Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What The Hell? Who Has Heard of "Freezing Fog"?

Although, that's exactly what it is. But I call it "ice-fog".

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Hustle and The Peril

Ah! Home from work, the groceries are away, wine stowed and coffee made (in the new suspiciously a lot like a percolator "espresso" pot my mom sent me--not that I am complaining!).

The snow is finally gone, and now we have fog. Fog like I have never seen before. Oh, fog and "ice-fog", which is what I woke up to this morning. The moment my wheels touched the street I realized I had made a mistake. The street was sheer ice, frozen condensation from the night before. I began to slow down with painstaking care, intending to halt 500 metres away, where morning rush-hour traffic was presumably hurtling by (presumably as I couldn't see it through the ice-fog). Anyway, I made it without bailing. I rode to work along Broadway (assuming that the high volume of traffic would have melted the ice), in the perilous "bike and bus lane", which is treated more like an extended super long right-turn lane by mainly grumpy motorists. Ordinarily I'd go along the 10th ave bike route, but I expected more ice, so no.

Riding on 10th is totally relaxing and nice; there are high, full trees and you pass by beautiful homes and a school, and it's traffic controlled, and there's China Creek skatepark, which in the summer is quite fun. Broadway is just about the hustle of getting to work. The hustle and the peril.

I went for an easy 50k on Saturday, which was very enjoyable, despite the GDMF fog. You can actually see the stuff like a thick fluffy wet cloud. I went to New West, bought a coffee, then turned around for home. I didn't bring a lock or backpack, which kept me out of the thrift shops (I'm trying to spend less, as well accumulate less junk/treasure). I was somewhat tired after, but that's to be expected, as the snow etc. has kept me off the bike for a while now (except for 10k to work and back each day (10k total.) Noticeably less power getting out of New West on the hill, but not such a bad base, all things considered. I do need to be more careful about diet and actually use my resistance trainer when I can't get out.

Friday, January 16, 2009

My 24 hrs Race

Cycling 600k in one day. If I do nothing else in 2009 I will be content.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Mountain Days

I guess everything is bound to change eventually, though it's still sometimes surprising when it does. For the first time, I have to cut hours at the book store where I work. Unfortunately bookshops are facing a financial crisis like many businesses nowadays. I won't go into details, as this is a public blog, but the up shot is that I am cutting my own hours to 4 days a week to help the company. I wouldn't have done so without this sort of push, but I see it also as a sudden opportunity. I am excited about trying to make the store do better, which I think it can do better; but I am also just enchanted with the idea of 3 days off every week. At least for a while.

I have thought about what I might do with this new day. I thought about calling them "mountain days", and use the time to go hiking. Packing a thermos and my notebook, maybe my camera. Cycling: goes without saying. Maybe even look into another job, though part-time. I am excited about doing more with less. So suddenly my fantasies concerning $900 wheelsets and Belgian bicycles are on hold. Unless I win the lottery. Unless somebody buys me a lottery ticket and then I win the lottery.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sunshine Threatens and an Introduction

I rode in to work today. The rain finally began to fall, melting much of the snow in the streets. The constant downpour combined with the poor road conditions made for quite a treacherous cycle. Still, it was exhilarating, being on a road bike for the first time since mid-December. I have taken the dual suspension RM out a few times in the snow--but that is a completely different type of riding. I have been pining for the long hard effort of a long solo road ride. Anyway, I got 15 minutes of it this morning, going "hammer and tongs" all the way, as H.G. Wells put it in "Wheels of Chance".

My winter commuter is a beautiful 2004 Jake the Snake with some fine upgrades. I just put on an ultegra drivetrain, including crankset (which I have been babying by cleaning and even pouring warm water over after a salt-filled excursion today!), and it has a significantly stronger wheelset than the one that came with, with an XT hub in back and a Ritchey hub up front. It also has a pair of ugly black fenders more or less permanently bolted to it during the bleaker months.

When I was 9 or 10 we used to call bikes that had fenders "fender bikes" (so apropos!); but that also denoted any bigger wheeled contraption (that was probably owned by your sister or a grandparent) that was actually embarrassing to be seen riding, fenders or not. This was the era when stingrays were giving way to BMX bikes (1979-1982). I am over all that fender shame (more or less--but they come off if the weather even threatens sunshine...) And anyway, this "fender bike" isn't so bad... I think the Jake is the one of the greatest bikes I have ever owned. If I could only have one, I think it would be a cyclo-cross. But thank the baby Jesus I don't have to choose just one.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Bike Crazy

I am aching to go riding! Vancouver has been covered in a thick, damp blanket of grey shite since the 13th of December.

I spent the afternoon wandering down to the book store with Abe, my little dog, where I was going to drop him off with Michelle. Along the way we stopped in to La Bicicletta to admire the Eddy Merckxes and the $1,400 wheelsets, etc. (Abe spent the whole time trying to will an employee to give him his tempura--to no avail). I am mainly interested in the LXM I think it's called. Full carbon, made in Belgium at the Merckx factory. Campagnolo everything--Veloce or something 105 like--but really, am I going to complain about Campy? Anyway, it's more likely that I'll buy the frameset and build it up with my own parts. It's that or I have to sell the KHS 900.

Oh right though. I was also thinking that it might be a better idea to keep the 900 and build it up first, before dropping two big ones on the Merckx frameset. Dura-ace crankset, new drivetrain, and a Mavic Cosmic wheelset of some description. Any way, I win.

Next week I get my stationary trainer. I am going to borrow a fan from work and try to do an hour every other evening. I'll put up photos of the trainer and the bike next week.