Saturday, December 24, 2011

Open Letter to the Random Person Who Just Bought Me a Latte at Starbucks

Thank you to the random person who bought my tall Latte at Starbucks. Anymore, it is a big decision for me to spend $3.18 on a coffee so your act of generosity meant a lot. I feel bad I didn't even bother to look at you up there in the car ahead of me. I did look at your car, a Black Malibu. I looked at your car because I couldn't help but noticed how long it took you to order, creep up to the window, and pay. I wondered what it would be like to live in a world where one had so much free time that they could drag out buying a cup of coffee. I pulled right up on your ass after you paid to encourage you to move forward a little faster, went to pay the Starbucks guy, and he said you bought my coffee. I'm touched but I feel like a prick.

I'm really not a prick. I was all worked up over trying to get Emilie the perfect Christmas gift. She wanted a guitar which seemed simple enough. I haven't looked at guitars since I was her age but I work with so many techs that play, I thought I would be a guitar expert in no time. They all went into so much detail that I was lost. I guess I know how they feel when they come to me for advice on buying a bicycle. I was told what type of tuner to get. I didn't even know what a tuner was. I thought you just tuned the E string with a tuning fork then tuned all the other strings based on that. The techs laughed; that's how they did it 30 years ago. And going into Guitar Center was stressful. The salesman knew I didn't know what I was talking about and that I have no passion for guitars. He rolled his eyes when I asked about the $79 guitar and he explained why I needed to drop over $200 on one. I guess I now know how it feels going into a bike shop when you aren't that into into bicycling. $200 was more than I could spend so I looked on Craigs List and found a perfect Fender acoustic guitar across the state. I know it was a good deal because in the time it took me to drive there, he sold it to someone else.

And while I was waiting behind you at Starbucks, my sister emailed me and asked if I sent out a Christmas letter. She has really been pushing me to send out a letter this year, she even sent me a list of addresses. My sister has much more social grace than me so no, I didn't send out any letters. I tried. Nothing that has happened this year looks right on watermark paper framed in a holly boarder. I know, I tried to spin it.

But don't you worry none, random coffee buying person, it is good now. I got Emilie a kick ass Fender acoustic guitar and I'm starting to work on my Christmas letter for next year which I promise will be every bit a vain as any letter I received this month. The free coffee just adds to my optimism. Thank you again and really, I am sorry for pushing you out of my way; I hope you put it in context.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I have been doing an indoor Thursday night group ride in an effort to break up the monotony of riding alone in my apartment and to encourage myself to ride harder than I have been. My motivation when riding alone seems to be waning and I don’t want a repeat of last season, or the one before that, or the 14 previous seasons. It’s helping. Possibly.

Allie said I am always riding. Clearly few, if anyone, I race against follows a more half ass, low volume training plan than me but her observation hurt so I’m making an effort to only work out when the girls aren’t home or when they are sleeping. Waking up at 4:00 to go to the gym is fun and all but I’m averaging less than five hours of sleep a night. When the alarm goes off, I feel like Prometheus being woken up by an eagle pecking at his liver.

Prometheus, for anyone who didn’t pay attention in their junior high Greek Mythology class, was the Titan who stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind. This pissed off Zeus so he chained Prometheus to a rock where a giant eagle would peck out his liver every day. His liver would grow back at night just in time for the eagle to come back and peck it out again. I think Prometheus did what he thought was right, it’s just that most decisions have unanticipated consequences.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Losing a Child to Adolescents Part II

Kevin and I made plans to ride today. Crazy nice weather lately (that is, no significant snow and my Camelbak doesn't immediately freeze solid) lulled me into thinking this was a realistic plan. It's raining so I will ride the trainer instead. I find if I ride indoors by natural light and with a fan blowing in front of me, it is every bit as good as riding outside.

Who am I trying to fool; this sucks.

Emilie and Allie and I went skating yesterday. It was nice. Em seemed more interested in the hockey players than in skating. Two years ago I saw I was losing her to adolescents so I suppose I don't have the right to be distraught.

