Monday, March 31, 2008

Frustrated Incorporated

Still no word on the house. It has been 5 weeks today since we put in our offer on the short-sale in the West A neighborhood. The most frustrating part is that several weeks ago we were told that we would get a response in a few days. Since then, our agents' calls to the responsible bank have gone unanswered and unreturned. We have been trying to decide how long we are willing to wait for this house before withdrawing our offer and pursuing other options. To add even more anxiety,the other house that we really liked in the same area has an offer on it now too.

The good news is we have no real impetus for moving, other than the obvious desire to own a home, and therefore can afford to wait. I think maybe we are supposed to be learning something about patience.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Christmas in March

Flew back from Los Angeles on Friday and had a laid-back, relaxing weekend. On Saturday I was able to make a trip through Wilderness Park, my first real dirt of the year. It was great, all my worries and concerns about the El Mariachi were gone once I finally got it out in its element. I felt fast, the big meat up front (run at 28 psi or so) kept my hands and wrists feeling great, and the new rear tire felt noticeably more eager to accelerate. Assuming the race this Saturday doesn't get rained out, I am confident that the only thing that will keep me from being successful is my lack of preparation. I didn't want to bring my pack on the ride, so I only got a post-ride picture.

Also exciting was a visit from the T6 fairy. Thanks to Brent and Ryan for the awesome gear. The jersey and t shirt are both super soft and fit perfectly, and of course the graphics are superb. The other schwag is super cool too. I look forward to proudly wearing the label this season as part of Team Twin Six.

For those of you interested in pictures and narrative about my trip to California, I will be posting about that in the coming days. Wait...who am I kidding, not too many people are likely to be interested. Thats cool, I primarily write about food and travel for myself, so I don't forget the meals and experiences that make these work related trips palatable (pun intended).

Monday, March 24, 2008

California Love

This past weekend I was finally able to get out and have a good, enjoyable ride. I didn't go very far due to time constraints but I made it to the end of the Murdoch trail before I turned around. I am so ready for some singletrack. I still haven't taken my new bike on a real trail ride yet that didn't feature frozen ground or ice and snow. I am thinking that opportunity should be just around the corner.

In other news, after spending all of last week at home, I am again on travel for work. This week I am learning about composite airframe structure design at UCLA. I have to admit, I've said a lot of bad things about Los Angeles in the past, but this part of the city is beautiful. Its hard not to be caught up in the glitz and glamour of it all.

Everyone who knows me well, knows that I am making eating well a priority this week. Expect posts in the coming days with some details. I have found some great inspiration in this area, and its time to get out and eat...and learn a new technical skill.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New Shoes

I finally did something I have needed to do for a long time; I bought myself some new racing shoes. Either my feet had grown or my old shoes shrunk, but for the past few years I have suffered pretty serious ingrown toenails and blisters after long periods of riding. These will be a huge improvement and I got a great closeout deal on them. I have only heard good things about Shimano shoes. The construction seems really good with replaceable buckles just like the more expensive Sidis.

Not much in the way of riding going on for me as I am still recovering from my cold. I hope to do something about that this weekend.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

2007, Albums, Top 15

I posted earlier about my favorite albums of 2007 and about a friends' yearly attempt to provide a compiled list of acquaintance's favorite albums. Here is the final product. Pretty cool video featuring locations around Lincoln.

For those who can't wait for the whole video (or don't care to) here is the final list:

1 Radiohead In Rainbows
2 Menomena Friend and Foe
3 The National Boxer
4 Andrew Bird Armchair Apocrypha
5 Spoon Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
6 LCD Soundsystem Sound of Silver
7 Of Montreal Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
8 St. Vincent Marry Me
9 Arcade Fire Neon Bible
10 Feist The Reminder
11 The Shins Wincing the Night Away
12 Wilco Sky Blue Sky
13 Iron & Wine The Shepherd's Dog
14 Jens Lekman Night Falls Over Kortedala
15 Okkervil River The Stage Names

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sick and Tired

Got back from Burlington, Vermont yesterday afternoon. I had a good time, but short trips like that can feel sort of wasted. Two days of travel for one day of training is not real efficient. I did get to catch up with an engineer who used to work in Lincoln, and that was fun.

