Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Russian Auto Landscape

The may issue of Automotive Design and Production had an interesting article by Juergen Reers and Dr. Uwe Kumm, partners at the Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, called The Russian Auto Landscape. They report that Russia is among the top 10 markets for cars in the world. 1.45 million vehicles were sold in the country in 2005. Sales growth figures are expected to be around seven percent annually until 2010 according to the article. Sales of foreign vehicles in Russia have jumped by 50 percent to 606,000 units in 2005. Hyundai alone as market leader among the foreign manufacturers, has sold more than 85,000 units, approximately half of which have been assembled by its Russian Partner TagAZ.

Ford, Renault, Kia, BMW, and GM already have production facilities or assembly partners in Russia. VW has plans to produce in Russia, and DiamlerChrysler is considering producing locally in Russia.

I think this is great for the Russian economy in the short term. This may be Russia's car boom, like the car boom in the states after WWII in the late 40s and 50s. I'm thinking that we might have maxed out over here however. We seem to be down-sizing. That is a good thing for us. We've clearly gone overboard. We need to find other ways of getting around that aren't so oil intensive.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Our heat wave continues. Riding to work in the morning on my bike hasn't been bad as it is still cool, but riding at lunch is out of the question right now as we don't have showers at work. Yesterday morning I took off a little late for work on my bike and got a mile down the road and realized that I left my water bottle on the front porch. So I debated it for a while and decided to turn back and get it. Then I had to throttle it all the way to work. Not something I like to do. This morning I didn't enjoy my ride to work as much as I thought I might. Even though my backpack was light I couldn't get comfortable on the bike and wasn't getting much return out of the bike. Probably because I stayed up late watching TV.

There was a documentary about Zimbabwe on Frontline last night. I had been reading a diary of a white farmer in Zimbabwe on the BBC website a couple of years ago. Among other things, Robert Mugabe took farms from white farmers in a land redistribution. It has been a disaster for Zimbabwe. He has also taken over the press and banned foreign reporters. About a year ago he had a program called clean up the filth, supposedly aimed at those engaged in a black market. So they went around buldozing people's houses down. It's really sad.

After I watched that, Lance Armstrong was on the Charlie Rose show. He wanted to focus the conversation on his efforts against cancer and not on the drug issue. Charlie Rose took it really easy on him. If I were Lance, I think I'd just stay away from the press.

Monday, June 26, 2006

It's hot. I rode to work this morning and had a nice tail wind. Then on my way home I'm cranking along and a guy rides up behind me on a Litespeed Vortex. A very nice titanium bike. The best frame Litespeed makes. And I expected him to just pass me as I had my back pack and all. But he wants to chat and rides along side of me. I had my headphones on and I was listening to NPR. Just getting the news on my ride home. The first thing this guy says is about my head phones. How can I ride with them on and hear what is going on? I haven't tried that he says. I have the kind that just clip on my ears. I have kind of small ears and so there isn't much for them to clip on but he kind of takes issue with my use of these, as if I'm risking world safety or some crap. He told me that he hadn't tried it. I'm starting to think, WTF. (what the heck) I'm thinking if you want to pass me since he is obviously not commuting from work as he is all kitted out, then just go on and leave me alone as I'm listening to the news as I ride home. But he slows and rides along side of me and we get into this conversation. Starts asking me about my bike and on and on. So I chat with him. Not a bad guy actually. But I kind of got to the point of not wanting to talk with him any longer.

Here is a photo from my trip to Montana last weekend. Inspired by a photo that Veronica had on her blog. There is something calming about being next to the water.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Lance and Frankie

I'm a big fan of Lance Armstrong. I have no idea if he ever used performance enhancing drugs. I've always suspected that he did prior to getting cancer, and it may have been the reason he got cancer, but I have no idea.

I've been following along with cycling coverage since the days of Miguel Indurain, mostly because that was when the first good cycling coverage came to the states. Then I started to record every stage of the Tour de France starting in 96 when Riis won. I have it on tape when Lance pulled to the side of the road, took off his number and road back down the climb and was later diagnosed with cancer. They were making a big deal out of him as he was a former World Champion.

Cancer changed him. Obviously. He wasn't the same person before cancer as he was after. And regardless of what happened, and if he used drugs, his is an amazing story. No one can deny that.

But when many of the recent greats become suspect, Riis, Virenque, Pantani, Tyler Hamilton, the sprinter from Great Britain who's name escapes me at the moment, the recent scandal with the Spaniards, and on and on,.. you have to wonder about Lance.