Allie went to 6th grade camp last week. She came back with a fear of snakes and an appreciation for indoor plumbing.

And her first boyfriend.

We had a good time skating last night. I have skated with Emilie before but this was my first time with Allie. She had to hold my hand the whole time so as not to fall on her ass. I remember when she insisted on holding my hand all the time.

Friday, November 18, 2011

2011 Iceman

I did my 14th Iceman earlier this month. An excellent time but another poor result, which would have hurt my feelings if I had any expectations, fortunately I didn’t. I haven’t even pretended to train since the snow melted last spring; no lack of desire, just collateral damage from a long, complicated year. I’m seriously looking forward to next season. There is something warmly satisfying with putting an awful season behind you and starting fresh.

I miss the rural setting of Brighton but I’m adapting just fine living smack dab in the middle of Canton. Lots of cars and the roads and MTB trails around here suck but none of that really means anything. I enjoy riding and I’m as optimistic as ever; not the kind of optimism that is grounded in reality but the kind that transcends it. The kind that lends itself to a discussion I just had:

Me: “I’m having a rough day, I’m treating myself to a delicious and nutritious McRib.”

Sue: “Ooh McRib-gross? Does it taste like rib?

Me: “Yes, it tastes like ribs but I don’t know if there is even any pig in it at all. It’s proprietary.”

Sue: “It is an odd pressed shaped patty…”

Me: “As opposed to the naturally shaped Filet-O-Fish sandwich and Chicken McNuggets? You have very high expectations.”

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Surreal World of San Francisco

I was in San Francisco last week for work. My only exposure to this area previously was from watching Full House with my daughters, and that show, as it turns out, paints a terribly distorted picture. San Francisco is amazing, in its own, bizarre, way. I would have stayed longer if it were practical.

We rented hybrids from one of the stands that caters to tourists. Not my first choice of bicycles but the riding was good. We rode across the Golden Gate Bridge, windy and foggy, down into Sausalito which was warm and sunny.

We rode through the Golden Gate Park where a Tour de Fat bicycle festival was going on.

I have never seen so many bicycles. And every bike was unique.

Very unique.

I was amazed with the food in L.A. the last time I was in California. San Francisco somehow raises the bar. I ordered tea in a Chinese restaurant. They put a dead, dried up flower bud in boiling water. The bud opened up into a bright red flower as it slowly sunk to the bottom of the cup. Apparently the flower was the tea. Maybe I am easily amazed. Regardless, it was excellent.

The tables in San Francisco restaurants tend to be close together so you inadvertently hear other’s conversations. Sitting next to us on our last night was a surfer dude, his beautiful Norwegian wife, and her parents who were apparently visiting from Norway. Half the conversation was in Norwegian but from what I could make out, the parents were asking them to move to Norway. Surfer dude explained why, for numerous reason, San Francisco was the greatest city in the world. While he was explaining how clean the city was, the person I was having dinner with described a homeless transvestite she saw defecating in a flower pot in front of a shop. I suppose San Francisco is difficult to see objectively.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

You Don't Know Me At All, Maybe

I did a training ride last week, two hours at my aerobic threshold. If I could do more than one training ride a month, I might be on to something. This blog started as a training tool, as if publishing goals and a plan to get there would somehow make it happened. It helped. I am going to try to nudge this blog back in that direction. Later.

Somehow I don’t fully realize real people read my blog. I am taken back when someone introduces themselves at a bike race and say they read my blog. I met Ali B, who I only knew through her blog, at the Log Splitter race last year. She looked at my result then looked at me and said: “You did well, I mean, you don’t suck as much as you imply in your blog.” Or something like that; I was star stuck and not really listening. Things have gone downhill since then and now I really do suck as much as I imply, possibly worse.