I also ate some great food; the best entree was from Tilley's Cafe: Pan Seared Duck w/hawaiian sea salt, roasted beet risotto, black currant sauce, grilled leeks. I'm not a chef, like a certain other local cyclist, but I thought it was real good. I also had a great fresh bagel sandwich that was unbelievable. I will never look at a typical bagel the same way again.

Anyway, I am back, having brought with me cold weather and a cold. I am so behind on my training. This first race is going to be a disaster.

I leave you with these pictures of the view from my hotel room across Lake Champlain toward New York. I took these right after I checked into the hotel, and it was the only time I saw the sun the whole time I was there.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


We finally have some good weather this week and I have the misfortune of heading to Vermont for some training for work. I have to leave 60s and sun for 30s and snow, and according to the weekend forecast I will be bringing that weather back to Nebraska with me.

Sorry guys.

Monday, March 10, 2008

New Treads

This past weekend I picked up a new tire and tube from the Wrench. I really like the WTB Weirwolf 2.55s that came stock, however with race season approaching, I was looking for less rolling resistance and rotating mass for my rear wheel. The Weirwolf is one of the fattest, highest volume 29er tires available, but is a bit of overkill for the relatively smooth singletrack we ride around here. Nate and Eric suggested the WTB Nanoraptor 2.1, their tire of choice for our local terrain. I did decide to keep the big meat on the front wheel as a bit of suspension while I am adjusting to riding a rigid fork.

Nano on left; Weirwolf on right

I have been lucky enough to have never flatted during a ride, and thus have never actually had the pleasure of changing a tire. Furthermore, I have never removed and reinstalled a rear wheel. I was able to pry the old tire from the rim with no problem, but I had a bit of trouble getting the new tire's bead to seat in the rim. I did some reading on the web and got that fixed pretty quickly. The real problems arose when I was attempting to reinstall the rear wheel. Trying to finagle the derailleur, align the rotor with the brake, and seat the wheel in the dropout made me wish I had another set of hands.

My impromptu work stand.

I finally managed to get it done (with help from the wife) with only minor injuries to my paint due to the rotor being wedged someplace it didn't belong. You can see the gouge I made on the inside of my chainstay in the picture above. Overall, it was a good experience, but something I need to practice if I am going to ever be able to do this during a race. Probably not going to have an extra set of hands available when I am out in the Wyoming wilderness. Any tips for future attempts?

Ready to roll. Looks pretty fast to me.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Laramie Enduro 111K

The focal point of my race season will be the Laramie Enduro. From their site:

"Situated in the Laramie Range of Southeastern Wyoming, this course covers some of the best mountain bike track in the region. The course is a fast and extremely fun loop, covering no ground twice. It includes virtually every kind of trail and surface a mountain biker is likely to encounter in the Rockies, from wildlife trails to single track to dirt roads. It is equally well suited for geared bikes and single speeds.

The course is a challenging 70+ miles which climbs over 8,600 vertical feet, all at elevations over 7,500 feet. You’ll race over high grass plains, through serene aspen and pine forests, and through the renowned rock-climbing venue of the Vedauwoo (pronounced Veda-Voo) Recreation Area. This event is not for the casual rider. You can finish this race, but don’t take it lightly."

This will definitely be a big step for me, as the longest mountain bike ride I have ever done is 40 miles, on flat terrain and at a much lower elevation. I have no delusions of grandeur, my goal this year will be to finish the race in the allotted 10 hours. I can focus on being fast next year. All the other riding and training I do this year will be in preparation for this event. I am really pumped.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Year in Preview

This year I am planning on doing 11 mountain bike races. This is exactly 10 more mtb races than I did last year, and 11 more than any other year. The goal is to enter all of the Psycowpath series races plus the Branched Oak 12 Hour (hopefully on a 3 man team), the Cornhusker State Games, and my real goal for this year, the Laramie Enduro. More on that later. First race is a little over a month away, I guess I better start getting used to my new bike.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

For those of you who don't habla espanol...

This is my El Mariachi. Nate hooked me up with this bike last November and unfortunately I haven't had much of a chance to ride it yet due to the brutal winter we are just getting over. What I can tell, is that once I get used to the idiosyncrasies of this particular rigid, steel, 29er (all new things for me) it will be a pretty fast machine with me on it. My goal is to train enough to be worthy of its sweet high end steel ride.

It's a force of nature.