Dropping the Big Ring

Yep…after a lengthy decision, I’ve decided the Big ring has gotta go. I am pretty sure my front derailieur hasn’t shifted the chain onto the big ring once since I got the Hardrock, but my right calf has met the big ring a few times…looks like damn Wolverine took a few swipes at me. So to solve that problem, I implemented a two step solution.

Step 1: replace plastic peatles with light weight aluinium peddles with replacement metal prongs and…

Step 2: drop the Big ring in favor of MRP’s LRP Chain Guide and Bash Guard

MRP's LRP dual drive chain guide and bash guard.

MRP’s LRP dual drive chain guide and bash guard.

So this bad boy just came in the mail this evening, so hope to get it installed sometime tomorrow. More to come in a few days…

I Took a Trip Over the Bars Today

I got beat up by two trees today.

Yes, you read that correctly…and nature won.

The first was a trip I took over the handle bars when I came blazing around a corner and unexpectedly came upon this…

IMG_1127

I gracefully placed my tire on one side of the that thin tree, while momentum and I were on the other side. It’s a long way down while taking off from an upward stance on this new 29er. While my pride (and now a few hours later I can see my side) were bruised…I got up and dusted myself off, then forged ahead. After all, I’ve only been on the trail for 10 minutes!

Came upon five other riders on the trail today, by far the most I’ve ever seen during a visit to the Preserve. One took a nice bail in front of me on a sandy and tight set of S turns. Hey, at least I wasn’t the only one to kiss the trail today…and he was on an FSR!

Random shot of the trail.

Random shot of the trail.

The second encounter was with the tree I ‘rub’ as I pass each ride. It’s a quick & tight left turn, and my left shoulder usually ‘rubs’ as I fly by. Yeah, not this time. I think the tree may have grown a little, as the clearance doesn’t appear to be the same. Hard lick to the shoulder.

I am thinking it’s time to switch up the views…a buddy told me about another set of trails that are well maintained and offers up some drop offs. Would be nice to get out of the tight single track for a bit. Will have to check them out…but first I need to tune my rear derailleur, caught some shrubbery’s back there, and now shifting is skipping, slipping, and jumping.

Caution: My Awesomeness May Cause Injury

So I am beginning to wonder if I should start a date off by handing the lucky gal a bunch of liability release forms. After all with my recent track record, it may be a good idea. Two out of the last three women I have gone out with have bailed hard on at least one of our dates.

The first was M, and she managed to bail on our very first date. She was about to make her way across the patio back to our table, when without any indication she suddenly folds at the legs and goes down. I’m talking “down” like when you see someone get knocked out cold, they tumble straight down…like a building that’s been demolished – down and in a hurry! M must have been mortified, but dang she is a trooper, and she played it off like a pro. Way smoother than I would have…I would have taken out two tables and at least one innocent bystander – just to make the situation even more awkward.

The other was arguably even better. So picture this…a nice leisurely Sunday afternoon bike ride along the sea wall in Galveston. With the Gulf of Mexico as our backdrop, we were riding side by side, looking back and forth and smiling at each other as we’re have a good ti…KA-PLANG!!! One second she was there, the next she wasn’t.

Yes. While on a date, she collides with a large metal pole. Apparently the enormous handle bars of her Panama Jack cruiser clipped the pole, sending the bars violently to the right, and tossing my date partially to the ground…I say partially only because her leg was caught up in the frame, which physically prevented her from making actual contact with the ground…

…Pausing so you can really soak up that image…

I am pretty sure that I froze for an instant, while my brain tried to make sense of the imagery presented in front of me. And if there is a state beyond mortified, she was there! In addition to the certain mental trauma, there was also some pretty nasty physical trauma…..thankfully no broken bones, but the beginning of what was going to be a very large and deeply colorful hematoma.

While all of these incidents occurred in public locations, I did call my State Farm agent to check the coverage of my homeowners policy (and got a Double Check too)! Oh, just to let you know ‘biker girl’ sent me a text a few weeks afterwards: a photo of her latest road rash. So apparently she has some balance issues to work through.

Where’s My Water?

Woke up this morning to zero water pressure. Barely a trickle out of the shower, and the toilet didn’t refill. I noticed my first thought is always the same when a utility fails:

“I paid the bill, right?”

I checked the pressure on an outside faucet which, according to Google, is the test to see if the issue with the house or the utility. No pressure outside either. Wow, this is totally inconveniencing me at 7:43 in the morning.

