An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
Comments welcome!

Friday, November 21, 2014


The month of November begins in earnest the winter struggle of busy-ness, getting things accomplished, holidays, demands on time, and trying to stay sane and in some kind of physical shape (other than round).

October this year was pretty decent weather-wise. There were really only a few days that I consider not rideable. November, though, has been challenging, with very cold temperatures, and now the usual wet. Add in that my wife has been in training for a new part-time job, and my available time for riding these past two work weeks has been my lunchtime. I try to get in the hour (or a little more if meeting schedules permit) of saddle time, but some days it just doesn't happen.

In all that, though, I've gotten two more bike frames near the end of their process -- on in paint, and one nearly so. I'm making a second fork for my gravel/'cross bike, so that will be this weekend's project. Colors? I'm debating with the primer grey/clearcoat on the frame with a red fork and graphics, or going with yellow on the frame instead. I know the yellow/red combination is striking, but the grey/red is more staid and utilitarian. It might depend more on what yellow I can find that will accept epoxy clear topcoat.

A funny thing happened on the way...

The gravel bike I am finishing up is actually the second main frame. It was too long to fit in the jig, and I was having a terrible time getting it set up, so I decided to set it up on the flat table with V-blocks. The seat tube/bottom bracket junction was done in the jig so that it was at 90 degrees, but then I took that assembly to the table with the rest of the tubes in the blocks. Well, somewhere in the process the seat tube got knocked or something, and the whole main frame ended up at a slight angle. The head tube and seat tube were PERFECTLY parallel, but putting the frame on the "whipping post" showed that the head tube was out-of-plane with the bottom bracket by a good 1/2". Ugh. And it was fully brazed, not just tacked.

I tried to "show it who's boss" as Richard Sachs likes to say. That ended badly -- the corner of my flat surface broke off, and I nearly broke my knuckles.

I sighed.

I cried a little.

And I set it aside to start over. I figured I could finish it up at some point as a display-only model.

That was a few months ago. Fast forward to a couple weeks ago, with a new flat surface reinforced by planks. For grins I put that main triangle back on the whipping post to see what I could do. 

Some grunting, a lot of flipping it over on the post, lots of checks... And it came into alignment!

Now, if this were for a paying customer, I wouldn't be passing along something I had to do that much cold-setting with, and it'll still end up mostly as a display model. But I've got this extra main triangle that I'm figuring out just how to finish.

Fixed gear? Another 'cross/gravel rig? Maybe play around with the idea of a 29+?

Monday, November 3, 2014

I've been down, but I'm not out.

I don't get sick very often.

Maybe it's that I lead a reclusive lifestyle. I don't really care for crowds.

And shunning showers and personal care products  makes this easy -- crowds avoid me.

Okay, not really. I shower and use decent-enough hygiene that I'm only rarely not socially acceptable. But I still don't care for pressing flesh with 10,000 of my best-friends-I-just-met.

But we returned from Illinois last month with a nice little gift for all of us -- a cold that is just hanging on. Sinuses draining green goo, and a dry throat and cough that is just irritating. It's been two weeks now. Longest cold I can remember.

Which has kept me off the bike for almost 2 weeks now. My last ride was on October 23rd, a little one-hour off-road excursion on my lunch break. Not even something strenuous. But I think that drove the cold well into the depths of my body, and there's is taken up residence like Fort Knox, apparently.

Where did we pick it up? Well, I thought about that... My niece had been sick the night before we left, but by the time we saw them, she was doing fine and I would think not contagious. 

We were in a crowd at the wedding on Saturday. There's a possibility there.

But there was that lady that sat next to me on the flight to Chicago... Fours hours of her blowing her nose, sneezing, and laying her head down on the fold-out tray. Uh, yeah, that's probably it.

Thanks. I got to pay for that privilege.

I expect I'll be back to riding by the end of the week, and maybe by the end of the month it'll be like it never happened. 

Wonderful thing, these healing bodies.

Now I just have to figure out where to get my flu shot.