Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Handcufflinks?



Hurm.

It has been two months since I came out of the woods, put on some cufflinks and started riding QWERTY.

I miss the woods. The gin smell of conifers, the freehub squirrels. Grouse thumping. SHUNK goes the mattock into the ground. When it's dry the dust fills the air and beams of light punch through the gaps between the branches like girders in an abandoned construction site. You can hear the cows down by the creek, polluting the watershed with explosive diarrhea. Sorry, didn't mean to paint that picture. Take it down and replace it with a curious chipmunk, darting across my path at the last possible second, tail whipping all about.

I've made a couple of trips out to work the trail since August, and I'll make a couple more before the snow sets in for good. There are a couple of puddles that I need to take care of, a section of trail that needs some smoothification.  I'd be lying if I said it was thankless work.  People thank me all the time as they ride by.  I thank myself when I ride the trail. "This kicks ass", I think. Sometimes I'm overly critical of others' work, but then I give myself a metaphorical boot in the ass and look at all the hard work they put in. Judge not, lest ye be judged, sang Mr. Marley.

I'm already thinking about next year.  I'm thinking about how I can ditch work at the start of June to go build in West Bragg, maybe learn to drive a mini-ex. I don't like diesel fumes, so maybe I'll just swing the mattock.

SHUNK. Smell the earth below the duff. Hold the soil in your hand. See the grains, the pebbles, bits of root. Listen for the wind moving through the forest, one tree at a time. Feel the ping through the handle of the Mcleod when it packs the tread.

See what you have made.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Destroyer/Creator

I've been thinking a lot about trail building lately.  Why do I like it?  Why do I do it?  

Saturday, July 23, 2011

On the Road - BC Riding Part 3

Typical weather in BC during July is sunny and hot.  2011 is the year to buck the trend.  With most of Canada experiencing a "heat dome" [SRSLY], BC and AB are experiencing a craptacular weather event.  It's like May was extended and made marginally warmer for all of June and July.  Ridiculous.  Anyway, after leaving Whizgnar, we found ourselves in Squampton.  I was still feeling like crap, but the Howe Sound Inn's healing powers beckoned to me...

Despite the drizzle and cloudy skies, 18 hours of sleep had me feeling well enough to venture outside for a ride.  We rode from the Inn to the SAC, bought a trail map and then fumbled about trying to find some trails to ride.  We wound up riding for over three hours on some great trails, including Lost Loop, S+M, 7 Stitches, etc.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

On the Road - BC Riding part 2

We rolled into Kamloops on Sunday afternoon, the hot, dry air a reminder of what we left in Calgary a few days prior.  We had no place to stay, but I had an ace up my sleeve - PinkGeezers.  A quick post et voila!  Monique to the rescue!  Monique knows everybody concerned with riding in Kamloops, and she hooked us up with her buddy Jeremy.  Jeremy operates DropInns Bed & Breakfast out of his home in the Aberdeen area of Kamloops.  
Space for your bikes in Jeremy's garage

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On the Road - BC Riding

Sam and I had the idea to go for a road trip through BC, as we had our asses kicked by most of the trails in Southern Alberta, and wanted BC to have the same opportunity.  Vacation time was booked, plans were sketched out and not confirmed, reservations were never made.

Our first stop was Revelstoke.  We got in later than we had planned, and it was raining.  To the pub for $3 pints!  Huzzah!  The town was pretty quiet, a far cry from the hustle of the snow season.  There were a few tourists around, but we had to look pretty hard for AB plates.  After dinner we took the rest of the night off, did some reading and planned for Saturday morning.

Monday, June 20, 2011

First Ride: On-One 456 Carbon

If my last hardtail rode like this, I don't know that I would have switched back to a full-suspension bike.  No pics as yet [I haven't mastered the art of self-portraiture], but I can give my first impressions.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Fork Conundrum - Update!

I don't use technology as a crutch - it's a freakin' wheelchair!

Thanks to a great bike shop, I am now the proud owner of 2012 Fox TALAS RC2 180.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Bike Profile - On-One 456 Carbon

I haven't actually gone for a ride yet, but here are some pics:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Video: Caffeine

I would do this, but I'm too lazy to haul the pot, stove and cups all the way up...

Portland Visited

I'm terrible about updating the blog whilst on vacation, or not on vacation.  Regardless, here are some more things I noted while there.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

In Portland

Sam was offered a chance to take part in a field school training thing in Long Beach, WA.  Nearest airport?  PDX.  Did I want to go?  Sure, I can find something useful to do for a few days, then she could join me for the last 48 hours.  Cool beans.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Running is the Great Satan


Did a 5 km run/walk with my wife today.  Beautiful blue skies, sunshine galore, a light breeze and suffering.  Oh my, the suffering.  People do this for fun?  Masochists!  The burning lungs, aching knees and shin splints - proof there is a Devil.  How to purge the Great Satan's effects?  Prayer?  LOL!  Holy water?  No.  Ibuprofen?  Hell yes!  Fire water?  Hmmm.  This has merit...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What If We All Rode Bikes?

