Friday, February 27, 2009

Protectin' yer noggin...

I have wrecked twice since I've begun riding regularly. Once in the midst of a sponsored bike ride with dozens of riders bearing down on my body (thankfully none hit me), I was OK save for some rash and a sprained right ring finger. I finished out the ride, although a bit slower than when I had started out. My helmet seemed to be fine, just a small dent where my head had contacted the asphalt (I was going about 15 or so mph), I wore it like a medal along with the road rash.

My more recent crash was about a month ago and I took 2 and a half weeks off from riding, mostly because of rain and some thigh pain, then it became some reluctance or rather lack of interest on my part. I've resolved all of these and am riding regularly again. What I didn't do after the last crash was to inspect my helmet thoroughly and today after reading through a helmet thread in Bikeforums, I decided I should do just that.

Boy was I surprised, I found a section of foam near the strap had cracked completely through. There was only one thing to do, replace it. So I did just that and I rode down to the Performance store down in Sorrento valley and dropped 53 bucks on a new one during my lunch hour (then put in a good climbing workout). Granted I was taking a chance by having the broken one on my head to begin with, but something is always better than nothing and something new is certainly better than something that is broken.

But the bottom line is that in both incidences I was glad to have had on a helmet, as my head solidly hit the pavement on both occasions and during the second crash my head slid along the railroad track crossing for a few feet. And for a very nominal investment one can significantly protect one's head and the contents within. I have had debates with a certain people person about the merits of wearing one regardless of if it messes one's hair or not... Caaaitlin!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Back in the saddle...

Like all the kids say/text these days... OMG!

After 2+weeks of very little riding on a real or stationary bike, I like an idiot jumped in head first and rode a bit too hard to start. It wasn't long and I thought I was going to have a heart attack! I was out of breath and my heart was pumping hard, hard enough to cause discomfort. I slowed down to catch my breath and all but it wouldn't be long and then I'd find myself in the same spot again.

I'm going at it again tomorrow but I plan on taking it real easy. I'm glad I didn't plan on commuting tomorrow, I'd probably kill myself!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

This just in...

The bicycle finally enters the 21st century...
and the robot overlords are nearing their goal!

The amount of carbon fiber, titanium and aluminum alloys out there and in a bike these days along with some of the cylocomps, HRM and GPS units attached are now complete with predictable and hopefully useful electronic shifting. Robobike has arrived!

Granted this is state of the art stuff and costs a bloody fortune, so the results are likely to trickle down to the common man in 3-5 years if I were to venture a guess. The trade off will be energy packs to recharge and eventually replace vs. cables to lube, adjust and replace. My only concern would be how much a shifter would cost to replace after a crash (and why am I wondering this...?)

We'll see if the gents riding with the Shimano gruppo can keep up with the Lance! Which BTW one can see here to San Diego this coming weekend up in north county. It'd be neat to see, but the crowds should be thick with bike nerds me thinks...

(Thank for the tip Ann)


Scratch that post below...

I rode all of 1.2 miles to Starbucks and back yesterday. The little man wanted his usual Saturday constitutional, which proved aggravating due to his attitude. I couldn't find the interest to ride anywhere, that and I left my bike shorts at work, not that I need them to ride, but it makes for a convenient excuse!

And now as I write the wife has left for the day so I'm at home puttering about listening to the little man banter with his friend about Star Wars, legos and all that a 7 year old will conjure up. Maybe I'll try my hand at wheel truing... I noticed after the tumble the front wheel has a bit of a wobble in it... Maybe...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Fallen and can't get up

So it's been almost 2 weeks since I rode last, what will tomorrow bring? No rain I hope, I feel I should ride but in a way my passion has dropped off, other things crowd/cloud my mind to distraction. I'm not sure if my crash didn't cause me to lose some of my gusto, but me thinks it did. It doesn't help that my thigh still hurts, tho it doesn't seem to affect pedaling when I'm spinning at the gym. So I'll see how tomorrow goes and take a long tour of the neighborhood if conditions are decent.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Damn rain, damn pain

I actually like the rain and we need it, but I haven't ridden in a week. I'm not getting cagey yet probably just starting to gain some weight and lose muscle tone, tomorrow I'll know on the former as everyone in m group has been weighing in on Mondays as part of a group weight loss plan. Granted I have little to concern myself with here... 