Saturday on Weekend Edition on NPR they did a story about Lance and drug use. Thankfully I was driving through a valley that had NPR coverage during the story as it is very interesting to me. The story focused on Frankie Andreu and his wife who went to visit Lance in the hospital while he was getting treatment. They say they heard something while in his hospital room where he might have admitted to using EPO, and other banned substances. Frankie and his wife had to testify to this as a result of a court case. According to the report Lance was promised 5 million if he won one of the later Tours de France. But since there were allegations of drug use the money was with-held. Lance sued and won the 5 and also got another 2. So 7 million according to the report. da da da da da.

I certianly don't know who is telling the truth. I want to believe in Lance, and I'm certianly not in any position to judge him. I have no evidence whatsoever that he ever used drugs. So if your out there reading,.Please don't sue me Lance! They will come and take away my Trek! I need it. I ride it to work.

I did get a moment with Frankie Andreu as I went up to get an autograph on my ride number at a local cancer charity right before last years Tour de France. And it wouldn't have been anything, but it left me with a really strange feeling about him. He wasn't just care free. There was something guarded about him beyond just me coming up to him for this autograph. It might have been nothing. Non the less I did mention to a co-worker last week how I thought there was something wrong with him when I met him. This was before I heard this NPR report.

I'm a person who goes by feelings about things and people. I've watched lots of interviews with Lance. All I can say is that I've recorded hours and hours of coverage of these races. I've kind of imersed myself in it. Clearly there are problems in the sport with drug use. Did Lance ever use drugs? I don't know.

He did accept a ride back to Texas in Airforce 1-2 from Bush. That is somewhat questionable in my view. But to be fair he also gave Clinton a carbon Trek. That was a waste of a good ride.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I'm always tempted to write about two things that I really want to avoid on bicycle log. Politics and work. Religion is fair game.

If I wrote about work, I'd probably just end up criticizing everyone, and since I'm one of the managers, that wouldn't be fair. And it wouldn't be healthy. Plus I truly care about our employees. I certianly get sick of them from time to time but I can't be supportive of them if I criticize them.

Politics are somewhat different. If I criticize the wrong party then I could certianly loose my job. Having said that I watched Henry Kissinger on the Charlie Rose show today. I'd love to sit down with Kissinger and have a chat. He criticized the VPs speech that he delivered in Lithuania, prior to meeting with Putin. But he did it in a very diplomatic way, and I loved they way he put it. Even republicans I know thought the speech was stupid. Ok I need to stop right there.

As far as work goes, we have gotten to a stopping point on a large job so I might be able to get some time off. I've been working late every night. It is summer and I have vacation time that I can never take. I have so many things I need to do around the house. I'm pulling out these big bushes and just haven't had the time to finish the job. Plus I really need to be on the bike as much as possible.

I went to the dentist for a cleaning today. I hate going to the dentist. After I was done at the dentist my bike shop is just on the other side of the road. So I went in there and bought myself some new cycling socks. Recently I bought some new cycling shoes and I'm having a problem with one of them. I have hard feet to fit. I'll talk more about this later.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Gitane Team

I always wanted a Gitane when I was a kid. I got a Stella which was cool and perhaps more rare. But I really wanted a Gitane. Last year I saw a mint condition 1974 Gitane Team frame on ebay. I got it with the help of one of my friends.

The problem with old French racing bikes is that they have all of these odd sizes for headset and bottom bracket and on and on. So when you buy one of these things you don't know if you will ever find parts to fit it. Thankfully this frame came with Campagnolo Record bottom bracket (bearings that hold the crank on) and Campy Record headset (bearings that hold the fork on) The frame came in perfect condition. All I had to do was build it up with period parts.

I have been collecting old Campy Record parts for years. Around 1980 I bought a new Record crank that had never been used when a bike shop closed down. I didn't have a bike for it and just put it in my closet for years. Over the years I collected all of the group. Brakes, calipers, shifters, cable guides, housing clamps, brake levers, even end bolt, and derailleurs front and back. So I was the perfect person for this Team frame when it came up for auction.

The only thing on it that isn't record are the hubs. They are Campy Nuovo Tipo. Not as good as Record but still totally race worthy, high flange and period. Back then, everything Campy made was race worthy. I think that is still true.

I built up this Team bike with all Nuovo Record except for the hubs. And here is a photo. It has Continental tubulars on it and the rims are also somewhat new and not period. They are Italian Nisi. In the photo I have some Cheap Time pedals on it. Cinelli 1A stem and bars. Brookes Pro saddle. It is very cool. Also I found a Regina Corsa chain new (30 years old) in the box to match my freewheel.

It is very sweet if you are into old Gitanes. Lemond won on a Gitane as did Eddy Merckx and many others. This bike has a very nice ride. It is hard to explain. A lot of it is due to the tubulars. It is however kind of harsh after about 20 miles. But I don't ride it much. It is just one of those things I'm helping to preserve. I'm going to ride this thing in my old age.

