Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Power outages and hardware failures.

There was a storm in our area the other night and we lost power. Even though my laptop is plugged into a surge protector, I now have a horizontal bar on the lower part of the screen that flickers and won't go away. It appears to be completely hardware related, because if I try to do a screen capture of the flickering bar, it doesn't show up.

Now I have to call Dell and see what I need to do. I also need to call the power supply people and see if this will qualify for reimbursement if I need to buy a new display or whatever. Which I'm guessing is what I'm going to have to do.

The storm happened while I was at my friend Chris's place getting my Fairdale Goodship all ship-shape. I had it mostly built up, but I still needed to do the cables and housing, as well as the bar tape. The handlebar that I bought (3T Tornova LTD) has internal cable routing, so I figured it'd be good to have someone else to help if that got to be at all frustrating.

The internal routing was way easier than I expected, and it's actually really slick. Once I got everything routed, I didn't need to worry about taping stuff to the bar to hold it in place or anything like that. There was a big scare when we were cabling the right shifter, though.

A few days earlier, I had taken it off of the CAAD10, clicked it up and down its gear range to make sure it was in the highest gear, and fastened it to the new bar on the Goodship. When we were getting ready to feed the cable into the shifter, Chris tried messing with the shift lever, and it wouldn't move through the gears at all. It seemed like it was broken, but I couldn't come up with any explanation as to why, since it had been fine the other day, and all I had done since was put it on the new bar.

We took it off the bar and all of a sudden it worked again. Put it back on the bar, and it still worked. Tragedy averted, but mystery not solved. Which is fine, as long as it keeps working. Once we got that settled, we were able to finish everything else without incident. Except for when I wrapped the right side of the handlebar in the wrong direction and had to start over again. But that was pretty easy.

After the bike was finished, I loaded it up in the car and headed home to a powerless house. Which takes us back to the beginning of this post.

Speaking of technical difficulties, the next morning I decided to ride the Goodship to work. I use a Garmin Edge 510 to track all of my riding, and I already had my four bikes on there. I added the Goodship as number five, with the intent of removing the CAAD10 from the list since it's no longer in the fold.

Anyway. The ride recorded and uploaded without issue. At the end of the day, I grabbed the Garmin, hit the power button and... nothing. Held the power button in for a few seconds. Nothing. I tried plugging it back into my computer at work and it wouldn't even power up via USB. Since I had no other options, I did a full reset of the unit, which did work, but of course it also wiped all of the data that I still had on the unit, a lot of which I hadn't saved to Dropbox. Oh well. Note to self: Four bike max on an Edge 510. I guess?

The fun didn't stop there. After I got it started again, I rode home and uploaded my ride. The map showed a short mapped section from my office to the gym where I change after work, and a short mapped section for about the last mile of my trip. Between those two points was a straight line. The Garmin either stopped listening or stopped talking to the GPS satellites.

No idea if I should expect more of the same when I go out to ride today. I kind of hope it just works again since I'm headed to Louisville to ride this weekend, and it'd be nice to record those rides accurately. Yes, I know: these are all first world problems.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

When last we (okay, I) blogged...

So it's been like two years and some months.

Do I bother with a catch-up post? Am I even going to post again after this one? Are blogs over?

  • I did a 6-hour MTB race with my friend Chris in May of 2013. We got 3rd Place Men's Duo. Our team name was Cats Of Instagram. I think that, more than anything, was why we finished as well as we did.
  • I got my first cyclocross podium finish in September of 2013. Finished 5th at Kickoff CX in Point Marion, PA. I didn't finish that well the rest of the season, but I still did okay.
  • I got hit by a car on March 11th, 2014. Or rather, I ran into a car that turned left right in front of me. That was a fiasco. I was mostly fine. My bike was not. The driver was in her aunt's car, and she wasn't on her aunt's insurance policy. And her aunt lives in Georgia. And the insurance adjuster would never call me back. But I eventually got my check in June and replaced my Blue CX6.5 with a Ritchey Swiss Cross.
  • We went to Mexico in April of 2014 for a different friend Chris's wedding. Heather got sick the first day we were there and stayed sick the whole time. We didn't get to see any ruins. Can't imagine we'll be going back to Mexico any time soon.
  • We went to Hawaii (Kauai, specifically) for ten days in June of 2014. Heather didn't get sick. Wedding Chris and his wife Anna stayed with us at our resort for the first seven days. A good time was had by all, and it was over way too soon.
2015 has been nuts. Winter didn't go away until... last week? Seriously, it snowed last Saturday. Nigel, one of our cats, had to spend two nights at the emergency vet because he had struvite crystals in his bladder. After he came home, the other three cats got sick, and all four cycled through various ailments for two and a half months. I don't know what we'd do without pet insurance.