After a particularly whiney post about how all my friends have road bikes and I don’t, Bob, who only knows me through my blog, offered me his Giant TT road bike for just a token price. I didn’t take him up on his kind offer but was touched by his generosity

Emilie and I went on a ten hour road trip to Ohio yesterday to deliver Sally to her new home. This provided a good opportunity to really talk to Em. I also used this time to expand her musical horizons. I can’t get her to budge from this horrible Country Music genre so I tried to expose her to good Country Music; difficult to find at best. I like Lyle Lovett, Cowboy Junkies, and Patty Griffin enough. Em wasn’t impressed. I even played Mary Chapin Carpenter who is more mainstream Country but sometimes uses big, three syllable words, like “perilous”. Nope. It left Emilie more convinced that I haven’t a clue. She is only 13 and will figure out on her own that the best music isn’t on the radio. Or maybe I haven’t a clue. I don’t even know anymore.

Mary kindly offered to take Sally. Mary is a clever girl and apparently figured out through my posts that I am not in a great position to take care of a pet. I struggled so hard to find a good home for my Yamaha RD350LC that finding a home for our family dog seemed impossible. I figured out through Mary’s posts that she is a unique dog person and my best option. It is just a trial right now; Sally can be difficult.

Emilie cried when we left Sally at Mary’s. I wanted to make Em feel better. Sushi was the only thing I could think of. After a round of normal Sushi (Shrimp, Tuna, and Salmon), Em suggested we get Sea Urchin. I honestly didn’t know Sea Urchin was eatable. I’m still not convinced it is. Neither of us could eat it but we laughed hard as we tried. That was worth the $6.95. We were still laughing as we walked to my truck in the parking lot. I think everyone will be fine.

Monday, August 22, 2011

2011 Maybury TT

A few weeks ago Allison showed some interest in doing a race this summer. We went to Maybury to practice and decided to do the 8/20/11 Maybury Time Trial. Allie changed her mind Friday night, which is fine; I am excited she even considered it. I did the time trial anyway. It could be my worse result ever but I’m glad I went. I get a little anxious when I go too long without racing and, after spending the previous week moving most of my stuff to Canton, Maybury is now my local trail and I want to support my new community and everything it has to offer.

Canton isn’t all bad. They have an Ikea. Home furnishings aren’t something that normally interests me but Ikea is kind of cool. I took Emilie, Allie, and some friends to Ikea after dance class for a cheap dinner and to pick out some cheap yet stylish furniture.

After the race I assembled an Ikea loft bed and clothes cabinet thingy for Allie. The girls are excited to move and helped clean. I hate Canton less today than I did last month. I suppose I am moving in the right direction.

Monday, August 1, 2011

How to Lose Friends and Manipulate Children

Most of the riding I did last year was just social rides. They seldom went anaerobic so I occasionally told fibs so I could ride alone. Over the winter there was a flurry of changing jobs and priorities with the people I ride with. This season I find myself pathetically asking them to ride with me, like Bob Roll in that Road ID commercial. The few rides I have done with friends last month concerned me.

Paul isn’t exactly a mountain biker but he does spend 20 plus hours a week in the gym. I had to work harder that I expected to keep up with him on the flat, straight sections of trail. Randy fell in love with a tri girl, the kind of love that gets you out of bed before work to swim laps. He worked hard over the winter and is now officially faster than me. I rode with Bill Saturday. He got a job at a bike shop and is deep into bicycling. Bill recently had his ass measured for a new saddle; I didn’t realize this was even an option. I struggled to keep up with Bill at first but figured I would drop his Clydesdale ass and matching saddle on the hills. Nope. I kept my heart rate pegged at 173 BPM as he effortlessly climbed away from me.

Maybe I’m not as fast as I thought. And I didn’t think I was all that fast to begin with.

I was supposed to do a shop ride with Bill yesterday but I took the girls out for dinner and ice cream in downtown Ann Arbor instead. As usual, I used this time to point out the hip U of M kids in the retro stores and coffee shops. I subtly talked about how cool it would be if Em and Allie went to the University of Michigan, and about GPAs and SAT scores. Em, my sweet angel, was enthusiastic but I noticed Allie, my, Allie, was wearing Michigan State flip flops; I’m sure that was no accident. Allie is not one to be manipulated. Maybe I’m not as clever as I thought.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Daddy's Girl

I love being a dad but I had no idea it would be this hard; the hours spent playing Pretty Pretty Princess and how my heart breaks as I offer muddled advice to help my girls navigate through the atrocities of middle school. I was naïve before children. Part of this is because I lack dazzling perception, but I think a better explanation for my complete lack of understanding is an ignorant bliss concerning parenting wired into our DNA. If it wasn’t, Adam and Eve never would have had children thus avoiding the whole Cain and Abel debacle and robbing everyone thereafter the wonderful experience of parenthood. All fairytales have universal truths.

