Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Kite Flying

A very long weekend of busy activities ended with kite flying with Aedan. I am not sure if this was his first kite flying experience, but it definitely was my first with him. The wind was enough to get the $1.11 Buzz Lightyear kite in the air. Aedan would run after the kite once it got in the air, sending it back down to the ground. That really was not a problem, because that meant the kite got to be launched again, which seem to bring great enjoyment to him.

Again I feel blessed being part of his life.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Broken Hub

I destroy bicycle parts. It is apparently what I do. I cannot tell you how many times I go to the bicycle shop with a broken bicycle part, the staff acts like it is the first time they have ever seen that type of failure. The bike shop does enjoy me a customer because of this strange skill. Saturday it was another first.

Saturday it was a Chris King hub. Chris King makes some of the toughest cycling hubs. Over the years I have gone through so many wheel sets. I have broken Easton, Dura Ace, Mavix Krsyium, and many other wheels. If I got 2,000 miles out of these wheel sets, it was a victory. For the non cycling folks who do read this blog, I have friends that get 15,000 miles on a set of wheels.

Two years ago, my favorite bike mechanic, Gordon, convinced me to have him build me some wheels on Chris King Hubs. He used Mavic Open Pros for the rims, aluminum spokes and brass nipples. I had a solid wheel set. Mavic Open Pros are considered the best rims out there. Strangely this wheel set was relatively cheaper than my prior high performance wheels.

I got 5,000 miles on this set until broke a spoke on the rear wheel last June. I got it rebuilt and kept moving. I broke spokes on the front wheel in December and had it rebuilt. Life was good. I was getting life out of these wheels.

When I did the Dallas Century, my rear wheel started to make all sorts of noise, so I brought into the shop, they cleaned it, and trued it. Life was good.

Saturday, during my ride, the rear wheel suddenly went out of true, so I opened my breaks and got 70 miles in. It was getting frustrating all my friendly cycling buddies telling me that my wheel was wobbling, but they were being kind, so I tried to be polite and say thank you. It was getting difficult to be nice when I was bonking, but I digress.

So I brought my wheel to the shop on Saturday afternoon. It was determined that my hub was loose. When they took my cog set off to put on a loaner wheel, it was discovered that I had cracked the hub in a way that no one had seen before. My wheel was paraded to all the mechanics in the shop as the most amazing thing they had ever seen.

The summation of the event was when they brought the wheel to Gordon, who was with a customer across the room; He looked the crack and then looked at me just shook his head.

On a positive note, they think Chris King will warranty it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Double Flat

Sometimes the best laid plans completely fall apart on you.

I usually only ride my bike on Tuesday and Thursdays, whether it is cycle commuting or road riding. This past Wednesday, I decided to cycle commute because there was rain in the forecast for Thursday.

I picked a wonderful day to ride home. The wind was out the south, but the temperature was in the low 70s.

I have been pleased on how my legs and lungs are starting to respond. I still do not feel I am yet in Spring shape yet, but the rides home seem to go by quicker.

As I turned off of Division onto the road that leads you to Forrest Edge, I noted my rear wheel started to feel soft. I look down and realized a had a flat. I figured I could ride it home low, but about 100 yards later, I was riding the rim.

I did a tube change under a shade tree on the bend on Forrest Edge. I checked to see what caused the flat, did not find anything. I ran my hand on the inside of the tire. Nothing. I was real proud of myself on how quickly, calmly and manly I did the change. I even did a puff chest "I am fine" to the nice lady in the pick up truck who asked if I needed any help to add to my machismo.

With a solid tire, I headed home and withing 100 yards I was dead flat again. I only carry one spare tube, so I was done. I proceeded to ride the rim until I got across Park Row. The head wind that was not bothering me suddenly seemed to be a lot more powerful.

I did pull over and call Carol, but she was just leaving work. By the time she could get me, I would be home on the rim. Plus it appeared that I already ruined the tire. This being the case I slogged all the way home at about 5 miles an hour, with the tire making all sorts of noise. Any illusion that it was not ruined was getting shattered.

I made it home in one piece, but I do admit I was looking for the nice lady to ask me the question one more time.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Victory over Violence

I am a tad obsessive compulsive over my cycling. I understand life’s priorities get in the way some time, but every opportunity I can create; I try to ride the bike.

I am late on this, because life’s pesky priorities have not allowed me to type this up. But on Saturday April 10, 2010 was the Annual Victory over Violence 5K fund raiser for the Women’s Center in Fort Worth.

The Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office makes it an office project to get the largest team entered into this fund raiser. It is for a very good cause and it good public service publicity for the office. The office develops team T-Shirts that the boss, Joe Shannon, Jr. purchases with his own funds to make sure the Office is visible. The past few years I have had the task of helping with the design, ordering and purchasing the shirts.

Nonetheless, a 5k in downtown Fort Worth at 8:30 am on Saturday morning, completely trashes any opportunity to get a long ride in on a Saturday. I was stuck with a dilemma, show support for the Office or get a long ride in.

Like most things, I wanted to have it all. So with some planning, my office buddies, Mark and Betty, let me put my running stuff in their SUV with a bike rack on Friday with the plan to meet them in the parking lot at the run at 8am. Big Dave met me at my house at 7am and we time trialed all the way from Little DWG to Trinity Park on 7th Street in Fort Worth. We made the 17 miles by 7:55am, Mark was waiting and I quickly changed in a manner that would not get me a ticket. Mark and I walked to the start. I found the boss to underscore my commitment to the office. (Some would say sucking up; I am just going with commitment to the office)

I of course mingled with other people from the office and spent some time with the true athletes. I managed to do my 5k in 27:03, which for me was only 3 seconds slower than my goal. I ended up finishing in the top 10 for the 100 or so that ran from office. Although I am proud of my run, but as Mark noted, I am not sure what it really says about the fitness level of the office.

Mark and I headed back to the car, I changed and Big Dave rolled up and we headed out. We took the long way home and I finished with 42 miles for the day. Not a true long ride, but a ride, run and a ride.

I guess it was my first duathalon.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


We had a crossover in the rain at Sid Richardson Scout Ranch tonight. Apparently if it is a Troop 5 event it must rain.

A crossover is when boys finish cub scouting and join a scout troop. The troop has many crossovers over the years. Some have been big affairs involving Indians and fires. Others have been simple ceremonies in the parking lot on the way to summer camp. Each one is different and they all have their special moments.

Tonight’s crossover was at Sid Richardson Scout Ranch. A group of 7 of Little Troop 5 Scouts and 5 adults assembled in the Key elementary school parking lot at 4pm today. The weekend had brought rain and we figured it had been pouring at Sid, we were cautiously optimistic that we would find boys of Pack 235 still camping.

The drive out was quite uneventful. The Troop successful killed a 40 piece family meal at the Bridgeport Chicken Express. (For Chicken Express fans, this one has awesome rolls) We arrived at Sid to find a rag tag remnants of Pack 235 still camping. All that was left were the boys crossing over, their parents, and the webelos one group that is waiting their turn to cross over next year.

Most of the pack had abandoned the camp out. The adult leaders requested a short a sweet ceremony and that is what they got. The boys of Troop 5 led the new scouts in the Scout Oath and under the protection of two pop ups, the troop soon had five new members in green hats and neckerchiefs.

The old and new members of Troop 5 attacked the dessert offered and we headed home.

The next journey begins.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Cycling Frustration

Cycling has been rather frustrating lately. I still enjoy it, but I seem to be stuck in a fitness level and have not had the spring break through that I am used to having. Every winter I do not get on the bike enough and slide out of my peak cycling level. This past year was even worse with the broken thumb; I essentially got off the bike in August.

I have been cycling commuting and doing as many weekend rides as I can to get back into shape. Every spring, I suddenly push through a ride and my average speed starts hovering around 20mph on all my rides. I have been stuck at 16-17 mph average for the past few months. What adds to the frustration is that the crew on the Saturday morning ride has gotten younger and faster as I get older and slower.

I am sure I am going to break through soon, but it cannot come soon enough.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fancy Coffee Mug

Above is a picture of my new cycling travel coffee mug. I am very proud of it. I must confess I am a gear head and some of the simplest things seem to be the coolest.

I am aware of the fact that I am known to buy “gear” but don’t really needed it. Really- does anybody really need at titanium spoon for backpacking? Probably not, but I own one. So I work extra hard when I see something that I want for the "gear" factor.

I was taking a wheel to be trued at the shop and saw the cycling traveling coffee mug behind the glass. I thought to myself that would be cool to own. But I stopped myself. I concluded that I have enough travel coffee mugs and one that fits in a water bottle cage is not really that big of a deal.

The following day, after I cycle commuted to the bus on a very cold morning, I sat on the bus cold. I looked around to all my bus buddies to see them sipping on their coffee. I concluded immediately that I needed the new coffee mug. I had a reason, maybe an excuse, but definitely a purpose to having the nifty keen coffee cup.

That evening I went back to the shop and purchased my mug. My continuing downward spiral to become a cliché was becoming more apparent as I sat and rank my Starbucks brand coffee waiting on the bus the following morning.