Monday, January 26, 2009

no new tales to tell


Well, not entirely true. Just not a whole lot of riding going on in these frozen months I'm currently living in the midst of.

I did have a couple of cool things happen though.

1) I did a volunteer shift at Working Bikes a few days before the new year. I've been meaning to do this for quite some time, but have managed to procrastinate and procrastinate. It was pretty fun. If you want to see a whole, whole lot of bikes in need of repair, go in and do a shift there. I took a crack at a couple of pretty jacked up bikes. The first one had a bent frame, so I just stripped it, trued the one good wheel as best I could (pretty rusty!) and moved on. The second one was somewhat work-on-able, so I got it partways stripped down and labeled it for myself (or someone else) to come back to. Met Aaron and Jonathan there. Nice guys. I've had a hard time finding time on Wednesdays to go down there again since. I keep having work I can't scoot around on Weds. Hopefully not next week but the one after, I can go back over there. They probably think I bagged it forever by now. I'm out here guys! I'll be back!

2) My wife and I went to Austin from January 8th to the 13th. What a dream! Texas winters are NICE! I'd almost forgotten. The first full day we were there, the high was about 72. There were a couple of "cold" days after that, like highs in the high 40s and low 50s, but the last day was back to a high of 65. Overnight lows were in the low 40s/high 30s. We rode around all over town on 2 of the days, about 15 miles each day and one day I also went off and took a solo speedy power ride out west of town a bit, about a 15 mile circuit with some heavy hills in there too. Got the Felt 85 up to a personal record of 40mph. KIND OF SCARY! It was just starting to shudder a bit and then I had to brake quickly for a sharp turn at the bottom of this hill at the end of Far West Blvd. Austin isn't the most bike-friendly city, but it seems like it's getting there pretty fast and my brother lives in a part of town (NW side near Burnet and Koenig), that has easy access to Shoal Creek Blvd. which is a cyclists paradise and leads on to a nice mostly off-street trail system that can get you clear to the south side of downtown with very little auto interaction.

The only downside of the trip was coming home. For the few days after I got back, it was highs around 0 to 5 degrees (F) in Chicago. Wind chills in the -20 to -30 zone. Not very fun. I'm virtually defeated right now. I've only ridden once since getting back (twice if you count riding to work today, I'm not home yet!), and when I did, my hands felt as if they had been pounded with hammers by the time I got home. I know what it must feel like to be the Hulk or An American Werewolf in London or any other sort of shape shifting creature. When my hands were thawing out, I felt as if claws were going to pop out of the middle of each digit or something. It was like giving hand birth (I'd imagine), I couldn't even talk for a few minutes. Just moaning. I've realized I have to pre-heat my gloves considerably to be out in the below 15 degree weather. And that's about all we've got right now.

What else?... My highly touted Pearl Izumi shoe covers are sort of falling apart already, so I might have to take back a little of the praise I was heaping on those a few months ago. As far as alternatives, Bob, my biz partner, go the fancy LG winter boot things and said those are already having some sort of unraveling around the zipper area, so I guess they just don't really make much of anything like they used to (at least so to speak as I guess they didn't really "used to" make a lot of this stuff).

I'm building up a couple of new projects for friends. More on those soon.

Be safe out there! Only about 10 more weeks until it's not soul-crushingly cold almost all the time!