When I can't crawl onto it anymore I'm going to eyeball a young rider who is gung ho and fits this bike and I'm going to give it to him or her.

Long day in the saddle.

Many (to the third power) years ago I did one of my first double centuries. For those who may not know, a century is a 100 mile bike ride. A double is two one hundred mile rides put back to back. 100 miles on Saturday and camp and then another 100 miles on Sunday. This was in the early years of TOSRV west. It was actually over 100 miles each day but we called it a double.

Anyway I was in 8th grade, and one of the youngest people on the tour. I had a lot of centuries under my belt at this point so in that respect it wasn't really a problem for me like it was for many people. But still, in those days, before power bars and bike computers a distance ride was a different sort of adventure than it is now. Now we measure our effort, and watch our heart rates and speeds, and get a pretty good idea of when we are pushing too hard or not hard enough. But back then it was more of an adventure into the unknown, at least for me.

When I rode alone I used to put quarters in my socks and would stop at pop machines along the way. I might take a candy bar and a sandwich and that was it. I had the habit of putting Coke in my water bottles. One of my water bottles was mounted on my handle bars above my front brake. One one of my summer centuries, Coke had been spilling out onto the front brake all morning. I came up to a very long high speed decent. In those days I had Mafac "Racer" brakes. Anyway I started bombing down this hill at about 45 or 50 mph I suspect. I decided to hit the brakes and my front brake locked up due to all of the sticky Coke on it. It sent me forward off of the saddle but I did not crash. It scared the heck out of me however. So I went to a creek and took the brake apart and cleaned all of the Coke off of it.

I've digressed. Sometimes I would bonk. Anyway this one year on TOSRV the first day was no problem. I had started out with two of my friends who were older and in highschool, Scott and Pinx (Mark). I dropped them when I saw a pace line forming. I just remember hearing one of them yell at me that it wasn't a race.

But I got myself into adult groups to draft in the paceline and it was such a pleasure. It was like the first time you did something that adults do that turned out to be really cool. Like sex perhaps, even though I hate that comparison. I was also happy to learn that I could climb better than most of the adults due to my light weight and all of the riding I had been doing while they were probably working or something. One of my future highschool teachers was on the ride and I passed him on a major climb and looked at him as I passed. He was sweating really bad and the look on my face must have pissed him off as he said something like "yeah right!" as I went by. Then I was worried that I would get him for a teacher the next year in highschool and he would get his revenge.

None the less the first day was a long day and I started to burn out in the last 20 miles. I was 13 or 14, ridden hard all day for 80 miles or more and now was looking at 20 more miles to finish. I just remember the mile markers going by. I was timing how long it took me to go from one mile marker to the next and then trying to calculate in my head how fast I was going. It drew on forever even though it was only about 2 pm. It was a very nice forest I was riding in and so that kind of made up for it. But that was a very long 20 miles. There were lots of false flats.

I finally made it to Swan lake Montana. There was a long haired and bearded "hippy" (and I do mean hippy in the true sense of the word) sitting on a chair next to a garbage can filled with ice and beer. I rode up to him and jokingly said, "do I get a beer?" He just looked at me and looked around and said "you deserve it." and handed me two cans of ice cold beer! I couldn't believe it! I drank the first one as I rode no hands down the road to where my cabin was supposed to be. By the time I got there I was drunk. I found my bunk and don't really remember drinking the second beer, but I did.

The next day I think I had my first hangover. I collected my bike from where I had stashed it and started back to Missoula. I found my friend Scott. I had made it to Swan lake the day before a couple of hours ahead of him and Pinx because I had gotten into such a fast group. (A word to the wise, Less time on the bike is good thing even though you might have to go faster. Extra time in the saddle going slow can be worse that less time going fast. Mark my words you young riders.)

I guess Pinx had to sleep in, but Scott was all gung ho and had something to prove. So Scott and I headed out together, he on his Gitane and me on my Stella. Both French bikes from the day and both from the Braxton Bike shop. Not very high end but still cool. The Gitane was a Grand Sport and my Stella was an SX7. I still have it. Sam Braxton made sure I would grow into it so it still fits me. It's a 56.

Anway Scott and I started to take turns pulling for eachother. But I could tell he was still pissed that I had taken off with the big group the day before. I was pulling on the front and Scott touched my rear wheel with his front wheel and went down. He fell hard. So I stopped and let him collect himself. Going down is the worst thing that can happen on a distance ride or race. It really putts you into hurt. And this happened in the first 10 miles or so.