I disagree with the leg hair thing, but otherwise I'm picking up what they're putting down:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Oh, What a Day


Heaving myself out of bed yesterday morning, I was filled with neutralness.  It could have gone one way or the other, but thankfully I saw this as I walked to the kitchen:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fork Conundrum - Float vs. TALAS, Part 2

 A while back, I was trying to figure out whether to get a Float or TALAS for the EG.  So few people have the Kashima stanchions on either model [thanks Fox - aftermarket only!] that it was difficult to find a thorough review.  There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to indicate that Kashima works, so I'll take the plunge and get the TALAS 180 RC2.  The lower travel setting will be climbable, and it's not like I can get a whole lot worse than I am now.  Riiiiiiiiight...

I'll wait until after Sea Otter, 'cause Fox will debut the 2012 version and I'll be able to make an educated decision on which fork is most bling.  Also, any significant changes will push the price of the 2011 down.  6 weeks to go...

Monday, March 28, 2011

New Directions - Part Four

My contract finished up a couple weeks ago.  I had forgotten what being unemployed was like.  It doesn't suit me well.  I've put on almost 10 pounds, Twitter has become central to my waking life and I've only made two decent contacts for potential employment.  

What I've learned thus far about my various career paths:

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Bike Profile - Trek 8500
When I picked this up in 2004, it was a NEW new bike.  Special order, custom upgrades and I didn't lift a finger on the build.  It was all Fox this and Thomson that, XT everything else.  Light, stiff, fit like a glove, shifted so well.  Sweet near-black matte finish.  This is what it looked like when I brought it home from Calgary Cycle:

Monday, February 21, 2011

New Directions, Part Three

I tweeted [that seems #weird - I'm still not used to the @concept] about my top career prospects the other day.  All are fine choices for an ENFJ fellow like myself:
  • Advertising Account Manager
  • Photographer
  • Urban & Regional Planner
  • Public Relations Director
  • Graphic Designer
  • Interior Designer
Interestingly, Social Worker was in the larger list, but it's not something I will/should pursue.  While I feel that I have the requisite levels of empathy and patience, I don't think that dispensing Bender-esque advice would be appropriate.  Regardless, that leaves some fine choices... 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's Coming

I've pretty much reached the end of the road with the way things are.  Something is going to change, and soon.  Today I heard my co-workers joking about BAs who don't know the business.  "About as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike!", said one.  "As useful as a chocolate fireguard!", quoth another.  "I resemble that remark!", thought I. 

Oy.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

We've Gone To Plaid

So much has been happening in the last week, I haven't had a chance to really put it down on pa... um... type it out.  Let's recap, shall we?

New Directions - Things are going pretty well.  I converted my resume from chronological to skills-based, wrote a proper cover letter for the first time in years, and submitted said resume and letter to a really nice company who might read this [Hello!  ;-)].

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fork Conundrum - Float vs. TALAS

I had a good conversation with Arthur at Suspensionwerx on Thursday [Friday?].  We talked about what they could do for my rear shock, a Fox RP23 with the HV can and the medium compression / low rebound tune.  Basically, they're going to add in a Boost Valve and tweak the ProPedal a bit.  This should firm up the mid-stroke a fair bit and stop it from wallowing.  It will not be coil-ish on the descents, but it should be a hell of a lot better overall.  If it still sucks, then I'll chuck it and get a CCDB, RC4 or something along those lines.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bike Profile - 2009 Titus El Guapo

The snow was a little deeper than I thought...

I haven't been very kind to this bike.  It's been rode hard, put away wet and tossed off a cliff in a fit of depression/frustration.  It deserves better.

In late 2008, Titus released the revamped EG to enthusiastic response from Titus fans and just about everybody else.  It was designed to hit the 6" sweet spot, what marketing teams were calling "All Mountain".  Described as climbing well and descending even better, it looked like the ideal frame to make up for my lack of riding skill. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Keeping it Positive
Things have kinda sucked lately, and driver aggression against cyclists seems to be rising in Calgary.  It could also be my imagination.  The driver aggression part, not the things kinda sucking lately part.  I went for a ride around Glenmore Reservoir after work.  All the people I encountered were pleasant and friendly.  It made me feel good to be in contact with these people.  I stopped at Safeway on the way back, and made chili when I got home.  Chili is good.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

Making it look easy...


