Saturday, January 30, 2010

Garbage find

One night, a while back, I was taking out the garbage and stumbled upon this:

A Steve Bauer "Samiel" road bike frame, sans wheels. I brought it inside and stripped what I could off of it. As soon as I found it, I thought "right on! A winter project." The first (and only) thing that crossed my mind was a fixed gear conversion. A perfect fit, too. 56cm center to center top tube and seat tube. Well, two months have passed, and I haven't even touched the frame. It requires a bit of work...there are a lot of little rust patches...nothing serious, but just lots of them. The thought of sanding, more sanding, even more sanding, priming and painting doesn't really appeal to me right now.

"samiel" - a violent hot sand-laden wind on the deserts of Arabia and North Africa

 "some" rust spots

Then I got thinking; when would I actually use the bike? My current fixie is used only for commuting to work, and for running the odd errand. When I look at the riding that I currently do, another fixie probably wouldn't get much, if any use at all. So, what to do with the frame? Considering that I originally wanted to pimp out the bike with expensive, blingy, matching parts, it's not gonna be a cost-effective endeavour. On top of that, all the bike funds that I have right now need to go towards parts for my other bikes, as well as race entry fees, gas for getting to races etc. And because I haven't touched the bike yet, I obviously don't have the time to put into it. What to do, what to do? Well, for anyone out there reading this, who wants a project, I'm offering you this frame. First come, first serve.

If you want a bike project, here you go. If you wanna finish my basement for me, come on over!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Another January ride

I managed to get out for another road ride today. Not a particularly long one (1hr 40mins, approx 45 km or so), but it was good again to be out on the January no less! Part of my motivation came from knowing that a small group rode out to Wakefield last Sunday for a 4 hour ride...I felt I had some catching up to do! Today's ride wasn't particularly noteworthy or exciting, other than the fact that it was my second road ride in January. I didn't bring along the camera, although I thought about it. But a) I didn't want to end up with a frozen camera and b) I don't think I would have been bothered to stop, take off my mitts, snap a pic, put my camera back, put my mitts back on and be on my way. Yeah yeah, lame excuse. But there was one moment on my ride where I wish I did have my camera...I was riding on a road that cut through some was flat all around me, and I was surrounded by nothing but white. It felt kind of surreal. As I rode along, I noticed the snow on the side of the road was piled in evenly spaced drifts, sort of like waves of snow bordering the ditch. It was kind of purty.

I also got to "listen" to some new music today, too. Stuff from the Antlers, Bear in Heaven and The Dodos. Bands I probably never would have heard of if it wasn't for Strictly Bangers, a blog profiling all sorts of music, bands and artists (it was a "Blog of Note" some time ago). Now, I say I got to "listen" to some new music because I'm in serious need of some new earphones for riding. My current pair, made by JVC, are the inner ear type that you jam inside your ear. But even with the smallest size of silicone pads, they still fall out of my ears (this only happens in the cooler weather my hat or headband keeps them in place). On top of that, they have great high end, so-so mid range, and non-existent bass. I NEEEEEED to have bass in my music. I've tried the earphones that come with IPods, but they also fall out. I've been checking out future shop and best buy every so often for some ideas, but I'd be welcome to any suggestions of what works for you.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Dog in a Hat

I don't read much (except for magazines and the rantings of other bloggers), but once in a while I manage to pick up a book and a make a dedicated effort to finish it. Lucky for me, the last book I picked up was an easy, entertaining read. Of course, it was bike related, which also made things easier (easier as in motivation, and not as in easy because I'm illiterate). The book I'm talking about is "A dog in a hat", by Joe Parkin. I'm sure that by now most of you have heard of this book, and I'm sure that when you heard about the book, you asked yourself "Joe WHO?!?!?" Joe Parkin left the states to become a professional roadie in Belgium in the late 80's/early 90's.

