- "How much will it cost to put a triple on this bike?"
- Rack and Fenders?
- I am also considering the La Cruz what would it cost to build that with a triple?
Monday, September 29, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
- Kona Jake the Snake
- Surly Cross Check
- Salsa La Cruz
Friday, September 26, 2008
Bianchi Volpe [Reviews]
- the forks are carbon fiber, Bontrager Switchblade Elite Carbon, and this gives me some pause. I could feel some chatter vibration during the braking test down the long hill. Would these last given the likely pounding they are going to receive? Would switching them out for a steel fork be a good idea?
- the wheels have a "single cross lacing" pattern/system. It looks really cool but I am 190-195. How durable are they likely to be?
- rear brake cable routing could possibly get clogged with dirt (see Scott Campbell's review)
- no rack eyelets or fender mounts (not that I really like that idea actually)
- there are three 2007 models available but, as far as I could tell, no 2008's and are the '09's are on their way. Why the surplus?
- ok, I know the why of the surplus now. The question now becomes, will Trek actually stand behind a bike they manufactured even though they no longer have an official relationship?
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Counterbalance Bikes, at the old Ti Cycles location on the Burke Gilman, [Yelp] where I rode two bikes and had a wonderful conversations with Glenn, someone who actually races cyclocross. They carry the Salsa La Cruz and we spent some time talking about that bike as well. He would not race the La Cruz but thinks they are a nice bike (heavy, big, etc..) but nice for dinking around. I did also ask the "sand question" and it seems that cross bikes can handle them with larger tires. It is a technique issue, keep traction on the rear and let the front float. He seemed surprised that I would consider a 58 cm frame but I like an open cockpit and he could see that. He also suggested that I look more closely at Kona bikes, the Jake the Snake (now there is a name, but it is aluminum and carbon).
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Very Cheap for what it is.
One caution re: the note below - the LHT is a dedicated touring bike - I
wouldn't consider it a cyclocross bike... Try the crosscheck if that's the
real intent - or maybe a Soma
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
"Be careful as you go on the 4. Tourists stop in the middle of the road to look at bears and you can't see around the curves."
- It is really nice to have friendships strong enough to sustain the pleasure of company for a week with humor and naturalness. Thanks R and D.
- Never attempt to drive long distances on nothing but a bowl of hot cereal and some tea, especially after running for three miles (and not very well). I was starving
- Every other vehicle in Port Alberni seems to be a large pick-up truck. Evidence? 8 or 9 of them got on the road as we were coming along. Judging from the layout of the area though, these are trucks that are used for their designed intent
- The pretzels in the snack shop at Duke Point were, as M put it, a little scary looking, the cookie, however, was not so bad (I cannot bring myself to eat a Nanaimo Bar though. Can someone explain the attraction?)
- Bored sullen teenagers working in snack shops are the same world over. Texting is more important than helping customers and they let you know it (especially if you cast audible aspersions about their pretzels albeit sotto vocce)
- BC Ferries new Coastal Class boats are amazingly cool—well-appointed, comfortable, clean (they actually get cleaned), fast, and everything else you'd want in ferry. BC Ferries has its problems but both M and I have serious ferry envy on behalf of the State of Washington
- Orcas are amazing to watch. We saw at least 4 cruising on the surface between .75 to 1 miles away from the boat. Everyone but the woman yakking on her cellphone about being "dripping with gold at the moment" (gag!) stopped what they were doing and just looked. You might think this strange but in all my time bobbing around in a kayak in the area this is the first time I've actually seen Orcas. Unmistakable and cool. Do it again!
- Starbucks Hot Chocolate from a machine is nothing to write home about
- "I heard you were dead." is a very cool way to start a novel
- I always pick the wrong line at the border crossing, always. For every one car going through our lane, 6 or 7 were going through the other
- What is it about border guards that make me lose my ability to pronounce simple phrases like "Chesterman Beach B&B"? Actually, can you do that fast?
- It felt so very odd, even unnatural to be in "heavy" traffic on the I-5 starting at about the Skagit Valley. Yes were were traveling at 75 mph (120 kph) but it was so damn crowded and then there was the guy with a red passport but driving an silver Acura SUV with Nevada plates that started driving erratically just north of Lynnwood (yeah, you buddy). In two weeks I'll have to be driving in the thick of this every day. Nuts.