Emilie is a sweetheart but I have lost her to friends; I eagerly wait for any time she has left for me like a dog waits for table scraps. I’m not so naïve that I didn’t see this coming 13 years ago. I have had time to prepare. Allie still digs me and I know the clock is ticking.

Yesterday after work I got ready to ride as I do every time I get a little rattled. Riding is a drug and I have no qualms about that. Allie walked into the garage and asked to go with me. This is the first time she has shown any interest in riding single track. That right there made the hours of playing Polly Pockets all worth it.

Allie did great. I never noticed how technical the Brighton trail was until I looked at it from the point of view of a 10 year old. She attempted everything and didn’t complain once. We cut through the woods to lop off a few miles. It happened to be at a spot where I crashed hard during a race two years ago, knocking the visor off my Giro helmet as I bounced off a tree. I went back to look for my visor after the race but couldn’t find it. I would briefly look for the visor as I passed that spot for a few weeks afterwards but eventually bought a new helmet and gave the Giro to Allie, figuring she wouldn’t notice it was missing a visor, and had a dent in the shape of a tree.

While Allie and I trekked through woods last night I found my long lost visor. I assume it was mine; it’s a Giro visor that fits my helmet, 15 yards from the tree I hit. It’s the little things in life that delight me. It doesn’t take much. I quietly thanked Adam for his naïvety.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Log Splitter Race Report

I really don’t do race reports, unless I don’t mean the report literally but rather use it to hint at something else just to amuse myself. And I’m not even sure the Log Splitter Challenge was a race. It was a clever 28 mile point to point course that went from North Higgins Lake to Hanson Hills, well marked, and someone even took the time to rake leaves off the wooded sections of single track. It looked like a race, I mean, there were number plates and it was timed. The problem is it had a fun, relaxed atmosphere, only one category, and free beer at the finish line. It was more like a very well organized group ride. I had fun but did poorly.

There was no official starting grid but rather three signs in the starting area that said “Fast”, “Medium”, and “Slow”. Everyone knew where they fell in the pecking order and apparently lined up accordingly because I was neither passed nor passed others more often than when the race is categorized by age and ability.

Looking at the riders and making a conscious decision where to line up at the start made me really consider what kind of racer I was. I down loaded my HRM data Friday and, just like my previous data dump, saw I only averaged 4 hours a week on the bike. I know I must ride at least 8 hours a week to be competitive. I haven’t taken training seriously for the last few years. I was embarrassed as I took my humble place in the group and quietly committed myself to kind of train.

But training takes time and motivation. My motivation comes and goes. And I have serious time management issues. I took Em to see the new Harry Potter movie Friday morning at 3:30 AM, dropped her off at home afterwards, and went straight to work. Friday night I drove up to Grayling after the kids were situated and only got a few hours of sleep before the race Saturday morning.

When I am hyper tired, things have a way of seeming more profound. In between Higgins Lake and Hanson Hills was a straight, flat stretch of paved road. I looked at the long line of riders in front of me and tried to quantify where I would be if I were more dedicated. If I lost those last 5 stubborn pounds, I might be up the road another 100 yards. If I rode 8 hours a week, maybe I would be up a quarter mile. If I lost weight, rode more, made an effort to do hard group rides, and followed some type of training plan, perhaps I would be up a mile. No matter how far up I envisioned myself, there would still be a long line of riders in front of me. Fast is so relative.

I am going to put my guilt on hold tonight and ride at Brighton just for fun.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Not Quite Home

Back to work this week and back to reality. Em and Allie are back in Dance. They are dancing on the same nights so yesterday I had 3 hours to myself while I waited, not enough time to go back to my house in Brighton but enough time to ride in Canton.