Now, I'm not gonna try my hand at writing a proper book review (although I suppose that this constitutes a book review since I'm talking about a book I just read), but I will say that this was a really good read. You get an upront, honest and blunt insight into the world of bike racing. It's not glamourous at all....there are drugs, payoffs, low race winnings, being yelled at by team directors. It's filled with plenty of hilarious anecdotes...there's the time that he felt like he was FLYING through a time trial, rode the best he EVER has, and still finished last on his team. Turns out that when he was going 55km/hr, the others on his team were doing 95km/hr....they got  some "help" from from their directeur on sections of the course that weren't under the watchful eyes of officials.

Like I said before, this is a great book, and for more insight into the world of Joe Parkin, click the link on his name in the first paragraph, or click HERE.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A January ride and of course....

some beer!!!!!

First, I got out for a ride today...a pretty short ride, just an hour, but a ride nonetheless. With the exception of commuting, this is the first time ever that I've gotten in a road ride in January....and man did I feel out of shape! But that's besides the point. It was good to get out for a ride that wasn't a commute. Sometimes, commuting can seem like a bit of a chore, which is why getting out for just an hour was worth it.

On the beer front, I've finally gotten around to drinking my Samuel Smith beers. Actually, I should say that I've finally gotten around to writing about them. I had 3 styles to try out: an old brewery pale ale, a nut brown ale and an oatmeal stout. These beers are very distinct from one another, and very good!

 The pale ale has a nice aroma and flavour, balanced between sweet and bitter. It definitely has a finish that's more on the bitter side of things, it lingers, but it's not too intense.
The nut brown ale has a nice toffee and chocolate aroma and flavour that gets better as the beer warms up a bit. Like the pale ale, it has a bitter finish, but it's not overpowering at all.

Lastly, the oatmeal stout, like most stouts, has a chocolaty and coffee flavour and aroma, with a hint of smokiness. This beer also has a bitter finish that's not too intense.

You can see that there was a bit of a common theme...nice flavour and aroma with a bitter finish. Overall, very good beers, and the other bonus is that the bottles were a true pint, 550mL of beer goodness!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

NUE tentative schedule

The tentative schedule for the 2010 National Ultra Endurance series has been posted. This is a series of 100 mile mountain bike races that take place throughout the bike season around the states. The Mohican, June 5th, is a possibility, and the Wilderness 101, July 31st, is a certainty. If I'm gonna do the Mohican, I need to get some serious training in. One cool way is to get a training plan from the man himself, Chris Eatough. Otherwise, I'll just be plugging away at the mileage and intensity, but there's NO way I'm EVER gonna do a 3 hour trainer session!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

AAAHHHHH!!!!! MY LEGS!!!!!!!!!!!...............

..............ARE GETTING WEAKER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Alright, I'll kill the caps and exclamation marks). Like I mentioned before, my commute to work is shorter now...basically half the distance: 16km round trip instead of 33km round trip. That amounts to a commute that barely gets the legs warmed up. Add to that not getting on the traininer in almost a week, and it feels like my legs are turning to jello.

Ok, my legs aren't THAT bad, but if I don't don something soon, I may as well just keel right over.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New year, new job.

Today was my first commute of 2010, and my first commute to my new job. Yup, I've started a new job, and I think that this is a move that will have me doing the same thing for the next 20 years or so (scary thought, really). Up until New Year's eve, 2009, I was working as a kinesiologist in a physiotherapy clinic. Basically, I looked after the exercise rehab of our patients. It was an interesting job, challenging, rewarding and with a constant turn around of patients, it never got stale. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a dead end job...there was nowhere else to go with the company I was working for, and the pay, well, it left a little to be desired.

So enter 2010, and I've started working for a company whose main service is assessing lower limb conditions and the manufacturing of foot orthotics. I'll be working towards getting certified as a pedorthist, and eventually managing a clinic. The clinics are basically franchises, so down the line there will be opportunities to buy shares and become an owner. My first ever "degree related" job was working at a similar type of clinic, so although I'm starting a new job, it's all pretty familiar to me.