On the latter point, muscles begin to atrophy after 72 hrs, so all that bitchin' tone you bagged over the weekend will be probably be lost by Thursday or Friday as I am told. And I've fallen behind on my daily rides so all that work I put in over the past 6 months is starting to go to pot.

Rain is forecast for Monday, so I may try the gym again at work. There's only one functional stationary bike so I'll need to go early and nab it before the lunchtime hoards make an appearance.

Ah well, so it goes...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

My commute... in pictures..

More or less, I ran into a problem midway...

So it's a 13+ mile trek to work from home and 15+ back the way I go and I do it once in awhile when I have the time. It's an hour each way regardless of conditions, mine or nature's. I do it because I can, it add's to my fitness and I ejoy (usually...) the challenge. Another fellow biker and Elantra owner Doohickie blogged this concept already and I found it a neat idea and wanted to give it a go, so go I did when the time presented itself to me.

The following is a visual representation of my commute, and although I was stopping or slowing to take pics, I managed to keep up my speed and complete the first leg in roughly the same time I would normally. So here it goes...

First things first:

Step 1: Prep your gear and kit the night before...
Step 2: Wake up. Early.
Step 3: Once suited up and ready, HTFU and get out there and ride no matter what it
feels like outside temperature wise. For some it may be in the minus temps, but here in So Cal we might see 25ยบ and my last ride in I did.
Step 4: Switch on your lights, fore and aft.

So to begin I hop on, fumble in the darkness with my clipless pedals and I take a left up my street -

I follow it around and come to the little street the dumps out onto Tierrasanta Bl, across from which lies the fueling station -

From here I roll east bound (and down) on Tierrasanta Bl, but instead of taking it across I-15 and thru that big wide canyon that has no bike lane and one major squeeze-play interchange, I turn right onto Santo and drop down onto Clairemont Mesa Bl and take a left there instead-

Not sure if you can see the other side of Tierrasanta Bl. -

First of the canyons, this one on Clairemont Mesa Bl is short and sweet with lots of expansion bumps in the asphalt -

The first of the freeway interchanges is up next and so is the first hill of any import (just beyond). It used to take all that I could muster to get up this thing, it's now relatively easy -

Clairemont Mesa Bl is roughly 5 miles of mixed commercial/residential depending on where you are along the way.

First up is all commercial.

Now anyone who has ever been to the 99 Ranch Market can attest to this: If you ever had any, and I mean any bias, prejudice or ill will toward Asian drivers, but did your best to hold back, toss aside or otherwise disregard those thoughts, this place will challenge them all over and quite possibly win. 'Bumper cars' was how one person described the parking lot, cars are backed up out into the street waiting to get in here...

Second freeway interchange and one reason I take a different way back-

The third interchange is coming up next. I had a school bus give me right of way when I was crossing the freeway on ramp one dark morning, rather nice I thought...

After this it becomes mostly residential with plenty of on street parking. Plenty... so lots of car doors, and another reason I like to take a different route at quitin' time -

This continues unabated until one turns right on Genesee and then preps themselves for a joy ride. But first more parked cars... Then a nice 4-6% grade to the bottom where one can find yet another freeway on ramp and off ramp as well as nice trails in Marion Bear park for mountain biking or gay trysting... ( so a hetero co-worker tells me...):

Tipping point -

Nice place to hit 40+ mph, I like to keep it around 25 or 30 to keep the disaster potential from reaching epic proportions at 5am-

And back up again, get to shifting onto the large cogs.... The first of the Lartigue photos...

You crest at Governor and then head down the next hill repeat -

WooHoo! Oh yeah watch those manhole covers...!

Recently a military jet crashed a quarter mile east of this school...

And back up to UTC and the Golden triangle, the property may be golden alright but the streets are paved with shit-

Just a taste...

