Monday, November 30, 2009

DIY shoe repair

Once upon a time...

I ripped the SOUL off of my shoe.


These are nice shoes, I like them.

In the spirit of Bob Villa, I went to Home Depot and checked out the glues with fancy pants.

I settled on some quick setting epoxy.

It went like this:




Effectiveness/efficiency report soon.

Monday, November 23, 2009

as problematic as human life is, in the end, it is worth it, it is unique and amazing

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Yup. Even a little classic house. The kind with vocals and instruments. Killer vibraphone action in this one.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tour Das Hugel... basically, "something else".

I woke at 5:30 that morning.

2009 Tour Das Hugel - Austin Texas

2009 Tour Das Hugel - Austin Texas

I did my usual routine, but packed extra supplements and what not.

When I get there, I am blown away by the amount and diversity of starters.

A carbon Pinarello with super 11, a sweet 84'ish Pinarello, a recumbent, mountain bikes, hybrids, a pair of rando bikes, even a tandem or two.

I was lucky to run into AS, before the start.

He and I had never attempted the TdH nor a century ride.

We admitted our nervousness, but also psyched-up each other about the glory of finishing.

The start was a familiar one, we headed out to 360 via rolling wood.

Before hitting the bridge, we take a right turn on to westlake, and the fun starts.

Toro canyon, High rd., Terrace Mtn. These are things my buddy MC introduced me to a while ago on my first real hill ride. Thanks dude.

At about mile 16 we have our first rest stop. Impressive stuff. The back of the car was stuffed with everything you could need.

Citrus, pickles, bananas, Clif bars, electrolyte drinks, PB&J, and most importantly, supporters.

These people were great. Fantastic in their food and moral support.

2009 Tour Das Hugel - Austin Texas

2009 Tour Das Hugel - Austin Texas

After that stop we head out on bee caves to put some miles in, and luckily we headed out on the Cuernavaca loop. If you haven't been, its beautiful. No serious hills, nice windy roads with great scenery and awesome trees.

Barton creek was the next major hill, and great girl-scout supported stop was waiting for us.

2009 Tour Das Hugel - Austin Texas

Lost creek was the last hill on the first lap, and we headed back to the start/finish.

Plenty of people had the goal of doing the first lap, and called it a day. Some people realized a second lap was just not going to happen for them, and they left with more hunger for next year. Some people said "well I've gone this far, might as well keep on goin". Yes, that was a Forrest Gump reference.

Heading out on Stratford, we headed to Mt. Bonnell along scenic drive.

Ahh, Mt. B.

Familiar grounds. I have ridden with folks out here many times. I did repeats on it to train. It felt great.

Next, we headed to Laderna Norte.

I was introduced to this bad boy just as I was committing to do this thing. When I did Laderna for the first time, It hit me how crazy, and crazy cool the Hugel may be. Thanks CC.

They did pull a quick one on us though, we didn't just go straight up Laderna. We first went down below it to meet this absolute beast of a side street called Smokey Valley. This thing is straight mental. It is short, but maxing out at 25% gradient made some people dismount for the first time. I overhead a person telling their riding partner, "that's it, I'm out, I got off...". Now, that is not any official rule. That was his personal decision based on a personal goal. More on that later.

Right after that, you are basically in the middle of LN and its go time. It was very tough pulling those two hills. Very tough.

The third stop was soon after at a awesome supporter's home. Again, all the good stuff you need to live through the odyssey.

2009 Tour Das Hugel - Austin Texas

2009 Tour Das Hugel - Austin Texas

I think this was where we joined a gang of woolly mammoth riders. The team is made up of a few current/ex messengers and a couple other weirdos (in the good way).

We hit 360 again to get out to the Beauford and Courtyard hills. I don't remember which one it was, but one of the roads was in the process of repavement. EDIT: A commenter noted that Beauford has been in this textured state for the past 2-3 years and not being repaved. It was highly textured and was tough, tough climb. That type of surface make it feel like your power is going nowhere.

Riverplace was the last hill before rest stop number four.

This place was more like a rest resort.

In addition to what was at the other awesome stops, this one had potato wedges, a ton of water melon, many chairs, plenty shade, and the pickle juice guy.