Scott turned that pain into rage and just took off. He soon dropped me. So there I was alone. I just sat up and waited for another group to come along. And sure enough it did. I got into a very fast group of adults. I went all the way to the next food station taking my turn on the front and then waited and watched to get back into that same group as it left the food station. I went with them another ten miles or so and then I was pulling on the front and stayed there too long. When I went to the back I didn't have the strength to hook back into the slipstream and I got dropped. It was really hard to watch that group pedal away from me but I was dropped.

Then I was alone. For miles I was alone. No other groups came along. Then the wind came up. I finally made it to the turn where there was about 40 miles to go back to town. But directly into a 25-35 mph headwind and a very difficult climb. I was fighting another deadline. I had to be back in town to be in an orchestra concert that evening so my parents were going to drive out and meet me on the road if I couldn't make it back into town on time.

I was on the final climb and into that serious wind. I was completely drained, physically, mentally, and emotionally, I was pushing a very big gear up this climb and barely making forward motion. I was even in tears forcing myself into this wind. It was all I could do to stay on my bike and not just get off, sit down on the side of the road and cry. I made it over the climb and thought I might be able to finish. But here they came, my Mom and Dad. I got off of my bike and Dad put it in the trunk of the Buick.

I got into the back seat. I couldn't even talk. I just sat there drained. My thoughts starting to turn to the concert. We were going to play a cool little piece of classical first which I enjoyed, but then we were going to do this long ass contemporary piece that just sucked. "Did you have fun?" my mom asked. I didn't know how to respond. I just sat there in silence. They told me years later that they thought I was mad at them. I wasn't. It had just been a very long day in the saddle, and it was about to get longer.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Ironman arives

The Ironman triathlon has returned to North Idaho and Eastern Washington. It will take place this weekend. The bike route goes right on my path to work. So now there are all of these cyclists on time trial bikes on the path to work. It's pretty cool. Sadly I won't be here on the weekend or I would get some snaps. I'll try later in the week to get some of these men and women as they train this week.

Today I was stopped buy an Italian guy on a TT bike who was asking for directions and if he was on the Ironman bike route. I told him yes but I don't know enough Italian words to tell him I wasn't completely sure of the route. I had my camera with me but didn't have the presence of mind to ask him for his photo.

One of the women I work with always volunteers to hand out water on part of the run. It's pretty cool to have such a big event here. For some stupid reason they didn't have a good purse for the women here last year but they've changed that this year from what I understand.

The only other event of this level for women cyclists in Idaho used to be the HP challenge, and was one of the biggest women's pro cycle races in the country. All of the top pros were there including Jeannie Longo, who won more bike races than anyone man or woman I believe, and did so into her 40s. I wanted to travel to Bosie to see a stage or two but they quit holding the race a couple of years ago.

Today was a beautiful day to be on a bike and not in a car. The air was cool and the sun was warm. I had to work late, and on my ride home there were many cyclists on the trail. It's inspirational.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Growing prices

The sticker on the tailgate of this guy's truck reads "If you play with yours,..It will grow too. I don't think he is talking about gas prices.

A truck like this gets between 8 and 12 mpg. I know because I have an old Ford F-250 that I use very seldom now. My ex-girlfriend's words still haunt me. "YOU NEED A NEW TRUCK!!!" she hinted... But in all honesty, I can't afford to be a redneck anymore with the price of gas, not to mention the cost of new trucks. A new F-250 can set you back $40k or more.

(And people can't believe how much I spent on my bicycle)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father's day

It's a small town. As I was leaving home, My friend Sam came along with a little girl in a red wagon. Sam has his own daughter, but his girlfriend has this little girl. Olivia. Here is a photo of Sam and Olivia. She is just 2 years old.

This morning I went to Mr. And Mrs. C's house and Lizzie was there. I got a big hug from her and it is as close to a father's day as I will ever get I imagne. It was very special for me, and couldn't have gotten any better.

Happy Father's day to Mishah in Ukraine! His very first Father's day. How very lucky he is.

ATV adventure

I just returned from my ATV adventure in Montana. I have to say that it was very relaxing and a great experience. Kirk is a true outdoorsman/ woodsman/ naturalist. Also a great cook and you can't believe how good the meat products are that come out of his kitchen and smokehouse. There are honestly none better. The next morning we had Elk sausage, biscuits and gravey. It was so darn good... As far as food goes, I was in Celestial Kingdom!

I have to tell you that I had a bad taste in my mouth aout ATVs and still have issues about them especially for hunting. I don't think they offer "fair chase". But in this situation there is little or no impact. I guess it is all in how you use things and how many people are around. There was nobody for miles and miles... and miles. We went about 40 miles. If you broke down out there you would need a good plan B.