This past week I rode six out of seven days. I can't remember the last time that happened. Although I could look at Strava and find out for you. But I don't feel like it right now. It's been a while, and it felt really good to spend some time on the bike(s). I hope that the coming weeks will bring more of the same and I'll finally get back into some kind of groove.

Upcoming excitement: Heading to Kentucky with MTB podium Chris and some other good dudes in mid-May. The plan is to drive to Louisville on Friday, ride bikes down to Bardstown on Saturday, tour some distilleries Saturday afternoon, ride back to Louisville on Sunday, tour another distillery, and then drive back to Pittsburgh. Pretty stoked. Hoping for good weather.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dressing for 7°

  • Gore Sleeveless base layer
  • Giordana Silverline lightweight long sleeve jersey
  • Castelli Insolito Radiation Jacket (with the space blanket liner)
  • Descente Coldout bib tights
  • Novara Stratos rain/wind pants
  • Descente winter socks
  • Toe warmers (that never activated)
  • Pearl Izumi Barrier GTX winter shoes
  • Endura MT500 shoe covers
  • Manzella liners
  • Outdoor Research Gripper gloves
  • Trail's Edge Moose Mitts
  • North Face balaclava
  • Oakley O Frame MX goggles
  • Bell Metropolis helmet with winter liner and rain cover

All in all, I was very comfortable on my way to work. As you can see, the only exposed skin I had was my nose and just a tiny bit of my face.

I will say it over and over again. Those moose mitts are worth their weight in gold. Hardest part is waiting for my fingers to warm up on their own so that the mitts can retain the heat for them.

Hoping that I can get the toe warmers to activate for the ride home. My feet were fine, but they were starting to get chilly by the end of my twelve mile commute. Without the MT500 shoe covers, they'd have been blocks of ice.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Well, at least THAT'S out of the way.

It's only January 7th, but I'm hoping that I've fulfilled my quota of cycling-related injuries for 2013.

On New Year's Day, while adjusting the calipers on my mountain bike to accommodate a different wheelset, I almost cut off my index finger with a disc brake rotor. That's the second time I've done that. When it happened in March of 2012 it was a lot worse. I was afraid I was going to lose half of the nail on my right index finger. This time it was the right index finger again, but only a minor cut and a bad pinch. Got the brakes adjusted and went out and rode Frick to celebrate another year of cycling.

So that should cover injuries related to bike maintenance and mechanics.

On my way to work today, I hit some ice on the Downtown trail between Point Park and the Convention Center. I was traveling somewhere between 15-20 mph when it happened and didn't hit the ground so much with a thud as a slide and some scraping.

The bike was remarkably unaffected. Some shredded bar tape, but that was basically. Pretty impressive, considering I went down on the drive side. I had to re-seat the chain and nudge the right shifter back in place, but that was about it.

As for me, I could tell right away that my right knee and elbow had absorbed most of the impact, but nothing terrible. No holes in my tights and at the time, I didn't see any in my jacket (my almost brand-new jacket that I was wearing for only the second time). After walking around a bit, I noticed that the big toe on my right foot was sore. Again, no hole in my shoe or anything like that. I didn't investigate further because a) I still had a mile and a half to get to work, and b) it was only 30° out.

Once I got to work, I changed out of my bike clothes and got a good chance to survey the damage. Brush burn on the elbow. Same thing on the knee. A hole in the jacket near the shoulder. A hole in the thumb of my brand new gloves. And my big toe. Just a big old mess of purple under the nail. I have no idea what happened to that poor toe, or how, but it was bruised as all get out. When I checked on it later in the day, I could see that it was also bruising pretty good on the bottom of the toe. Crazy stuff. But still walkable, and riding home this evening was no problem.

I really hope this means I can be done with injuries related to actually riding my bike for the year.

I'll be interested to see how my toe progresses overnight and if I'll be able to stuff it back into my cycling shoes for tomorrow's commute. I don't want to have to take any days off when the weather is supposed to get warmer.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The year (on the bike) in review

2011 was a pretty good year on the bike. Some numbers (Because everyone loves numbers, right?):
  • Days on the bike: 282
  • Total miles: 7,693
  • Miles/day average (over 282 days): 27
  • Miles/day average (over 365 days): 21
  • Month with the most miles: July (1,053)
  • Commuting miles: 5,071
The 7,693 miles I rode in 2011 came out to be 3,566 miles more than I'd ridden in 2010.