2009 Tour Das Hugel - Austin Texas


Improv Product Review: Pickle Juice Sport

Photo from Drumsing's photostream:

Many people have heard that pickle juice prevents/stops cramping. Its the sodium and electrolytes and such.

Well, an enterprising young man took the idea and formulated a impressively palatable pickle sports drink.

These drinks have around 15 times the electrolytes/minerals (salt, potassium, zinc) of most "sports drinks".

At some point I did feel a mouse running around in my right thigh, but I gave this stuff a try and it was gone pretty soon. I'm pretty sure I drank three bottles of that stuff on Saturday. The guys I was riding with also drank the stuff and were impressed that it really did stop a starting cramp, or prevented them from cramping when they normally would have.

I have to say, I am sold. I'll be glad to buy this Texas company's drink.

Also, the rep/owner? of PJ sport was a very cool dude.

He'd make sure he found a nice cold one and got that bad boy opened with bartender-like speed and agility.

He ran around picking up people's empties and offered smaller to-go bottles just in case you ran into trouble before the next stop.


Then it was out to Mansfield dam. We went cyclo-crossing on some weird path under a bridge to a low water crossing that apparently can flash flood at anytime without warning.

2009 Tour Das Hugel - Austin Texas

2009 Tour Das Hugel - Austin Texas

2009 Tour Das Hugel - Austin Texas

2009 Tour Das Hugel - Austin Texas

We took RM 620 back to the rest resort. It was a long, but not so steep hill.

Photo from Drumsing's photostream:

More food, more PJ sport.

I was worried about overdoing the PJ, but it turns out I would be pretty helpful on the next hill.

At the top of a smaller hill, N and I kinda got the ants in the pants. Our group was separating pretty often now, so we decided to go on and finish the last two.

Big view was pretty bad. At 88 miles we descended a few hundred feet only to u-turn at the bottom. At the bottom, there is a pretty clear view of street and you could see the insane grade. I had a flash of fear, but there was no way I was going to go this far and quit. Id say it was the hardest one of them all due to the miles already covered, the gradient/length, and the mental aspect of being able to see almost the entire climb from the bottom. The other hills did not have a view like that.

Alright, now all we have is "just" jester...

Jester at mile 93 sounds pretty tough. It was tough, but N and I were pretty amped at this point. Also we had some cool supporters cheering us on on the final climb. It also didn't hurt that there was a photographer it one of the tougher sections. A camera lens focused on you can feel like a supplement.

Previous three pictures from Onefiftyfour's photostream:


I get a little chill.

I can really smell that fresh screen-print paint on the Hugel shirt now.

All we have is 360, which does have the bee caves hill, which is a little somethin' somethin'.

We didn't baby our way home. We both felt good and excited about getting back and finishing. I have a real love for the stretch of 360 that we took to get back, and we rode strong all the way till the end.

Beer time. I run to a store on Barton springs road to get a Modelo and some cash for the shirt donation.

2009 Tour Das Hugel - Austin Texas

2009 Tour Das Hugel - Austin Texas

The rest of the crew shows up one by one with smiles.

We hang out and sit on a guardrail and chat about the day for a bit. Never did a guardrail feel so much like a lay-z-boy.

Pretty soon, it was all "great riding with you" and "cya later".

I ride home, making a day total of 130 miles.

Before passing out around 9pm, I chatted with family and friends about my day and started trying to shrink my Hugel shirt a bit. I also finished leftovers from my pre-Hugel dinner.

Now to some random thoughts about the ride, or that came to me during the ride.

I liked how the ride made for many different possible goals for different people.

Some looked for lap one and nothing more.

Some wanted to simply finish the whole deal somehow.

Some wanted to finish first.

Everyone had the choice of how to make their sundae.

I made mine without changing the bike (gears) for the ride's challenges. I decided to not walk at any point, and do every one straight up, with no zig zagging. That is how I wanted it, and I got it.

I really really hope that gentleman that hit the wall on smokey valley gets his sundae next year.

Ok I have a few people to thank for sure. My various riding partners of course. The cycling and non-cycling people that dared me / encouraged me / pushed me / taunted me to do this challenge. The people that put this mental thing on including all support people. The gang I rode with that day. The fellas at the bike shop that introduced me to this wide world of cycling and enabled me to learn so much about bikes and the cycling life. My bike performed excellently and safely because of what I learned. I saw a few people have problems that had them come to stops.