- David Sedaris's "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim" is a remarkably nutty way of passing the time flying down the freeway (thanks PT). This man is truly screwed up, no interesting, no funny, no ironic, no screwed, up no observant, no . . .
- You would think that pets, deprived of their owner's affections and attention for a week or so, would be extremely happy to see their return. What does it say when the CATS are happier and more affectionate than the dog? Yep, our dog is actually mad at us and wanted to go home with the house sitter. (!?!?!?) It has been at least two hours and she still does not want to be in the same room with us. Tomorrow should take care of it. She doesn't know it yet, but we are going running
- I did not immediately want a cheese burger when I got back into the country. Pizza? Now that is another story. MMM. Pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, black olives, green peppers and onions over mozzarella, tomato sauce and spices. Heaven in a box but it is going to mean some miles under my feet.
- Though I don't want to, I am going to have to immerse myself in the cesspool that has become the campaign if only to help guide my students through the putrescence we like to call political discourse. I wish this country would be something other than adolescent for a change (Oh wait, what an elitist statement to make!)
- Six days remaining of Summer 2008 and then it is the return to the assembly line at the Learning Factory. Don't like to think of US Undergraduate Education in such a way? Tough. "Oh Captain, My Captain!"
- Everything seems so quiet without the sounds of the beach . . . but this is not necessarily a good thing
Monday, September 8, 2008
Just returned from a couple of hours sitting at Cafe Vincente, reading Wolf's Proust and the Squid, drinking hot chocolate, nibbling on a muffin, watching the world go by, and being amused at the crows that would come within three feet of me and then squawk for my attention (Hey! You! In the orange shirt. Can't you see we would love some of that muffin you have). Rode a communal beach cruiser from the B&B into town and back. This was fun although the seats on these things are not the most comfortable. Took a bike tour of town too and ended up going up a hill that ultimately went to nowhere that I could see.
Some random thoughts while sitting there:
- You can only wear black and or gray if you are a surfer here, none of those bright colors often associated with surf culture. Board shorts, funky glasses, skate boards, bikes with board racks are just fine but the colors are muted. I wonder if that is just a stoic BC thing or . . .
- I was the ONLY person in town wearing anything orange
- Tofino's local population is more and more evident now that the tourist season is passing
- I haven't heard the term "Phelpsian" for quite some time and I am glad of it despite the constant, and snotty, reminders that language changes. I wonder when this word, like "Back in the day", will turn up in one of my student's papers
- Watching people learning how to surf is pretty fun, taking a surfing lesson would be even more fun. Next time. This trip I've just been focused on recharging my batteries
- Running on the beach is one of the most enjoyable things a person can do, but you have to be careful to not sand the skin off your feet as yours truly did yesterday
- There are so many surf schools here that graduates of the new Surfing degree program (business management with a surfing focus) ought to have plenty of time getting internships and opportunities for practica
- I have never seen as many termites flying around as I have this week. They do fly but it is more of a wobble and their wings are so floppy that when they land the wings themselves end up in several different directions at once (they have four wings that I can count)
- Canadians really do say "fer sure", "oot and aboot", and "OHkay". I knew this but have never really been around these speech mannerisms and accents when they have been so undiluted by "big citiness". This is all very interesting
- When did "correct" become "krecked" in speech? Now there is an US speech mannerism worthy of at least a small cringe (along with "Phelpsian" methinks)
- Reading weeks are wonderful restoratives for the soul and also curiosity and, having just had one, I understand how special they are
- Wellington Boots and very short, short skirts make an interesting fashion statement
- Some roads actually do lead to nowhere (or at least nowhere special) and they tend to be covered in rocks
I think I'll have time for one more BBQ, a walk on the beach, and one last run in the morning before starting the trek back to responsibility . . .
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Saturday, September 6, 2008
The surfers were carrying brightly colored Popsicle sticks that wobbled towards the evening's dying surf.
Shorebirds were feeding, alighting for a few minutes before noisily taking off in perfectly coordinated formations for the next choice spot, gulls were returning to land from their daily exertions, a lone Osprey was making its way back from hunting around Frank Island, and in the distance an Eagle (huge even at this distance) disappeared over the mountain.