You take Genesee up to East Point drive and you see La Jolla Country Day on the left, an expensive school for the well to do around San Diego. Take a left here -

Turn right at the end and this takes you into USCD territory. I found this ancient relic that I had been told about, so I checked it out. It had been protected inside with plexiglass...

Cool old graffiti from WWII... in pencil no less-

Going past the Pruess School and into UCSD...

Where you'll pass by some interesting architecture-

And I stop if I'm driving a car, otherwise I passively ignore these to suit my needs (sorry guys...)

One more small hill-

At the top of that hill you take a left and go past the athletic fields and the gym and onto the corner of North Torrey Pines Rd and Genesee, where you'll take a right to the light then take a left at John Jay Hopkins Dr. All the while making sure traffic is favorable...

I usually take the first right at John Jay Hopkins Court, but since the next one is more interesting blog wise (hell if you made it thus far...) as it is General Atomics Court and the site of the big bronze turd. So everyone I know describes as such, people who don't work in the area but have seen it say the same thing. Turns out a neighbor works for The Scripps Institute and knows about the statue. He said it is supposed to be a wave. A wave... Hmmm looks like a turd. Not one of modern art's better moments...

So it was at this point I turned around and traveled back the way I had came, through UCSD and up to Eastgate Mall by La Jolla Country Day. Instead of taking a right at Genesee, I head straight on Eastgate Mall through the 'Golden Triangle' with the paved with shit roads which makes it's way across the 805 and right into Miramar Road.

The air base is here, it was once the Top Gun training facility when the Navy had it. It's been military land since before anyone reading this was born or their parents. Now it's in the hands of the Marines due to BRAC.

At Miramar I take a left and head down it and it's wonderful asphalt atrocities-

Ok, so all is fine and I'm rolling along at a decent clip. I've been down this road before more than a few times. But up ahead, there's a sign just before the railroad tracks telling bicyclists to "Dismount and walk across tracks".. walk across, ha! More like crash!

And that's where the riding ended. I had to call in for SAG support as my leg was in too much pain for me to HTFU and carry on. I walked across the road to a Winchell's for some band aids. A guy in a Steeler's jersey offered me some Purel to clean my hands with, after which I sat down and sorted myself out a bit. Later I drove myself to the ER for a look see because the leg pain was enough to generate caution and concern. Nothing was damaged other than pride, some bike parts and my thigh muscles on the right side. Oh well so it goes...

I had shot more stuff in the car as we took the route home that I would have taken, but I think the moral of this story is thus:

Always be ready for the worst, prepare yourself for the crash. Carry a cell phone or change, having a small first aid kit maybe a good idea if you're far from services of any kind and above all watch yourself on those damn rubber tiled railroad track crossings...

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Caio Mathias!

Karol and I say this to you dear sir:

The Japanese car is now on it's way to Finland on the Barcelona from America sent by a German, helped by a Polock and loaded by Mexicans...

Enjoy Helsinki!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

50 years ago...

So like a zillion other pages across the internets today, I'm adding mine as Mr. Buddy Holly has had more than his share of influence in my musical life in one form or another. Instead of blathering on and giving you a laundry list of ways in which the estimable Buddy Holly has held court on my musical leanings, I'll go and find a nice snazzy pic to post and mention this one short story:

18 Years ago when The Unknowns were in France on tour with Bruce Joyner, we played a rousing gig at the Club Ubu in Rennes and the crowd begged for an encore, and then another and then yet another. I love the French because they are not only enthusiastic but are vocally so and they do not let you go until they've become so drunk on you, they keel over and yell for more. It's kinda like making love and doing so only for the other person and continuing until you both expire in a heap of flesh.

Ok that was a bit more than I expected to say, but well it's how I felt that night. The audience would not let us stop until we were all in a heap together, spent from our mutual combustion. So we had one more song left in us and we felt that a Buddy Holly song was best and so we chose 'Well...Alright', one of the simplest and beautiful songs he ever wrote. We played the song as it was originally recorded in Norman Petty's studio, just guitar, bass and cymbal played on the floor with vocals. So Craig pulled his ride cymbal off the stand came out front and sat down to play. It was the funnest and most rewarding time I ever recalled playing a song for anybody. Period.

Thanks Buddy...