Now to reflect how my cycling life has come to this. As a tri-cyclist (road,mtb,cross), I learned skills that really helped me complete this. My road biking gave me endurance and form. My SS mountain biking gave me power and taught me how important it is to get "on top" of your gear and never stop cranking. Cross taught me how to suffer while delivering.

In the end, I will concluded that the Tour Das Hugel was a life changing/affirming event. If not the Das Hugel, make sure you do things in your life that combine a serious physical/mental challenge. You will feel the edge, you will forget all else in the world, you will feel very very human.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hugel DONE.

More later

It is 5:47am November 14 2009

Right now I am drinking coffee and preparing for the Tour das Hugel. What did I get myself into??? I will tell you in due time.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ridin bikes

The day started off with visit to the bridge.

My ride was fun and strong, but flatted on barton spring road.

No biggie. I patched it and checked my front tire for glass and such. I didnt find any glass, but I found a fatal tear in the sidewall.

The tube was peeking out.

I have my post ride beer and call up D-town to see if he wants to go hit the greenbelt.

He did, and it went something like this:







Then a little social cycling

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Once a day keeps the chasing group away...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A real deal race report

So ya, the Derby was hoping to go on, but It was realized around 2pm that it was just not gonna happen.

The cancellation was announced and I went hard to work on a flyer...

og cross

Despite the late call, we still had a good crowd.


EI raised the spectator bar to a crazy level.


He brought the crowd a case of Victoria beer imported from Mexico itself.


On top of that, he offered to keep track of the racers which allowed this dude right here to race.

Alright, lets get on with the report.

Barriers were back in action. This time they were placed in a slow section just after a pair of mud crossings.

We did the le mans style start with D-town calling a surprise "go".

I'm of the opinion that a strong start is crucial in a cross race.

I'd like to think I have a pretty good one. Ive noticed I have a bit of an usual mount. Most do a few short steps and jump on. I seem to run a whole lot more to a higher speed before mounting. Anyhow it seems to work.

Yesterday was my first race on new tires. Both were skinny and fast rolling Michelins. And by skinny and fast I really mean sketchy, a little loose, and FAST.

Big EC also has a killer start. He and I went real hot on the first half lap. With the new tires and good start, I had some fun drift action going.

The first time under the bridge was surprising. I was expecting it to be much more soft, so I took it easy to spy the line.

At this point EC and I were together with a nice gap until 3rd.

At the start of the third lap, I noticed B's light was getting way too close for my comfort. Coming off a couple seconds rest behind EC, I went for an attack on the straight section before the bridge section.

It came time to test that line. I went under the bridge pretty hot cutting that column sharp.

I hate (kinda) to blow my horn, but I own that section.

Coming off the section I look back to see EC dropping off and that B wasn't able to cover the attack.

I was really hurting after turning off the burners. Passing by the start/finish, I yell out to EI "how much time". He yells "16".

Man...still half the race to go, and I feel that if I don't hold this attack, B or EC would have a good chance at popping me at the line or the final straight.

I dig down. I've been in this position once before at a Tuesday nighter.

It is not easy keeping a fast pace with no one to chase, but I feed on my desire to not only win, but win convincingly.

With every lap, my gap grew a little till the end. It was a good victory.

EC was very gracious. Hes a good dude. He is most definitely an OG in the alley cross world.

Ive been doing these things since last winter with BDs races. EC was one of the first "serious" racers to add more legitimacy to urban cyclo-cross in Austin. His murderous rampage got guys like me really excited about cross. Chasing him made me faster, taught me a lot, and made my introduction to "legit" cross races less of a shock.

Respect EC, respect.

1st - The bum
2nd - EC
3rd - DS



Product Review - FlashBak

Do you know what cool people do?

They make cool, smart, and innovative bike products.

That is what Mr. Brad Beneski did. I met Brad at the social cycling rides. He always had some snack (frozen grapes!!!) in his rear rack and always up for a fun ride.. Soon, I noticed his new invention. The FlashBak.

Check out this link for some background on the man and the story behind FlashBak:

When I saw this revolutionary (really it is) light system, it just made sense.

Versatility: The four alligator clips and a separate battery unit are awesome. The clips make it possible to mount it to a back pack, pannier, or right on your jersey. The battery unit can be placed in a jersey pocket or back pack pocket.