It was darn cold in them thar hills! I used my ski warm up, my downhill helmet,goggles, and gloves. Except for the jeans and lack of snow, I'm ready to take a ski run. There was snow on some of the peaks you can't see in this view. The cold doesn't bother Kirk none, he's used to it. I'm on the left with my ski kit, and Kirk is on the right with his hat. Those ATV 4 wheelers are very big powerful machines and they cost more than I payed for my car, but they are pretty easy to drive once you get the hang of it as long as you stay on an established logging road and don't get crazy. You can pull off of the road from time to time but it is best for the environment to stay on regular roads and not create new ones used only for these things.

Montana is a big country. You can see in the photo why they call it Big Sky Country. I don't know if you can tell how high up on the mountain tops we were. It was really cool. Thanks for a great time Kirk!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Back in the saddle

The weather has cleared up and so I'm back in the saddle. This morning was very nice. Here are two photos. One is of the bars (my cockpit). The heart rate monitor is still down so I have a stopwatch on the left.

I've been invited to go on an ATV ride this weekend in Montana. All Terain Vehicle. Otherwise known as 4 wheelers. So this is outside of the bicycle log bubble. Some photos and my thoughts about this when I return.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Body fat

I have a little electronic device that measures body fat. It sends a little current through your body and measures resistance. Fat has a different resistance than muscle. You have to enter in you height weight and age. It is only so accurate, but it is a good constant. When I started cycling this spring I was right at 20%. But I have it down now to 18%. I've been as low as 14%. Cycling 10 to 20 miles a day will bring that down. It rained again today so I rode indoors on my rollers.

The instructions of the body fat device say that men should be between 10 and 20%. Women between 15 and 25%. Most people I test are in the mid 20s. I've only tested one person who was 10%. He was very little and skinny. Hardly anyone is under 20%. I've tested some very fat people and the device seems to max out a little over 35%.

Where am I going with this? In the winter I ski race. In the summer I cycle and windsurf. I need to be light for cycling and windsurfing. I need to be heavier for skiing as long as my legs are strong enought manage the extra weight. Skiing is a gravity sport. Big and strong is better. (not big and fat) I'm just under 6 feet tall, and my weight ranges from summer to winter. In the winter I can get up to around 200 lbs. I was right next to Bodie Miller a couple of years ago at a ski race in Park City, and he was just that much bigger. Probably about 6'2" and I would suspect 215 lbs or more. But he needs to be very strong to be able to manage his body weight in the situations that ski racing presents. I think he will have a problem maintianing this weight/strength as he ages (like I have). For old age smaller is better as joints wear out and this sort of thing.

Cycling during the summer is a very good way to gain strength for ski racing even though I tend to loose weight in the process. The weight comes back on as winter sets in. I've been playing around with this for a few years. I take ski racing more seriously than cycling so I don't worry about getting down ultra low in the summer. But I'm going to shoot for 14% body fat according to my device.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Bad week

It has been a bad week for cycling due to rain. I did get in a couple of rides in Montana on the single speed, and the good thing about that is that it is over 1000 feet higher in elevation. However, I haven't been able to ride to work due to the thunderstorms and downpours. I did get in one evening ride. I rained all day here today. I'm a wuss. Rain doesn't stop people from riding in Seattle. It is odd as I can remember last summer going days on end without any rain. It got hot and I would have done anything for just one rain storm. So I do like the rain.

The streets have kind of dried out so after I finish this I'm going to go out on the bike. It will be nice tomorrow so I'll ride to work.

On another note, I was sleeping on the couch with my cat Spunky. She was stretched out on my chest with her front paws on my neck. She clawed into my neck with one claw. I didn't think anything of it at the time but it kind of got infected and looks like a mosquito bite. It is dead center of my neck where they might do a tracheotomy if I needed one, and it looks really silly.

Spunky is a so called Hemingway cat. Polydactyl as she has extra toes. I always wanted a cat like this. They are known for being fighters, and I guess you can pay a lot of money for one. She loves to box, and she is pretty smart. She has a pretty large vocabulary of words she understands.

Here is a photo of her. You can see on her right paw her "thumb". She can really grab things with those paws as they curl in like a human hand. She is kind of a devil cat, as she always has her ears back and an attitude about things. Once I got up in the middle of the night to get a drink of milk. I was half asleep. She attacted me, bit me on the ankle and then ran off. It scared the H out of me. But she pulled her punch and didn't really bite me hard. She was just funnin. She is also very sweet. I'm the only person she likes.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Katharine Hepburn

I remember something Katharine Hepburn once said in an interview not long before she died. It had to do with relationships and spouses. She said something to the effect that you can never really fully contact with another person.

It struck me the way she put it. I could really relate to what she was saying. We are born alone, (unless we are twins) and we die alone (for the most part). Relationships come and go.