In addition, my commute for the time being will be shorter, so I don't think I'll hit the same mileage as I did this year. But the bonus is that I'll have a little more free time in the evenings, and possibly get out on some more group rides. The other thing is I won't arrive at work in a sweaty mess...good for me, and my co-workers!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A run, and some beer.

Yesterday I did something I haven't done in a loooooong time. That was go for a run. Now, I'm not even remotely close to  what you would call a runner. The only time I ever really do any running is in the winter, and that's only because I can't bike as much as I'd like to prevent myself from feeling like an inactive bum. BUT, there are some good things about winter running:

-you get a good workout in a short period of time
-even if it's minus 15 out, you can still warm up pretty quickly
-it's kind of fun...jumping over snow banks, dodging ice and puddles, dashing through the snow, on a one horse open sleigh....
-gives my bones a good pounding...I'm afraid of developing brittle bones since biking isn't a weight bearing exercsie
-it's easy on the joints, especially when there's snow underfoot
-it can be pretty tough at times, especially when there's a decent amount of snow of the ground (kind of like running in sand)

So I got out for a 35 minute run of 5 minutes of running, followed by 1 minute of walking. By the time I got back home, I felt like "Damn! I've just worked out good!" 35 minutes might not sound like much, but trust me, I felt it today. Sore quads, hip flexors and tibialis muscles . Because of that, my planned 60 minutes on the trainer today turned into 30 minutes on the rollers. At least I feel like I'll be able to ride the rollers and drink coffee at the same time pretty soon.

As for some beer, I picked up a 6 pack of Creemore Springs urBock. If you click on the link, you get a good description of what an "urBock" is. I was initially intrigued by the packaging, stating that it's a limited release. It's a pretty dark beer, and also a little higher on the alcohol content...6%. Nevertheless, it packs quite a flavour punch, but has a bitter finish that lingers. I found it went well with some cheese to balance out the bitterness. Unfortunately, it didn't give me a feeling that I was part of the "noble class", for which this beer was traditionally reserved for according to the website. If you like beer with a hoppy/bitter finish, pick this up before it's all gone...until next year.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year's snowshoe and 2009 mileage

New Year's day, got up at noon! WTF! It's not like I was out for an all-nighter polluting my body the way I did many moons ago (*sigh*, the memories of rave-tastic New Year's past). We (meaning the family) DID make it out past midnight, but then promptly came home and went to bed. But waking up at noon?!?!?!?! Oh well, might as well take advantage of the sleep when I can.
So, with the bit of fresh snow, we got out for a snowshoe on New Year's day. The good thing about snowshoeing is it's something we can do together during the winter with Lil' D (I'm now referring to my daughter as "Lil' D", 'cause it seems that everyone in blogger land refers to their children by nicknames). It was a short hike, just an hour, at some trails near our place. Funny thing is, I actually felt a little out of shape trudging through the snow, but I did have a little extra weight on me:

Lil' D along for the ride strapped to Dad.

 Purty picture by Sonia.

On another note, I figured out my 2009 mileage. I didn't get in any more commutes this year, due to the frickin' cold weather we had last week combined with Sonia not needing the car. So here's my tally for 2009:

Road bike: 4718 km
Commuter: 6270km
Mountain Bike: 940km*
Mendotta: 670km*
*These are approximate numbers.

Total: 12 597km. Might as well just round up to 12 600km.

So there you have it, 12 600km in 2009. In all honesty, I think that's about the same mileage that we put on our car this year. I don't think I'll hit the same numbers in 2010, (more on that in another post in a few days), but it should be a good year...I'm already looking ahead at what races I want to do (more on that in a few days, too), and I'll be getting some good resistance training in once I hook up a trailer to my bike, just in time for cross season (yes, I'm thinking that far ahead!!).