Amber light: In chatting with Brad, he told me how optometry studies show that amber is much more visible than red. Why are bike lights red? I dunno, but I'm guessing it is simple tradition. People figure whats good for cars is good for bikes. Ya I know the law says "red", but I understand Brad looked into this and was reassured that this technicality would not be a problem. Amber makes sense.

Beyond visibility, I think there is another advantage to amber light. Call me weird (it happens all the time), but I think people may react differently to different colors. I think amber is simply a less disruptive/annoying/aggressive color, and that it may affect the actions of drivers.

Lights: There are a ton of VERY bright LED's on this bad boy. Ive seen a trend it commuter lights where the concentration is on one very very bright LED with a fancy pants lens on it. Depending on how well its mounted/worn sometimes your 1 watt of power is going into the ground or is being used to signal aliens.

You know who you are...

Simple is better sometimes. These LED are on a fabric strip that is flexible and conforms to your body/backpack. This make is so the LEDs are basically shining many various directions.

I also really like the unique hiccup pattern of the flash, and I'm sure it helps with visibility to some degree.

Remote control: Never ask "is my light on". Never try shining your light at the ground to see if its on.

The remote on/off button can be put somewhere easily accessible and visible to the rider.

I've seen/tried quite a few lights in my time.

I can say with confidence, this is the best light yet.

Buy one here:

Or East Side Pedal Pushers.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I solemnly swear to give at least a 3/4ers-assed attempt at keeping this thing rolling.

Now then, with all apologies in place, lets continue.

Lets go back in time to the breaking' in of the dirt derby.

'Twas ladies night.

They advertised that any dudes that suffered the trials and tribulations of racing in women's cl0thes would have free race entry.

Since we are poor, and can be described as "something else", me and D-town got down with the drag. D looked very much like daisy from "dukes", and I went classy with my LittleBlackDress.

Nothing says class like chugging a beer and stuffing the can in your top...

The dress performed well. Pulled a 2nd and a 4th place in the races that night.

At the time, I thought we were being kinda subversive, but it turned out our antics were entertaining, and well received. Awesome!

Next week the derby was rained out, and the first OG Kross event went down.

That race was memorable in that JM blew me out of the water (super impressive mid attack), and I broke B for the first time.

JM carried that good ride on over to the TXBRA Wurst cross race where he took a sick 4th in a deep field.

That day I felt like all the boogers I usually store in my nose, migrated to my lungs, big whoop, I'm not a wiener like Mark Cavendish.

I rode hard, a little stupid, but learned a whole lot and had a great time.

I learned that gloves are a very good idea, and that sometimes you have to sacrifice a little air pressure for a very bumpy course.

The race was fun all around, costumes, great bbq, beer, and a nice course with a run along the comal(?) river.

Ok, now were back at the derby.

This was the day we realized we were not cross outlaws, but cross explorers.

Last time was the first DD hand-down, and this time I managed the first hand-up which seemingly opened up a flood gate of beer hand-ups,downs,and sideways'.

Alright, awesome!

And then...
Another derby first!


Well, there were some deep ruts out on the course. It was not a well lit area, but I knew they were there. At some point, I saw a opportunity to pass. Instinct took over, and I neglected my brain telling me that I can't pass if I crash...
Not smart, but more learned.

Because it was a first, Matt at Hammer Head bicycles offered to do the build for free. Very cool guys, very cool.

Because I had ants in my pants, as well as a rim and hub in waiting, I got around to building a front wheel.

I had delayed building it because the particular spoke length needed is very hard to find, at least in the particular spoke I prefer. In fact, I think they are out of production.

On a whim I decided to start calling shops to see if they would have this 276mm double butted spoke. I call BSS first. They have been around for a while and are enormous. They had it....


It was an older box for sure. Im familiar with the past few years of boxes, this one was a little older.

Very cool. Time to build functional art.



That wheel was a world series baby.


Here is Matts art: I reused my hub and had another rim in waiting.



See this hub? It has a billion miles on it. Its been on three bikes, it rolls as smooth as day one. It is a DT Swiss 340. I can recommend this hub.


Whoa! We are caught up it seems. Had a great ride out to 360. Man, fall in Austin is some quality conditions.