It is as if we try and find faults and differences as a first priority. I'm guilty of this. Instead of looking for reasons to pull together, we first look at what is wrong with a relationship or wrong with a person, and find reasons to pull apart.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Love and hate

I love my ski helmet, but I hate my bike helmet. It reminds me of an old Star Trek episode in which Mr. Spock says to identical female androids "I love you, however,.. I hate you."

Both helmets have saved my butt and perhaps kept me from leading a different lifestyle. I wouldn't think of skiing without a helmet. From the day I put it on I've never taken it off. I tried to ski without it one run, and just went back to my car and got it. I haven't skied without it since regardless of the weather. I wouldn't think of racing without it. The white marks on it are from hitting gates on my head.

I just about lost all of my front teeth last year when I hooked my tip on a gate and went straight onto my face. was down on the course for quite a while and did a quick self assesment as I always do when I crash. I couldn't feel my face as it went numb. I used my toung to see if all my teeth were still in place. I did get a bloody nose and black eye. I keep the slalom chin guard on all the time now and even for Giant Slalom. I had been a little worried that if I went onto my face at speed then the chin guard might cause my neck to break. But I think I'll focus on saving my face first.
The bike helmet is different. I'm not fond of these. One did save me from being scalped and perhaps paralyzed after a car hit me from the side. I was very lucky I was wearing a helmet that day as I didn't wear one all of the time back then.

I was riding home from work and had the right of way crossing and intersection. This woman didn't see me and just turned right into me, launching me into the air and on my head into the side of the road. Her front bumper just missed my ankle and smashed into my rear wheel. If it had hit my ankle It would have destroyed my ablilty to walk normally and I might have lost my foot. I remember watching the gravel spray away from the helmet while I was upside down as if in slow motion. The doctor who looked at me said that if I hadn't been wearing the helmet I probably would have broken my neck as my head would have buckled over. If nothing else I would have lost my scalp. Rocks were stuck in all of the holes of the helmet. It isn't the one in the photo but a very similar Giro. On my trip home I started to cough. I coughed up a rock that had gone way down my thoat.

I had been preparing for a bike tour, and I had gotten into good form. After the crash I didn't feel that bad even though I was shaken up and my bike was a wreck. But it really sunk in the next day. I could barely ride. I tried to ride my mountain bike and I could barely roll it over. I had gone from being in good form to being hardly able to ride over night. It took two weeks before I was alble to get back up to speed.

It did teach me how important a bike helmet is. Still, I hate wearing a bike helmet.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Pesto pizza

What are you going to have? I asked. I'm going to have the fettucine, she said, how about you? I think I'll try the pesto pizza, that sounds good. The waitress came and asked us if we wanted anything from the bar. I'll just have tea, she said, and you?.. It had been a long and stressful day. I wanted a beer darn bad, but really didn't want to drink it in front of her like this. None the less I ordered a Pilsner Urquell. I figured she had never seen one and wouldn't really see it as a beer. Normally I'd just pound this down and order another. I was stressing over this date and trying to relax at the same time.

The fettucine arived before the pizza, I had finished my beer. The pizza will be a little while, the waitress said. Would you like another? I looked in her direction. Go ahead, relax. Oh what the heck, I'll have another. I took my time with it. I figured that this would be the last one I would get.

When the pizza arived it was like a big round cracker with white cheeze on it. Not bad if you like crackers and cheese.

If you could do anything over what would it be? she asked. This was the second time I could remember her asking me this question. Well, I guess I would have ordered the fettucine. I responded, not knowing exactly what she was getting at. No really! she said. Well, I guess I would have taken school a little more seriously. Do you regret not getting married? Well, If I had gotten married, I'd probably be divorced by now. That had to sting a little as she had gotten divorced, and I didn't mean to send out any darts, but I was becoming uncomfortable with this line of questioning.

Why didn't you get married? A different reason for each girl I guess. The last one wanted to spend all of my money after she had spent all of hers, and then she wanted to spend money I hadn't earned yet. Well I can understand that, she said.

There was this one girl, but I could never really talk to her. I mean I could talk to her but never really communicate with her. I couldn't see going though life and not being able to communicate with my wife. Do you know what I mean?...

I always thought maybe we should have gotten married, she said. I just looked at her and said, What would you do with me if you had me!? I don't think she had really given it that much thought.

She's better off now. She got married today.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Hypochondriac demographic

I've just watched the evening news. All of the comercials were about meds. I think I had better ask my doctor which medication is right for me.

Do drug companies really need to advertise? Are they going after the hypochondriac demographic? Do only people who are old and sick watch the news? Does anyone go to the doctor to ask to be put on medication?