Maybury is the only trail in the area so it made my choice easy, which was nice since I tend to be a little indecisive. By the time the girls start school in September, Maybury will be my local trail. And I am resolute to make the best of it.

Maybury is a cute trail, like a Girl Scout nature trail, without the nature. It’s a short trail which is convenient if you only want to ride for 30 minutes. And if you want a longer ride, you can do it several times. It doesn’t have any outdoorsy smells, maybe it does but it is buried under the scent of Ambercombie Fierce from pretty body builder Northville boys in matching Specialized kits.

The trail looks almost magical as the late afternoon sun sparkles off the broken reflectors lining the single track. The hills are small, indistinguishable as hills if not for the horde of pretty body builder Northville boys in matching Specialized kits on shinny new Specialized bikes still with pie pans, some with reflectors, who wait at the top to catch their breath. There are no sections of Maybury where you can crack the throttle to blow out the carbon yet the trail isn’t technical, just twisty and hard packed, like an impacted colon.

It was a nice ride. I finished with plenty of time to make it to the dance studio, even with the crazy congested Canton traffic. I loaded my bike on top of my truck, surrounded by new cars probably owned by pretty body builder Northville boys in freshly dry cleaned matching Specialized kits, right down to the socks; the sweet sweet smell of Ambercombie Fierce hanging gently in the air.

As I drove the girls home we passed a nursery lined with palm trees. Charming but they looked out of place. They don’t belong in Canton. It’s just not natural.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Backroads to Hell and Back

I'm off work all week; a near perfect staycation. Lots of riding. I use to do a weekly road ride to Hell Michigan but the roads between here and there are horrible. This year I got a cross bike so I could substitute dirt backroads for broken up paved roads. It works out well, nice roads and no truck outside rear view mirrors whipping past my head.

Crisscrossing the backroads are freeride trails made by young hoodlums, hoodlums I can relate with. Making trails on public property is technically illegal but admirable, much more admirable than playing video games.

I noticed one of these trails right behind the Hamburg Police department. This must put the police in a conundrum. The thought of an overweight police officer on his department issued Trek chasing a group of trespassing 12 year old boys is a wonderful image. Apparently some lack luster detective came up with a different plan: trap the kids by posting a sign asking for their help to build a freeride course in a parking lot. Seriously? That's the best the Hamburg Police could come up with? I can't imagine any 12 year old boy would fall for such nonsense. The whole scenario cracked me up. My driver's license says I'm 45 but my heart thinks I'm still a teenager.
Bill, not 40-dollar Bill but someone I work with, took my Yamaha RD350LC this morning. Apparently Cyclo-Dan reads my blog because Bill burst into my office after going to Dan's bike shop last week and asked if it were true I own a Canadian RD350, and if I would sell it. Ah no. I explained how it was more than just a motorcycle, it is the last little flicker of my youth. Bill is one of the few people who understands such things, and he also understands the art and science of tuning 2-stroke motors. He called me earlier this week and suggested I give him the motorcycle for free. He would tune, ride, and store it until I wanted it back. I agreed to this scheme but as the truck left I felt like one of my children was leaving me for prep school. Anyway, now I can fit everything left at my house in the back of my truck. A big step along the path of simplifying my life.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Acting Manly

Yesterday was the Pontiac race. A good course and a fairly big local race. I opted out, not because my result was predetermined (take the number of racers, divide by two, round down) but because I just wanted to enjoy riding this weekend at 129 BPM. And it was an excellent weekend of riding. But I feel a mild pang of guilt for not racing.

Today Allie and I set out to get crackle top coat nail polish. Crackle applied over a base coat makes an interesting design, like lacquer checking on a classic car painted by an incompetent painter. Apparently crackle is popular because the first few stores we went to were sold out. We finally found it at Justice. I sat down on a bench in front of the store.

Me: "Why don't I put the base coat on now so when we get home I can put on the crackle?" The truth is I wanted to ride and if I didn't have to wait for her nails to dry, I could.

Allie: "Right here? No Dad, that's not normal."