That’s when I stop to take a moment and reflect on just how blessed I am. I mean, there are people alive today that don’t even have clean drinking water, and here I am getting bend out of joint because the clean water I do have, isn’t coming out the pipes as fast as I am used to…

I then proceeded to call the utility company and express my utter displeasure with the situation with a not so happy demeanor and tone.

…Hey, I’m just keeping it real.

Oh, by the way if your found this post looking for the Disney game “Where’s My Water?”, you can find it here in the iTune App Store.

A Stranger Wave

So this just happened to me…

On the way home from dropping Little-Bit off at school, I pull up to a four way stop.
I come to a complete stop, and then proceed through the intersection.
The woman in the car going the opposite direction waves at me as we drive past each other. My immediate response was to wave back. Then I realized I didn’t even know her.

This isn’t the first instance that I have noticed this immediate response. Randomly I’ll get caught in the “cross wave”…you know what I mean…you get a wave from a complete stranger…you respond with an instinctual wave back (or at least I do) and then notice you don’t recognize the person at all…you look over your shoulder and what do you know, there’s the intended recipient, and now you just feel like an idiot and wish you could disappear.

So this got me to thinking…does everyone have an instinctual reaction to wave back?
Is this something that programmed deep into my DNA?
Oh the mystery!

Here’s an idea…why not wave to random people and see what happens? It could be fun! Don’t forget to come back and tell us how it went.

 

What the $*!@ is a Bobcat?

(a short written by Sean Graham © 2009.)

So how weird would it be?

…to be sitting a your local neighborhood watering hole, enjoying a nice cold one, only to be bit in the ass by a $*!@ing bobcat?!?!?!

Yep, you read that correctly. According to a local news source in Cottonwood AZ, a bobcat was causing quite a ruckus in town. He reportedly harassed a patron in the Pizza Hut parking lot. I suspect the bobcat was kinda pissed off, namely with the lady that earlier; almost ran him over with her car. I mean we’ve all have bad days, but getting rundown by a large-hat-wearing old lady, could make any day kinda go south.

So after taking out some of its frustration out on the local idiot outside the Pizza Hut, it likely worked up a thirst, and naturally headed to the neighborhood bar to wet its whistle. I suspect it isn’t every day that a bobcat wanders into a bar for a drink (I’m thinking joke here) so the regulars were probably shocked, sending them up their bar stools in a panic, exposing some plump and juicy asses; apparently which are irresistible to pissed off and thirsty bobcats.

Awe - Isn't he cute?

Awe – Isn’t he cute?

Unfortunately, upon exiting the local establishment, “the Po-Po” decided to shoot first and ask questions later, fatally ending what I can only assume was an entertaining stand-off between the bobcat and the “Darwin Award” winner in the parking lot (which by the way was reported to have poked the otherwise peaceful bobcat with a large stick). Talk about a bad day, though. Do you think the bobcat thought his day would end like that when he woke up? What the hell is a bobcat anyway?

Okay so I don’t know exactly what a bobcat is, but I do know what a damn alligator looks like (well…maybe; I get alligator and crocodile mixed up from time to time but since I am neither a relative of the Erwins, nor an employee of an alligator farm, I am not sure it really matters).

Back during my 2nd year in College (round 1 for those that are keeping score) I arrived home to the apartment after visiting my family for Christmas. On the ride home I had consumed copious amounts of coffee, and thus naturally felt like I had to pee like the preverbal race horse.

The door to the apartment is flung open, and bags are tossed aside…toppling over each other as they travel down the hallway. All I could think about was making it to the bathroom. Struggling with my zipper (which typically has difficulty staying up, thus surprising me as it wouldn’t come down) I can feel the pressure building. OMG, if I don’t get ready… like right now!.. my laundry pile is going to get slightly larger.

With swift success, I as soon enjoying the immense relief of pressure…when suddenly I heard it. A very odd, sloshing sound that was intermittently emanating from the bathtub. As I turn my head, I notice the shower curtain is drawn. That’s unusual. I mean, this is a total bachelor pad…I’m not even sure we had a shower curtain before. What could be making that sound? My curiosity won out…

I slowly reach out and grab a handful of shower curtain, and with one fell swoop, open the curtain, to unveil to my complete and utter surprise: a $*!@ing alligator in my $*!@ing bathtub! Startled I jump what seemed like an olympic hight, all the while spraying pee all over the room as if it were an unmanned fire hose. Apparently the killing machine in my bathtub was startled as well, and started flipping around (the “death roll”), and snapping at me. I am lucky I didn’t shit myself. GARY!!!!!!!!! I scream! There is a $*!@ing alligator in the bathtub!!!!