I wonder how much money a spot on the evening news every night costs? I think the drug companies should stop paying millions in advertising and pass on that cost savings to seniors and others who need these drugs the most.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

My new sail

Here is a photo of my new windsurfing sail. It is actually a couple of years old and I bought it second hand from a guy who is an expert. He buys all new sails every few years. He did give me instruction using it at the gorge, the mecca of windsurfing in the states, on the Columbia river between Washington and Oregon. It is a Northwave and made right at the gorge.

Windsurfing has a huge learning curve to it. I've been doing it for about 10 years and I'm still just an intermediate at best. But I'm working on it. It is far more high impact than I ever imagined when I started. It isn't for people who can't deal with a little punishment. But there is nothing like flying over the water using one of these things. For me alpine skiing is still better but just because I've done it longer and I'm better at it. Plus I ski race so that is even more interesting.

Windsurfing is like free skiing, and free skiing got boring to me over the years, so I started to ski race. Ski racing is the most exciting thing I've ever done.

None the less windsurfing is a good feeling. I've almost given up on it several times and gone back to just sailing the Hobie Cat. But there is something about windsurfing that keeps calling me out. I'm going to spend a little time with this sail this weekend if the wind fills in.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

My biggest fear

My biggest fear about getting old and going into the rest home is; that they will force us to listen to piped in Classic Rock all day, thinking that this what we would want. That would be living H for me and I'd rather take my chances in death.

UPS men

I'm always amazed at the UPS men. Where do they get these guys?! They are all polite, well groomed, and efficient. I'm not sure if I trust them anymore. I'm begining to think that they are being cloned in South America on some sort of compound, and they are plotting to take over the world. At any moment they might turn on us and force us into those brown vans, and ship us off to who knows where.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Increased traffic

There are three roads into the area where I work. I live on the other side of a river from work and there is also a freeway in-between. So I have to take one of two bridges over the river, and thankfully there are bike trails over and under the freeway on each route. So getting to work on my bike isn't much of a problem and I can ride a bike path roughly 2 of the 4 miles to work. That is such a pleasure to leave the car traffic and be on the bike path. But going to same 4 miles in the car is becoming more problematic than in the past. Certianly not impossible but more and more of a pain.

A big new factory just opened up. From what I understand they have around 400 employees. And soon another company is moving in with around 600 employees. I don't really understand that because they had a perfectly good building in a good location. But everyone wants to be in this location now. (just wait a few years and it will be a run down mess.) And at the same time vast amounts of new homes and apartments have been crammed in were there used to be fields with horses and crops.

It wouldn't be that bad except one new employee means one more car. We really felt the impact of all these cars getting in and out of this light industrial area when the first company moved in. Most of them go home at the end of each work day westbound, and fight to be in one lane to get on the freeway. The line of cars and trucks now extends for almost a mile. But some have figured out that if they go the wrong direction for a couple of miles it is sometimes faster. So now there is a big long line of traffic in the other direction, eastbound at that on-ramp. That is the direction I go when I drive my car as my house is in that direction and there used to be less traffic. And when the next company moves in this fall with 600 more employees it is going to be H going in either direction.

And still nobody is riding a bike to work, and very few people are taking the bus. And the answer to the problem; widen the roads to handle more cars, and raise taxes to pay for it. Oh yeah, there is a park and ride that is used for going out of the area and into the main city. And what do people do? They drive their car the few blocks to the park and ride instead of walking. At least they aren't parking on the sidewalks. The factories were required to have enough parking. But nothing was done about access to the freeway.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Other mother

I was waiting to get my hair cut last Thursday. There was a young woman with three children with her. Two little daughters and a baby who was 3 weeks old in a stroller.

When they got done and came up to the counter to pay, the mother told one of the girls that she was going to go and stay with her other mom. I immediatly thought about polygamy, but then realized that this must be a situation of divorce. This mother must have a new boyfriend or husband. It was a little confusing considering the age of the children, and hard to try and ignore, as I sat there waiting to get my hair cut.

It did make me think however. You can have numerous wives and childred, and as long as you get divorced, or never get married, it isn't considered polygamy. Curious.

Cancer Patient Care Bike Ride

Today was the 13th Loreen Miller Memorial bike ride for Cancer Patient Care. It is a great charity ride as the money all goes to help people pay for cancer treatment. It was pouring down rain so I decided not to ride and just go take some photos.

The community embraces this event. They were reporting the weather on the local morning news from the start of the ride. The mayor was there. The Airforce was represented, the Sheriff department rode their motorcycles, the Fire department was there, and I'm sure others. It is really cool as I've been places where these rides are seen as a nuisance.