Me: "I always do your nails. And when have I tried to be normal?"

Allie, whispering in case anyone was listening: "But it's not... manly."

Me, whispering back: "What if I put it on in the car?"

Allie: "I guess that would be OK."

But the final product didn't look good. Allie took it off and we tried again, this time applying just a thin layer of crackle. No, it didn't look right either. Another try, this time only doing the tips with crackle. Still not the look she was after.

Finally Allie suggested we just do her nails in White and she sketched out some type of African print on a paper plate which I copied onto her nails. Brilliant.

By then it was dark out, which is fine; there will be plenty of time to ride when Allie no longer wants me to do her nails.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Horse of a Different Color

My Tomac is as good as new; better, actually, since I hooked up a hyperdrive to my bike over the weekend. I was about to go riding yesterday when Allie reminded me I told her we would go horseback riding during her summer vacation. She had only been out of school for two days but, true to my word, I took her to a riding stable by our house. Of course I didn’t think we could just walk right up and go riding. I was wrong. We rode horses.

The stable is by the Brighton Req area and uses trails right next to the mountain bike single track. Brighton has been able to avoid the equestrian vs. mountain biker conflict that other areas seem to have by dividing the area in half: horses have the West side and bicycles the East. Nothing can fix a conflict as easily as a complete separation

We had a good time and I see the charm in horseback riding but it’s the kind of thing I am content doing, maybe, once a year. I know I looked out of place at the stable just as people who don’t ride bikes look out of place unloading their bicycles at the trail head. We all have a limited amount of time and energy; where we spend it is an important decision. Going forward, I will be less smug when I pass bicycles with reflectors and pie pans.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pretty Perfect Day

WickWerk Chainrings.
Wheels Manufacturing Ceramic bottom bracket.
Shimano cables and housings...
and pulleys.
Fresh Dot 3 fluid.
New Kenda Nevegal 1.95 in front, slightly used 2.0 Karma in back.

Lunch with Em and Allie at our favorite party store. Allie asked to go riding when we got home. A pretty perfect father's day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


So after two seasons, my middle chainring was cooked and my outer chainring and bottom bracket were on their way out the door. It wasn’t as simple as just ordering new parts. The XTR bolt pattern is unique and the MSRP for a set of Shimano XTR chainrings is about $400. You can find new M970 XTR cranks complete with rings and bottom bracket for that price. M770 XT cranks cost just over $200 and have the same bearings as the XTR and only weigh 75 grams more. I have a dollar a gram rule, that is, if one dollar will save me a gram, then I will spend it. I have a two dollar a gram rule for rotating mass. My Tomac is slowly dumbing down because of this logic from full XTR to full XT as I replace worn parts. I started to order a set of XT cranks.

But getting rid of an otherwise perfectly good set of XTR cranks bothered me.

My bike came from the Kenda race team with these beautiful WickWerk chainrings. The teeth are tapered every couple inches to form ramps for crisp shifting. I adored these chainrings as much as any man can adore chainrings but I figured they were big, big money so I didn’t even consider buying a set until last week. I was surprised to find out a set of WickWerk chainrings only cost $140. This completely changed my calculations. I bought a set of WickWerk rings and a Wheels Manufacturing ceramic bearing bottom bracket for what I was going to pay for XT cranks.

I ordered the chainrings directly from WickWerks. I seemed to have a problem paying for them through PayPal so I emailed WickWerks. The owner of WickWerks emailed me back right away, verified the order was processed, and threw in an extra middle chainring just because. An extra middle chainring will allow me to squeeze out an additional season on these rings.

I’m happy; although, I find ceramic bearings a little pretentious, like titanium bolt kits. Worse than that, companies shamelessly market ceramic bearings to cyclists the way late night infommercials market weight loss supplements to desperate people looking for an easy fix, the kind of people that foolishly go from one easy fix that doesn’t work to the next because the thought of getting some type of benefit without investing the necessary effort is so gosh darn enticing. Pathetic. But I’m getting off point.