Creepy eye looking @ you

Creepy eye looking @ you

By this time, I have managed to regain some of my composure; just as Gary nonchalantly strolls into the bathroom, completely un-phased by the relative to the dinosaur taking up residence in the bathtub.

“Oh yeah, I forgot he was there”

was the response I got from my roommate. WTF?! Forgot he was there? How the HELL do you forget about a $*!@ing alligator?!?! Come on!!! It’s not like there are thousands of them around the apartment, and this particular one was misplaced. Gary feels this would be the best time to educate me, and proceeds to tell me that it’s not an alligator, but a caiman, which is apparently part of the crocodile family.

What the $*!@ ever dude, last time I checked, that wasn’t on the list of approved pets for the apartment.

With that comment, Gary then proceeds to tell me that I will likely not like the other “pet” he as acquired over the holidays…and creeps slowly in retreat from the room. I follow him down the hallway to the door to his room. Gary looks at me and flashes a devilish grin as he slowly turns the door knob and pushes open the door.

Admists the creaking of the door, I start to see what appears to be an enourmous plexiglass box…with wood chips and rocks lining the bottom…it has an industrial mesh fence as a lid…I swallow and nervously ask

What’s in that huge box Gary?

“Oh, just a king snake.” was his reply. OMG!!!!!!!!!

Just a King snake

Just a King snake

So there I am standing in the hallway of a two bedroom apartment, when I realized that I was surrounded by scary reptiles. As a broke student, there wasn’t much I could do, other than grin and try and bare it. It took some time, but I eventually got use to living in a zoo (Gary also had a black cat called “Kitty”, yeah…super original…I know). The caiman eventually moved from the bathtub to a new residence made from plastic swimming pools, which at my instance remained in Gary’s room.

As the second half of the school year ended, I remember my friend Marc was over visiting while I was packing. He mentioned quite casually that one of Gary’s many snakes had escaped from it’s domicile a few months earlier, and wondered if anyone ever found it.

What? Many snakes?!? What? Escaped?!?

Apparently everyone knew about it, but because they knew I would freak out, no one ever told me. I think that’s why I had this deep rooted fear of snakes, well, until I moved to Texas. While snakes don’t scare the shit out of me any more, I still don’t like them all that much. Call me crazy, but I can do without the whole reptile family.

Last I heard from Gary, he was well on his way to be becoming a vet.

The Three Amigos of the Nature Preserve

So my buddy from Canada was here this past week, and we got a chance to ride the single track up the road. The three of us geared up, and headed out to the G.M. Nature Preserve…

20130519-080458.jpgFirst pass was fun, Little Bit lead most of the way so pace was a pretty casual. So much so my buddy decided to play “tire rub” adding some difficulty to the ride for us.

We did pass a Copperhead on the trail…Little Bit shouted it out

“Snake”

I looked down and saw it right by my foot, and I yelled it out

“Snake!”

My buddy lets out a girlie yelp as he passed by it. He’s not found of those that slither.

The rest of the ride was un-eventful as far as wildlife, but certainly not boring! The single track at George Mitchell Nature Preserve is pretty tight, and full of roots, and you simply just can’t beat getting outside and in the trees.

Got a Little Mud on the Tires

So after what felt like the longest wait, I was finally able to ride my new Specialized HARDROCK disc sport 29er on the single track near my home. We’ve been pounded by rain for the past two days, so I knew it was going to sticky out there, but I just couldn’t resist…

After her maiden voyage...

After her maiden voyage…

Don’t worry, I got her all cleaned up and ready go again.

Also, cleaning up the Iron Horse…for a fellow Canadian rider who plans to be visiting next week. Can’t wait!!

Another Day…Another Year

So it was recently my birthday…yay me! Made it another year.

So check out how that day went…

1. Working the “money shift” but guess what? Equipment failure…so no work and therefore no money.

2. Bank calls to kindly inform me that one of my debit cards was used to fund a shopping spree across the European Union #awesome

3. Plans to go to a Casino themed party later that night…only to find out that my truck’s CPU has decided to have a serious epileptic episode, and is no longer functional.

I think the Karma theorists out there will say the good news is that these events come in threes, and I have burned through mine rather expeditously.

Carpe Diem!