at the airport car rental place thought it was pretty cool but I was just hoping I would be able to get my bike into the car. A ford Taurus doesn't afford much room in the trunk, had to drop the back seats but it fit.

Thursday:
So, that brings me to today. I wanted to go for a ride around the lakes here rather then sit in the hotel room blogging, but here I am. I forgot my boots and my only shoes are my dress shoes so, I'm bummed out, no ride today.

Friday:
Tomorrow I plan to get home at a decent time, say, between 4 and 5 and then swing by the house to get my boots and drop off my laptop, then ride the bike home from the airport. The nice part about that is that what goes up (me) gets to go down. The ride home should be super fast and I'll swing up to 7 Bridges for another downhill run.


I had a lot of computer time tonight, found out there's quite a few more Duluth blogs then I first thought, most are politically based so I don't care for those so plaa whatever. I also wanted to find a new template for my blog but there aren't really and ones I liked so I'll have to design one for myself.

I've been looking for a new bike too. Decided I'm going to keep my current bike for my commuter and look for a nice trail bike. Want full suspension but granted, that will cost a bit, but would be willing to take a hardtail for sure. Looking for a nice deal, perhaps a discounted last year’s model or a used bike.

So, I had my first ride up the hill and around the top, always stayed lakeside (well, woodland isn't really over the top, just on the way up there). I think I would be more inclined to take on the hill from time to time if I need to go up town.

Oh yea, happy Valentines Day to my wife! (Sorry I'm not at home) (She doesn't read my blog anyhow...)

Night!
Jeff

Monday, February 11, 2008

The view from the top

If you've never been to Duluth you are really missing out. I am reminded of the awe inspiring beauty of this city each time I come home from the south heading north into the city on I35. You crest the hill and are presented with a wide open shot of the whole lake and river side of the city. It really is amazing and makes me love this living here, even though most of the time it's quite nice, unlike today, -20 some odd degrees this morning. Anyhow, this Saturday it was one of the nicer days, 18 above and cloudy which helped keep the warmth around. Saturday I decided today was the day I was going to go ride 7 Bridges Road. I've never been down the road on bike and never been on the road in the winter. I wasn't sure if one could pass the whole length or if any bridges were out completely for repair (they are old stone bridges and some if not all have been repaired, not sure the progress). Anyhow, I figured I would ride up the 3 or so miles, and then back down. If you don't know, 7 bridges road leads from the edge of the lake straight up to what's called Hawks Ridge because of the path migrating hawks take directly over this area every year. I don't know the elevation gain, a few hundred feet probably. Anyhow, I planned on taking an hour, 45 min up and 15 down. I left @ 9:45 and got to the top 45 min later and stayed to have a small snack and take a few pictures. I then headed down.
The trail is on a road that is closed in the winter and used for cross country skiers and snowmobiles and there was one other bike track but mostly people walking about with their dogs. The ride up was pretty calm, average speed probably around 6-8 mph. Once I headed down though, the fun began. I had speeds of over 25, close to 30 on snow pack, sliding around near 90 degree corners, back wheel out 90 degrees, steering with the front and sliding with the inside foot. It was intense. The amount of "out of control" feeling was really scary at times, the front wheel would grab a rut and I would feel like I was going to loose it.
Overall, it was super fun and I intend to ride that more and more as the temps cooperate. I also chatted with quite a few people on the trail wondering what in the world I was doing out there on a bike. Anyhow, here are a few pictures from Hawks Ridge.

Peace!
Jeff






(Click for larger image)

Friday, February 1, 2008

3 Feet

I just ran across this cool little bike safety campaign from Seattle, "3 Feet". I wish Duluth did more simple stuff like this. (We're working on it though as part of DATA)