The ceramic bearings in my Black Flag wheelset didn’t seem to help me but this time it’s different. Price Point says “install one [Wheels Manufacturing bottom bracket] on your bike and you’ll swear you somehow hooked up a hyperdrive to your bike.” I’m not sure what hyperdrive means exactly, I think it is a concept in science fiction that refers to a way of traveling faster than light. Regardless, I’m sold. My days of being an average bike racer are over; I will thread this puppy into my bike and rocket past other racers at speeds that transcends understanding. That’s the plan.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chainrings and Demigods

My Tomac’s middle chainring is useless. I planned on replacing it before I left for Hanson Hills. An XTR chainring costs $180 which made me procrastinate. I found someone who had a used set that would have worked fine but we couldn’t seem to find a time to meet before I left for the race. I found a bike shop near the race that had a 32 tooth XTR chainring. I started to take off the old ring but discovered the chainring bolts take a torx instead of an allen wrench. I bought a ¼ inch drive torx bit at an ACO but stripped out one bolt. A local bike shop drill out the stripped bolt and I replaced it with a spare allen head bolt I keep on hand. Lost a second torx bolt but found another allen head bolt in the bottom of my tool box. Made another attempt to replace the chainring but realized the cranks have to come off. I have a XT crank tool but the XTR uses a different style. I couldn’t find an XTR tool anywhere near Grayling so I raced Hanson Hills in the big chainring.

Let’s compare my life to that of my older brothers’, just for grins.

Before I left for the race, Dave came by to take my Honda power-washer. He mentioned if I came across his 1964 AC Cobra slot car, he would like it. It was his favorite toy as a child and he had just gotten back from the East Coast where he bought a real 1964 AC Cobra. For $250,000. A quarter million dollars is a lot of money for a used car, that’s 1,388 XTR chainrings to put it in relatable terms. It wasn’t even assembled, just a trailer of parts that could be combined to make an original, number matching AC Cobra. Dave will have restored the car by August.

He has always been that way. Dave built a rat buggy when he was a teenager. Normally these types of cars are powered by a VW engine but he took the engine out of the front of a Cortina and used a crown adapter to modify it to fit in the back of his race car. The Cortina engine put out about twice the horse power of a VW. He beat pro teams.

Dave is a great brother but he set the bar too dam high.

Not too high for my other brother. Glen got the motorcycle in this picture from an insurance company back when he was 15. It was in a garage fire and considered totaled. He rebuilt it, got a salvage title, and patiently waited until he turned 16 so he could (legally) ride it. He is currently building an experimental airplane in his garage.

Tonight I will take another swing at replacing my middle chainring.

Monday, June 6, 2011

2011 Hanson Hills XC

Yesterday was the Hanson Hills XC race, I finished in the middle of 45 - 49 Sport. I won here once, leading me to mistakenly believe I could race Expert. Denny and and his wife were at yesterday's race. We finished 6th and 7th. We have been friends for a long time but I don't typically race against him so this was kind of cool. As we made our way back to our age group we joked about how we have gotten old. It was a perfect weekend.




Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Letting Go

I took the day off work to get some things done around the house. Bill stopped by as I was taking the girls to school and asked if I was up for a ride later. I said I was always up for a ride. Apparently that sounded as non-committal as I intended so he had Randy text me. With that much peer pressure to ride with them, I caved. I almost squandered a perfect summer day cleaning the garage.

Yesterday was my third attempt to empty out the shed. Silly how hard it was for me to get rid of things I don't need. I decided to hang on to my Yamaha but everything else was on the chopping block. I left some items on the porch for Bill, including my 1932 Silver King. Bill belongs to this group called Freak Bike Nation. They build from scratch or heavily modify bicycles, much like people do with custom motorcycles; not my cup of tea but I appreciate their art work. I knew Bill would like to subvert the Silver King into something.

Bill loaded the bicycle tires and trailer hitches and saw horses into his truck. As he loaded the bicycle, he turned to me and said he would take my bicycle, and hang it from his garage rafters, but when I get my shit together, to come back for it because it is still my bicycle. It was very cool of him to say that. I feel bad he doesn't really comprehend how long he will be storing my bike.