FROM STEEL: The Making of a Soulcraft from michael evans on Vimeo.

I've always been fascinated by frame building.  When I was in high school, I had a grand plan to weld up a Columbus SLX frame of my own design.  I got as far as convincing my school to pay for the tubeset [it's in a box in my basement], but when I found out just how much work it was to actually make the frame, I lost interest.  I'm not a detail-oriented guy, and frame-building is detail-oriented work.  I have tremendous respect for those who have the wherewithal to build a bicycle frame from scratch.  It's a wonderful blend of biomechanics, engineering and art.  Indeed, I have frame-builder envy. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bike Profile - Wabi Lightning
A very bad photo of a very good bike

I can't recall why I ever thought a SS/FG road bike would be a good idea.  I ride in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, where 10,000'+ peaks jut out of the prairie.  Headwinds and hills - that's all I ride.  Having gears on your bike makes a lot of sense here.  There have been many rides where the fight against the wind is constant, but "as soon as I turn around, I'll have a sweet tailwind back".  Of course, just as I turn, the wind changes direction, and I push into it all the way home.  That's probably why so many of us abandon our skinny tires in June when the mountain bike trails dry out.  Trading headwinds for bears doesn't sound too bad after 3-4 months of battling the air [the hills are always there]. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

This is a well-edited video I came across on *gasp* Pinkbike...

2Ride (Short Film) - Full Version from Forev'Art on Vimeo.

Looks like a great place to ride. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Directions

I've been in IT for quite a while.  It wears on me like sand on beach glass; I'm more likely to attract necklace-making hippies, but I'm also ground down, dull around the edges and lacking lustre.  For a long time now, the best part of my day has been the bike ride at either end of it.  This is a bad thing.  Don't get me wrong, I don't expect that I'll ever jump out of bed, yelling "F*** YEAH!  Time for work!", but it would be great if I felt some [any] desire to go into the office.  Being a contractor is good because the longest my current contract will go for is to some time in July - I can move on to something else after that.  But what?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bike Profile - Cervelo Soloist Carbon
Sometimes, when I ride this bike along some false flat into a head/cross wind that pulls the snot out of my nose and onto my jersey, I think about Jens and how he would push a little harder.  So I do.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bike Profile - Ventana El Terremoto
 I picked up the frame and fork for my wife in January 2010, and spent a couple of months occasionally building it up.  The wheels were rebuilt at that time, as I wanted the red Hope hubs for my Titus, and the gunmetal really did look better on this bike. 
Bike Profile - Titus Racer-X
Not quite done...

I was able to score this frame from Speedgoat back in the spring of 2006[?].  Sam wanted a full-suspension bike, and this is what I was able to come up with.  2-3 pounds lighter than her hardtail, state of the art Juicy 7 brakes, a Reba Race fork with lockout, and really light wheels from [now defunct] Odds and Endos.  It doesn't get much use since she got the Terremoto, but it's still a fast, agile ride 5 years later.  I keep thinking about upgrading the shock or the fork, but they're fine, and she doesn't care.
Shrinking Cities

I came across an interesting article on the BikeCalgary site.  It's a good read.  With over half the global population living in cities, it's worth looking at how big they can be vs. how big they should be.  It's also about scale, specicifically human scale vs. car scale.  A quote from the article:
Buildings would, on average, be higher, houses would be replaced by apartments and cars by bicycles, walkable streets, streetcars, and elevators. Pleasurable and beautiful places like rooftop gardens and restaurants, multi-story solar greenhouses and bridges with spectacular views connecting buildings would predominate...
Sounds like a nice place to visit, and I'd want to live there.
Bike Profile - Misfit diSSent


Slack chain FTW
  Mmmm.  diSSent.  I picked up the frame on a whim from Misfit Psycles in spring 2009.  I had never been on a Big Wheel, nor did I know what the "correct" geometry was.   I read that they were sweet, but the capper was somebody writing about how it rode "nothing like a Gary Fisher".  SOLD.  After having the crap kicked out of me by the Brodie Unibomber for a couple of years, but still enjoying the zip of a SS, I decided to take the plunge.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

What I Did on My Winter Vacation

Sam getting her shred on.

I picked up a Rossignol Experience [thanks Julie!] just before x-mas, and was able to ride it on three different hills in 5 days. I had two days at Mt Washington, one at Blackcomb and one at Revelstoke. Conditions ranged from over-the-head blower pow to polished hardpack. Here is a quick review of the board and some notes on the trip...

Urgh.

[rubs eyes]

How long have I been out?