Tyler Hamilton was also there to ride and is in the center of this photo. I don't think he would mind me posting this photo as he was really a good sport riding out with everyone in the rain. He was also really cool with eveyone, giving high fives to the kids and shaking hands with adults. I was really impressed. He looks like anyone else in this photo, and I couldn't help but think that cancer has this same view of people as it can strike at anyone.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Sun Dog

There was an unusual rainbow effect in the sky today. I heard on the local news that it is called a Sun Dog. Ice crystals that have a prism effect on the sunlight. I took this snap as I was trying to get photos of that B17. It's the first time I've seen this. I don't get the name however. Whoever named it must have been a dog person.


This morning I went out on my bike for a ride. I went a little over 20 miles on the bike path. I heard this roar up in the sky. There was a WWII B17 in town. When I got home it had been going back and forth taking people on rides. It goes right over my house. So I put my camera next to my front door, and every time I would hear it I would run out and try to get a snap. Finally I got this one.

Friday, June 02, 2006

New/ old dinette

Once a year the town where I work has a town wide garage sale. I had been looking for an old metal dinette from the 1940's or 50's. Actually these mostly came from the late 40's and people just think they came from the late 50's. This town wide garage sale is a really good idea. People drive in but I ride my bike. It is much easier to cover the whole thing. I found a metal dinette table for $40. and I talked the people down to $30. But no chairs. So I found a cool set of chairs at the dump in Montana. Someone had left them out of the dumpster instead of throwing them in. I have 4 of them but only use two. They aren't the same color as the table but I think it works perhaps better. I also have a leaf for the table. I have been collecting Fiesta dishes to go along with it. There is a pitcher and salt and pepper shakers on the table in this photo.

Charity ride

It has been raining most of the day. In the past I had been trying to get in one charity ride a month in the summer. But the three best ones all moved their rides to the same weekend. I could potentially ride one in central Wasthington Saturday and then one here in eastern Washington on Sunday. But that is putting two 100 mile rides back to back with quite a bit of travel in between. I'd ride 100 miles on Saturday and then drive back here for over 3 hours. So I decided to just stay here and look at riding on Sunday. The weather is calling for rain and wind on Sunday. So I might just say to heck with it and look for another ride later, or I could just do the 50 mile ride, and that would be not to much of a big deal even in the rain.

Tyler Hamilton is going to be here. One of the guys who rode for Lance Armstrong, and then rode with a broken bone for CSC. Then won the Gold medal in Athens on the road race I believe. Then got into a doping issue. I'll talk more about doping in cycling later.

Last year Franky Andreu was here at this ride. He also rode for LA. I went up to him and got his autograph on my number. He made kind of a scribble and there is no way you could tell it is his name. It would have been cool if he had just printed the word FRANK. Or something. He probably thought I'd sell it on e-bay or something. But I did thank him for coming and supporting Cancer Patient Care. It pays for people here who can't afford threatment or don't have insurance. It really is a good local outfit. If it is really raining hard I might just go and take photographs.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The express lane

I was in the express lane the other day and kind of in a hurry. I only had a couple of items that I did needed. Toilet paper was one of them, and I might have had some beer.

Anyway this woman in front of me in line knew the checker and was having this casual conversation with her. I hate it when the checker gets chatty with people in line. You are in the express line because you want to get through fast. Don't get me wrong I like being friendly with checkers and people in that kind of situation. I go out of my way to be friendly.

It became clear that the woman in line ahead of me was a cosmetic sales woman. For Mary Kay or Avon or something. And these women had a relationship in this respect. I'm just a stupid man buying toilet paper and beer.

The woman in front of me was all dolled up. A big boxy woman. Her hair was a work of abstract art, and there was no doubt that her look was an expensive effort. And for what? Neither women were single. It wasn't like they were trying to hook a man. The irony was that this conversation with the checker was about justifying the expense of some cream to the checker's husband. $35 for a small portion of cream, and how to justify this expense to the husband.

The checker was a naturally beautiful woman. Not a model or anything but just pretty with red hair. She didn't need this cream. The saleswoman reminded me of a tacky crossdresser. But she went on about the virtues of this cream.

Cosmetics are chemicals in general. One common binder is butyl cellosolve. It goes by other names like all chemicals and comes in different variations. Glycol ether. 2 butoxy ethanol. In some forms it is a known carcinogen. Some forms are used to de-ice plane wings, it is used in anti-freeze and industrial paint thinners. Not not really something you want to smear on your face or lips. But cosmetics aren't food or drugs so they get away with these things.

So I'm back there waiting for these women to get done with this conversation and then I'm next. The red haired checker now had to deal with me. Her mood went from friendly to harsh. I had admired her natural beauty and had wanted to inform her about the dangers of butyl cellosolve. But she treated me like a stupid man buying toilet paper and beer, who could never understand the finer things in life.