Can I possibly best that in 2012? Maybe. I'm already 57 miles ahead of where I was on January 6th of last year. And I still have to ride home tonight.

Seriously, if it wasn't for commuting, I'd have never racked up that kind of mileage. The 22+ miles/day of commuting is probably my favorite part of the job. I'm pretty sure that would be the case no matter where I worked. I love having the ability to get myself to and from work without a car, under my own power, and without having to sit in/be a part of traffic.

Some highlights:
  • Finished the Hilly Billy Roubaix. I attempted it in 2010 but quit with 32 miles to go. No quitting in 2011.
  • Completed my second Dirty Dozen.
  • Finished 10th overall in the Men's 3/4 category for the ABRA CX Series.
Lowlights? Not many that I can recall. One that stands out: landing on my face during the first lap of a short-track XC race on the slag heaps adjacent to Frick. Had to go the ER after that one and get stitches above my upper lip.

Goals for 2012?
  1. Podium for at least one of the ABRA Cyclocross Men's 3/4 races.
  2. Do some actual training this year to make No.1 happen.
  3. Third Dirty Dozen.
That's all I have for right now. I was a horrible blogger in 2011. Will I be better this year? Maybe?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Morgantown Monster Cross, Day 1 (In which our hero misses the start, misses the finish, but still does okay)

I raced Morgantown Monster Cross last year. Heather and I drove down, got lost, and ended up getting to the race five minutes before I was supposed to start. I started at the very back of the pack but still ended up placing 13th of 35 riders. Not too bad, all things considered.

This year, things were going to be different. I registered for the Mens 3/4 race. Start time was 1:15, so we hit the road for Morgantown at about 10:00. Didn't get lost. Got there sometime around noon. Plenty of time. I got registered, got ready, rode around the park a little bit (there was still a race underway, so I couldn't do a pre-race lap yet), and waited to hear that the course was open.

Word finally came. I got on the course along with a number of other 3/4s and started riding. I did not check to see what time it was (<--foreshadowing). I was making my way around, and I thought to myself, "This loop feels longer than last year. It's taking me forever to get around this thing. I wonder what time it is."

At that point, I was within view of the starting area. I could see everyone all lined up. I heard cowbells. I saw everyone take off. The race had just started, and I wasn't even there! Meanwhile, I should have been in the second row, based on early registration (and my 9th place finish at Kickoff Cross two weeks earlier).

I made a beeline across the field and got to the starting area so that I could try to catch up with the group. Apparently someone in the front of the group took a spill which slowed the whole group, which was pretty beneficial for me. I was able to catch up to the back of the pack without too much trouble.

Because I was so hell-bent on continuing my forward progress and passing as many people as I could, I never even noticed where the lap cards were. I kept completing laps, wondering when I'd find out if it was my last one. Heather cheered for me every time she saw me.

I finished another lap, and another guy flew past me. I thought it was odd that he was blowing so much energy with at least one lap to go (I still hadn't figured out where the cards were). Shortly after passing me, he slowed down again and I made my way past him easily. I kept going. But I didn't see anyone in front of me. And no one was behind me. I got to about 3/4ths of the way through the course to the big run-up and asked Rick Plowman, who happened to be hanging out there, "Is the race over and no one told me?"

He laughed and confirmed that that was indeed the case. Since I had already gone that far, I just finished the lap. Why not, right? I got back to the starting area and Heather asked me if I had missed the sign that said "Finish" the last time I went through. Yup. I missed it. It was also where the lap cards were being displayed. It also explained why the one guy sped up before we got there on that last lap. He overtook me at the finish and I didn't even know we were done. I still finished 12th, but if I'd had any idea where I was, I probably could've finished 11th. Hell, if I'd been in the second row like I was supposed to be when the race started, I might have done even better.

That's the way it goes, I guess. Unlike last year, this year's Monster Cross is a two day affair, so I have a chance to make up for it tomorrow. We'll see what happens.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Woo Hoo Hoo Speed: 51.5

Great ride this morning. I'm told that Coxcomb Hill Rd is one of the fastest descents around the Pittsburgh area. The 51.5 my Garmin recorded is certainly as fast as I think I've ever gone anywhere else.

I suppose that means I have bragging rights on this guy:

Yeah, buddy.