The tide was out revealing all kinds of wonderful shells, interesting patterns on the beach, and a dead sea star.
The occasional dog ambled by, exhausted by the day's exertions but happy to be out with their packs for one last romp.
The day ended with a brilliant orange ball that rapidly disappeared into the blue of the sea. We all walked into the sunset and watched as the oranges, pinks, and purples faded into that peculiar pastel gray dusk of the sea side.
What a day!
M and I got up early-ish and went for a foggy walk on the beach. The plan was to head out to the Tofino Farmer's market to get some zucchini for dinner but when we got there we found that there was no produce to be had. Arts, crafts, photographs, and Pirogies, yes. We walked around town a bit, got some bread and muffins at Common Loaf. Just as we were leaving Tofino proper the fog started to clear in the mountains and islands to the north and it looked like we might be able to get down to Ucluelet to hike a particularly scenic trail. No dice, though, as the fog had yet to recede from the shore areas and a check of a web-cam in Ucluelet showed similar conditions there.
Instead I spent the bulk of the afternoon racing through two books: Murikami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running and Zahab's Running For My Life. Memoirs are not really my thing but these two looked quite interesting to me in the mad rush to buy books for this trip. Murakami presents the parallels between writing and distance running and explores how each activity can, and does, inform each other (at least for him). This work is also a meditation on learning, self-discovery, and aging that is quite insightful—especially the notion of acceptance. He writes:
My muscles can be as stubborn as—or more stubborn than—I am. They remember things and endure, and to some extent they improve. But they never compromise. They don't give up. This is my body, with all its limits and quirks. Just as with my face, even if I don't like it it's the only one I get, so I've got to make do. As I've grown older, I've naturally come to terms with this. You open the fridge and can make a nice—actually even a pretty smart—meal with the leftovers. All that's left is an apple, an onion, cheese, and eggs, but you don't complain. You make do with what you have. As you age you learn even to be happy with what you have. That's one of the few good points of growing older. 
This passage especially resonated with me given the struggle I have been having of late to recover from this wonderfully hard summer of running and racing. Murikami seems a poetical, pragmatical optimist as both a writer and as a runner.
Zahab's book is a VERY quick read that starts off with the predictable "My life was screwed up and . . ." recitation (See Karnazes story and, to a large extent, Murikami as well). As Zahab discovers his own talents, passion, and gifts as he treats the reader to a rapid succession of races that are possible impossibilities and shows us both his failings and his successes without undue celebration or self-pity. Along the way he has something of a social awakening that has resulted in his association with Matt Damon's "H20 Africa" project (alluded to but not discussed in the book).
One obvious question of runners arises in both books. Is running simply the substitution of a new addiction for older vices. Neither of them falls into that trap and takes on the subject of addiction head on. Zahab writes, "As far as running being an addiction, well who knows? Maybe it is. I love running. I think about it all the time. I love pushing myself to the limit and seeing what my body can do. If I've had a stressful day, I almost always turn to running to relieve some of that stress."  Murikami also suggests that running can balance one's life:
To deal with something unhealthy, a person needs to be as healthy as possible. That's my motto. In other words, an unhealthy soul requires a healthy body. This might sound paradoxical, but it's something I've felt keenly about ever since I became a professional writer. The healthy and the unhealthy are not necessarily at opposite ends of the spectrum. They don't stand in opposition to one another, but rather complement each other, and in some cases even band together. Sure, many people who are on a healthy track in life think only of good health, while those who are getting unhealthy think only of that. But if you follow this sort of one-sided view, your life won't be fruitful. 
Like Murikami and Zahab both, I have a personal sense of this and I am not running from anything (as the old question goes) but simply running towards something.
What that is I don't quite know yet. Could it be a balanced life?
It is as mysterious and as wonderful as a sunset.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
A low key day here in Tofino.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Greetings from Chesterman's Beach near Tofino BC where yours truly is ensconced for the next week. A week of reading, walking on the beach, a bit of running too, climbing around in the rain forest, eating and sleeping, and other vacation-y activities. Oh yes, my time to re-enter the fray at the Learning Factory is drawing closer and some course prep is probably in the offing. But mostly I just want to relax away from the normal "stuff" at home and the only way to do that is to get away from home ("staycations" may be cheaper but they don't have the charm of getting away) so . . .